Monday, November 11, 2013

On Friday morning before we left for the orphanage, we had a man named Santos from the church we had visited the day before come to the hotel to thank us, say goodbye, and pray for us to have a safe trip. We thanked him and then we all got on the bus and headed to Managua to visit the orphanage there. The director and some of the staff gave us a tour of the bedrooms the children sleep in, a few of the classrooms, and the new computer room. While we were there it started to rain just after we had prayed with the staff for God's love and mercy to rain down on them. Everyone agreed that it was undoubtedly a "God thing."  Karla shared this verse about the rain :

"God's voice thunders in marvelous ways; He does great things beyond our understanding.  He says to the snow, "fall on the earth" and to the rain, "be a mighty downpour."  Job 37: 5-6

We taught the children one of our favorite songs of the trip and then they taught us a song where at the end of each verse we would poke each other, stomp on feet, hug, and finally kiss as many people as we could before the next verse started. Some of the little boys ran out of the room to avoid being kissed.

We watched the kids play a game like Simon Says and gave prizes to the winners. Mike Ramirez brought a bag of baseball equipment, hats, and shirts that he had collected from friends and family to give to the orphanage. When the bus pulled up and we had to leave, all around we could hear each other saying that we wished we could have spent more time there or even the whole week!

 On our ride to the hotel in Granada, it started to rain. We oohed and awed at lightning, thunder and pouring rain for about an hour.  Water came into the bus because at one point we drove through at least a foot of rushing water. As always, God protected us.

Although we were there on a Missions trip and a great deal of work went into all the planning, fund raising, meetings, etc., we reflected also on how much fun we had with the children and with each other.  Although we may have given the children a "day of happiness" on the days we visited them, they gave us a week of happiness.

Thank you Lord Jesus for giving us this precious opportunity to serve you and for keeping us safe.  Please always bless the children we visited in Nicaragua, and may the seeds of faith that were planted and the prayers that were said, take root and grow strong.  Amen.

FOLLOW-UP -  During the course of this trip, 250 School Paks were distributed to children in need at 5 separate locations near Somoto.  At each stop, the number of children present easily exceeded the Paks available and although those not pre-selected were not able receive a Pak, they were included in our Mini VBS with craft making, games and love.  Without exception, at every stop we were welcomed warmly and invited to return to visit with our new friends.

Special thanks to our partners, guides and friends for the last 5 years in this Mission - Dave and Pam Waters of Mira Ministries and Jerson Gonzales our trusty and good-natured Nicaraguan coordinator.  Special thanks as well to the many at Foothill Vineyard and beyond who supported this team with Prayers, filled Paks and assisted financially.  We are blessed to have been able to be part of God's plan.

Thursday, November 7, 2013

Today we went to a church to give the Paks. The church was really just a cloth draped over wooden poles out in the open, but even though it was very simple, it was still beautiful because the people were so happy.

One of the mothers thanked us for "giving the children a day of happiness." Another mother thanked us because she has six children and four of them are in school. She said that one of her other children wasn't doing well but when he received a pak today he was very happy and motivated.

Since this was our last distribution we hated to have to leave the kids because we were having so much fun with them. We even joked that anyone who got on the bus late was going to be replaced with one of the children. We got lots of hugs and kisses from the kids, the parents, and the grandmother who was in charge of the whole group.

Tomorrow we are looking forward to visiting an orphanage in Managua.  Please pray that even though we won't be giving out school paks, God will work through us to reveal his love for them.

Wednesday, November 6, 2013

Today we visited another school that was a bit closer to the city than the ones before. As we pulled into the community, we were greeted by a few children running out to see us and waving. In the morning we sang a few songs and had fun teasing the children about getting the movements wrong. Then we prayed with them and asked them if they wanted to accept Jesus into their lives. We were met with an overwhelmingly open reception; almost all of the kids raised their hands when asked if they wanted to pray that Christ would come into their lives. It was amazing to see how enthusiastic they were about receiving the word of God. We were able to distribute 50 more paks in an area with a lot of need, and it was visible in the kids' faces that they were very grateful for what they had received.

When we returned in the afternoon, we performed the skit again and did more crafts and games. After a game of soccer, Pastor Dave used the colors on the ball to give the kids a quick lesson. He used black to represent the sin that we carry as humans, red to represent the blood Jesus shed for our sins, white to represent how Jesus makes us clean, green to represent growing as a Christian, and gold to represent the kingdom of heaven that is promises to Christ's followers. We then went out to the street and watched the children hit the piñata until Pastor Jerson finally took it into his own hands.

Today we saw God work in the lives of both the children and the team to show us his grace and love. With each distribution, we are seeing God work in more and more lives. With one more distribution left, we are hoping to see more of His love poured out on everyone involved.

Tuesday, November 5, 2013

Monday 11/4/13
After a long day of traveling, we arrived safely in Managua late last night. Most of today was spent driving from the capital of Managua to the countryside of Somoto. We were able to distribute 50 paks to each of two schools today. Despite what little time we had to prepare, everything went well. We sang songs in Spanish (or at least some of us did), made crafts, and performed a skit. We could see that the kids were happy to have us there. At the second school we visited, the kids had even made us a sign to welcome us.

Welcome, brothers and sisters in Christ to our community "La Manzana." God bless you. We greet you, "the children of Jesus." 

We are looking forward to being able to give more paks and see more children for the rest of the week.

Tuesday, 11/5/13
We woke up bright and early this morning to have breakfast and devotions together. Karla and Mike led us in worship and it was awesome to glorify God and pray together.

We went to a food distribution center where several of the people had walked for an hour to meet us. Pastor Jerson shared his testimony of salvation and we saw his story of coming to know Jesus inspire the children to improve their lives through Christ.

After lunch we filled a piñata with candy, and the kids had a blast hitting it. When it broke there were so many kids wrapped up in the frenzy that we couldn't even see the candy. We played games and did crafts with them, and got to interact with them a lot more than we had been able to yesterday. They laughed at us for taking pictures of the bulls, chickens, and horses, but they loved seeing the pictures we had taken of them with our cell phones. Pastor Mike and a few others went off and played soccer with some of the teenage and young adult boys. After praying with them about five of them received Jesus into their lives! It was a fun, awesome, beautiful, spirit-filled day.