Wow what a day it has been. So many burns, so many tan lines and most importantly so many smiles on our faces. I really don’t know where to start it was such a great day. But I guess I will start here we headed to go get the Nicaraguans from Ciudad Sandino after breakfast and we have been going ever since. After picking them up we headed to Granada for a beach day which was an awesome experience for both the Nicaraguans and us. I think we all got to create a new relationship which was an amazing thing to observe and experience. After endless hours of Frisbee throwing and getting tackled into the water we served them all lunch and headed back into town for church at pastor Belcers church in the oriental market. The church experience was incredible we got to hear the famous Pastor Belcers which was such an amazing experience. Pastor Belcer is famous in my mind because of the impact he is have in Nicaragua, He has planted over two dozen churches in Nicaragua and I don’t think he is stopping anytime soon. He has been my spiritual super hero for some time now so hearing him preach impacted me immensely.
I think today was a one of the most impactful days of my Nicaragua experiences. The reason I say this is that from up to this point I have been relying on myself for everything but today I realized that I am not the instructor in my life I am just an instrument in His symphony. And today I personally decided to let go and let God. So that’s only day three, I am excited to see what else God has planned for the next three days in all of our lives.
As the sunshine showed itself from the clouds today, so we were able to experience more of its heat, and sunburn, while getting to play at the beach with our Nica kids. After over an hour bus ride we pulled up to one of Nicaragua’s beaches. Definitely not to be confused with Destin beaches, but still very nice, and large. The children’s excitement was nothing short of Disney World to these children. They came sprinting to the bus…down a super steep hill. Sarah Croner immediately was worried they’d trip, but no one would. They just entered the bus with their hearts racing and with the largest smiles and hugs to greet us, their new best friends. High fives, fist bumps, and, of course, those air-constricting hugs to both the males and females of our group.
Watching this is like watching a Broadway play. Our team strains to watch every hug and welcome, doing our best not to miss out on any of the action. Smiles are stamped on all of our faces – and we can’t do anything but share our amazement with each other. Nothing in this country is as beautiful as this experience. Nothing.
After we bounced and sweated on the bus ride to the beach, the children sprinted to the water – no one waiting to put on sun screen – just making their way for the water- with us to follow. And the fun began, for hours. Soccer, Frisbee, football, squirt guns, splashing and fun filled the beach front with all 60 of us. Our Nica friends never left our sides as I watched Brianna’s buddy, Ashley, hardly let her have a moment alone. And Brianna wouldn’t want her to ever be alone- so they played, and played and I was so proud of Brianna and her gorgeous heart.
Nick never tires of playing soccer or any sport with the kids, as well as serving in any capacity he can. I’m so impressed with how he shares himself with everyone there – and how everyone respects and admires him.
Leadership is abundant in our team. Never does a task go without Brendon leading the effort in some way, with Dustin, Ben, Cody, Spencer and Jake nearly pushing others out of the way to lend a hand. (Somehow that person always seems to be Anna. Her 4’10” stature definitely gets swallowed by Big Ben’s. But, little or not, Anna’s presence is never hidden. Her happy and beautiful presence is felt wherever she is, and her contagious happiness spreads like weeds.) Whether it be to carry water bottles, pizza, or food distribution – you name it – these young men came to serve and they are doing just that. I’m so proud to be on a team with these men, and proud to know that these are the men that will be raising the next generation someday. I’m in awe.
We served a pizza lunch after a few hours of playing and then headed back to the bus for the return to La Quinta. Unfortunately for me, the bus rides were a bit much and I didn’t join the rest of the team for the church service. But the rest of the night will be an amazing experience for our team. David and Tyler coordinate every step of the way, and our translators and team members – Aron, Roger, Isabel, Alice and Rommel support us in all we do. This team takes amazing care of us and not only loves each other with Christ’s love, but makes us laugh and feel important, too. I completely understand why Sydney can’t get enough of Nicaragua.
It’s a world that is powered not by money, pride or status, but pure love and happiness that they openly share – without any expectations. Not a single child of any age has been grumpy or so shy that they pull away from me. Nor have I witnessed a single child being “left out” in any way. It leaves me to wonder why they are so different from so many young children in the States. Here, there are no video games or flat screen televisions that preclude the children from playing openly with everyone. It’s their responsibility to have fun with each other and that’s what they do. As I sit here in the quite peace of La Quinta, I think about how I can change my own life to make sure that this is how we live from now on. If you feel so called to do the same, I’m certain the Lord will direct you. Good night.