Me with SHADELINE

“The LORD is there.” Ezekiel 48:35, NASB

Dear Readers,

Whew! I never expected to write three posts about my trip to Nicaragua. I even excluded some fabulous moments—it’s impossible to relay everything. I hope you’ll climb into a comfy chair and read this last segment concerning God’s awesome activities in a land far away…

3/25/17 – God is the Same

The evening crusade in Managua was full of people … and mosquitos. As we listened to Pastor Barry preach from Acts 10, mosquitos swarmed around us. I’m still amazed I didn’t return home loaded with bites. I wasn’t bitten once! In my mind, those annoying pests picture the evil one’s constant attempts to disrupt and injure. He wasn’t pleased with God’s Word being proclaimed, yet “greater is He who is in you than he who is in the world” (1 John 4:4). Praise the Lord because 23 people walked forward after the service for salvation.

CARLA, translator, with PASTOR ODILY

Later I noticed a young man sitting in a wheelchair up front. He looked dejected. Carla translated so he and I could communicate, during which time Kevin revealed his desperate desire to walk again. I think he hoped for God’s healing at the service and was disappointed not to receive it. I prayed for him and encouraged him to read Isaiah 40:28-31 when he returned home.

I love how God works. He’d impressed those verses on me earlier in the evening seemingly out of nowhere. Then He put me in contact with Kevin, and I’m pretty sure that’s why He put those scriptures on my heart.

Before I settled in to sleep that night, I considered how God is the same everywhere. Though our feet encounter the soil of other countries and cultures, “Jesus Christ is the same yesterday and today, yes and forever” (Hebrews 13:8).

ISAIAH & NYNI, translators

I also closed out the day with gratitude for our translators. None of our words would have made sense—literally—had these faithful people not stood by our sides, communicating in their native language. These young people became dear to me, and I miss them already.

MELVIN, translator (Photo by Bret Dausman)
3/26/17 – Captured Hearts

We headed to Solidaridad one last time. After the worship service, Pastor Manuel called our team up front so the people could bid us farewell. He and his wife, Odily, also had packaged some staple foods for us to hand out. We stood in a line ready to distribute bags of oil along with sacks of beans. And candy—Brett was certain to include candy in the mix 😋.

From left: PASTOR BARRY, CELESTE, DONNA, MELVIN, & TOM (Photo via Celeste Bailey)

Oh, my. It ended up being a receiving line. Although we passed out gifts of food, we received countless hugs and love. I was overwhelmed. Tears collected in my eyes and dripped down my face. These precious people, many of whom were children, didn’t own much in the material sense. But they possessed a wealth of love. I know other teammates cried as well while we embraced these wonderful brothers and sisters in Christ. They might live on the outskirts of a landfill now, but they will live eternally in God’s glorious presence.

FERNANDA

The people of Solidaridad captured my heart.

God works in people’s hearts, creating life in dead places. He also works in desperate places like Solidaridad where His life blooms within men, women, and children. All of us who know Christ can relate because Ephesians 2:1 describes our state before we knew Jesus: “You were dead in your trespasses and sins.” Yet God “shone in our hearts to give the light of the knowledge of the glory of God in the face of Christ” (2 Corinthians 4:6). In Christ, we gain life.

Tom and Brenda spoke that evening as the conference in Managua concluded. I enjoyed hearing them teach together—their love for the Lord and their passion to restore families shine through.

I also appreciated the lively worship in that congregation. At one point, I glanced to the side of the room and noticed a middle-aged woman singing and dancing with freedom. Despite the lack of air conditioning, screened windows, and modern comforts, our Christian family in Nicaragua beams with joy.

God captures people’s hearts. Here, there, and everywhere. 

CHILDREN OF HOPE
3/27/17 – Home!
OUR TEAM (From left: Me, Kay, Celeste, Brenda, Susan, Suzanne, Pastor David, Donna, Bret, & Tom; Not Pictured: Pastor Jake, Steve, Austin, & Pastor Barry)

Our team’s twelve-day adventure with Jesus held one more adventure for me: the trip home. Minor discomforts had bothered me on Saturday and Sunday, yet I awoke feeling well enough on Sunday morning.

But then.

I started feeling very poorly while we waited to board our plane in Managua. Sickness away from home created a trial I didn’t anticipate. Though I wish I could say it didn’t trouble me, it was the toughest experience I faced during my time away. I felt worse and worse as the day progressed. The man seated next to me on the flight to Charlotte turned his back my way—I think he heard me sniffing repeatedly and didn’t want to contract whatever I had. Concerned about getting others on my team sick, I thought I might have the flu. (I didn’t. It turned out to be a reaction to the malaria med, heat related illness, and a virus.)

My ‘Welcome Home’ from MARK, BRENNAN, & CHLOE

God got me home. I felt horrible physically, but looking back, I’d do it all over again. Because whether I travel overseas or stay stateside, being on mission for Jesus is what I desire for the rest of my life.

In Christ’s Love,

Tweetables:

“Greater is He who is in you than he who is in the world” (1 John 4:4). (Click to tweet)

God captures people’s hearts. Here, there, and everywhere. (Click to tweet)

Being on mission for Jesus is what I desire for the rest of my life. (Click to tweet).

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