Saturday, April 30, 2011

Today, I love 100.

In memory of being in Nicaragua for 100 days, I just want to be thankful.

Dear God,
Thank you for bringing me here and for giving me 100 days. Help me to see your vision. Open my eyes to what you want me to see. Thank you for the hundreds of beautiful little faces that bless me everyday. Thank You for the opportunity to see Your creation in hundreds of different ways. Thank You for allowing me to experience hundreds of beautiful moments that can only be from You. Thank You for the hundreds of little things that You pieced perfectly to allow me to be here. Thank You so much for the hundreds of people You have put in my life that pray for me and for these sweet children continuously. Thank you for the hundreds of beautiful hearts with a true desire to help your children. Thank You for the hundreds of things that You will do in this ministry, and for so many others. Thank You for the hundreds of opportunities You give us. Thank you for the hundreds of times You will forgive us. Thank you for the hundreds of moments of laughter. Thank you for the hundreds of times a day that you keep showing us that you desire to love each and every one of us. Thank You for the hundreds of sins You continue to cover and for always welcoming us home with open arms. Mighty is your name. Thank you for loving us when we make poor decisions, when we are stubborn, grumpy, not listening for you, and hundreds of others. Help us to learn to be more like You. Show us hundreds of more opportunities to serve You. Thank you for your grace, mercy, unconditional love, and all hundreds more.  I love You and I love my hundreds and hundreds of days with You. Help me to love like You and to teach these children about Your forever love.

Your Daughter

Sunday, April 24, 2011

Jesús vive!

I write this resisting feelings of both envy and sadness. Every picture posted on the internet  today was of people in their beautiful new clothes going to church with their loved ones. I am Missing the beautiful voices in a big American church building, and a sermon that I can fully understand (specifically daddy’s). I am missing my mama’s wonderful roast beef, home made rolls, and all that comes with it. I am missing my little sister waking me up because it is time to see what the Easter bunny brought us and seeing my brother act like it's lame (when he is actually really excited too). In 23 years, this is the first Easter I have spent away from my family. But as I start to think about the meaning of Easter, it makes me appreciate, even more, that I am here. This is WHY I am here. It has nothing to do with me, and everything to do with Him. I may not be with my blood line family right now, but I am with my brothers and sisters. My brothers and sisters who I need right now, as much as they need me. God placed me here for a special purpose and I could not be in a better place to celebrate that Jesus died, and three days later HE ROSE AGAIN. Not for me, not for you, but for US. Every single one of us, sins and all. What a blessing it has been to worship with my Nicaraguan family today. Thank you God, for the opportunity to share with the most beautiful faces, hearts, and lives today about what it means for US that JESUS LIVES.

We are thankful that you gave your one only Son to die for us

 When he had led them out to the vicinity of Bethany, he lifted up his hands and blessed them. While he was blessing them, he left them and was taken up into heaven. Then they worshiped him and returned to Jerusalem with great joy. And they stayed continually at the temple, praising God.
Luke 24: 50-53
This is what it is all about.

Saturday, April 16, 2011

Just some thoughts from a happy girl in Central America..

I hope that you have the opportunity to go on a mission trip one day. Some specific reasons I wish everyone could visit Leon, Nicaragua at least once…

-To check out my fast Internet that I finally have at my house (THANK YOU Mr. John and Chris!)

-To experience talking with a translator.

- To have the frustration of someone saying “Manaña(tomorrow)”. Everyday. 

- To experience attempting to talk in another language and the other parties response being laughter. 

-To be here long enough that you rejoice when you see the red arches (McDonalds).

- To hold a child who might not trust you at first because no one has ever just wanted to hug them before. 

- To see what beautiful things God is doing all over the world.

- To smile at a beautiful widow with no teeth. Not only will she reach out to touch you but also she will talk to you, a lot. Even after you try to tell her (with your broken Spanish) that you do not understand what she is saying.

- To view the scenery. There is nothing like it.

- To watch what God is doing at Nicaragua Christian School.

- To see students hard at work. Students that would not have this opportunity without Faith-filled people from America willing to let God use what He has given them to help others receive an eduation and learn about him. 

-To see the construction, and with that construction know and understand that it comes with strong faith and contribution from many who desire to help. Everyday there is work being done to make a place of hope for those who have none. 

- To be reminded of how blessed you are. I am thankful to be reminded of this every single day here. 

- To ride in the bed of a truck to get place to place.

- To go to town at night and feel like you are in a musical, always loud music, dancing, and food everywhere. IT SMELLS SO GOOD!!! 

