I wanted to thank you again for supporting me financially and/or through prayer as I spent the week of March 14-21 in San Rafael, Nicaragua with a mission team of fifteen students from Journey Church. The experience was not only life changing for the people we worked with in the Latin American country, but it also changed my life as well. Our group partnered with Merge Ministries out of Chicago and spent seven days working with local pastors from the area.
During the week, we worked on a construction site that will house orphans and drug rehabilitation patients in the future. Several members of the San Rafael community also volunteered at the construction site with us. Before we left, our team prayed over the site asking God to use it to bless generations to come.
In addition to building, my team joined a local church where we led worship and delivered messages to encourage the hearts of believers in attendance. On Thursday night, I had the opportunity to share my testimony with the church family. The power of the Holy Spirit was present as our team and church members worshiped together in unity. Though a language barrier did exist, each person worshiped the same God and shared the same desire to give glory to His name.
It was so freeing to clap my hands and praise God with these people. Though I had no idea what I was singing, I knew it was praise to God and though I couldn’t speak to these people, I had the ability to worship with them. It was very powerful to wrap my arms around the women of the church body, pray for them and cry with them while we worshiped.
We were also able to show God’s love by spending time and playing games with the children. Several children around the community came out to play soccer and frisbee with us in the street each afternoon. We also made arts and crafts with the children at the church. Wednesday night was a time of fellowship at the beach with people of all ages – body surfing in the waves, playing soccer in the sand and sharing a meal.
I was constantly amazed at the giving hearts of the people. Though they have very little, they desired to share what they did have with us. The women of the family we stayed with in Nicaragua took all of the ladies on our team to the market one day to purchase us shoes. We all came home with colorful slip-ons which matched the shoes they wear in the country. We discovered the amount they spent on shoes for us was equal to two weeks wages.
Also, one afternoon when I was playing Frisbee with the children in the street a boy named Juan walked up to me and handed me a loaf of bread. I felt so honored that he wanted to give a gift to me. Not just any gift, but one that was made specifically for me. After all, I had come to serve him, yet he was blessing me in ways he will never understand. That afternoon at lunch, I wanted to cry as my team passed the loaf of bread around table and enjoyed it with our meal.
Meal times were some of my favorite, especially Wednesday night when we shared a meal with the church family on the beach. The atmosphere was beautiful as were the people. It was challenging trying to speak to the people who did not share our language and hearing them attempt to reply to us. I enjoyed getting to know more about them and hearing their stories, while sharing many laughs because of miscommunication. However, we quickly learned that we shared a bond of love that was much deeper than language.
My team stayed with a family of pastors, Omar and Miriam, from the church who took great care of us all week. It was a blessing to stay with such a loving family and see their servants’ hearts. The last night, we wanted to model Christ’s love to the family by washing the family’s feet, only to have the family wash our feet in return. The experience was very humbling.
God truly blessed the team with health and energy, safe travels and the ability to bond as a group. It was a pleasure to join Him in Nicaragua and be a part of His plan. We realized our work is not over now that we have returned, but just as we were called to San Rafael, we were called to Norman, Oklahoma and to Journey Church. God is moving here in so many ways, just as He is in Nicaragua and He has called us to be a part of His work here also. Praise Him! If you would like to hear more about my trip send me an email or give me a call. I would love to share!