Bittersweet…heavy on the bitter. That is the tone of my heart on a Thursday evening, knowing we will not be visiting any more villages, feeding families, providing medical and playing with the children and most importantly, showing the love of Christ. While the routine is generally the same, the God-moments each day seem endless…and always different. He touches our hearts in so many ways though out the day while engaging in the villages, it’s a struggle to pick one to share in our “God Moment” time at the end of each day.
We have been encouraged, encouraged by the boundaries that have been broken down, the steps taken outside our comfort zones, trusting in Christ for His guidance and direction…and He never fails. First time mission trips, first time sharing the Gospel, first time’s sharing a testimony…on the radio none the less.
We have been humbled, humbled by the knowledge that we are not worthy or able to do anything of worth outside the grace of God. Humbled to know that God showed off this week, and while He certainly doesn’t NEED us to accomplish His will, the fact He allowed us to play a part in His amazing plan to brings us to our knees.
We are thankful, thankful for the obedience of Dr. Donald and Pam Gillette following the path He has laid out for them, despite the endless hurdles and difficulties associated with running a ministry in a third world country. Thankful for the opportunity the Ministry has given the North Americans help us find our “niche” in Gods kingdom and for the encouragement to bring that back to our homes, families and communities.
We have been blessed, blessed beyond any measure we could possibly have given this week.
From the day-beginning shout out at the top of the radio broadcast to the God-moment and prayer time at day’s end, the Lord has fashioned a blessed day once again in Nicaragua. Stretched and happily spent, the Roanoke, VA team wrapped up day two feeling privileged in serving the Lord Jesus. A team from Christ our Redeemer Church led the Principe de Paz radio broadcast, with testimonies and a gospel message given by Pastor Tom. The team then split, Tom and Pastor Bill from Bedrock Community Church remaining at the casa to teach the nearly 30 pastors in training and the rest traveling to Pascuala to do mercy ministry painting a house and putting up walls on another.
After lunch, the team descended on Laredo, where an amazing variety of ministries sprung up at once, all designed to build gospel bridges with the people, meeting physical needs, having fun, offering hope, and sharing the truth of Jesus Christ. Every team member pitched in, some playing games, some serving a meal, some sharing the gospel, some praying for individuals, and all being blessed in response as God got the glory.
One last thing…it’s always noteworthy when a “first” takes place on a BWCM mission week. Donald did confirm that two of our gentlemen — Bill and Andy — getting their finger nails colored by nine year old Savannah was a first. The guys happily obliged and seemed to enjoy it.
After our devotion time and scrumptious breakfast of black beans and eggs, we celebrated Nica style a birthday of one on our team! Those of you that have been here, you know how that goes! We headed to the radio station where six gave their testimonies and we sang Mighty to Save.
Our morning’s work consisted of building the medical clinic (well, at least cleaning up the trash around the building!). It’s so exciting to see how close this building is to reality…maybe a month or so away from seeing patients. This will meet so many needs here in Somotillo and its clear that God is orchestrating this project.
Several of us took the two loads of trash to the dump. Wow, what a picture of poverty and desperation here. This dump is like no sanitary landfill found in North America! A lady in flip flops was by the truck and had found a couple of treasures before a third of the load could hit the ground. It makes me think of all the waste that we North Americans generate on a daily basis. We could feed and entire village for a week with table scraps from one good restaurant in the states!
After we completed our important manual labor, we feasted on Mama Maria’s tostadas and chicken.
We then headed on our 45 minute drive to the village of Jinocuaito…Hino wah it o. This is the burned pastor, Saturnino’s village. Our medical team saw 67 patients and one of the most significant being the pastors daughter who is pregnant and is having trouble. Our labor and delivery nurse on the team was an answered prayer to be able to give her some great help. Our nurse was busy because she also saw another young girl who thought she was pregnant…this ended up being a great counseling session and the young lady gave her life to Christ. While the medical team was hard at work, the rest of the team were engaging the ninas, ninos, muchachas and muchachos with games, crafts, and of course, the Gospel of Jesus Christ. Pastor Saturnino shared a bit of his story of taking 13,000 volts while building the church. God is clearly at work in this man!
