Following the weddings and marriage seminar on Sunday, and Clinic day, food distribution and sponsor gift distribution on Monday, we didn’t think the week could get any better but God continued to amaze us and use us!
Monday evening and all day Tuesday, Wednesday and Thursday, Paul and Rod took the BILD program to the leaders of all of Pastor Belcer’s churches throughout Nicaragua. Rod’s plan to empower those leaders to teach that program to their entire congregation is well on its way to becoming a reality.
Tuesday was the day we got to spend with our sponsor kids, and it was wonderful. For many of the team, this was the first chance they had to meet their kids, and get to know them, and it was so touching to see the immediate deep connections God created there. We took them all to Masaya Volcano – a first for them all to actually visit that beautiful site. The team hiked up and around nearly the entire site, with many smiles and hugs and pictures. We followed up the hike with lunch, gift deliveries and more time to talk and get to know one another. There were quite a few tears when we dropped them off at the end of the day – hard to say good-bye when you don’t know if or when you will be back to see them. It was a day very much blessed by God.
Wednesday was yet another high point of the week, with many of us spending all day at the church in Ciudad Sandino. Brooke, Cole, Kendall, Will, Payton, Grace and John started the day with a fun VBS for the children of Ciudad Sandino. Complete with clowns, a skit and lesson, creation of salvation bracelets, balloon animals and snacks, it was a huge success!
The afternoon was devoted to the women of the church with a seminar led by Theresa, Lori, Kim S, Dotty and Toni. It was a wonderful time of focus on God’s word and His desire for a woman’s words to her friends, her children, her husband, and the world. We ended the afternoon with a communion service using communion cups brought from Israel and donated to this team. Our Nica sisters were very touched and moved by the gift, and the opportunity to take communion in fellowship with the team.
After a quick dinner, the entire team was back at Ciudad Sandino for Wednesday night worship and it was as joyful as ever. With lots of singing, and skits by both the Nicaraguans and the TPCC team, laughs and joy were shared in abundance. To help our friends there get some closure on the passing of our beloved Barbara, we shared a slide show of pictures of her in Nicaragua through the past few years, all set to the song “I Will Rise” in Spanish. While there were lots of tears, Rod did an incredible job of reminding us all of her wish to be celebrated, not mourned, and that we all would see her again in Heaven. With those words, Maritza and Wilbur brought out a piñata and we closed the evening in a massive celebration of music and candy! God is good, all the time.
Thursday was another full day. Dotty and Hanna were able to visit with their two special needs children in their homes, getting to know them and their families. That is not the normal experience we get, and it was incredibly important and meaningful to both families. A few of us delivered sponsor gifts to Joshua 1:8, along with some donated wheelchairs for the special needs children in that community. The chance to see one of those families, deliver that wheelchair personally, and understand the impact it will make for that family was unforgettable.
The team came back together in the late morning, and travelled to Katerina for lunch, sightseeing and a little shopping. It was a wonderful time to decompress just a little, talk about what we had experienced over the week, and fellowship with one another.
After dinner, with Wilbur and Maritza, Christian and Marcos joining us, we surprised Toni and Rob with a mariachi band and a fiesta to celebrate their 10th wedding anniversary (or as we called it, an “avinersary”). What a wonderful way to end our week!