-To receive the pleasure of working with over 200 of God’s most beautiful young creations, each and every one different and unique in their own way. I feel so blessed to have the opportunity to get to know their hearts. 

-To sit in on a worship service in another language. America is not the only place on earth and it really brings to life the fact that God created THE WHOLE world in his likeness. It is amazing to think that not only is Sunday the day of worship in America but many miles away people are also worshipping in Nicaragua, in Russia, in Africa, etc. Some of these people are even risking their lives to be at church every Sunday, or having to walk 5 miles to get there--In America we worry about missing an extra hour of sleep or worship going 5 minutes too long.

- To listen to children sing church songs and light up during a bible story. Children who come from broken homes, from children who may get beaten by their father or sexually abused, or children whose parents may use all the money for alcohol and forget to give their child dinner. They do have one Father that always protects, always trusts, always hopes, and always perseveres. 

♥ Just a few reasons...

Sunday, April 3, 2011

Surround us, Lord.

Taking a stroll through the village with some of my beloveds.

My dear friend Cinthya graduated from college last saturday! So proud of her.

This is the Perez family. I love every second I get to spend with them and look forward to our friendship growing over the next two years and many more.

Last Sunday I got to see my first baptism in Nicaragua. It was a great experience. 

One of my favorite past times at NCS. Brushing our teeth. 

Rosita decided she liked her dress so much she didn't have to wear her uniform to school!

A day at Milavf with my friend Cinthya. She volunteers there and works with the children in the afternoons. We made piñatas!

New table from my Aunt. It is starting to look more like a home!

This is one of my most prized posessions that I brought with me to Nicaragua. My best friends from school made me this before I left. It is pictures we took the day before graduation and a note from each of them. Makes me smile every time I look at it. 

A photo taken by my new friend Kevin. Just captures an idea of the kind of love Rosita and I have for each other :) 

"We are the 3 year olds. We own this school."

Some of our students that I go visit in the village often. 
I love their love. 

My first sunday of teaching at our new church. I had 21 children!

Victoria is always looking for the camera ;)
Happy first Sunday at Nicaragua Christian School Church of Christ (not sure if that is going to be the real name yet). :) What a great day
As you can see, things are going great here. I am so thankful for the opportunities God is laying in front of me. 

Our first church service went great! I taught the children about creation. It was most likely the first time most of them had ever been to church. So glad I could be a part of it. I want to ask for prayers on behalf of these children: that they will come to know God in all his greatness, and that God will use me to teach them. 
As the children were leaving today, I walked 6 of them home. They told me they really enjoyed class, and they asked when I would do it again. I said, "Church?" And they said, "yes, when can we come back?" I was excited to tell them they can come back every Sunday at 10! All of them turned and looked up at me with beaming faces, and one of them said, "REALLY?" I said yes, again. They squealed and grinned the rest of the way home. When we got there, they had forgotten that I would see them at school tomorrow, and they said, "SEE YOU NEXT SUNDAY!" :) 
Thank you, God, for reassuring me time and time again that I am exactly where I am suppose to be. 

This week has been very exciting. Outside of being able to teach the children's Bible class, I start tutoring 9 children for an hour and a half on Monday. I am so excited and look forward to the opportunity. I am thankful that Xiomara has entrusted me with this and hope to see these children's studies improve tremendously and quickly. Also, during my meeting with Xiomara, we discussed me starting my English classes soon. I will be teaching the 4 and 5 year old classes two times a week, and 1st grade once a week. In the afternoons, I will be offering an English class for the older children as well. I can't wait to get started with this project. When these children have an education AND are able to speak some English, it will make such a difference in their futures- especially when they start trying to find work. 

This week marks another week that we have not received our internet. Siempre Manaña. 
It will ALWAYS be "tomorrow." This week mosquito season started as well. I will not welcome this; I will fight back. May is suppose to be the beginning of rainy season (boo). Sunshine, I love you dearly. 

Thankful for God's grace and mercy and for the plans that he has for each and everyone of these beautiful hearts. Praying for God's work to be done and for my eyes to be open to his will.

And they were bringing children to him that he might touch them, and the disciples rebuked them. But when Jesus saw it, he was indignant and said to them, “Let the children come to me; do not hinder them, for to such belongs the kingdom of God. Truly, I say to you, whoever does not receive the kingdom of God like a child shall not enter it.” And he took them in his arms and blessed them, laying his hands on them.
Mark 10:13-16