Nicaragua Mission Trip April 7-14, Summary of Week
The past week has been a week to remember like always. This mission trip is one of the major events each year that I look forward to. This year we were very busy with playing with children and doing manual labor as well. We started out the beginning of the week at the House of Hope playing with the kids. This involved teaching them a Bible lesson and just passing around a ball, making bracelets, coloring, etc. The House of Hope also had us do some mini paint jobs all over campus. We painted a pavilion, two rooms that they would turn into a library, and touched up some of the house fronts. Our big job this year at the House of Hope was building a retention wall at the housing area for HOH graduates. This included carrying 150 pound stone blocks, mixing concrete, and spreading the concrete mortar between the stones.
The second half of the week we went to the Presbyterian Christian School to teach all the students about each day of Holy Week and then do a Bible story or craft with them. After these activities we threw Frisbees, kicked a ball around or just played on the playground with the kids. Also, some of us got to teach English Camp to 7th and 10th graders. On Friday for the school, we painted concrete benches under four mango trees.
As we wrapped up the week we all were getting upset because it was time to go back to the states. There is just something about Nicaragua and the work that we do that makes it so hard to get on the plane to go home. At our last team meeting we were asked to think about a one-minute “elevator speech,” briefly describing what we did here and what it means to us. To me that meant figuring out all the small problems in my life aren’t as important as they seem. There are people that are struggling much more in this world and it feels great to have the opportunity to have a relationship with them and to work together to help out with whatever it may be. I know all of us look forward for next year to come no matter how great and meaningful this week has been.
I am so honored to be able to be a part of this experience for a 3rd year in a row.
Nicaragua Report, Friday, April 13
As our last night in Nicaragua comes to a close, I can without a doubt say this week has been one of the best of my life. We jumped out of bed at 6:26 for our 6:30 devotional lead by Marlee, grabbed a cup of coffee, ate breakfast and were on our way. Harry whipped the Toyota Coaster down the wild roads of Managua once again and before we knew it we were leading more lessons about Holy Week and doing arts and crafts at the Presbyterian Private School. We planted two tangerine trees in the playground area with the help of a few students. Five youth also participated in an “English Camp” lead by one of the school’s English teachers. We worked with about 35 students and talked about cultural differences between Nicaragua and the United States. It went surprisingly well considering the teacher got confused while we were explaining how Kinder Surprise candies are illegal in the States. This resulted in a whole class of children convinced that all chocolate is outlawed in America. By noon we settled down for another delicious lunch provided by Quinta Shalom. We had chicken salad sandwiches which are a fan favorite amongst the FPC HHI Mission Team. After lunch we gathered to paint benches under the mango trees in the courtyard of the school. We finished painting and topped off our time at the school with an intense game of horse at the basketball court between Kent and Caroline. We then headed back to Quinta Shalom for some down time, as well as our final evening debriefing and team dinner with Harry and his kids, Nahomy and Omar. As I finish this up we are all enjoying mounds of chocolate cake and our final hours here in Nicaragua. Soon we will load back up on the Toyota Coaster and head back to the MGA Airport at 3:30 AM for our 6 AM flight back to the States. Another wonderful week in Nicaragua has come to a close. We are all incredibly thankful for being blessed with this experience and the wonderful relationships we have developed throughout the week.
Nicaragua Report, Thursday, April 12
Starting the day off with waking up the earliest we have this week (6am), in order to complete morning devotions, breakfast along with getting ready, so we could arrive to the Presbyterian Christian School at 7:30am. Today was our first of two days with the children at Presbyterian Christian School, and when we arrived I immediately fell in love with the school’s campus. They have beautiful gardens, open classrooms, mango trees along with benches (which we’ll be painting tomorrow). Anyways time flew, teaching about Holy Week, crafts, and even just throwing a frisbee to kicking a soccer ball.
After enjoying a fun fulfilled morning with the children it’s time to head to the beach!
Not only that but Harry’s family (including his wife, daughter and son) joined us! When the bus stopped for gas Kent continued his tradition of putting a cone on his head and walking around the bus. The hour and a half car ride flew by, before we knew it we had gotten to the beach and were enjoying our delicious meal under a breezy cabana. While at the beach we had fun in the ocean, laid out in the sun and collected seashells. As soon as we got home we showered, cleaned up and got ready for dinner at Eskimo. A lot of us our familiar with this American/Mexican restaurant from the first year most of us went to Nicaragua. Dinner was delicious, everyone had a great time laughing the night away. To end the night the check was handed to Candice this year instead of Bridget, guess the sisters got mixed up?! Overall had a great day, it couldn’t be any better!
Nicaragua Report, April 11, 2018
Today was just as exciting and emotional as we expected. To kick it off we started with a great devotional read by Marlee. We had a bit of a late start leaving the Quinta Shalom because Candice and I were running around trying to help Kent find his glasses when they were in his bag all along. Once we arrived at The House of Hope we split into groups and got to work. Half of the group finished repainting the walls at The House of Hope while the rest of us finished the wall down the road.
