’My Grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness’ Therefore I will boast all the more gladly about my weaknesses, so that Christ’s power may rest on me. That is why for Christ’s sake, I DELIGHT in weakness, in insults, in hardships, in persecutions, in difficulties. For when I am weak, the I am strong. 2 Corinthians 12:9-10.

A team of 19 from Portico Church came together on Saturday morning to fly out to their destination, Nicaragua. Ready to be flexible, we did not realize that we would be stranded in our own D.C. airport for 3 hours, missing our connecting flight in El Salvador. Avionca Airlines took such great care of us. Instead of spending the night in the airport, they took us to a 5 star hotel, fed us dinner, and breakfast at their cost. We flew into Nicaragua the next morning. We were so excited to finally arrive and to hear that we would only be a couple hours behind schedule. In our difficulty, we were treated as royalty. We did not deserve such great treatment. We got off the plane praising God for his gracious provisions.

Within a few moments, things changed. As we went through customs, all of our ministry bags were held by the officials. Donated soccer balls, flip flops, t-shirts, clothing and trinkets for the children to engage them in activities were taken from us. Even one of our personal bags of toiletries was confiscated. Would we praise God for our circumstances when things did not go our way? We prayed. I would like to say that immediately all our belongings were returned, but that did not happen. We then realized that God was allowing us to see that though we had hoped to bring these “things” to the people, our message of the love of Christ was the real message that we brought. Our leader, Dan, and his wife, Kelly, were left behind to spend the night across from the airport to try to get our donations the next day. Our leader was not with us, but God was. In our weakness, God is strong. Anger and disappointment could have filled our hearts, but God gave us fortitude. We knew that we were on the verge of something bigger than ourselves. To God be the glory for all things.

Ministry started immediately and our time to write this newsletter has been difficult. We have now gone into three villages. Worship in church with one village on Sunday night touched hearts. Lydia and Heather held a small baby while a mother was able to sit in the service undisturbed by the distraction of her very small baby. Soup was served as hungry kids lined up for a delicious meal. Would there even be enough soup in the bowl? One child did not have a bowl. He had come from another village and he had no way to get the special soup that was filled with vitamins and nutrients. One team member realized the problem, and soon a water bottle was cut in half and ironically, the last cup of soup filled his “bowl” – just exactly enough. Did we expect anything different with God? My grace is sufficient….not less, not more ….just enough.

This morning, still missing our leader, we went out to a village to work on the construction of a house and then this afternoon we ministered to the children of another village and fed them soup with watermelon. We also were able to work with a doctor and give out medications to many of the children. We are so blessed by this work.

Our leaders have just arrived. No donations are here yet, but there is a possibility that they will give it back to us tomorrow. Please pray for that. We have everything we need, for we have Christ. I personally have found great joy to see my daughter, Lydia love on children and give her “God moment” as realizing how little they had and how much she did have. For me personally, to see her smile as she loved on children has blessed my heart and am praying for God to touch her heart. I see his hand all over her and ask you to continue to pray.