I had an incredible experience over during the past week in Nicaragua. I’ve spent this morning unwinding, unpacking, and getting caught up on email. We had quite the adventure getting home because of delays at our connecting airport in Houston, but we finally made it home around 2am Sunday morning. Yesterday the entire team shared about the trip during church. It is so hard to condense the experience and describe it during church. The sights, sounds, and smells really are beyond words. I knew a little about what to expect from looking at the pictures and videos from previous Cornerstone trips, but I feel like I now understand the culture. The poverty that we saw was heart breaking, but yet the people were gracious and joyful and truly thankful for us to be there.
Each day we started out by sharing testimonies on the radio followed by my short message. It’s tough getting the hang of preaching with a translator, but after preaching at church on Sunday and then each day on the radio, I really sensed God speaking through me. The team followed that by doing some construction work in the morning and then traveling out to a remote village each afternoon. We played with the children while the nurse distributed medication, and then we played some more. We gave out coloring sheets and crayons, we painted fingernails, and we even had a watermelon eating contest in each village. Each team member shared testimonies in the villages, and I again shared a short gospel message. We saw many saved during the week and we made sure the village pastors were there to follow up. We also distributed rice and beans in each village. The hunger there is real, and we saw the effects of malnutrition and disease in many of the villages. We also left toys, clothing, and shoes in each of the villages.
The work that Because We Care is doing in Nicaragua is amazing. Don and Pam Gillette have a passion for ministering to the people there. I appreciate their leadership and I appreciate them giving us the opportunity to minister with them. Every team member left Nicaragua as a changed person. After seeing the small huts that people live in and seeing the poverty there, you start to look at your possessions in a different light. I would encourage every Christian to become involved with missions, both at home and internationally, just to get a true picture of this world we live in. The Great Commission is not a suggestion, but a command, and I urge you to get serious about sharing the love of Christ to this lost and hurting world. Here is the video that we shared in church yesterday.
Many of you received the email updates from church or from Because We Care, but I wanted to post them here on the blog as well. Continue reading after the break to see the updates from each day.
This morning- after a bit of a delay because of a mix up with the buses- we safely made the four hour trip from Managua to Casa de Shelly. We arrived at around 2, unpacked our things, and ate lunch together as a team for the first time.
We attended the church service tonight at Principal de Peace. It was amazing!! Mike Morris preached with the help of Karen’s great translating. “We sang and worshipped as one church, not divided by the color of our skin or the language we speak.” He spoke from John 17, the prayer of Jesus that we would all be united so that people can see Christ through us.
On tomorrow’s agenda, we will speak on the radio, paint some houses in Pascuala, and minister in Mayocunda by handing out food, clothing, and medical supplies. We are also planning on bringing Dr. Briones. Pray that the people of Nicaragua will see the love of Christ in us, and that He continues to keep us safe.
We went to the radio station for the first time today. Mark and Gary shared their testimonies, and Mike spoke on what it means to follow Christ. We went to Pascuala after lunch and painted the water-based primer on two houses. We will return tomorrow to apply the oil-based top coat.
After Pascuala, we drove to Mayocunda. While there we checked on Ellya, a little girl that we have been able to help with some needs over the years. We took Dr. Briones’ assistant, and she treated everyone who needed medical attention. While they were in line, we got the joy of playing with the children of the village. We colored, made cross necklaces, painted nails, and played soccer. It was a blessing just to see their faces light up. After everyone received the treatment they needed, Harlos spoke to them about Jesus’ sacrifice, how much He loves us, and how to live for Him (with the help of Karen’s translation). As soon as we finished, they all lined up behind the van and we passed out rice and beans to each family.
Everything so far on this trip has been spectacular and a blessing to everyone involved! It has already been easy to see how much God is continuing to work in Nicaragua! Everyone this week is remembering how blessed we are to get to work with such great people (Nicas and Because We Care), and how God’s vision is always producing phenomenal results all across the world! We ask that you to continue praying for Nicaragua, our team, and Because We Care! Thank you and God bless!
After breakfast, we again went to the radio station. Today Shawn and Becky shared their testimonies. Shawn spoke on his struggles with addiction, and Becky spoke on forgiveness. Mike preached out of the book of Romans, and spoke on the change that should take place in our lives when we choose to follow Christ.
