(our team )
Oh, wow. What a week we had! It's hard to believe that this time last week we were in La Union, Nicaragua having a wonderful time with the precious people in that village. It was good to see familiar faces from my trip 3 years ago. Faces that are forever etched in my mind and in my heart as I grew to love them even more.
La Union is a small village in a remote area of Nicaragua. After we landed in Managua, we rented a van and drove over 4 hours to the city of Nueva Guinea where we stayed each night in a motel. Each morning, we had a 90 minute drive to the village. It was only about 30 miles, but the road is so terrible and the mountain terrain so rough that it takes a long time to get there. The rain just makes it that much harder. Last time we went, we didn't rent a van and had to catch a cargo truck each day and it took even longer to get there. So this was so much better even though it doesn't seem that way.
As we were preparing to land in Managua, you can see the active volcano to the right. I actually looked out the window long enough to take a picture.
Inside the motel
(Our bed - the only thing in the room besides a small table.)
My heart is so full with the blessings that I received from the people there. They welcomed us back with open arms, big smiles and lots of hugs. The intense love that we have for them just grows each year. As much as our goal is to serve them and minister to them, they were determined to do for us in return. We know it was a sacrifice for them to feed us 2 meals a day. Despite our protests, they blessed us with food. Rice, beans, tortillas and yucca were the menu for most meals. We also got fried plantain and some other things I can't pronounce. We did get to eat chicken twice and it was delicious.
There were four women on this trip and our mission was to have bible school each day for the children. There are about 20 children in the church, so the pastor said to expect 30. So I planned for 50.
I love it when God shows up in ways that we can't imagine. I love it when in our own inadequacies we think the impossible and God shows us His power. When we arrived at the church that Monday morning we had about 20 kids there waiting. We got started with the prayer and when we opened our eyes, there were about 100 children in the church. No kidding! We just kinda looked at each other in unbelief. I was thinking, "Okay, Lord, now what?" The kids just kept pouring in and I just laughed and said, "Praise you, Lord!" By the time we finished, we had 175 children for bible school that day.
Our old plans were scrapped and new plans were made. We began letting God move us in another direction. How do you teach 175 kids with material for 50? You let God take over. God is faithful and He equips us and He just does it! It was amazing and we had no less than 140 kids each day. We had almost 200 the last day and were even able to give them each a toy as they left. It was such a blessing to be able to minister to all those children and at least plant a seed in each of their hearts.
We went from this....
to this in a matter of about 15 minutes!
When I left there on Saturday, I left more pieces of my heart behind.
A 9-year old boy named Ishmael, has a huge chunk of it. When we arrived, he was quiet, sullen and withdrawn. He was shunned by the other children. He has no daddy and a mother who is mentally ill. His grandmother is very old and near death. His clothes were all torn and tattered. We purchase 2 new outfits and a pair of shoes for him. He was so excited to get them and his whole countenance changed! By the time we left, the other children were playing with him and he was smiling and laughing. God is so good!
(Ishmael and his new clothes)
I left a piece of my heart with a little boy named Adair. He was 12 years old and still looked like he did 3 years ago. He is very small for his age and when we got there he was so mean to all the other kids. We loved on him all week. He hung out at the church all day with us and with Melissa's help with Spanish, we impressed upon him the love of Jesus and the need to love others and by the time we left, he was loving on everybody. He is so precious.
A 15-year old girl named Bilda has another chunk. She is such a precious young girl with a heart to serve. She helped us tremendously in bible school. She was always cleaning the church and helping the women cook. She is a very special young girl with a heart for God.
Every child I met, every woman and man I came in contact with, have a piece of my heart. I love the people of La Union. It was hard to leave. Our last nights service was filled with tears. Tears of joy at what God accomplished. Tears of sorrow at parting with good friends. Tears shed by all of us and by so many of them. It was so emotional and so hard. I miss them already.
I am thankful that God allowed me to go back there. I am thankful that I got to minister with my husband and my daughter this time. God did a work in my heart. He revealed some things that needed to be revealed. He is honing some things that need some refinement. He is working in a powerful way in my life and I thank Him for that.
And next January? I will go back and leave just a few more pieces of my heart there....
Continuing to seek Him,