Category Archives: Nicaragua – June 2016

Day 6 -Cultural Day

We are hot, exhausted, and smelly. It is getting to that point in the trip where we tend to forget why we come, what we are here for, and who we serve. However, God so graciously reminds us in the most beautiful ways. We were reminded through the love, compassion, and effort put forth by our Nicaraguan friends that we come here to serve them in any way that they need. While each of these situations has allowed us to grow immensely, we were able to take a break and reflect on everything that has happened this week. This morning we were able to visit the beautiful city of Granada and spend time in the Masaya Market. The time spent in these places allowed us to capture the beauty, integrity, and history in the country of Nicaragua.

Being outside of our comfort zones is well….uncomfortable. While in Nicaragua, we have been put in these situations through communication barriers, cultural differences, and economic shortages. But we know that the best learning, serving, and growing comes from embracing our uncomfortable feelings and letting God work through those. God has lovingly taught each of us how to love deeper, give freely, and obediently serve.  We were able to spend time with the Nicaraguans during a movie night tonight. We provided popcorn, candy, and drinks. The Nicaraguans were so thankful for something as easy as setting up a movie. We were reminded what it means to be truly gracious. We reflect on the day by asking ourselves how we are going to take what we learned and apply it to our lives when we get back to the states? Will we always remember this trip? Will this change the way we serve our community at home? Will this change the way we think? Will this change our hearts? The answer is yes. We will be changed by this trip, even in the smallest way. Our hearts are forever changed by the way the Nicaraguans live, serve, and love. Our memories of this trip will always remind us how and why we serve our community. This is love. This it truth. This is grace.

It’s been a good trip, friends. The Lord is so so good.

Day 4 – Positive Vibes

Our day was filled with lots of excitement that consisted of classroom activities, teacher celebration and collaboration, and food distribution. We spent the day in Los Brasiles, where there is another Special Needs school sponsored by NRN. The school is currently being held in a rented out community center. However, God has blessed this community with the amazing purchase of land that resides down the road. This will allow the school to serve, primary, secondary, and special needs students. We continue to pray that God grants wisdom, peace, and swiftness to those involved in the building project.

Food distribution held a lot, as one would expect it would. It was at times deeply grieving to see the condition of the homes of our Nicaraguan friends. This, combined with finding out how far they travel, just to be at school every day, humbled every person in the room. Despite the conditions our friends face everyday, there was no hesitation on their end to extend intentional hospitality towards our team.  They consistently offered us all the chairs they had to sit on, and often wanted us to be out of the sun because of the heat. After developing relationship, conversation, and prayer, we offered bags of food. Ginny, co-founder of NRN, consistently reminded the families that this is a provision from God, and that they should lean on God for all their needs, not us. It should be comforting for them and for us that we are not their source of hope. As humans, we make errors, mistakes and constantly fall into the traps of sin. God doesn’t. He is errorless, perfect, all knowing, and pure. He is the provider of hope through all things. He loves and cares so deeply for our friends here that our attempts do not even come close to matching His. It brings our team and NRN peace and comfort to know that they will always be taken care by the hands of God.

Our team was able to observe the love and passion that these teachers have for their students. In order to celebrate them and all their efforts, we held a teacher appreciation lunch for them. While paired off into groups of North Americans and Nicaraguan teachers we shared a meal, stories, and asked questions about each others lives. These teachers have taught us so much in the time that we spent with them. Their stories and perseverance are truly amazing and inspire us all. We are consistently blown away at the depth of love and care these teachers have for their students.

After the students have left for the day, we were able to gather and collaborate with the teachers. The barriers these teachers are up against on a day to day basis opened the eyes of all of us listening. There is no comparison. In the United States, we do not have to worry about whether our students will be making the 2 hour walk to school, if they have to provide for their family, or being able to pay the $35-$50 it costs to attend school each month. These are the barriers that Nicaraguan students face every single day. When the teachers asked for advice on how to advise their students, involve parents, or teach materials, our hearts were truly shocked. With so many barriers, these teachers preserver and insist on providing the best education they can provide. The Lord has started a fire in each of their hearts for this ministry of Special Needs Education and we pray that he never lets it cease.

