I thought I would be posting yesterday's events on our Houston layover, but my phone died WITH all the pictures on it! Pray it will be resurrected when I take it to Apple, OR I can get my photos off it!
So, in lieu of Sunday's post, here we are on our 6 hour layover!
Wow, it's hard to believe that this trip is almost over, but we only have one day left!
This morning after our group time and breakfast we worked around the Villa until lunch time.
We have been helping with the foundation structure of a new building which will be the learning center, as well as a few other projects. Some of us were also helping with little extra chores to get ready for the party tonight.
All week the Nicaraguans and Americans have both been wanting to have a rematch of a soccer game that was played a year ago. The Nica's decided on baseball, so that game was started after lunch.
Guys are guys and it got intense REALLY fast. #trashtalk They are so funny, joking and ribbing each other, but not losing that competitive spirit.
We were "Nica resourceful" and used cinder blocks and boards for our bleachers.
In the end the Americans whipped, I mean, beat the Nica's 22-15.
After the game we started getting ready for the big Quienceanera celebration for 5 of the Chicas.
This celebration is something I have always wanted to be part of and it was such an honor to be here!
Each girl was allowed to invite 15 family and friends so we had quite a packed house.
Our teams helped serve food, drinks & cake and Dillon & Christine sang 2 song, and Alex spoke to the girls. The girls had a first dance which was shared with some of our teams guys.
It was an awesome celebration and great day all around.
Tomorrow is our last day and it is a really full day. I may not post until our layover on the way home!
Thanks for keeping up on this trip. This has been an awesome week! Please be patient with your friends and family when they return, new friends have been made, personal growth has happened and they are leaving a place they have fallen in love with!
I'm starting this post by not claiming any responsibility for the lack of continuity or misspelled words! We started our day at 6:30am and just ended in the last hour. The heat and humidity are draining our energy and the emotion of leaving here is starting to be a reality for our team. But let me finish the writing I started at 10am and had to put aside. Here we go!
One of the richest parts of our day begin each morning with our own quiet time reading and writing in our journals, then we gather for our group time for the next half hour. Each team's morning meeting can be a little different, this team gathers to worship, pray for the day and pray over one team member a day. It's a really special time. ( Oh, and did I mention we have fresh coffee too?!?! )
The rest of the day was spent at the Villa with the other team getting the property ready for the
big Quinceanera celebration tomorrow! Tonight we went to the Cafecito for a authentic Nicaraguan meal (I forgot to take a picture!) The Cafecito was started by one of our missionaries to raise money for the Villa. It's a cafe and coffe shop all rolled into one with awesome food and drinks! We were joined by our head Villa worker William, his wife and two kids and another due in a week!
When we returned home we had "girl time" until 9pm! Special relationships have been formed with the girls and we just love hanging out with them.
Following this was our nightly debrief meeting where we are beginning to discuss the reality of leaving this little Eden in Nicaragua. Lots of emotions to feel and talk about.
Tomorrow we will be prepping for the HUGE Quinceanera party for 5 of the girls here. There will be 180-200 people here to celebrate, so we have a lot to prepare for. This is such an honor that we will be able to be here for. SO excited!
p.s. I do want to follow up on the story of the baby we met on Tuesday.
Our schedule was changed on Tuesday and it is now apparent why we worked at Chiquilistagua, it was for this mother and her baby!
Our schedule was to go to a local church and help with a small building project there, but a local school called and needed help with their yardwork so it could be fumigated again for mosquitos.
We arrived at the school to be greated with another round of darling kids! The woman above was waiting for one of her children to get out of school and holding her what appeared to be a newborn baby, but he was 7 months old. One of our Nicaraguan workers, William noticed the child's size and labored breathing. Just by looking at him he could tell he had a heart condition and was failing.... William's daughter went through this two years ago. The mother had missed the child's heart doctor appt because she didn't have the money for the transportation to the public hospital.
On William's day off on Wednesday he picked up this woman (a single mother of 4) & baby, took them to the hospital and begged the staff for another appointment. The next appt was a year and a half out! Because of Williams experience here and his persistance they "found" an opening on Sept 30th. They were able to see a general doctor on Wed and discovered the baby had a malformed chest cavity, 2 heart valves that were connected and fluid in his lungs! They checked the baby in to start medications for rehydration and getting rid of the fluid in his lungs, and I got word back today that he was released.
William will be picking them up again on Sept 30th for their cardiologist appt.
Flexability is a big part of our schedule down here, and when a plan is changed we always know it is for some reason. This time is was so God could work through a father to help save another person's child. It is so humbling to be part of God's work and be able to see these amazing things unfold before our eyes. We are all so honored to have been part of this week!
Another great day today! Wow, I'm thinking back to this morning and it seems SO long ago!
As we are heading for the home stretch of this trip I can see our energy start to wane....it probably didn't help that today was mid 90's with very very high humidity!
Today we went to the public University in Managua to work at CECNIC - the college Christian group.
They have a small house with an office, a single bedroom where four people live and they hold an open bible study group each Thursday. We cleaned up their yard, emptied their attic and sorted through the boxes and some of the team cleaned the yard and inside of the campus cafeteria.
Introductions of American team and Christian Group leadership team
Julie, Ashley and Jenny (our translator) washing cafeteria windows.
The roof cleaning and painting team
Part of the yardwork team stopping for a coconut water break! Yes, those were just cut
down from a tree with a macheta!
Eating our lunch in the with the student leaders
After lunch we continued working for a couple more hours then gathered to worship and plan how we were to split up the group and walk through campus while asking students to join us for a bible study.
