Category Archives: Nicaragua – June 2013

A week in Nicaragua with pictures: Special Needs Mission Trip June 2013

The Nicaraguans singing with us to thank us for serving them.

The Nicaraguans singing with us to thank us for serving them.

Mercedita going through a tunnel of love!

Mercedita going through a tunnel of love!

Having lunch with some vocational students from Rey Solomon

Having lunch with some vocational students from Rey Solomon

Morgan making funny faces with some Nica kids.

Morgan making funny faces with some Nica kids.

At the local ice cream shop, Pops: the wifi hotspot.

At the local ice cream shop, Pops: the wifi hotspot.

Nicaraguan kids playing on the basketball court at Rey Solomon

Nicaraguan kids playing on the basketball court at Rey Solomon

The team during their quiet time on the back porch of La Quinta Primavera.

The team during their quiet time on the back porch of La Quinta Primavera.

The team at the airport before the trip.

The team at the airport before the trip.

A Nicaraguan girl all dressed up for her photo booth picture!

A Nicaraguan girl all dressed up for her photo booth picture!

The special needs teachers at Joshua 1:8 school.

The special needs teachers at Joshua 1:8 school.


Nicaragua Special Needs Mission Trip Day 6

Today’s devotion was centered on what would happen when we get home. Ginny explained how her main goal for these mission trips was not to have people say “That trip changed my life” but rather “That trip changed my lifestyle.” We talked about practical ways to change our lifestyle- little things that could make a huge impact. Our prayer is that each one of us could implement a practical lifestyle change to impact those who are struggling around the world.

Next we headed out for our last work day of the trip. On the agenda today was food distribution and painting. Nicaraguans dilute their oil-based paint with gasoline so it was a little smelly, but our team worked hard to finish painting the special needs classroom at the Joshua 1:8 school.

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The Hogar de Fe orphanage is located right next to the school, so we made a quick visit there to see the children. We were reminded before this visit that this is the home of these children and we should not treat them like they are animals at a zoo for us to look at. This is emphasized by the orphanage’s name: home of faith. The word orphanage is not a very nice word in Nicaragua, so they instead use the word ‘hogar’ which means ‘home’. The way the children played and shared mangos made it feel this way.

Susan, Hali, Francois, and Wendy were able to accompany our NRN missionary, Ginny, to deliver a bed to a Joshua 1:8 family. What an awesome experience! The family was appreciative of the bed for their kids to sleep on. It was humbling to be welcomed into their home, love on their kids, and assemble a much needed bed. The four of us will certainly never forget this precious family.

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After running into a small wedding procession, we made our way home. As a surprise, we printed photos of our group and gave them as gifts to our facilitators and translators. Along with the photos, we signed cards for them. The last bit of the night was spent at the local ice cream shop called Pops expressing our gratitude to these instrumental members of our group. As we prepare for our departure in two days, we begin to reflect on all God has taught us this week and all the ways He has blessed us.


Nicaragua Special Needs Mission Trip Day 5

Our day began with a devotion focused on what it means to have a rich relationship with God. We discussed being obedient and generous; the difference between happiness, contentment and joy; as well as the fact that giving to the poor is not an option – it is a command. Our team left praying that we would spend our day as obedient servants of our Father.

As we arrived for our final day at Rey Salomon, there were some heavy hearts knowing we would have to say our goodbyes to some precious kiddos and fabulous teachers. To our surprise, today was a special day at the school! The entire school was participating in a program honoring the teachers. We were able to enjoy singing, poems, and traditional Nicaraguan dances. What a fantastic treat! The entire school being at a program also gave the sponsors on our team another chance to spend time with the beautiful children they sponsor.

Lunch was another special event for our team. We treated the vocational class and their teacher to lunch. The location was a surprise to all of us…we ended up at an El Salvadorian restaurant! This was a new experience for many! The staff was very hospitable and quickly sat our group of 35. The vocational students are learning how to bake and cook in class and the cooks at the restaurant allowed them to come back to see how they made our meal. They loved it! Our meal consisted of a variety pupusas – a traditional El Salvadorian dish. It was quite delicious!

After lunch we headed back to Rey Salomon to show the teachers our appreciation. We enjoyed cake together, played games,and presented them with gifts for all they do for the kids with special needs at their school. After appreciating the teachers, many of us were able to spend more time with kids playing volleyball.

Most of us will be praying that God allows us to return to visit these amazing people again. I (Wendy) know that today ended with tears. Meeting Brianna on Wednesday, and seeing her again today, was an answered prayer for both of us. She asked me several times when I was coming back and told me that she didn’t want me to leave. I can only continue to hope that God will answer our prayers and bring us back together again.


