I was a part of the second group that went out to the field at Pantanal. Our group went out to play kickball with a girls team and also share the Gospel with any other kids, parents, and players from another guys’ team. A kick ball team is only allowed to have 9 players on it and since we had more than 9, a smaller group of us juggled and played small soccer games with some of the guys from the Modrono team that we had played against at the Sala tournament. Although they joked about beating us earlier this week they were very impressed that we actually challenged them and how organized and cohesive our team was. I shared a message with the people explaining the difference between the bondages of sin and the rules that Christians choose to follow. Many people here view Christianity as being very legalistic and controlling. They think that they have to follow a lot of rules to be a Christian and it doesn’t allow them to enjoy their life. I addressed these concerns for them and told them that in reality we are slaves to sin; not rules. I said that sin is a trap leading to destruction. I told them that following rules doesn’t make them righteous but instead aware that they need a Savior. I concluded with the results of sin which is regret, shame, and death and that a life with Christ leads to: joy, peace, and eternal life.
God is truly working in the lives of these people! I miss you all!
Six of us helped with a Backyard Bible Club during the afternoon (Thursday).We walked through the surrounding neighborhood to gather kids, and went to a nearby church for the program. We began by leading in some fun songs and dances. Then half of the kids went outside to play some soccer while the rest stayed inside to color. It’s awesome and touching to see how fast the kids connect with us and come to love us – and we love them!
The other part of the team went to the jail. The jail that we went to can be compared to a county jail in America. I learned that most of the people at the jail are there for drugs. Each day that Jen goes to the jail is different because she never knows if they will let her and her group in. Today they let us in and we had a bible study with some of the women inmates and the guys that were with us talked to the men inmates. When the women came out of their cell they greeted Jen and Kelsey with hugs and smiles. There were 15 women total but only 11 of them came out for the bible study. The study started out with a review of what they learned last week. Then we talked about the church and what it meant to be part of it. We had a paper that we went through that went further into the topic of the church. The paper covered how being a church doesn’t just mean a people in a building but it means being a group of believers together. Part of being part of the church means realizing how to be a servant to others and realizing the different gifts that God has given each one of us. Some of the women looked up verses and gave their input and most of them looked like they were intently listening. After the Bible study Jen got out nail polish and all their faces lit up and they grabbed for the bag. We painted some of their nails and gave out snack cookies. Having snacks from Jen is a big deal because besides rice the inmates only get the food that their family outside the prison brings them.
Half of the team went on a prayer walk this morning. We started off by praying together and asking God to guide us on our walk and asking the Holy Spirit to move in us. We desired to not have a spirit of timidity but rather we wanted boldness. We walked up and down the street that Jennifer and Scott (the missionaries here) live on. The idea of the walk was to just offer pray for people. Scott told us that praying for these people is a huge encouragement to them. We prayed for a couple women and their families. We also spoke to and prayed for some men doing road construction. These men told us that they were Christians and that they wanted us to pray for a change of heart for the men in Nicaragua. We also ran into a man named George that Scott knew. George told us that he was three months sober and working on changing his life. Mimi shared her testimony and encouraged him to persevere and turn towards God. The overall experience was very encouraging. God commands us to love his people. We were expressing love by offering to pray and listen to the people we met on our walk. God is doing great things here!
Last night a group of us had the privilege of going into a village called Modrono. We were anxious and excited to go because we had played a group of boys from the village a few days back. The village is not the safest and has seen a lot of brokenness. We arrived at the village and participated in a Bible study led by the missionaries that have been reaching out to these people. We had Carlie and Marina share a message with the village, which they responded well to. We then broke off into smaller groups of three and four and prayed for each person within the village. A few of us were able to talk to the boys we had played sala (futsal) with, and found out that three out of the five of them had salvation. After asking why the other two had not accepted Christ we asked what was holding them back. A boy named Alex stood out from the rest by saying he needed to change before accepting the gift of salvation. We shared how God accepts us for who we are and that we don’t need to clean ourselves up before becoming a Christian. We told him that we were all completely equal in the fact that we are all imperfect, showing that we need Christ for that reason. After explaining salvation to him, he said the salvation prayer, admitting that Jesus died for his sins, and accepted Christ. It was easily one of the most powerful moments on this trip thus far; to gain a brother in Christ and see someone gain eternal life. It boosted our motivation and love for Christ. It gave us hope of a heaven and eternity with Christ and one without a language barrier.
We’ve spent a big percentage of our time with this community. The picture was taken from a hill in Modrono where we have been trying to make in roads. We have been a part of several 1st Bible Studies. Girls kickball teams and men’s sala teams. The women are absolutely hitting it out of the park sharing testimonies and the gospel. Pray them up as they continue to prepare and share. Not only are they growing outward but inward as well. Your daughters are becoming more and more spiritually mature. God is doing great things in our hearts and in the community. Thank you Jesus!
After having breakfast at Scott and Jen’s, we got split into four groups. Each group was given a leader, 500 Cordobas and a list of supplies that they would need to purchase at the market. The list consisted of school supplies for some of the local children. Each group ventured into the market to try and bargain with the vendors in order to get the supplies for the lowest price. We had one hour to purchase all of the items and make our way back to Scott and Jen’s. Each person in the group had to bargain with at least one vendor in buying an item. The task was more difficult because the vendors generally charge Americans more; knowing that they are less aware of how much items are really suppose to be. It was an opportunity to practice more Spanish, experience another side of the culture, and communicate in a more unique type of way. It is fair to say that it was not only an educational experience, but also a funny one. KH
The women have been going hard so the decision was made to hit the mercado and go to the Laguna for a fun day. Words don’t express the blessing it was. Everyone is safe and doing extremely well. It was a beautiful place!