Report from the Mission Field: Nicaragua 2017
Nicaragua Trip 11/07/17
It is with excitement that I begin to journal our experience here in Nicaragua. If today is any indication of what is to come, I know that God is preparing us for great things. Today we used our 3.5 hours of travel time to begin bonding as a team. The ride was filled with laughter as Marcia and I began to learn how to count to 10 in German and we shared many other cultural differences with each other.
With a stop at a local smoothie place we continued to build relationships. It is truly amazing how God removes all barriers for his glory. One might think that language barriers, cultural differences and, in general, an unfamiliar setting would potentially stop relationships from forming, but that is not the case with this team.
Upon our arrival in Jinotega we met with Pastor Ruben and got the vision for our project. We were also blessed by a wonderful worship service greeting us to the area. During this service Pastor Ruben talked about how God created One people and shared how Gods Love unites us. He said God does not see color, he does not see where we are from but rather that we are all His children.
Pastor Ruben asked our team to come to the front of the church along with his church leaders, and they prayed over us and the ministry we were in together. This prayer time was ended with the opportunity for church members to greet us with hugs as an expression of love and unity. This was truly a touching experience and I am looking forward to how God will use us to bless others as well as how we will be blessed in this experience and unity of four different countries -- Mexico, Germany, the U.S. and Nicaragua.
Nicaragua Trip 11/09/17
It is truly amazing how God provides. In this morning's devotion, we talked about how, when God is truly in our hearts, our perspectives often change from what they once where. I find today to be a good reflection of that.
Today came with a task that involved our team hiking up approximately 920 stairs with post hole diggers and shovels and, in some cases, boxes of trees. As we climbed the mountain, we dug holes along the way. I can tell you now -- this was truly exhausting!
What I found to be interesting is that at one point I noticed the work getting a little easier. Was it because there were less stairs to climb? Was it that we weren't encountering as many rocks in the soil? Or was it God giving me the strength and encouragement to keep going when I felt I could not take another step? I am certain it was the latter, because I didn't really know that there were less steps and I was still encountering those pesky rocks.
God was planting the right people along the path to encourage me with humor and to help when the tired moments came.
At lunch time we had climbed our way to the top of the mountain and the cross that sits in view of the city. The view of Gods creation was truly amazing. At the end of the day we dug 285 holes and planted 270 trees. Praising God for the changed perspective and the opportunity to be used by him and rewarded with spectacular views.
Nicaragua Trip 11/10/17
Today we climbed the mountainside for the last time to work. It came as a surprise to many, but we planted the last of the trees today ahead of schedule. Our team planted 600 plus trees in just three days.
To celebrate the success of this part of the mission we had a pizza party with the workers. Many words of gratitude were spoken in all accounts and we were able to show our gratitude by presenting the workers and leadership with a dove pin to represent the Holy Spirit. While the planting is done, our relationship-building is not, so I'm excited to see what God has in store for us tomorrow.
Nicaragua Trip - 11/11-11/13/17
There is beauty all around us. While we finished our project of planting trees, our mission was not over. The past few days we had the opportunity to explore the beauty of the Nicaraguan land and people.
With that extra day, we went and explored the Black Forest and a quick walk around a lake. While walking thru this forest you couldn't help but be amazed at God's handiwork.
The things I remember most, however, are the many laughs we had amongst the group, the support we gave each other as we slid down the muddy slopes, and the help that was offered when shoes were lost in the mud. These relationships continued as we experienced a spirit-filled church service where gifts of gratitude were given. Each group express gratitude, and tears ran as goodbyes were said.
So through the past couple of days, I have become keenly aware of the beauty in the surrounding environment, in the people we encountered, in the conversations and laughter that were had, and the spirit-filled service. For this I am grateful for the first part of this Nicaraguan experience.