Nicaragua Special Needs Mission Trip Day 4

The Park: This morning we joined the children with special needs from Joshua 1:8 at the park in Managua. They enjoyed the time spent on park equipment, playing four square, and the competitive basketball games. What made the day most special is that their new buddies (from the Best Buddies program), joined them for the morning! What a blessing to see this new program already put into action!

Teacher Appreciation Lunch: Today we had an amazing afternoon spending time with the teachers of Los Brasiles School. We celebrated them and gave thanks for all the have done for their students and for us. They are extremely devoted to their jobs. God has truly blessed this community with these amazing teachers. We ate cake, played ‘get to know you’ games, and presented gifts to them. It was also a true blessing to pray for these teachers and pray scripture over them. The scripture we prayed over them was from Matthew 18:5 “As you welcome these children in my name you welcome me”. These teachers truly welcome these special needs children in the name of the Lord. What a blessing they are.

Sponsor Lunches: It was a great experience, not just for me but for my two sponsor boys (both named Moises) and one of their moms. All three couldn’t thank me enough. They kept asking when I would come back before we even left. The youngest, who is three, had been asking his mother if she would ever take him to Tip-Top, but he was unable to go. Once we pulled up to the restaurant, his mom said he was super excited! The oldest is seventeen and he is taking an English class. He told me it was his favorite and that he is doing the best in it so far. He has passed all of his exams. I told him how proud I was of him and he said, “Thank you” in English. Both of the boys have made such an impact on my trip and my life. I’m looking forward to seeing them again. — Kinzie
Though I don’t have an sponsor children (yet…), I had the chance to take a couple of kids out to lunch that are sponsored by my family friends. They were very quiet but also extremely grateful for the lunch we had together. The younger kids opened up when they saw the playground and had ice cream. They thanked me continuously and I felt so blessed to spend the time with them. They asked me and their sponsors to pray that they had enough food to eat. This humbled me as I continue to realize how fortunate we are that we always have more than enough. I hope that I will get to visit again, and hopefully have a sponsor kid of my own. -Lindsey

Church: Tabernaculo Agua Viva Tonight, we went to visit Wilber and his church. This is the sister church to TPCC. They welcomed us with open arms and took us to our seats in the front. They were honored for us to be there. We sang songs in Spanish and worshiped our God together. Our group sang songs in Spanish that we had learned throughout the week in front of the congregation. Pastor Wilber preached over Philippians 4:1. The message was about how we want to be missionaries but we aren’t always willing to listen to God and go. He said there are three things you must do in order to be a missionary: go, pray, and give. You don’t always have to go to other countries to be a missionary, you can be one right where you live. After the service, we spent time taking pictures and laughing with the children. They loved being tickled and seeing their pictures. Their smiles and laughter refueled us tonight. Gracias Señor!


Nicaragua Special Needs Mission Trip Day 3

Sometimes by day three a large group can hit a lull, but we left our nightly debriefing with a sense that this particular Wednesday marked more of a Marvelous Midweek, not a let down of energy. We were back at Rey Solomon today, but not until after a breakfast of yummy French toast and time on the porch with Ginny. Today’s devotional begged us to consider the concept of “enough” and not one of us could keep from asking the question “How much is enough?”

Just like kiddos at any school look forward to field day or a field trip, it was a treat for our group to take the students to the park. Good ol’ fashioned fun. It wasn’t even too bad squishing three-to-a-seat on the bus ride to get there. Easy way to get to know someone quickly, right!? The park was absolutely gorgeous and had more equipment than you’d need to satisfy a group of energetic school-age kids and their itching-to-play-along friends from the USA.
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A highlight for both sponsored children, their families, and sponsor families was the luncheon. Here are a few thoughts from those who enjoyed time out with their sponsored child:
Brianna has been blessed with energy and great joy. This girl did not stop moving or laughing throughout our entire lunch! I am so glad that God gave me the opportunity to meet the beautiful child that our life group has been sponsoring for a couple years now. She told me that she had been praying to meet one of us! Our God is certainly in the business of answering prayers! — Wendy
Our lunch with Ana and Dulce was beyond incredible. Their joy and gratitude was evident throughout the entire afternoon. The day ended with Ana sharing the bread pudding Ana baked that afternoon, a long hug and her asking to see us next year.  After a few tears, we said adios. — The Qualkinbush’s
Today, I had the amazing opportunity to spend more time with Joseling; my sponsor child. She has developed into a beautiful young woman. Her smile always lights up the room. I have had the opportunity of returning to Nicaragua to see her for the last 4 years and every time it blows me away to see how much she has grown and how hard she has been working at school. I loved eating pizza with her at Pizza Hut and watching her laugh and play. GOD IS SO GOOD! –Hali Stout
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A group of us got to visit Tabernacle Agua Viva (TAV) today. We delivered sponsorship gifts to the students and went on a tour of the school. The principal was proud to show us the school and tell us about the impact it has on the community. It is a light in a dark neighborhood. The teachers are battling the problems on the street  as they teach the students to follow Christ. She also shared with us about an answered prayer. They now have an improved third floor.    It is a much better learning environment. We got to see the computer lab and hear about the programs the students are taught. Hali even got to try out an awesome Mario typing game. They are thankful for the great blessing of having a computer lab. This will help students get jobs someday. We then prayed for the school and for them to continue to be a light in the community.
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Nicaragua Day 2 Post #2

