Yesterday and Friday were such great days of celebration and wrap up that we didn’t have time to make the trek to the local ice cream shop to post the blog. Therefore, as we did for the other day, we will post about today and yesterday even though we have arrived back home.
Like we said earlier, Friday was a day full of joy, sweat, tears, and laughter. We spent the morning doing work. The team split up into two groups; the first group went to Rey Salomon to organize a supply closet and make a mural on the wall for the special needs classroom and the other group went to the Agape Medical Clinic to break down an enclosure, clean, and set up the for the event later that afternoon.
Both teams were tired when they returned to La Quinta for lunch, but we freshened up, ate, and then headed out to the Agape Medical Clinic for the Inaugural Ceremony for the first day of the clinic. Teachers from both the special needs programs of the two schools were invited, along with the people on staff at the clinic and other people who were a part of the start of the clinic. To launch the celebration, all that were present surrounded the building outside to pray a prayer of protection while dropping salt, which symbolizes protection. Then Ruth, the head of the special needs education program, and Dr. Kharla, the head of the clinic, cut a “ribbon” (crepe paper, really, but it did the job), to symbolize the opening of the clinic.
For the actual ceremony, our group prepared a few things to share, including the only worship song we know in Spanish, “Reinas Por La Eternidad” (Forever Reign in English). We also planned to have a foot washing ceremony for all the Nicaraguans who showed up. This was a very symbolic and spiritual time for our team and the Nicaraguans. Our team got to be the hands and feet of Jesus as we became servants to our brothers and sisters in Christ by washing their feet for them.
After this very serious act, the Nicaraguans told us they were going to “serve us now” with food. They had made indioviejo (old indian), a common Nicaraguan dish. We can’t remember exactly what was in it, but it was pretty good. There was also cake and Hispanic music playing, so you could say it was quite a party. The only sad part about this festive time was the looming knowledge that our time in Nicaragua was coming to a close, and this would be the last time we saw these special people for a while (a year for most). This did not ruin the fun, though, and there was plenty of laughter before our time to go back to La Quinta came.
After quickly refreshing ourselves a second time, we headed off the TAV church, which is the church TPCC partners with. We were met with a very enthusiastic welcome and smiles. They let us present a few things, along with singing our song (in both Spanish and English because they loved it so much), and we got to see what a Nicaraguan church service looks like. After the service, there was lots of conversation and playing with the kids until God decided it was time to go and He shut off the church lights.
That night we said goodbye to two of our faithful facilitators, Gaby and Isabel. They had to go back to their homes two hours away from Managua. We are so very thankful for their hard work in translating and helping our team to be successful this week. They are such sweethearts and we will miss them dearly, along with all our friends and facilitators with NRN.
Getting to sleep in fifteen extra minutes and have a “fun day” made for a fantastic last day in Nicaragua. We started off the day taking the bus down to a market for a few hours. We had a lot of fun stopping by and spending the rest of our cordobas on souvenirs. At the market there are many souvenir stands with many people standing in front asking for your business. There were many times we had to tell people “no gracias” (no thank you). The market was for sure a tourist attraction that was a great experience.
After the long forty-five minute drive up and down windy roads from the market, we finally made it to Monkey Hut, which is located along the beautiful Laguna de Apoyo. One of the teams’ favorite activities there was getting to go kayaking, although we also got to relax on the dock and eat some amazing food. We had such a fun time spending our last day relaxing with our team. It was a wonderful way to end such a busy week.
Ending the night was bittersweet for everyone. We got the chance to enjoy our last evening on the porch while sharing all of our amazing stories from the week as well as give out team awards. It was amazing getting to hear how God worked in everyone’s lives this week and how much we grew as a team. Everyone had a great experience and is sad to leave.
Today we boarded the bus, said our final goodbyes, and flew back home. We talked about reentry and how it may be difficult at first. It is great and comforting to know that God will continue to be moving in the lives of the team and those in Nicaragua despite our separation from each other.
Thank you for all of your continuous prayers and support during preparation, on the ground, and departure. We ask for your continued prayers as we adjust back to life in the United States. Thank you for reading this blog; we hope you enjoyed reading about our experience. May the Lord’s peace be with you. And as the Nicaraguans say… Awmeen!