My 26th trip was an awesome trip for me but the return has not been so much fun. While in Nicaragua this trip I got sick near the end of my trip with stomach issues and some swelling in my legs and feet that just about did me in but of course God gave me enough strength to finish what he called me there to do. After I got home within a week I got a sinus infection that then turned into the flu and until yesterday I was pretty sick. Praise God I am a different human being today and I lost 7 lbs.. :)
The first part of my trip (9 days) I was with another team. My son Logan and I both work for Ambassadors To The Nations here in Charlotte. Karen Jolley does a lot for Nicaragua. She has 4 private Christian schools that she takes care of so we got to bless a ton of kids. We also did street ministry and overall I think we ministered to 3000+ people by the end of the week.
After the team left Logan and I took off to Somotillo which is 3 1/2 hours from where Ambassadors ministers. We arrived on Thursday afternoon and went straight to Ceibita. I didn't allow the Pastor to tell them I was coming so I could surprise them. A surprise it was. I am not sure which one of us was happier to see each other.
From Thursday until Saturday I took pictures of the kids to prepare them for Operation Education. I got updates on all the kids sizes and this time I had personal time with each mom. I got to hear about how the kids are doing in school and how life is in the community. Rarely do I get such quality time with them. It was such a blessing.
One of the days I was there I had the opportunity to play some volleyball with a small group of kids. I rarely get to do that either. Usually it's a 100 kids, me, my team and other youth playing but this morning it was me and Logan against about 10 kids. I think they had more fun beating me and Logan than all the other times we have played put together.
For the rest of the day I had a little shadow of boys (around 6). If I moved to the left they all moved. If I sit down, they sit down. It was so sweet. They always love on me but this trip it was as if a bond of love was created between us unlike any other.
Later that night we had movie night in the community. Instead of showing them a hit movie from the states I showed them an hour video of themselves. Pictures from the first visit all the way through the last visit. It was so much fun. I have never heard so much laughing in my life. We served them watermelon and watched them smile. Remember my new buddies? Well during the entire movie they sit next to me arm in arm and fighting over who was going to get to sit the closest to me. It was so sweet. They are the very reason I do what I do.
On my last day I was able to minister to them with Pastor Arturo about baptism. It had been 4 years to the day of my first visit there and no one has gotten baptized yet. Pastor Arturo has asked and asked but no one agreed to do it. I guess I have an different approach to them than he does when I talk to them so I agreed to discuss it with them. Most of them were Catholic before accepting the Lord and they still have the education that a sprinkle is an accepted method of baptism.
I shared the word with them and ask them one question. How was Jesus baptized? A Sprinkle or A Dunk?
Who are we to follow as an example for our lives? Who showed us an example of what baptism is, I then asked.
Many had questions and many needed to know more and when it was over with I am certain many will be signing up to be baptized with Pastor Arturo soon.
That same day I was able to bless them with 5 lbs of beans and rice, toys for all the kids, shirts for the teen boys and blankets for 15 families which we raffled off.
It was only 4 days but it was truly one of my best trips. By the end of the week I could barely walk because my feet and legs were so swollen, please pray doctors can figure what causes that. It has happen several trips now and it gets so bad I can't walk. It's not fluid. We have already determined that. What is going on however has not been determined yet.
I have not got my pictures done yet and some of you will be getting a letter from your kids soon so be on the lookout for a letter to arrive from your student and a link to view all the pictures from the trip and Operation Education pictures.
Thanks so much for you support. I would appreciate your prayers on how I proceed going forward.
For the past 3 years I have been working part-time (100 hours) every month and I took all that money and put it into the ministry. The day before I left I was laid off from that job. That money pays for my trips, pays for needed items like bibles, medicines, fixing of houses, money for the Pastor, money for special events in the community, money for ministering when I am in the community (watermelon, ice cream, etc) and anything else that is needed for Nicaragua.
I no longer have that money. I know God will provide it another avenue. Times is getting so hard for everyone that the support I receive from others is getting less and less. For example, only 15 kids out of 92 got new shoes this past trip. That's 77 families that were not able to help for this project. I usually raise money all year through other ways like selling the jewelry or fixing computers but without my job and the support of you guys I will not be able to continue this ministry without a major change taking place. Pray for wisdom for me. Pray I will know and see God's plan. Is it time to quit? Only God knows at this moment.
God Bless each of you and hope you enjoy the pictures. I hope to have them done soon.