Oh my gosh today was a magical day! The physical, emotional and mental work of the week all came together today. It was a huge blessing!
Today we returned to the same school we were at on Tuesday and we were greeted with big smiles and open arms excited to see our familiar faces. We planned our day of work and then the kids came out to recess. We played football (soccer), played with sidewalk chalk, bubbles, beach balls, balloons and even braided hair, it was so fun. Once the kids went back into their classrooms (with much prodding) we got back to our painting work. We discovered the only thing worse than painting the girls bathroom is.... painting a boys bathroom!!! By the end of the day both bathrooms were painted and had lights put in them, something they haven't had in 2 years! I explained to the boys in our group that a dark bathroom for any women, esp a Nicaraguan girl surrounded by abuse, is a scary place. The difference a light made to those girls was tremendous!
We had Johnny on guitar and 4 others go into 3 different high school age classrooms in the afternoon and give testimony, songs and a salvation prayer. When it came to the 3rd room and one of our girls shared her story of an abusive relationship, the connection was made with the kids. Her testimony was followed by 45 minutes of questions by a mostly female classroom, asking questions and advice about abuse. I sat in the classroom wiping tears away the entire time, knowing how hard this story was to share and being so grateful that God could turn something so terrible into good for others. It was beautiful.
|Marge in Charge, Anna and RJ painting a roof to reduce heat in the classrooms.|
|A view of our handiwork.... bathrooms on the left|
|Sharing in the classrooms|
|Gringo's vs Nicaraguans|
As wonderful as that was, the highlight of the day was the "Gringo's vs Nicaraguans" football game that followed. Because we had been so transparent with the kids they were so happy to have us stay and as the game was played about 100 of us mingled together to cheer on each of the teams. We had a connection that was born out of authentic conversation and actions. The game was played on a small, raised cement court with a small ball and Nicaraguans with mad foot skills. Nine guys and Lynsey (APU soccer!) who kept up every step of the way. Even though we won today (lost on Tuesday), we felt like the true victory was in the relationships we made and the lives that were touched.... including ours! Thanks for joining us by reading this blog!