Saturday, May 7, 2016

Hiking Up a Mountain to Feed People - Part II

The hike up the mountain was the best part of the day. We got to hike up to a village and give food to those living up there. Many of them had physical ailments and terrible living conditions and extreme poverty. As we delivered food, we felt helpless. We Wish we could do more, and the verse that came to mind was, "...when I was hungry you gave me something to eat." We can't do everything, but at least we're trying our best with what is placed on our hands. As we hiked between homes in the mountain, we thought of a line from one of Robert Frost's poems, "...the road less traveled..." Humbling oneself to meet the needs of people they don't even know is the road less traveled, and God is pleased with those who take that road.

Part of the team had to split and go down the other side of the mountain to feed some additional families. We were told that it would be an easy hike to the other side but it turned out that although it was downhill, it was much harder than the climb up the mountain. It was tough and exhausting and some of us just wanted to stop and rest and not get up. It was a climb through thick bushes and ravines that made it almost impossible to reach the families in need, but we finally made it. Once we got there, one encounter made the whole hike worth it. At one of the houses, there was an elderly woman who we stopped to pray for and provide her with food. As we were getting ready to leave, she began to speak safety, health and blessings over us so that she could see us again next year. This touched us because it was a reminder that (1) we are not just here to speak into the lives of children and the elderly, and (2) we are nt here to see what we can get out this trip for ourselves. It was a clear reminder that we are here to bring Christ's love and joy to every person we encounter.

* As told by Kelsey Morriston, Kimberly Naicker and Bethanne Milton.

Hiking Up a Mountain to Feed People - Part I

Mule. When I think of this animal, I usually compare it to a young strong man. But not today. Today was one of those days that we had scheduled to hike up a mountain and bring food to people that lived in various houses up the mountain.

I encountered an old lady that hikes this mountain once a week to get to her church service. Here I am, a 21 year-old young healthy man, struggling to make it up the mountain. This old lady hiked it like if it was a walk in the park. Well, not really, it was an extremly hard hike. Between the exhausiting heat from the sun and the steep climb, I knew that she struggled up and down the mountain. What really caught my attention was her dedication to her church and to God. No matter how hard the hike was that she had to make every week, she did it despite the harsh circumstances of the path to get there. The things that these people do to get to church is amazing. Keep in mind that they are all primarily old men and women in their 80s and 90s. I compare this to life in the U.S. where we sometimes complain about getting up in the morning to go to church or we are just too lazy to drive to church. This goes to show you which country really needs God more.

* By Joshua Santiago

Shifting of our Personal Focus

While we were waiting outside of a food distribution center, ready to pass out food to children and their parents, I was taking that time to gather my thoughts on how the service had gone earlier in the afternoon. At that moment I looked down at my feet and at first I noticed the dirt on my shoes and jeans, and I was thinking about the beads of sweat that were forming on my forehead. 

Then something shifted my focus. I noticed shards of glass laying in the dirt. Then I noticed a nail mixed in with the dirt. In fact, I noticed the glass and nails quite often in the dirt where these children played all the time. This made me think of all the comforts I have back in the U.S. I don't have to worry about about stepping on shards of glass or nails with my bare feet. Those little pieces of trash shifted my focus from how things were affecting me to how life has affected the people here in Nicaragua. This was a good reminder to me that life is not about us on this trip, although we do get ministered to and God works in our hearts during this time, most importantly it's about the people that we are here to show our love to.

* By Bethanne Milton

Thursday, May 5, 2016

Feeding Center

Going into the first day was overwhelming and unsure to the whole team as we kicked off our first activity of the day. As we ministered to children the phrase "Trust God in Everything," many of us were being taught to just trust God ourselves. It is so hard to minister and see the circumstances these children and their families live in. They have so little, yet they are so kind and willing to give anything they have.

Nicaraguenses are so loving and friendly. From the second we got off the bus, we were bombarded by the love of kids. Our bus actually got stuck in the mud and we all had to jump out and push the bus. The moment we pushed the bus out of a hole full of mud, several children rushed to greet us. One of the children was Natasha, and she wanted lots hugs and for us to immediately start playing with her. She just wanted to give us love because she knew that's what we were there to give her. 

We had a wonderful time ministering at this outdoor feeding center and had an amazing time sharing with everyone the love of Christ. As we left, Natasha and several other children came up to the window of our bus to wish us a safe trip back. It was such a beautiful scene to see their glowing faces as they wanted to touch our hands one last time as we left.

Even as we drove off, Natasha ran after the bus and blew us kisses. We hope that we can be half as loving as Natasha was to us in the couple of hours we were with her.

* As told by Rachel Guerrieri & Joshua Santiago.

Tuesday, May 3, 2016

Face Painting in Tipitapa

We had an amazing time at a community feeding program and had lots of fun with the children. We played music, sang songs, performed funny skits and shared the story of Noah. We ended the day with face painting, balloon animals and lots of candy for the children!

Monday, May 2, 2016

Payasos in Nicaragua

Santi and Dom acting their usual in Nicaragua!

We Arrived Safely!

We arrived safely in Nicaragua! We opened up our first morning with devotions and prayer as we get ready for the day's activities.