Today was a very enlightening day of ministry. For our Brother Don, it was doing what he does best, becoming all things to all men so that he could be as Paul in I Corinthians 10:22, "to win some." For our team, it was learning to get out of our comfort zone to learn to love literally where the people were as we visited in Pascuala. The rain had poured the night before we arrived in the village where the men would be digging footers and tying rebar to build a home. As we arrived, many men were already digging in the torrentially rain soaked mud. They set the pace and the example for the team. Curious eyes came to watch in swarms. Children with dirty hands and feet eagerly took the coloring books and crayons to color beautiful pictures. The priceless gifts to them was a torn out page that soon was colored with whatever color they happen to get. The chickens had taken cover for the night in their homes. I asked a mom if she got wet when it rained. "Oh, yes, she said." While men trampled in mud, digging trenches for concrete, our job was to entertain the kids. Thoughts of, "How do I relate to a people who have nothing?" I can feed them for a day, but they need Jesus. One young teen stood with her mom and watched the children as they gathered around the others for their coloring treat. Her mother said that her husband was in the military and only came home every 2 -3 months. I asked her how she had food for her 3 children. She said she washed clothes for someone. Robyn and the interpreter asked her if they eat every day. She said, "Yes, sometimes we can eat 3 times a day." Then we asked about today. She shared that a neighbor had given them some milk this morning. We had just left the ministry compound with our bellies full. Why would we get to eat and not her? We shared with this girl and her mom about Jesus. The mother was interested in if we could give her medicine, but she listened. The young girl was very interested in what we said, but then said she already knew Jesus. I guess we are not too good at assessing hearts. I was impressed by this young girl. She was only 16, but her maturity had come by trying to learn to survive. A church was across from her home. Perhaps she knew Christ from someone else sharing. The men worked hard, but as our time came to a close, they left the men who were there in the beginning working hard to finish the job THEY had started.
Before we embarked on our next adventure that would begin after lunch, Don graciously gave us a tour of what God had led him to do. Don realized that he could feed people, but they needed to learn to feed themselves. Never having been a farmer, Don became what God wanted him to do to reach the Nicaraguan people. He became a farmer. He raises chickens, rabbits, goats, and sheep. He also raises fruits and vegetables. He then trains others to become self-sustaining. Don realizes that everything cannot be free. The people must be willing to work for a living. He helps those who are willing to learn. Don saw the medical needs of the people, so he is opening a clinic. This is when we saw Don as an example of Paul, becoming all things to all men so he might reach some for Christ. Whatever the need, Don is ready.
Loading up our truck with oranges, candy, and soccer balls, we threw them to the children who heard we were coming to their village. Children lined the roads hoping to be the one to get a special treat. When we arrived at the village, mothers, children, and a few fathers were filling the area. While Kelli, Beamer, Gabi, and many of the crew placed stickers on the children, Steve, Tina and others gave out tie-dyed t-shirts, pillowcase dresses, flip flops, bubbles, and cross necklaces. These people were from the village of La Perla/Puma. The women gathered near the houses and they were told the Gospel message. Did anyone really get it? That is up to the Lord. Meanwhile, Brother Don was cooking a pot of stew that would hopefully feed the whole village. Many had no bowels. They had come a long ways to see the "Gringos". They knew we were coming. They did not realize we would be feeding them. We did bring some bowels, but not enough for everyone. Mothers were asked to line up to receive the food. Mothers would not let their children do without. They would make sure their family was fed. The wisdom of Don was great as he showed us what to do when there seemed to not be enough. One young boy had a bowl, but no food. I felt so sad, and slid him a piece of candy for his pocket. Don told me not to worry, he would get food. I turned around and there stood his mom with a pot full that she shared with him.
The exciting thing about today was that the Gospel was shared. Dan and Roger shared with the men; Brenda and Robyn spoke to the women. We both had interpreters and many heard the Gospel message. May we be the hands and feet of Jesus as we learn more in the coming days to be what God has called us to be.