The day started quickly for everyone at Casa de Shelly. Don decided to peacefully wake us up to the soft music of Norah Jones (just kidding!). As we all got out of bed, the realization came to us that this was our last full day at Because We Care Ministries in Nicaragua. Many of our hearts have been broken by the poverty we have seen, but they were simultaneously pieced right back together again through the kindness and love given freely to us by the family of Christ in Somotillo.

Jim, Kathleen, Mike, Jamon, Rodger, and Johanna all stayed behind to visit a local public Elementary School and a village while the rest of the group made a 45 minute drive to hike up to the mountain village called Cacao. The hike consisted of breathtaking mountain scenery and a peaceful, dusty trail. The Cacao Pastor’s son and brother both came to escort us up the mountain to the Cacao church. They brought four horses with them in order to assist us in carrying medical supplies and food up the mountain. The hiking group had the opportunity to stop at a house belonging to the mother of the Cacao pastor. She had lost her husband last November, and we all placed our hands on her as Dan said a prayer for her. It was a true blessing for everyone involved. As we continued our hour and a half hike up the mountain, we were met with clear blue skies and calming, sweet breezes. When we finally made it to the top, we got to go inside the beautiful church for a service. The Pastor and his family were all extremely welcoming to us, and went out of their way to make us feel comfortable. The team did our typical routine of playing soccer, blowing bubbles, and painting nails with the children. Eventually, the church service started and Dan shared a message with all of us about loving our enemies and seeing Christ at work in the lives of those all around us. His message touched the hearts of everyone at the service. The Cacao pastor then brought all of us in front of the congregation and prayed for us to have a safe journey back down the mountain. We quickly loaded up (because we were running low on water!) and trekked back down the mountain. What a scenic and peaceful day for us all. It was a beautiful way to spend our last full day in Nicaragua spreading Christ’s love and experiencing the beauty He created all around us.

Meanwhile, the group that stayed back had a wonderful time visiting a local public Elementary School. Jim shared his testimony with all the children, and then proceeded to color pictures of the Garden of Eden. When recess commenced, Jim, Kathleen, Mike, and Jamon all went outside to play soccer and Gato Gato Perro (the Nicaraguan version of Duck Duck Goose). The Onion Game also enticed a great deal of laughter. The game consisted of the children and team lining up in a line, and they had to tickle the weakest ones off. The team is currently working on a plan to introduce the Onion Game to American children!

After visiting the school, the team left to go to the Santa Cruz village nestled next to an active volcano. It had been a while since Because We Care Ministries had visited the village due to terrible road conditions. One of the greatest difficulties the Santa Cruz village experiences is lack of water during the dry season. The nearest natural spring to the village barely produces enough water for each person to have one bottle of water a day. During the rainy season (beginning in May) the villagers collect rainwater for drinking, but in the meantime water remains a deadly issue. Don is currently working on a plan to bring more water to the village. As the team all distributed food and clothing to the villagers, Don said a prayer over everyone and gave the villagers confidence in the unending fulfillment that Christ gives.

As the two teams regrouped and showered off their dust-covered bodies, they had time to reflect on their work here in Nicaragua. Although we were only here for several days, we all feel Christ at work at Because We Care Ministries in Nicaragua. Don said to all of us during our time here that God doesn’t call the qualified; He qualifies the called. All we need to do is make ourselves available to God, and He will take it from there. That is our goal as we all begin our travels back to the United States—to constantly be available to carry out God’s will and make disciples of ALL nations.