Author Archives: Nicaragua Team

Day 8: Culture Day

“This is the word that came to Jeremiah from the Lord: “Go down to the potter’s house, and there I will give you my message.” So I went down to the potter’s house, and I saw him working at the wheel. But the pot he was shaping from the clay was marred in his hands; so the potter formed it into another pot, shaping it as seemed best to him.” ~Jeremiah 18:1-4

Today was our cultural day and I don’t think it could have gone any better. We started the day by hearing the above verses from Ginny, and then we journeyed to “The Potter’s House.” He is an incredible, godly man who uses his gift of creating pottery to share the love of Jesus with others. As a group, we watched him take an ordinary lump of clay, stomp on it and add in sand to prepare it for molding, remove the impurities, mold it more, purify it again, polish it, add amazing creativity to it, and then fire it. He explained that it takes 14 days to create 60 pieces completely, and he constantly related the process to our lives as Christians. He reminded us that God takes us, as lumps of clay, and spends our lives purifying and molding us to remove our imperfections. He reminded us that it is a process, and it’s not over just because we may feel broken. In fact, after molding and purifying his creation, he threw it on the ground and it broke into pieces, and he explained that he can still pick the pieces up and start the process again, purifying them and molding them back into an amazing, beautiful, one-of-a-kind creation. What an amazing concept, and what an encouraging analogy to hear as we think about the times we have felt our lives are in broken pieces. Finally, we saw him open up the oven and show us the finished pieces–amazing, beautiful creations. Again, he explained that as you go through the fire, God continues to purify you so you’re ready for your entrance into Heaven. No matter how shattered your life may seem, God WILL pick up the pieces, start molding them back together, and purify you piece by piece until you’re an amazing, incredible creation. Whew! And we thought this was just another cultural day….

After we left the Potter, we went to Monkey Hut and enjoyed God’s amazing creation for the rest of the day! We ended the day with worship on the porch, team awards, and positive statements about each team member. We are sad to leave this place tomorrow, but are so thankful for the time God has given us here and for all we have learned!

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Day 7, Sponsor Day Part 4

And they need us to go.20170714_114134


Day 7, Sponsor Day Part 3

Because God called us to go


Day 7, Sponsor Day Part 2


Day 7, Sponsor Day

Whenever we go on a Mission Trip, the first question we get is why do you go?


Day 6: Teacher Training, Parent Meeting, and More Painting!

Day 6: Teacher Training, Parent Meeting, and More Painting

Today was an important day for our teachers. When the Agape Special Needs program was started here in Nicaragua, teachers volunteered to take on the task of learning about special education. There is no formal school training for special ed here, so they have learned everything from teacher training days and hands-on experience. If you’ve ever worked with students with special needs, you know how huge a task it is to teach them, especially without training. These teachers were hand-chosen by God, though, and they do an amazing job. They’re hungry for more knowledge and are always looking to improve. We were able to train them on several communication strategies for non-verbal students as well as on several new behavior strategies. They asked question after question about their students and seemed genuinely interested in learning how to handle various situations in their classrooms The exciting part about working with these teachers is that it was far more than just training on classroom issues. We spent the day building relationships with them, sharing stories with them, and just being present with them. Special education in this country would not exist if it was not for their willingness to say yes to God. . It is so obvious they are passionate about what they do, they love their students, and they want to make a difference in the lives of those they work with.

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Chelsea demonstrating the importance of detailed teaching

While the teachers did their trainings, the rest of the team spent the day finishing the painting in the classrooms and bathrooms. We were able to paint more than anticipated and enjoyed being together. They also installed a misting cooling system at the clinic.

 

Another amazing part of the day was the parent meeting. I’m told there are around 200 students in the Agape program, and 110 of the parents showed up, in the middle of the day, to learn more about parenting a child with special needs and to be encouraged. They received training on Creating Positive Relationships, they listened to Alec sing his Spanish song, and heard Francois share about their journey raising Alec. A few others from the team shared encouragement as well. At the end of the service, Pastor Oscar presented them with encouragement through an eternal perspective. It fit right in with our devotional topic the previous night about how Nicaraguans are constantly saying, “If God allows” and are constantly thinking about an eternal perspective as their hope for life outside of poverty. Pastor Oscar explained that every person in the room could relate to raising a special needs child, that it’s hard work, and that it can be very challenging to watch your child grow up without the ability to walk or talk or play like other kids. He went on to say that in Heaven, those kids will have no more pain. They’ll be able to run and jump and play with all of the other kids. He encouraged parents to be ready for God, so that they can also spend eternity with their kids in Heaven one day. He ended by having everyone find someone else to pray for, hug, and encourage, and you could really feel the presence of the Holy Spirit in the room.

