“God is spirit, and His worshipers must worship in the Spirit and in Truth” (John 4:24). This week our team is wrestling with what it means to authentically be IN our Father’s Spirit and Truth, how we respond to the heartbreak we feel as we learn about the unmet needs of our brothers and sisters here in Nicaragua, and how we must tear down the barriers separating us from unity with Christ. Today, the members of our team traveling to La Concha formed two groups: one medically focused team to assist Dr. Sylvia in the clinic and another to collaborate with the school psychologist Jasmine to plan teaching about bullying prevention. Myself and our “medical team” assisted Dr. Sylvia in selecting 25 students who were in the most dire need of dental care that will be provided next week at the school, along with the compassionate and charismatic Aaron Sanchez as our translator. It was agonizing to see that almost every student was in great need of dental treatment, for the vast majority suffered from cavities, infections or other maladies. It was unfortunately a matter of separating those in great need from those in immediate need. Nevertheless, these children had the most beautiful smiles and joyous hearts, and it was a privilege to teach them about dental hygiene and serve them alongside Dr. Sylvia, who serves the needs of this school as well as the other schools in the area beyond the scope of what many would consider her “responsibility.” Our group who met with the school psychologist, Jasmine, learned that abuse was an expectations among most students, it had been instilled in what they believed was normal and thus they did not discuss it. Consequently, bullying is a natural replication off what is experienced at the home in the context of school, and one day is doomed to result in further domestic abuse. Therefore, there is a great need for a change in family culture and expectations among the students. Our team of social workers and school councilors planned a seminar and prepared resources for the students next Tuesday that will include a puppet show, skits and teaching catering to different age groups.
So where do we go from here? How must we change so that our lines align with all that Christ has intended for us? Our family here is in need not because of lack of resources, but because of deprivation of access. Our spirits are not thirsty because God withholds His living water from us, but because we cut off our access to the source from which it flows. We are burdened by our inadequacy and our disobedience to the Spirit and Truth God so freely gives, but we are are encouraged by the progress we see Christ has made in our lives, and confident that He will continue this work in our lives and in others to meet the needs of our family here and strip us of our selfishness. We are promised that we can be “confident of this, that he who began a good work in you will carry it on to completion until the day of Christ Jesus” (Philippians 1:6). Amen!