A HUGE God moment of the day happened after we left the radio station as we were paying the doctor for the previous days’ work. As the team was waiting in the van for the doctor to be paid, Pam spotted whom she believed to be Doodly, a boy from the village of Ojoche. He has down syndrome and was abandoned by his parents shortly after his birth. He now travels from village to village by himself, in search of care and attention. Doodly is a mascot for what missions can do, especially in Nicaragua. We felt VERY blessed to get to see Doodly, because as our team talked about the “chances” that Doodly would be at the doctors office at the exact same time we were in Somotillo and that we would identify him in a huge crowd. It was not chance as we all know, but God’s blessing! When we walked over to talk to him, he smiled with remembrance and came to give us all hugs. We spent several minutes in fellowship with him and then departed, but what a phenomenal way to start the day!!! We returned to Pascuala today to finish painting the two houses we had started. Everyone in the village helped out with smiles on their faces. It was a blessing to see them so willing to assist us, and so thankful for everything God is doing for them.
After lunch, we headed to La Carreta. Our timing could not have been more perfect because as we arrived, they were praising God through worship. We took the nurse again today and she treated all of the children who needed medicine. While waiting, we colored, painted nails, and had some great time of fellowship with the families. We passed out beans and rice to each family and as we drove away, we passed out shoes, toys, and candy.
Another day on the mission field, the sun goes up and then comes down and what a spectacular day it was! We ask for your continued prayer and thoughts as we try our best to carry out the Lord’s work. We are all looking forward to a good nights sleep and tomorrow we are going to Tonala! Until tomorrow, God bless and take care!
The day started with Mikey and Harlos giving their testimonies on the radio, and that was followed by hard work under the hot Nicaraguan sun. Some painted while others cleaned the steel that will be used for the houses in Pascaula. After a delicious lunch, we headed out to Tonala. There we painted fingernails, handed out coloring sheets, and played with the children. Gary and Mike both shared testimonies, and several hands were raised when the message of salvation was given. Coming back we tossed candy out of the van windows, while shouting ”Christo Te Ama.” Seeing the smiles of the people here truly is an amazing experience. As the week goes by quickly, everyone is falling more in love with life here and continues to be amazed at what God is showing us.
Today was another great day in Nicaragua. We have been blessed with great weather all week and today was no exception. Every day has been sunny with temperatures in the upper nineties. Our team has handled the heat well and has stayed healthy all week. We want to thank everyone for their prayers and support, because we have seen God accomplish great things this week.
After morning devotions and breakfast, we headed over to the radio station. Everyone on the team has shared this week and today Sarah and Becky did a great job. They were confident and bold as they shared what God has done in their life. Mike has taught each day on the importance of believing in Christ and growing in Christ, and today he shared his testimony as well. We have seen God give each person a Holy boldness to share their faith on the radio.
After that we spent the morning working on the medical clinic that has been in the works for several years. The 7,000 square ft. facility will provide for medical care of the villages in the region of Casa De Shelly. Our team worked extremely hard leveling the dirt floor and then spreading gravel donated by Hillsville Christian Church. Although the work was strenuous, it was rewarding knowing that the work we are doing now will enable even more opportunities for ministry in the future.
After another great meal prepared by Moma Maria and staff, we went to the village of El Platenal. The team has really enjoyed our visits each afternoon to the local villages. We have seen true joy and gratitude from the people here in Nicaragua. Today we were able to take the local nurse with us to help with medical care and dispense medicine. We played games with children, sang songs, passed out coloring sheets, and even had a watermelon eating contest. Shawn (otherwise known as Grande Rojo or Big Red to the Nicaraguan children) shared about how Christ has changed him and helped him overcome past mistakes and addictions. Mike again shared the Gospel and challenged the people to follow Christ. We distributed beans and rice and left many clothing items and shoes with the village pastor, and we headed back to Casa De Shelly.
We simply cannot believe how fast the week has gone by. Tomorrow we will make a morning visit to Villa Esperanza before heading back to Managua to prepare for the trip home. Because We Care Ministries is truly making a difference here and we thank them for the opportunity to share the love of Christ.