Our first van ride in Nicaragua
Our trip began early Thursday morning — at 1AM we bussed to Chicago to catch our flight and we arrived in Nicaragua on Thursday afternoon. We got to race through the airport as our first flight was late leaving Chicago. We ran as fast we could…and found that our next flight was also delayed! But we made it and now the girls also have a fun airport story to tell. There were no problems getting through customs and we were picked up by our outreach contact (Philip Allen) who took us out to lunch. Believe it or not, it was a Tex-Mex restaurant. The girls enjoyed drinking soda out of real glass bottles and filled up on enchiladas, chicken fingers, and hamburgers. While we drove through the city of Managua, the girls drank in all the sights — lots of traffic, palm trees, fruit vendors, and buildings of every imaginable color. We were all pretty tired, so the van ride up into the hills of Diriamba was a great time to nap.
Meeting a few of the YWAM kids
When we arrived at the gate of the YWAM campus, the girls oohed and ahhed over the lush property and settled into their room in a large dorm. The staff prepared a welcome meal for us, so we made a little extra room for dinner. And finally, it was bed time. (For once, it wasn’t hard to get them to turn off the lights at 10!)
Friday came bright and early, with breakfast at 6:30. We learned about the history and vision of the YWAM Nicaragua campus and also about Bibles for Nicaragua. Bibles for Nicaragua is a YWAM initiative to get a bible into every home of Nicaragua by 2013. There are 250 Bibles here right now, waiting to be distributed. This is an exciting time for the Bible in Nicaragua — for the first time, the Catholic church (the predominant religion) is encouraging people to read their Bibles and, also for the first time, there is about a 95% literacy rate. The nation has a holiday dedicated to the Bible and the president just unveiled a park dedicated to the Bible. As the Bibles have been distributed in the area, people have been very excited to receive them.
Esther along with kids from the barrio played the role of animals in the Noah’s ark skit. And Ashlyn was God.
The girls are practicing Spanish phrases to be able to play their part in this historical event! Their work here will have an affect years down the road.
In the afternoon, we met about 100 or so of the neighborhood kids. YWAM Nicaragua hosts a children’s Bible program every Friday. The girls put together a fun Noah’s Ark skit and played with the kids afterward. In the evening, we played some games together and watched a movie with the rest of the missionaries and students on campus here.
We’ve also become expert weather predictors. If it isn’t raining now, it will rain in the next 10 minutes. You may need to wring us out after we get home! (The staff here are expecting the rain to let up a little, though.)
Valerie and Amber (a.k.a. “Noah”)
We’ll continue preparing our crafts, games, dramas, and dance. In the afternoon, we’re going to do a children’s program out in a poor neighborhood.
Sunday morning, we’re going to share in a children’s church. We’ll also go out into our surrounding neighborhood and invite the children to come to a Vacation Bible School (VBS). In the evening, we’ll share with the adults of the same church.
The YWAM Nicaragua Campus
Monday is our first fun day! We’re going to Volcan Mombacho, where we’ll hike around the (inactive) volcano and swing through the trees on zip lines. The girls are so excited for this!
The rest of the week, each day will look somewhat the same. The elementary school kids are actually on a little vacation, so instead of helping in the school, we’re going to run a VBS Tuesday-Friday mornings. The first week, we’ll run VBS for babies to 8 years old. The following week, we’ll have the older crowd — 9-13 or so.
In the afternoon, we’ll do Bible distribution. Wednesday evening we’ll be in a church service.
Next Saturday, we’ll help to run a day-long youth retreat for the teens in the area. This will be a great time for the girls to practice sharing about God with people who are their age. Sunday, we’ll be in church again but will also get to spend some time with preteen girls.
Next Monday, July 4, is our second free day…and we’re heading to the beach!
Children’s Ministry with 100 kids from the Barrio
The girls have been doing great so far. They’ve had a great attitude about all the differences in this new country. They hardly batted an eye when they found out there are no hot showers here. They’re seeing the new and different things as adventures and everything is “cool” and “amazing.” They really have been a pleasure to work with and get to know. So please pray that this continues even if the fun newness wears off. 🙂
- Pray that the girls will continue growing in their ability to hear God’s voice. We’ve been having them pray for the kids and the times we share with them — and then from their, they make the basic lesson plans. We’re so proud of the initiative they’re taking….they’re even holding impromptu worship and prayer sessions in their free time.
- Pray for our ministry times into the community and beyond. The language difference can be intimidating and the girls are learning how to get around it the best they can.
- Continue praying for health and safety.
The Girls of Access Nicaragua
Pray for our tech equipment. Some of our ministry will require CDs to play or electricity to work. We’ve found that things like that tend to break or malfunction exactly when we need them to work. (For instance, my new camera quit working in the middle of our first ministry time with the kids, which is really disappointing. I’ll try to borrow one or use one of the girls’ so we have plenty of photos of our time here.)
- Pray for Bibles for Nicaragua. In the next two weeks, they’re expecting another large shipment of Bibles to come in. Please pray that the finances come through correctly and there are no delays or holdups in shipping and customs.