We closed the night with a great worship time at Principe de Pas church worshiping in two languages a God who needs no translator! Praise be to God!
Today, the team got off to an early start riding to the radio station. However the power was off and they came back to Casa de Shelly early. Several of the women worked to prepare the food for the afternoon feeding to come. We first went to El Ojhoche to minister to the people there. The majority of the team worked with the children in the village and the medical personnel set up inside the local church and saw children and adults. Ojhoche is an interesting village in the country as the people there are amazingly resourceful. They do a very good job of making the most of what the Lord provides through nature. The church is led by a very good pastor and it is obvious the people there follow him. But as resourceful as they are, there is still great need there. Teams continue to be blessed by ministering there. God provides wonderful blessing to both church and team simultaneously. What an amazing God we serve!
In the afternoon the team traveled to Canlipe which is quite a distance. It was amazing seeing the people flock to the streets when they saw the trucks coming by, anticipating food, candy, and small toys.This always opens up the door to share Christ. The people gathered at the church as we drove up to greet us. The missionaries were able to cook a hot chicken stew and serve the folks as they gathered their bowls for a hot meal. This will be their only hot meal for probably a month. Many waited in line to receive medical care. Others enjoyed the organized games and activities to teach them about Jesus. We had over 140 sick people seen today.
Please continue to pray for all of these villages. There is great need here , but we serve a Great God ! It was great to be the hands and feet of Jesus today.
Mamma Maria started the day off with another great meal! Yum Yum.
This morning we sent our first crew to give their testimonies at the Principe de Paz radio station. 4 people shared their story this morning and spreading the Gospel. We also had a quartet sing “Forever Reigns”. We returned to Casa de Shelly and prepped our Donation Bags and Medical Boxes for our first village, El Tejar. We arrived at the village and began setting up Triage. We noticed that there were not many children around. So they sent a bus to pick up kids from the near by school! Before you knew we had plenty of kids to engage with. The Medical team saw 73 people in the morning. Others played soccer( fùtbol), face painted, and shared the Gospel with Candy canes. One shared with a group of mothers and women about Jesus’ sacrifice. One member also witnessed to some young soccer players using the soccer ball to show God’s never ending love. We loaded and headed back to base.
Lunch was some good chicken and some nachos! We then quickly prepped the bags to head to our next village, Villa Esperanza. As we headed to this village this was the first time the newbies got to participate in the distribution ministry. Two rules for the distribution ministry: 1. Blessing don’t hurt, 2. Ration! In addition to the Medical Team and the Children’s Ministry, we also prepared a meal for the village. We watched Roger sing songs with all the kids. Everyone was having a good time! The medical team was able to see 72 people in the village today. What a Blessing!
When we got back to Casa de Shelly, Donald took us on tour of the “Training Facility”. The area is really growing up. Donald said that they were close to begin the program of passing out chickens to locals and training them how to raise and take care of their own. Plus we saw 3 day old goats, 8 day old rabbits, and a litter of kittens. Now we must go. It is almost dinner time and we can’t wait, it smells so good!
