The team fed 88 children, cleaned the building where the rice is stored and had some playtime with the kids. The medical group continues its work with Dr. Karla, and everyone works to prepare for the college retreat!
Here are some summaries of the first few days, written by team members:
Days 1 & 2 – Medical Group
On the first two days on the ground, the medical team, comprised of a third-year pediatric surgery resident, a NICU nurse, a medical social worker, and a team member who prayed with the patients/families, worked with Dr. Karla at the Agape Clinic. In addition, we visited a few special needs children in their homes. Dr. Karla is so inspirational with her passion to help each individual child. We saw and so many severely malnourished children who are desperately in need of G-tubes to get nutrition. It was so eye-opening to see such great need in Nicaragua. I felt called to help find a sponsor for one particular boy with Down’s Syndrome. My sister and her husband quickly agreed to help. What an awesome miracle!
Days 1 & 2 – Feeding Children
Those of us who were not in the medical group visited sites of feeding programs — Veracruz on Wednesday and Poneloya Thursday. Packs of food containing vitamin-enriched rice and soy are boxed up and distributed to these programs. Each program prepares the food in a way that can be easily distributed to 60-100 kids and is delicious to eat. The children in Nicaragua are not accustomed to eating soy, so the cooks use their creativity to make the food more palatable. After visiting Veracruz, we spent several hours cleaning and inspecting the storage facility that holds the rice and soy boxes. The time we spent at the storage facility was well spent, and it allowed us to ensure each box was safe to distribute to the children.
The moment that brought me to tears was when I saw a little boy, maybe 6 years old, not eating his food. At first, I didn’t understand why he wasn’t eating since he was clearly hungry. Then it hit me — he was saving it to take food home to his family. What was intended to be one meal for one boy would likely serve as a meal for multiple family members.
We just returned from taking college students for an overnight retreat at El Crucero. Our mission was to build relationships in order to encourage the 1st year college students to stay strong in their faith and to serve the Lord through their chosen field of study. They face so many obstacles that many become discouraged. We built relationships through sports, games, art projects, worship, small groups, testimonies from our young adults, and teaching times. John, Zach, Rocio, and Terrel shared how God helped them through struggles through their early college years and how their deepening relationship with Jesus helped them through. Many of the Nicaraguan college students shared how this helped them recommit themselves to the Lord and to their school work.