Throughout our trip, we have been split up into a few teams. We wanted to provide our lovely followers with some insight from each site. This is not a full look into all that goes on, but we hope to shine a small light on our experiences.
Agriculture – Ben
This week at the agriculture site, Holman (The head person of the agriculture site) and I did many exciting things, like ride public buses, build mechanisms, and pick up chicks at the market 😊. However, the greatest thing that I have done this week is getting to observe and participate with what Holman does, which is bring the Gospel to the poor through farming. I cannot say enough good things about Holman. He does an amazing job showing what Jesus is to people who do not know him. He recognizes that they have a physical need, and does not give them what they need, instead teaching them how to get it. However, the physical need is not close to being the most important thing, and the relationship that follows is not the most important thing either. The most important is that Jesus is shared, and always incorporated into the conversation. Holman has had me share Jesus with many people, and that is always the most important thing we do. We could have accomplished the greatest agriculture task, but if Jesus is left out of it, then it means absolutely nothing. Although I am leaving, I am not worried one bit about people not knowing Jesus, because God is jealous for his own name, and Holman seems to be his chosen instrument for these people. As described in Luke 8 and Matthew 13, we have been given every type of seed, but we continued to share and work hard so that Jesus can eventually be shared. I have been through a long week, and it has been great.
Sports Ministry- Mark, Daniel
This week at the sports ministry we have played a lot of sports! How surprising! We have two clubs each day. We play sports for two hours in the morning and then have a short lesson at the end of each club. Mark has been giving the lessons and Daniel has been closing the sessions with prayer in Spanish! We have enjoyed learning about the culture and being a part of the community for a short time. However, the most profound of all our experiences has been getting to know the missionaries. We work with two Nicaraguan missionaries, Joseph and Nestor. They have poured into us and given us a lot of great advice and encouraged us in the Lord in a variety of ways. They have continually reminded us that the Lord is good and can take care of us in any situation.
Education- Angelina, Leigh, Christina
This week at the education site, we have been teaching about “Semana Santa”, or Holy Week. One experience that we specifically enjoyed was the opportunity to build relationships with our site leaders. We witnessed their obedience to God by their passion for teaching. Even though none of us are fluent in Spanish, we have been learning that no language barrier can hinder God’s truth from being shared. Additionally, we have learned to not let our fears of cultural differences in the students get in the way of God’s work. An example of this is before or after class we play games with the children. Though we are speaking broken Spanish with them, we are able to connect and engage with them through non-verbal’s. This week is coming to a close, however, we are excited to see what God will continue to teach us!
Women’s Social Work – Sydney, Leah, Erica, and Briana
This week, serving has meant eating amazing fried chicken and getting our hair done. In the U.S., we embody a “do” culture, whereas Nicaragua embodies a “be” culture, a culture in which relationships are valued far above completing a to-do list. Transitioning from one to the other has been rather difficult. Many days, we have found ourselves sitting in plastic chairs, speaking broken Spanish, and occasionally sweeping away the ever present dust. Our American tendency to be doing and accomplishing tasks has been brushed aside with each conversation we have with the people of this culture. Many of the women and girls we have been with come from broken homes and difficult pasts, but when four American women get the opportunity to share conversation and show interest in their lives, their faces light up sharing their passions and interests. Although our ministry isn’t tangibly seen, we must remind ourselves that we do not always have to drastically change the environment, but rather be present and show love.
One of the ministries the social work site has is a beauty school for women in the community. This one-year program allows for the women to become certified beauticians by providing them with a job to support their families. On Wednesday, the site was filled with the buzz of blow driers and laughter as we listened to the stories of the women and allowed them to practice their skills on our hair. To some, sitting in a chair and getting your hair styled may not sound like a form of ministry; however, these women value and need the relationship that this brings. Sitting in a chair for two hours allowed us to ask questions about their families. In this unique setting, we were able to learn and understand the value and importance of being present.
Sometimes “doing” is not always the best form of ministry. Sometimes sharing a homemade meal filled with the best fried chicken, laughter, and love is exactly the form of ministry that means the most.
Microfinance- Lynreshay, Chin Yi, Kris, Dana
We were under the leadership of Katia, a humble, sweet and passionate woman with a heart for Christ and the people of Nicaragua. Throughout the week, we did home visits to various women (and one man)’s homes, where we interacted with them and got a glimpse into their craft. On Thursday, we visited Karla, who is part of the Microfinance program and handmakes hammocks. Before she showed us her craft, she shared her testimony with us. We were really humbled and honored that she opened herself up to us even though we were total strangers. We were humbled at their generous hospitality as they served us with drinks and food although they didn’t have enough. They went out of their house to buy things for us, such as watermelons and Coca-Cola. This experience also taught us to be vulnerable, the importance of spending time with others, and not allowing our current circumstances to affect our generosity.
Every week, Katia meets with the women in different locations. She talks about Christ to them while teaching them a craft and a skill. We heard and witnessed the love, community, and support between the women during each of the small groups. The ministry placed a great emphasis on helping the women find their independence and dignity through Christ and their crafts. In one of the communities, we saw how helping can be hurting at times. In this location, while Students International is doing their work, there is a church that provides free donations for the people. We are leaving this site knowing that providing donations can only do so much if there is no real investment.
Health Clinic- Stephen, Emily, and Briana
In a small town on the outskirts of Masaya, Nicaragua, there sits a small clinic in the middle of a dusty pineapple field. It exists to provide quality healthcare to the people of the nearby communities. The clinic is run through hard work and lots of love by a hardworking doctor named Celia and a fun-loving nurse named Rebeca. They’ve been called by God to serve the people living in the communities surrounding the clinic. Their love for God and for people is evident in their passion for their work. We have witnessed that they have a special place in their hearts for the many children and single mothers in the area.
Weeks at the clinic follow a general structure. Mondays, Rebeca and Celia clean, prepare for the week, and journey into Masaya to pick up medicines from the pharmacy. On Tuesdays, they run a malnutrition program for the children who don’t have access to balanced meals. On Wednesdays, they go to a small house/makeshift clinic focused on women’s health in the community of Jocote, named after the fruit trees that abound there. On Thursdays, they visit the homes of residents of the surrounding communities to nurture relationships, encourage patients to come to their appointments at the clinic, and pray with them. On Fridays, they host a chronic illness program at the clinic for adults with diseases such as diabetes and hypertension.
It’s into this frenzied, vibrant, beautiful setting that we’ve had the opportunity to step into this week. We’ve been pushed out of our comfort zones in every way imaginable, through learning to communicate in broken English and Spanish, navigating sweltering hot and dusty streets, and meeting dozens of new people each day. However, the openness and relational orientation of adults and the joy and playfulness of the children has overwhelmed us and made the transition into this brand-new culture a delightful adventure.
Thank you to everyone who has supported us! We appreciate it greatly. We look forward to making the most of our remaining time here and sharing the many stories that we’ve made along the way when we get back.