Another quick post for the day- but this one is on Best Buddies. Though writing is not my claim to fame, I volunteered to talk about an awesome opportunity we have had the past two days. Prior to our trip, we received news that the schools were interested in hearing about a club called Best Buddies. Best Buddies is a club in many American and some international schools that promotes inclusion of individuals with special needs. Individuals without special needs are paired with those with special needs. From there, friendships blossom and irreplaceable bonds are formed. I have had the privilege of being in this club for three years and it holds a very special place in my heart. Here in Nicaragua, students and teachers were interested in hearing about the program with hopes of starting it in their schools.
The past two days, we presented a PowerPoint, a skit, and two videos with many students. At Rey Solomon, we set up in the heat of the afternoon. Soon after, about 90 students poured into the tiny room. They sat in desks and chairs that were crammed together as we stood at the front of the room equipped with a few very talented translators. Kat, Corinne, Kenzie, and I performed a brief skit to introduce the basics of the club. Francois communicated (very eloquently) with the students through the translator. His gratitude regarding what the program has done for his son, Alec, was very apparent and moving.  Today, we presented at the other school in a much larger and cooler space, the church. Both presentations went very well and it was very obvious that God was using us because of the connections Francois, Kenzie, and I have with Best Buddies back home. It was such a blessing to see that both schools have already started to develop the program. Ensuring that everyone, even those with disabilities, is included inside and outside of the school is a topic that we all hold near to our hearts. We continue to pray for the development and effectiveness for the program as students befriend their peers with special needs!
-Lindsey

Nicaragua Blog Day 2

We started our morning bright and early with a wonderful breakfast cooked by Yolanda and Juanita (the AMAZING cooks at La Quinta Primavera).  We never go hungry here at La Quinta, that’s for sure.  Fresh fruit, fresh vegetables, and fresh juice daily…muy delicioso!  La Quinta is a beautiful environment and we are very blessed to have a relationship with this place.

After our morning Devotionals led by Ginny, we were prepped and ready to serve the poor and the oppressed.  We were ready to bring biblical justice to the people of Nicaragua.  We headed out to the town of Los Brasiles to serve at the Josue 1:8 school (Joshua 1:8).  When we arrived we were greeted with bunches of little chicos and chicas just thrilled to see us.  Their laughter and smiles are infectious.
We split into two groups, one to meet the teachers and one to set up for “Rotation Stations.”  Once the stations were set up, the children with special needs came and it was fantastic.  I don’t think any of us stopped smiling for the next two hours.  We had children doing the parachute, kids dressing up with silly costumes, kids coloring and more.
We broke up into small groups and distributed food to some of the families throughout the afternoon.  We were welcomed into their neighborhoods and homes…the most humbling experience yet.  It is difficult to put into words the circumstances these people live in everyday until you witness it for yourself.  Their homes are made up of pieces of sheet metal, tin, cardboard, etc.  However, they were proud to welcome us into their homes and to have us pray for them.  Their gratitude was tangible.  It’s one experience that we will never forget.
Nicaragua has been one fun trip so far.  We are blessed to have a great team who only wants to serve The Lord as well as fabulous translators and staff.

Nicaragua Special Needs Mission Trip Day 1

Today we broke from our first morning meeting knowing that our day would give us a glimpse of oppression. We were challenged to ask ourselves is this trip just a “good idea” to do something to help change that…or is it really biblical justice like that commanded in Luke 4:18? Like the faithfulness of Job, this team believes the latter. The faces of the children, families, and teachers told us so.  Image

We wound through the crowded streets and withstood lots of honking before our trusty yellow school bus made it to the doors of Rey Solomon. But what a safe haven we found. Our morning session was spent building relationships with the teachers and delivering gifts from sponsor families to their sponsored children. Gratitude was so evident in so many ways. The teachers were gracious in allowing us to offer input and expressed how blessed they were to be teachers there. When the sponsored children received their gifts, they were asked what they wanted their family to know and the overwhelming response was, “Tell them thank you, I love them, and I know they love me.”Image
 
Too hot and sweaty with too much good work ahead of us, we grabbed a quick gourmet lunch of PB&J, filled up our water bottles and split off for an afternoon of “Rotation Stations”. Armed with a translator to facilitate communication with each group, the activities allowed for over 80 special needs children and their families to enjoy such things as silly picture taking, photo framemaking, parachute play, painting, and more. Did we mention we had some fun???
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