We ended our day with prayer. We each paired off with a teacher and shared prayer requests and then intentionally took each request before God. The power of prayer is so so great. It was a powerful and emotional experience to be able to share that with the teachers, and we are grateful for the hearts of all the teachers that unabashedly serve the Lord with love.  .

Today was a long and hot day, but having open hands and eyes led each team member to have a tremendous experience. We are so grateful for the opportunity to serve alongside our Nicaraguan brothers and sisters. We have been blessed in so many ways and appreciate all of your prayers. Tomorrow holds more excitement…check back for more updates!

Day 3 – Intentional Relationship

We come to the end of Day 3 of our Nicaraguan Adventure with hearts that are overflowing with love and joy. Today’s agenda allowed us to meet with the students that we have sponsored. The infrequency of trips to Nicaragua poses barriers for us when trying to form relationships with the students we sponsor. However, that one day a week that NRN allows us to meet with our students, share experiences, and love on each other is so greatly appreciated.A common theme that was discussed today was the importance of building relationships and being intentional with the time we have with not only our team, but our Nicaraguan friends. Today we were able to spend time on the beautiful boardwalk of Managua, Nicaragua where the sun was shining bright and the breeze was enjoyable. We enjoyed being able to have intentional relationship with our kids through playing, conversations, and sharing a meal together. While a language barrier posed some issues, the facilitators of our trip humbly translated all of our conversations with smiles on their faces. We could have just let the kids play on the playground, or wander around and not attempt to engage with them. But, we know the Lord calls us to so much more. In devotional this morning, we were reminded that Christ ALWAYS prioritized relationships before attempting to minister or engage in teachings. This message sat on our hearts today as we openly engaged with our kids. We came with open arms, hearts, and minds and the reward was so so great. Our team learned simplicity, graciousness, and humbleness from each and every child we spent time with today. The Lord calls us to great things but we often forget that the first and greatest thing He calls us to, is relationship. We will be praying that this message stays on our hearts throughout the rest of the trip. All of your prayers are so appreciated and we have been blessed in so many ways this week. Check back tomorrow for another update!

Day 2 – Collaboration

Today was our first day in the Rey Solomon school, and it was really nice to be able to see the kids at the school and spend time with the teachers as well. We had been told that the special needs teachers were waiting and excited to meet with us and that was really encouraging. It is always humbling to learn that there is a mutual love and appreciation coming from both sides (those considered “serving” and those being “served”). We did rotation stations with the youngest kids while some of our team passed out sponsor gifts and took pictures with sponsored kids. The kids loved coloring and playing with a cool hoola hoop blow up ball.

After we finish with the kids, our team got a chance to visit the new clinic that was started by Agape. Kids from all the schools that NRN is a part of can come to the clinic for medical needs. There is a pediatrician, a physical therapy area, and an optometrist area. We were given a tour and met the staff that works there. Before we left, we were asked if we could pray for a boy who is currently in the hospital and also for the women who are currently pregnant that work at the clinic (there are four!). We had a nice time of prayer and fellowship with the staff during that time.

We continued with rotation stations and pictures with the older kids in the afternoon, and then made the trek back to La Quinta for dinner and preparation for tomorrow. It was a great first day getting our feet wet, and we are excited about what tomorrow will hold!image1(1)

Day 1 – Arrival

Well friends, we have safely arrived in Managua,  Nicaragua after a long morning of traveling! We were blessed with safe and easy travels this morning to make a smooth transition into the country. After settling in and unpacking, we were able to meet as a group and discuss our week’s activities. While God has plenty in store for us this week, we were humbly reminded that we make an overwhelming impact when attempting to serve the wonderful people of Nicaragua.With best intentions, we tend to over plan, over work, and focus only on the jobs that we have deemed necessary to be done. We forget that the true meaning of our mission trip here is to provide relentless love, amazing grace, and form honest and pure relationships. The jobs and work we do over here will indeed benefit some, but nothing will compare to displaying the love He has shown for us through relationship building and serving with open hands. We have gratefully been served by so many during our first hours here in Managua. We have great housing accommodations, ate amazing food, and engaged in wonderful conversation this afternoon. We are truly excited to be able to come with open eyes, hands, and hearts to serve the Special Needs community of Nicaragua in any way they need. We are praying that God will strike down anything that is not part of His plan and that all the glory from our work is given to Him. We appreciate your prayers and will update again tomorrow!