After a 20 hour day of travel, we woke up to four more hours on the road. Finally arriving at the Casa de Shelly, we unpacked and got settled in. After getting all the medical supplies ready, we then traveled to a village called Cofradia, one of the most unhealthy, poorest villages we will go to this week. On the way we had to travel past the local dump. Seeing these kids pick up trash really opened our eyes to the poverty level that they are in. The people lining up to the medical team all had sickness due to the fact that they lived behind the dump. It warmed our hearts to see the children’s faces light up when we shared the love of Christ with them. Playing games and making crafts with the children not only made them smile, but made us smile too. The medical team worked long and hard helping the families. Some mothers brought not only their children but any of the needed. We saw many children today but one was in very bad condition. Because of her situation we didn’t have all the needed supplies to help her, but by God’s amazing help we were able to restore hydration in her body and control her blood pressure and stabilize her. This day has been long and hot but making people smile and sharing the love of Jesus Christ made this day well worth the travels. We pray that today was just a start to an amazing week. Knowing that we get to do this everyday will make it that much easier to wake up in the morning, and that much harder leave at the end. The real question is what if we hadn’t been there, to help the weak, to bring hope to the strong, and to love every one of them.
Today started out with Senor Donald’s beautiful wake up call, much like the past few days. Jordan and Brandon led this morning’s devotional from Philippians 2 and 3. They challenged the team to "consider everything a loss compared to the surpassing greatness of knowing Christ Jesus…" (Phil. 3:8). The greatest knowledge anyone can have is that of our Lord Jesus. It was an appropriate challenge for the team in its mission to spread the Gospel in the region. Following breakfast, Jordan S., Victor, Andrew and Yoshi as well as the worship team went to the radio station to share their stories and worship our God through song. Their testimonies were an encouragement to the rest of the group. The team did not stay at La Casa de Shelly or go to Pascuala to help with construction in the morning. Instead, they left for the day to hike to the village of Cacao. En route to Cacao, the team had the opportunity to stop and pray for the father of Pastor Santos (Cacao), who had been having heart problems recently. Shortly afterwards, Domingo led the missionaries astray as they took a wrong turn up the mountain. However, with Senor Donald’s guidance, all safely arrived at the village. The team had the opportunity to engage with the villagers and participate in an afternoon church service. It was a moving experience to be able to worship the Almighty God in Spanish and English with Christian brothers and sisters from Cacao. The team was able to share their stories and following a message from Donald, Pastor Santos and the rest of the congregation prayed for the team in their efforts to spread the Gospel. It was a moving and encouraging moment to know that the body of Christ really did span all nations. When the service ended, food and other necessary items were given to the village and the group made its way back down the mountain to meet up with the trucks. To our surprise, Ms. Pam showed us great love by providing cold bottles of Gatorade to replenish our fatigued bodies. The team returned to La Casa de Shelly to enjoy Mama Maria’s delicious dinner and to fellowship with one another. Food makes for happy missionaries.
The morning began with a word of encouragement from Donald… In other words there was screaming and banging, but the team was up and ready to go. Garret and Yoshi gave us real encouragement out of Philippians 2. Emily, Angela, Brandon, and Seth journeyed to the radio station to give their testimonies where they were joined by Kyle, Jordan, Jamie, Yoshi, and Domingo. The team dispersed across the plains of Somotillo with a group staying around the Casa to help build the Casa de Donald while the rest of the group ventured to Pascuala to help pour concrete and engage the community. In the afternoon, the team trekked to the village of La Flor to engage with the community there. We cooked a hot meal while the team played soccer, painted finger nails, and jumped rope. Phil Williams get’s a special shout out for replacing his eyeball with a soccer ball. Before we passed out the meal, members of the team performed a rap about Jesus feeding the five thousand. Afterwords, Brent gave a message from John 6 about Jesus being the bread of life. Garrett led the village in a call for salvation, and then the village ate. The village responded really well to our visit, and they chased us for miles down the road in hopes of clothing and candy. Being the saint that he is, Senor Donald surprised the team with ice cream providing everyone’s “God Moment” for the day. We came back to the Casa in the afternoon, and the team enjoyed fellowship through song, and block building with Mama Maria’s daughter, Mae. The team is still motivated and ready to go for another day out on the mission field.
Good Afternoon from Casa de Shelly!
