We turned down the rocky and well beaten road that lead to the church in the small, remote village of La Union, Nicaragua. As our van pulled up, Pastor Felix and his associate Pastor Jose were waiting for us along with several precious familiar faces. Sweet children with huge smiles on their faces and excitement in their eyes. It felt like we had arrived home.
Ishmael and Ader - once enemies and now amigos (most of the time..). Esley, Kevin, Lesther, Gellson, Joan and Bilda. All these sweet faces were there to greet us and welcome us back to their village. To our village.
We stepped out of the van and scooped them up into our arms for great big hugs. As we looked at their little faces and felt their sweet embraces, I could scarcely believe that a whole year had passed since we had pulled away from that same church with tears streaming down our faces. A whole year since we had whispered 'Adios' and 'Te Quiero' to those same sweet children as we left that very spot headed back home. It didn't feel like that much time had passed since those same adorable faces had tears pouring down their cheeks as they followed our van yelling those sames things to us until we got to the end of the road in their village and their little faces became just a memory once again. A whole year since I left behind a piece of my heart...
We have formed such tight bonds with these sweet babies and each time we come, it gets that much harder to leave. Bittersweet moments at their best.
We spent 4 days teaching 140 kids in bible school and then we had worship each night as well. This year we were able to use their small school and had 3 different classrooms. I feel like we had a much more intense impact on the children and that we were able to spend more time interacting with them and forming deeper relationships with them. I feel like we really ministered in their little lives this year. We taught them about Jesus. Our Savior. Our God. We started with His birth and ended with His death and Resurrection. Over 25 of them accepted Jesus Christ into their hearts to be their Savior. We are investing our time and our hearts into trying to make a lasting impact on these little ones. To plant seeds of faith that will one day come to fruition as they become women and men after the heart of God.
These precious little children have become such a huge part of us. They have grown to trust us. They know that we love them and they love us too. Many of them hang out at the church all day even after bible school is over. We play ball with them or just sit around and visit with them despite some language barriers. We buy them tacos and enchiladas that the women make at a little concession stand in front of the church.. We pass out candy and gum to them and let them finish our cokes when they ask. They follow us wherever we go.
There is nothing that warms your heart like one of these sweet children walking beside you down the road and then all of the sudden you feel their little hand reach up and grab yours. Sweet moments like that fill my heart with such a longing to keep ministering His love to them always.The love of God is present in the innocent lives of these Nicaraguan children. His love is boundless. Endless.
These children have stolen a big piece of my heart. They have become such a big part of my life and even when I am home in Louisiana, I think of them often. I love the little village of La Union, Nicaragua. I love the sweet friendships that we have forged with so many of the people there. I desire for the women of this village to learn more about Jesus and to hunger for Him in a huge way. I pray that we will be able to continue to teach the children about the things of the Lord and that we will be diligent and obedient to what God commands us to do. It would be so amazing for this small village to be so on fire for God that it spreads like crazy to the surrounding villages in the mountain.
Join me in praying for the people of La Union. We have some big plans in the works for our continued ministry there. Our desire is to continue planting the seeds of a Christ centered life into their hearts and to continue to be part of molding and shaping these little lives to love Jesus like crazy! I pray that the sweet Holy Spirit of God will fall down like rain on them and draw them to His side and beckon to their hungry hearts. May God be glorified in all that we do for Him and through Him and because of Him. He is worthy.
(They loved to get in our van with us - this is Esley and Joan (pronounced Jo-Ahn)
(Melissa learning to cook what they call enchiladas)
(Sweet children in bible school)
(Jimbo preaching the Word and Joel translating)
"We love Him, because He first loved us"(1 John 4:19)