Tuesday had a lot of ups and downs. Literally. We started the day with a program at a Children's school. Then our team hiked through the mountains of Madagalpa, Nicaragua and visited families homes that we’re living in deep poverty. We prayed over these families and the different heartbreaking situations they were going through and and gave out food, toothbrushes, and other items, but they gave us so much more. What an eye opening experience to see the effects of poverty on an individual level. The homes we visited were made of make-shift materials and dirt floors, no electricity and oftentimes had six or seven family members living together in one room. Health problems were rampant and the lack of resources is what drew me back the most.
One woman was suffering from serious infected sores on her feet and this had been an issue for many many years, but the medicine was too expensive for her to keep purchasing it and the health center near her home did not have any. The Lord has been showing me the possibilities of more I could be doing because the need truly is great. He has called me to do bigger things, and continues to reveal the possibilities to me.
My heart has been touched and changed by this trip so far. There have been so many twists and turns but they’ve all been purposeful and directed by God. There has been one specific thing God has taught me and He has continuing to teach me throughout this trip: Levante las manos (Lift your hands.)
Walking around the orphanage, one of the boys favorite games is playing a sort of “cops and robber”. When they yell “Levante los manos” you know you have two choices; either lift up your hands and surrender, or try and fight back. Oftentimes, there is no use in fighting back, it’s better to surrender. This phrase has been extremely impactful in processing this trip and ministry. If your being chased by someone and you lift up your hands, it’s a sign of surrender, saying “I have nothing in my hands to offer”. That’s the heartbeat of God, surrender to His purpose. Nothing I do is my own, but God is working in me. Surrender. Levante los manos.
Worship. We have been involved in many church services and had opportunities to see God worshipped in many different mays while here in Nicaragua. The commitment of the people to church services and worship is incredible, it reminded me of the woman in the Bible with the alabaster jar of perfume poured on Jesus’ head. God deserves so much more than I could ever give, and there is nothing that deserves worship apart from God. So, lift your hands. Levante las manos.
Giving and Serving. I’ve always thought that my giving and serving was adequate. I try to give when I can, even giving sacrificially, but my heart was shaken when I experienced the giving of some of the poorest of poorest. Both in church services as well as buying our group sodas, water or snacks. It was radical, and could only remind me of the parable of the women with the giving of the two mites (all that she had) and I could only think of myself as the rich young ruler. I had never really thought about myself that way until recently. I always just considered myself living moderately, but if the Lord asked me to sell all of my belongings and give it all to the poor… would I hesitate? I’m sure. Would I do it? I hope so, but it would be hard. God calls us to give recklessly, not moderately. He calls us to worship passionately, not ashamed. And He calls us to surrender completely, not just half-heartedly. Levante Los Manos!