Candice and I started by mixing some cement. Then Kent, Betsy and I started Cementing the third layer of the wall. After a few bricks were in place I switched to filling in the little trench between the wall and the women’s property. On the other side of the wall the son and the daughter of the residents enjoyed watching us work so I jokingly held the shovel out for him to take a turn. He was surprisingly eager to help so we found another shovel. We made a pretty good team!
Today was a very special day at The House of Hope. We had a water slide, a pizza party dinner with the residents and It was our last day with the children. The light on all the kids’ faces when that water slide went up was picture perfect worthy! The mothers loved watching their kids go up and down the slide laughing all the way. It was pure joy!
If we weren’t playing on the slide we were making bracelets, playing soccer, tag, dancing or serenading each other before it was time for pizza. Unfortunately we all had way too high standards for the pizza….. However, it made us realize how great fun we are for everything we have back home even if it is just a slice of pizza! After dinner we passed out stuffed animals and took polaroids of the families for the residents to keep. They were so excited to get a printed out picture of themselves, especially a family photo. It made us feel good because there was not a single frown in the room!
This year we all agreed we have grown much closer with The House of Hope because not only were we close with the children but we were also very close with the mothers. When it was time to leave; the tears seemed endless. There was not enough goodbye hugs in the world! We will all cherish the memories made at what feels like our second home in 2018.
And as expected we ended the day with an ice cream fiesta!
FPC HHI Mission Blog April 10th
It’s our 3rd day here in this beautiful country and we are so blessed. We woke up today being sunny & Caroline(me) 17th birthday . We all got out of bed and had a very good breakfast. It’s was over easy eggs and very good fruit and then we all got ready to head out to house of hope . Today is Tuesday, and Tuesday is different from any other day because other women that aren’t in house hope come to worship and work to get money for their families & it’s a beautiful thing to see . While that was going on the team painted a room to make a library for the women at the house of hope. As we painted one of the woman next door played American music for us . That was just a special moment because she didn’t have to but she did and she sang and danced with us . It was such a fun moment . After that we walked up to eat lunch and listen to a testimony by one of the women and it was very special to see her improve from her past & be able to forgive and move on to a much better life. Where I saw God today was when I was doing Bible lessons with kids Eric and her 1 oyear old daughter Ashely gave me a gift for my birthday & wrote a beautiful note . I’ve known them for 2 years and have gotten so close but the reason I saw good is because the thought & love that came from them that I never expected and it was just a special moment and felt so blessed. To end the wonderful night Harry our bus driver and 16th team member invited us to his house for a family dinner . When we got there they had it all set up and signs and balloons & it just felt like home. They had a wonderful home cooked dinner and we laughed and just had a ball and celebrate my birthday. Then after dinner we went to the park . This park was very beautiful and big . So we explored around and had so much fun . One of things we did was Lara ,Candice And I played basketball with local Nicaragua
guys and it was such a ball to end the night we had debriefs and talked about our high and lows . I am very blessed to have another year another mission Trip and another birthday here with my Nicaragua family ! Thank you !
Nicaragua Daily Report: Monday, April 9, 2018
Todays morning consisted of me yelling at Cheyenne to get out of bed. All of our conversations this trip have either been me telling her to go to bed or get out of bed. We sleepily dragged ourselves to devotions as Lara talked about getting through hard times and how sometimes you have to let Jesus take the wheel. Then we sat and waited for the women to finish making breakfast and ring the bell. We had pancakes and fruits. Then Candice braided everyone’s hair with the same French braid. We all then got onto the bus making our first trip to the House of Hope this year. This whole year since the moment we left last year I have been looking forward to see my cute little Samuel. When we arrived we were greeted by Sister April and her assistant Joy. They told everyone that was new all about the House of Hope and gave a tour. As we walked around the houses we heard Alex say, “do I hear kittens?”. The fact that Alex knew that the small squeaking sound was four crying kittens really just made my whole day. Joy told us we could hold them and Alex held the four kittens as they clinged onto his shirt. His shirt was also covered in pictures of kittens. After the tour we separated into two different groups. One group staying at the House of Hope to paint the walls and the other group went to help build the wall with Norman, the handy man. Aja, Gracie, Cheyenne, Betsy, and I all stayed at the House of Hope painting and the rest of the group took their chances lifting about 150 pound blocks to build a wall. The wall is being built to separate the houses of the graduates of the House of Hope program. I did not have the experience of trying to lift a 150 pound concrete block and don’t think I will ever attempt to, but I have lots of respect for the people that did. Instead I made a mess turning my clothes, shoes, and face white with the watered down paint. Not only did it get on me, but I some how managed to get it on Aja, Cheyenne, and Gracie. As we painted the walls some kids started to come home from school. We soon saw a familiar face. Alex one of the children staying at the House of Hope. He came and gave us all hugs, but then