Tuesday, April 20, 2010

Impressions From Nicaragua, April 2010

It is pretty hard to summarize my impressions after spending more than a week in Nicaragua with a team of 10 men. Every other time I had been to the country I had traveled with family. I found myself missing my family this time more than normal as the family memories flooded me from past trips there.

The house project went well as we built with some Nicaraguan workers a house for a single mother who has served faithfully in her church. Most of the men on our team were sponsoring a student at the Havila School that Northshore Baptist established in the community in partnership with a local church. It was a real joy to see these kids do so well in this K-6th grade school. It was bittersweet, however, knowing that their road out of poverty will be a very hard one in a country that now has an unemployment rate of 80-85 percent!

The highlight of the trip for me was being involved in putting on the first men's conference for the community of Los Cedros for about 60 men in the community. Three of these men gave their lives to Christ for the first time. I had the opportunity to speak to the men about marriage, using my story of the last couple of years and my "school of hard knocks." One man came up to me after and said through an interpreter, "I am thirty years old and I have never gone to anything like this before in my life. Can you come back next year?" There is much work to be done among the men of Los Cedros. I hope another Northshore Baptist team goes back next year and continues the focus upon the men.

One thing that made this trip really special was the sharing of our stories with one another. We had enough time together to allow each of us to give our story of our faith journey and then be prayed for by the group. This was a powerful addition to the experience of the trip. As a friend of mine reminds me, "Every man wants to tell his story but there are few who are willing to listen."

It was interesting to me to hear how many of us were feeling that we were in a season of "transition" in our lives. There was something very faith building about both hearing one another's and speaking our own stories thousands of miles from home.

One thing I am committed to doing before I go back to Nicaragua: learn the language better. I know enough Spanish to get into some really awkward and exasperating situations. With sustained effort I know that I will be able to become much more conversant. One time, I got so frustrated I threw up my hands and said, "Tower Of Babel!" Being an all good, all wise and all loving God the perils of having one world language must far outweigh the problems created by having so many different dialects in the world.

The week came to close with our leader, Todd Fredrickson, challenging our team and the congregation of Los Cedros with the truth that we have been blessed to be a blessing. (Genesis 12:1-3) That just kind of says it all.

Blessed To Be A Blessing!


P.S. Read Jeremy's latest blog and Join Jeremy's Journey through prayer, pledging or donating by going to payitforwardsa.org

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