Bottom line: we had to be super flexible today, but God did amazing things in the lives of both parents and teachers, and we were encouraged!


Day 5, Teacher Appreciation and Graduate Vocational Student Celebration

Today was very special, as we got to honor our teachers who work with the Special Needs kids.  In addition, we had quite a few of the graduates from our Vocational Program.  It was great to see the students reunited with  their teachers.

Our celebration took place at a private park named El Salero.  It is absolutely beautiful.   Most of our graduate students would not have been to a park with a full sized grass soccer (Futbol) field.  In addition, it has volleyball, basketball, and a swimming pool.

Our day included ice breaker games like Terremotto (Earthquake) and some fun games that we brought from the U.S.

After lunch, the teachers were presented with  Certificates of achievement for their hard work in working with children with Special Needs.  Our day with the teachers and students ended with a dip in the pool.

As with  every other day, we still  had work to do.  Back to Quinta Primavera to regroup, eat dinner, debrief,  do devotional and start planning on tomorrow’s schedule.


Day 4: More Food Distribution and Speech Evals, and Lots of Kids!

Today we did food distribution in a different community, much different than working in downtown Managua! We went to Los Brasiles, a much more rural and spread out community. In Managua, where we were the previous day, homes touch each other and share walls. In Los Brasiles, homes are more spread out and most have the tin roofs with bricks or logs holding them on. The streets are dirt with drainage water running onto them. Horses and goats roam streets freely. Quite different from city life! We were able to visit 16 families of special needs individuals, pray with them, talk about God’s love for them, and just be present with them. You really feel great love for each other when you take time to be present.

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One of our team members (Jill) wrote a beautiful summary of what we saw during our day of food distributions today. She wrote, “In the midst of severe poverty I still see joy, smiles, generosity, hospitality, a sense of community, exuberance, friendliness, and a love for God. In the midst of the most dire living conditions, there is still hope, strength, patience, goodness, kindness, and faith. Some of the best things this world has to offer cannot be quenched by the most difficult living situations. Love and laughter is a universal language found everywhere.”

While part of the team was distributing food to families in the community, the other team members spent their time keeping children busy while they waited in line to receive speech evaluations. They played with balls, bubbles, and anything they could find to keep them busy! Kids have the ability to bring such joy every time we see them!

We returned back to LaQuinta for quick showers and dinner, then we headed to Ciudad Sandino, Traders Point’s sister church, for an evening worship service. We were able to bless them with 32 new chairs for their congregation! We performed a skit to the song “Oceans” by Hillsong, Alec sang a song in Spanish, and our whole group performed a Spanish song. We were blessed once again by worshipping with the congregation and enjoying their enthusiasm and joy for the Lord. I can only imagine we get a small glimpse of what Heaven will be like when we worship with others cultures!

 


Day 3: Food distribution and Painting

We started out our morning today with a great worship session on the porch. Let me tell you, starting the morning by singing worship songs with 20 other people sure makes for a great day!

After breakfast, we headed to Rey Solomon where we divided into teams for the day. Several teams went into the community for food distribution, and the rest of us stayed back and painted classrooms and offices at the school.

During food distribution, we were able to go into the community and meet with a few families in their home. Every family we met with was a special needs family. While we were there, we spent some time getting to know them and praying for them. This time is always when reality sinks in; up until this point, the poverty is well masked by the Nicaraguans through smiling faces, serving hands, and gracious hearts. But when we enter their homes, we are able to grasp the gravity of the situations they are living in. Some homes only have one bed for 5 people to sleep in, and others only have a piece of tin as a roof. We were able to provide the families with a bucket of food and necessities to help alleviate the worry for a short period of time. Through all of this, God was able to show us that He truly provides every single item that we need….all we have to do is trust Him.

Back at the school, we worked all day painting classroom walls and enjoying fellowship with one another, as well as with other community members. A few families even got to see their sponsored children today, even when they weren’t expecting to! God showed up in so many ways throughout the day and it was truly another great day.

Praying with a sponsored child and family.


Day 2 Continued.

Work never ends.  While part of the team was out buying food for our lunch tomorrow, the rest began getting  our food buckets ready for delivery.  Each food bucket contains rice,  beans, pasta, laundry soap,  hand soap, seasoning packets, sugar,  oil, toilet paper, ketchup, and other essentials for a family of 4.  It will normally last them 1 to 2 weeks.