Day 11- Jueves (Thursday)

July 16, 2015/ Nicarauga 2015/ Mission Team'

Hola from Nicaragua~

Hottest day yet — high of 30 degrees but extremely humid.  We have been fortunate during most of our trip to have some occasional breezes which have refreshed us or rain or overcast conditions that sheltered us from the worst. Today however, the sun was unrelenting and frequent breaks and lots of water were needed to avoid dehydration and heat exhaustion.

Dragos, Pastor Ian and Pastor Cecilio work to pour cement into the rebar columns.

Dragos, Pastor Ian and Pastor Cecilio work to pour cement into the rebar columns.

Tonight there is a good breeze here at Jardin Shalom.  We enjoy a half hour or so most nights before dinner is served to call family and friends, swing in the hammock on the porch, check e-mail or chat in the open air lounge or rock in one of the many Nicaraguan chairs on the porch.  It is a tranquil setting after our hard day’s labour.

The first and second graders at Pastor Wilmer’s school learnt about good food choices today!

The first and second graders at Pastor Wilmer’s school learnt about good food choices today!

We are always greeted upon our return by one of the compound pets — Canuelo, (“cinnamon” in English) a docile and affectionate boxer; Angel, a small fluffy white dog (not sure of the breed, but reminds us of a Maltipoo or Bichon) and two cute six-week old puppies.

It is amazing to reflect upon the vision of Annette and Don Vickers in creating the PAN organization some 18 years ago and the Ministry they have been able to accomplish in this country during those years. They have been able to encourage and inspire many Presbyterians to come to Nicaragua to work alongside their brothers and sisters in Christ.  Approximately six years ago they were able to purchase this land and create Jardin Shalom as a place where visiting teams can rest and refresh themselves while here on various missions in service to our Lord and Saviour, Jesus Christ.

Pastor Ian and Gwenna pose with Pastor Wilmer and his wife with some items we donated to their school today.

Pastor Ian and Gwenna pose with Pastor Wilmer and his wife with some items we donated to their school today.

For many of us on this team who have never been to Nicaragua before, it is safe to say it is an experience that will stay with us forever.  We have often been moved to tears as we have witnessed the extreme poverty and need of so many.  At the same time these same people have humbled us with their gratitude for our gifts and visits and many times they have insisted on providing us with something in return — whether a heart-felt song;  hand-made crafts;  freshly-brewed sweet coffee;  a watermelon for our evening dessert or refreshing coconut water.  We have experienced a generosity that reminds us of the story of the widow with the two mites — they give from what little they have. The children shyly smile, or shake our hands with clasped hands (a sign of respect for their elders) and many times have given us spontaneous hugs. We have fallen in love with the people here.

Pastor Cecilio and David rocking it!

Pastor Cecilio and David rocking it!

Today was our last full day at our church build. It is a great encouragement to Pastor Pablo and his congregation who scrimped and saved and made and sold things in order to purchase many of the building materials to have our team come alongside them to raise their sanctuary. Today forms were cut for the front windows and doors which will have the traditional arch design.

After we left the build, we went to visit Pastor Wilmer in Managua.  Glenbrook’s 2008 Mission team helped Pastor Wilmer build a Sunday school building and also helped run a sports ministry that year.   We were pleased to see that Pastor Wilmer’s ministry is flourishing.  The Sunday school building is being well utilized and also provides much needed storage when extra Bibles/evangelistic materials are donated.  Pastor Wilmer and his wife also run a before and after-school program for more than 300 children.  This is funded by Compassion International and serves to augment their regular schooling.  The children also receive a meal at the school. Pastor Wilmer was very happy to see us and it is great to witness what he is accomplishing.

Sarah and Dragos share a joke while packing food bags.

Sarah and Dragos share a joke while packing food bags.

Tomorrow we will work for a few hours on the construction and then prepare and serve a hotdog lunch and of course, the Glenbrook favourite – cake!!   Then we will bid Pastor Pablo’s congregation farewell and head to the site of our 2011 build to distribute food packages to approximately 30 poor families.  Tonight we packaged these packages as well as prepared bags of clothing that our congregation and supporters provided.  Every day here has been jam packed and it is wonderful to know how many lives are being touched through the

generosity of folks back home who believed in this mission.  We hope you all are pleased with how all the resources were used to bring joy, hope, sustenance and comfort to those here in Nicaragua.

Adios por ahora. (Bye for now).  Watch this space for tomorrow’s update!