had to return back to school. I asked Joy if Samuel was still here and she said that he was at school at the moment. The whole rest of the day I couldn’t wait to see this little boy. Ora, one of the mothers came out and gave us a welcome hug and asked how we had been. She brought her daughters and they stayed with us while we painted. Two boys then came out and the painting pretty much stopped there. We played tag and I was already tired. When it was 12 we started lunch and listened to one of the women tell us her story, how she came to the House of Hope and found God. After we heard her testimony we set up to teach the children a lesson. When we rang the bell the kids came running as we were reunited with some of our old friends. Candice, Lara, and Alden taught the lesson. Harry our bus driver and the 16th member of our team translated. They talked about the Last Supper and we did a coloring activity with the kids. I asked Joy if she knew where Samuel might be and she told me he was right behind me. When I turned to look it was the wrong Samuel. When she realized I was talking about the other Samuel she remember that he was no longer living at the House of Hope. He and his family moved next door because his sister got very sick. She said she would see if he could come and visit tomorrow so I can only hope that I will be able to see him once again. After we finished the lesson and the coloring we handed out all new T-Shirts that the Old Oyster Factory had graciously donated to us for the kids. They also gave us frisbees and beach balls which the kids really enjoyed. After a long day of fun with the kids we had to stop by the store to buy some ice cream and lots of toppings which included chocolate and vanilla whip cream, sprinkles, peanut butter, carmel, cherry’s, and chocolate syrup. We returned back to where we have been staying and before devotions and dinner Aja, Gracie and I took a short nap. Alex came in and woke us up for devotions and we went in and talked about our lows and highs of the day. I sat their excited for the dessert the whole time. I don’t understand why they thought it was a good idea to buy ice cream again considering the mess we made last year and the three table cloths we messed up. We had meat, mashed potatoes, rice, and salad for dinner. I went to get the dessert which was two big buckets of chocolate and vanilla ice cream and Harry brought the bowls and spoons. We passed everything around and I once again made an ice cream Sunday in my mouth. Aja’s ice cream was ruined by a bug that flew into it. Aja and I then tried to spray whip cream into each others mouths and failed. Then one of the women that helped make the food we had just ate wanted to try to spray it into my mouth. Since there was no whip cream left in the bottle it pretty much just sprayed all over my face, but the laugh on the woman’s face made the mess on mine all worth it. When Aja, Cheyenne, Gracie and I went back to our room everyone followed us. Our room being the smallest of all of them with a whole bunch of girls cramed into it made it a very tight fit. I will forever have the memories of the fun we all had playing around as I tried to write about our day in Nicaragua. I started around 7 and I still have not finished it due to all the distractions going on in our room. Now I will be able to go to sleep looking forward to our next day and new adventure tomorrow.
Sincerely and gratefully,
FPC Nicaraguan Mission Group Member
Nicaragua Daily Report: Sunday, April 8, 2018
Today’s morning wake up could definitely be described as both bright and early seeing as the previous day had been non-stop traveling. At 7:30, we ate breakfast prepared by the women at our inn, Quinta Shalom, and by 8:00 everyone in the group was on the bus ready to attend church service at the Nicaraguan Christian Academy. It’s a very beautiful international school that hosts a service every Sunday which attracts both local and visiting missionary groups. It’s really great to be reminded that there are others sharing in the same mission as us so it’s always a wonderful opportunity for encouragement and inspiration.
Once the service was finished, Harry, our bus driver and fellow team member, drove us around the city to see some of Managua’s beautiful historic monuments as well as all the new developments that have occurred since our last visit. Per tradition, we ate lunch at this nice little restaurant called Cocina Doῆa Haydee and as usual went crazy over the cheese appetizer that we all love. Not one of us left hungry from that meal.
Afterwards, we had the pleasure of visiting our friend Harry’s home along with his daughter, Naomi, and his wife, Maria. They were kind enough to give us a tour around their lovely house. We were able to see all the years of hard work they had put into the sturdy walls and furniture and had the chance to listen to the stories behind the work. They have the most genuine sense of gratitude for what God has granted them with which is something I believe everyone can learn from. We were very glad and thankful that they had felt comfortable enough to open their doors to us and share a very special part of their life.
It is customary for us to visit the market on Sunday each year so that is exactly what we did next. Everybody had a good time shopping, conversing with the locals, and learning about Nicaraguan culture. One thing to keep in mind though is that you must always bargain and never take the first price offered to you from a vendor. It’s super fun! Once we had bought all we could either afford or carry, we headed back to the bus and went back to Quinta Shalom.
Our first day did not consist of what you would call “work”, but nevertheless, it was just as important and meaningful as the ones that will follow. Every moment the group spends together builds stronger rapport and morale for our mission. We are so excited to see what God has in store for us this upcoming week and we hope and pray that we will fulfill His will by being his message bearers. Please keep us in your thoughts and prayers!
Sincerely and gratefully,
FPC Nicaraguan Mission Group Member