Marissa using her charm and humor on these students!
The end result of a days work, a gathering of students from American and Nicaragua talking
about Jesus. Two different countries, different languages sharing the same faith and Lord!
Tomorrow we have, yet another full day of work, and hopefully, play planned!
Well, we are all rested from our "culture day", a day off of work and a time to see a little more of Nicaragua. Our day started at the market in Masaya where many of us bought little gifts to bring home to all of you! Every time I go there I see my little friend, I wish I could tell you her name, I just can't understand her! I do know she is 76 and walks around the market with a basket on her head selling cookies (more like dog biscuits), chocolate, horchata and something very dark and sticky in a bag.... smashed figs??? ANYWAY, she is so absolutly darling and thrives on hugs and attention, which I'm happy to give her!
(Dillon being Dillon)
Next we went to the most beautiful place I've been in Nicaragua, Apoyo Lagoon Natural Reserve where we had a wonderful lunch and played in the most beautiful, blue water! It's such a sharp contrast to the last two days of serving. We had some discussion on that this evening how you can experience such extreem conditions and how it was difficult for some of us to fully relax knowing that there is still so much work to do here!
We returned home on time for dinner and a short meeting with Papa Wilbert to go over our work tomorrow. We are going to serve at the college ministry he was part of when he attented college.
This is very close to his heart and he is so excited to take us, the first team to serve there tomorrow!
We had some time with the girls tonight, had our meeting and greeted another team's arrival from
Bridgetown A Jesus Church!
It's late for this lady, so I'm signing off til tomorrow night!
(Once again..... too tired to proof this... lo siento)
Buenas noches, amigos! I am sitting on my porch as the team is playing with the Chicas before they have to go to bed. This is my awesome view.
Today was another great day where we went to another school to help out. They were required by the government to cut their lawn so they could be sprayed for mosquitos. The principal has a long term relationship with Villa Esperanza so we changed our schedule around to help them out. When our bus pulled up to the school the children ran to greet us. They are so darn adorable! They just want hugs, to talk to us, have pictures taken and play. So so cute! I want to share all the pictures but I'll just choose a few.
After the kids went to class we had a little time with their amazing pricipal who is ahead of 22 schools and has such an incredible heart for all the children. After she talked to us a bit we were able to pray for her.
Next, we started raking up grass.... about 30 bags worth!
We stopped for lunch but kept going after lunch. When some of the older kids were let out of class to help us. You would have thought we were giving out presents when we handed them a rake and a garbage bag!
As we loaded up the bus the principle came out to thank us for all our work and, of course, we had to get a team photo with her. It was such a rich time.
Some days our plans are changed and we wonder why. Today we were asked to go help at this school and came upon our reason for change.
This 26 year old single mother was picking up her 8 year old daughter with her baby. We though he was a few weeks old, but he was actually 7 months. He is tiny, sickly and had very labored breathing.
Our head staff worker William looked at this baby and knew immediately that he had a serious heart condition, because his daughter had the same condition a few years ago. The mother had missed the appointment with a heart doctor because she didn't have money to pay for a cab. William will be picking her up tomorrow morning to wait in a line at the hospital with her. It is such an honor to work along side such a good man. Please be praying for this baby!
Tomorrow we have a cultural day off (and it gives the staff a day off too).
p.s. Please pardon the rough draft..... I was having a hard time concentrating with all the commotion!
What an awesome day! It was a SUPER FULL day, but so awesome!
It started at 7:00am and just ended an hour ago!
After breakfast.... wait, can I just tell you how good the food is there? We are getting so spoiled! We had a special meeting with Papa Wilbert who is the director of Villa Esperanza with his wife Gloria.
He is so fun to listen to with his big smile and the way he encourages people with his motivational talks.
Next we went to one of the local school, Pedro Davila School. There are a lot of local schools because the kids have to be able to walk to them, there are no buses. It's always so fun to walk into their playgrounds and be greeted by the excited little children with BIG smiles! They just want to hold a hand or play..... anything! They love the attention! We played with them until they were done with recess and then we went to work.
Eight "all stars" from our team got up on their room and "sanded" the metal with wire brushes and then painted the roof. It was grueling and incredibly hot work, but they did a fantastic job and finished the whole roof!
The rest of our team painted the front walls and another small building. It all looked fantastic and the teachers and children love having a new coat of paint.
After 7 hours of working in the sun we came home exhausted, to shower and take a break before dinner and our evening meeting. We have another full day of yard work at another school tomorrow, so most of the team is relaxing or have already headed off to bed.
Thank you for your prayers of strength and good health! We are having a great time and I have to say I am really impressed with this team's work and ability to share their lives with each other. Each team member is so individual and special. Thank you for loaning them to me for 10 days!
Today was an awesome day full of time with our team and the Chicas!
We always start the day off with our own devotion time and then a really great group time together. This team is great at sharing their wisdom with each other and building each other up. It's beautiful!
Went to church at Verbo where the Chicas go and some of their families attend. Awesome music, air-conditioned (bonus) WITH headset translation! The sermon that was spoken had so much confirmation to what we've been talking about, it was great!
After lunch at the Villa with the Chica's we got to spend the afternoon just playing with them and forming more relationships. They are very competitive and athletic so baseball and basketball were part of the day.
We had another awesome dinner.....but all their meals are awesome. If I made this stuff at home it wouldn't taste anything like this!
Right now we are getting ready to meet for our nightly debrief meeting, some group time and then to bed! We are ready to get to work tomorrow at one of the local schools.