August 3, 2012

I Am Amazed: Nicaragua

     So many things happened in Nicaragua, I don't even know if I can get them all in one post. God showed himself in mighty ways, just because we were willing vessels to be used to show His love. We prayed for opportunities to make a difference and God gave them to us.
At the School
     I came into my month in Granada, Nicaragua not knowing what to expect. Basically, my mind was so overwhelmed with the new things happening that I didn't even have enough brain power to think of any expectations. I'm glad I didn't have any. God would have blown them away anyway.
     At first it was terrible. When my team first got to Nicaragua it was night time. Weird noises were going on everywhere around the house where we were staying. All I knew was that it seemed like we were out in the middle of a jungle with what sounded like wild people and wild animals all around us.
     We had accidentally left our door open for too long as we were getting all of our luggage in the house, so mosquitoes had flocked in. That first night was horrible; for the first time ever I wanted to die. If the rest of the month was going to be like that, I was thinking with everything in me that I could not make it. I ended up just laying on my thin mattress in my room with 3 of my teammates, praying that we would all just go to sleep as soon as possible. Thank God, He gave all of us sleep and did not let us die.
     I woke up that morning to one of the girls in my room throwing up in a bag at 5 in the morning (what a wonderful wake-up call). Since it was so early we all got up, found out there was Lake Nicaragua in our backyard, and went to go watch the glorious sunrise. We had made it through the first night.
Our Backyard (Lake Nicaragua)
     We had to then figure out how we would live in a gutted house, infested with bats in the attic, no working toilets, one shower that shut off at 1pm, no trash pick-up and no air-conditioning. We flushed our toilets with buckets of water, we got us some trash bags that we ended up burning at the end of our stay, we swept the bat poop that fell from the attic daily and some of us, including me, got in the routine of waking up early and taking a shower daily, but most of us just bathed in the lake. Eventually we settled in, even though we had to forgo comfort and just hang in there for a month.
     Even with all of us being out of our comfort zone, as far as living conditions, transportation, language and culture went, God still pushed us out of the way and used us in mighty ways. He showed how mighty He is through our team.
Kids' Bible Club
     Our accomplishments while we were there are these: we threw a wedding, led about 7 adults to the Lord, held 2 everyday adult Bible studies, gave out 6 Spanish Bibles, led many kid's Bible clubs (including Bible skits, crafts, games and many songs), gave our testimonies at the local church, gave a few sermons there as well, comforted a family in the community whose family member had passed away the 2nd day we were there, comforted a couple families that had family strife, and shared God's love with a lonely elderly lady by visiting with her and singing songs to her. We also all grew closer to God as we saw Him work His truth and might through us, high-school students who haven't learned much in the world compared to the people we were ministering to.
     I gained so much experience from the two Bible studies we led. My friend, Kirah, unofficially lead the Bible study, and I basically co-led it. I loved it! We went through half of John and all of James. In the morning I would read what we would go over and just ask God to reveal to me what He wanted to teach. Then I would just take notes and make sure to tell them. Yes, I had to step up and say these things, make sure I studied the chapters we would go over, and pay attention the whole time, but really it was all God. God moved me out of the way during the Bible study and blessed my time devoted to Him and blessed me by using me.
      At one of our door-to-door times we met a couple who believed and accepted that Jesus died on the cross so they could be forgiven of their sins, but they were confused about all other things besides that. We were able to start a Bible study with them, give them Bibles, and teach them how to use those Bibles. During one of our Bible studies they asked us a random question: could they still go to heaven if they were not married, but still lived together and have 3 kids together. We explained to them that yes, they still could go to heaven because God had forgiven their sins past, present, and future, but that God wasn't not as pleased as He could be with them, and they were also missing out on some blessings. They then told us that they would have gotten married but they did not have the money required to get a lawyer to marry them (about $20). We then offered to pay that money (how could we not) and then that offer turned into to us deciding to throw  them a wedding.

The Wedding
     So we went into town (on a chicken bus), bought a dress for the bride (in a classic 3rd world market...), shoes for the bride, a dress and adorable little shoes for their baby and 2 cakes. The day of the wedding we got chairs, gathered wild flowers (me and my friend's job), bought some Big Colas, and threw a wedding complete with beautiful vows that our guy leader, Sandy, wrote. It was so beautiful! The couple loved each other so much and I am so grateful that I could just watch as their lives were transformed by my amazing  and almighty God while we were there.
     We were also able to see other lives transform. One day we met this elderly lady named Saccora. We tried to talk to her about having a relationship with God, but she was quite set in her ways. So we just ended up planting the seed of the gospel in her and visiting her everyday to pray for her, sing for her, and show her how we valued her. The news must have gotten around about us, because one day we got to meet her 20ish year old grandsons. They decided that they and their friends wanted to talk to us alone about God and ask all their questions. God must have been working mightily through us because we ended up being able to lead 2 of them to the Lord and getting them all to go to a good church where they could ask questions and each get a Bible.
     Bibles, I found out, are big transforming tools. God's Word is so powerful in transforming people. I am so grateful to a person at my church who gave me 6 Spanish Bibles to give to people in Nicaragua. I was the only one on my team who brought Bibles, and there were no other places to get Bibles except for at the church we got the young men to go to. I am amazed at how God just works everything out for those who serve and need Him.
     One last story I'd like to share is one that continued throughout our time there. The day after we arrived we were walking back from dinner when we saw a girl with her friend walking past us. The girl was sobbing uncontrollably and was just a wreck as she cried out in Spanish. Naturally we went to go find out what had happened. Our translator told us that the girl had just lost her mom unexpectedly and was crying out "Why God, why?". As it turns out she was our next door neighbor.
     In Nicaragua we had what I call squatters in our backyard. The house we lived in had been unoccupied for a long time so this family had just decided to build their house in its backyard. This family is the girl's family. Since the city we were in had such a sense of community we were expected to comfort the family, so we did. In the process we were able to lead the woman who passed away's husband, sister, and daughter to the Lord. We also were able to give them Bibles as well and start a Bible study with them.

A Bible Study Group

     A couple weeks after we arrived we were doing door-to-door visits again. We were led by God to go to this random house we walked by. It turns out that at that house lived the woman who passed away's parents. We were able to comfort them, lead them to the Lord, give them Bibles and get them to go to the Bible study. It is amazing how God can turn a hopeless situation into something that brings life.
      I am blessed to have gone to Nicaragua on a mission trip. Ever since I could remember I've loved listening to stories about how God worked in a situation and made that situation awesome. Now, I have stories like that of my own, I can't wait until I can see more of God's awesome works showing that He does not sit up in heaven doing nothing. No, He is active in everything going on in His world.


"But as for me, it is good to be near God. 
I have made the Sovereign LORD my refuge;
I will tell of all your deeds."
-Psalm 73:28

 
Allyson and Me




(For more pictures click here)

1 comment:

  1. How awesome is our God indeed! Missed you in AK, but know God had you exactly where He desired you to be this summer!

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