We had a very productive day today. We began the day by going to the Radio Station Principe de Paz. At the radio station Justin, Amy, Parker and Jordan D. shared their testimonies and Domingo (one of our translators), Kyle, Jordan S. and Jaime sang a worship song for the listeners. Last night Donald told us that the radio station is reaching even further and so there is a good chance that this morning was the first time some Central Americans were able to hear the gospel! Throughout the time at the radio, the rest of the team was listening to the broadcast and praying for those sharing as well as those who were listening. After we went to the radio station, we all loaded up and got a LOT of sand from the riverbed. It was extremely hot and a lot of hard work. The sand we were getting we are going to use tomorrow in Pascuala to make cement for the foundation of the house we are building. Once we were done at the riverbed, we started to head down the road and we noticed a huge bee hive. Because of this we had the opportunity to walk down the river over to the ministries property. Once we got to Casa de Shelly from our walk we jumped back in the trucks and headed to Pascuala to unload the sand and play with the kids. All of the kids were very exited when we arrived and we quickly began playing games with them. Because all we were doing in Pascuala today was unloading the sand, it was a very short trip. We traveled back to Casa de Shelly and worked on some different projects around the property such as painting, getting more sand and laying brick. Lunch was delicious and included some of our American favorites: cheese (chicken) burgers and fries! After lunch we headed out to a village named San Francisco. On the way we threw out candy on the side of the road, it’s amazing how excited the people get even over a simple piece of candy. We arrived at the village and immediately began playing with the kids and socializing. Most of the guys went out and played soccer while the girls went in the ministry home and played jump rope, painted nails, and many had the opportunity to share the gospel in small groups. Many of the children in the village were able to pray to ask Jesus into their hearts for the first time. We then were able to hand out chicken soup that some of the team had made to the villagers. The lines were very long and we almost ran out of food, but God provided! We were able to bless many malnourished children, mom’s and dad’s with the food we brought. After leaving the village we threw out clothes, shoes and more candy to all the people lining the roads. On the way back, Donald surprised us all with ice cream at a local shop. It was very delicious! In a little while we will have dinner and get to bed early to begin another amazing day of ministry tomorrow.
Continued prayers and support are always appreciated!
From our Casa to yours,
With appropriate warning from Donald, the day was exactly like he warned us to be, starting with a lovely 0600 wake up call of knocking doors and yelling. Kyle and Parker lead an inspiring devotional out of the first half of Philippians 1. They spoke a lot about what it means to be persecuted and how we need to develop and show how committed we are to God and our faith in Him. After an outstanding breakfast from Momma Maria, the first group left for the radio station. Brent, Sarah, Phil, and Garrett shared their testimonies and Kyle, Jamie, and Jordan lead a few songs of worship. Words of encouragement were broadcasted through multiple nations to bring inspiration to millions. Their words were encouraging also to the team, their transparency brought us closer together as a group. After the group at the radio station came back, we headed out to Pascuala to work on the thirtieth house built by Because We Care Ministries in that village. We were welcomed by smiling faces and squeals from joyous children. The group then proceeded to dig the ditch for the footing of a house for one of the villagers. While digging the team engaged in various activities including soccer and fingernail painting with the children of the village. After completing the digging in a couple hours in the dry heat of Nicaragua, the footing ditch was finished. Then it was back to Casa De Shelly, to be filled with nutritious vittles, compliments of Momma Maria. Next we headed off to the village of Jinocuajo. At Jinocuajo, the team split up into two different teams, some of the guys played a couple of pick up games of soccer with the boys of the village while the girls and a few of the guys played with the kids at the local church, including leap-frog, coloring books, jump rope, and fingernail painting. After about an hour, we all joined up at the church and Donald told the people the story of God’s love for all people in the form of his son Jesus, who takes away their sins through faith. After this the team distributed a cauldron of soup to the villagers which will sustain them for a day then gave out packets of rice to the mothers for the next couple days. On the return the group threw out of the truck candy and clothing items to people who live on the road. This concluded the days work. Which leads to this very point where I am writing to you! Grace and Peace!