I have done something last week that I haven’t done in a very long time. Taken time to reflect and sit.
I haven’t wanted to miss any “downloads” that God has wanted to place in my heart from our family’s mission trip to Nicaragua. I want to savor those memories and have God meet with me to make sure I didn’t miss something deeper that He wanted me to see.
It seems like I actually learned a fair amount from the people of Nicaragua. One thing is for sure, they don’t get in a hurry. They don’t have a reason to.
I seriously try hard to be punctual going to places or in taking my children to appointments or events. We live somewhat out from town so planning is key in order to accomplishing this task.
I never realized how much of my day surrounded my thoughts in… “ok.. I need to go here, and don’t forget to do that… then this afternoon we will need to take care of this…and for dinner we will have _____ which entails me thinking way ahead and planning for this so not to mess up our schedule…
Does that sound crazy? I don’t like that I am living in a “hurry up” mentality most days.
On the first day of our mission trip we were to head out to a church in Managua, Nicaragua. The bus that was to pick us up was an hour late. We all sat in the entrance hall of the hotel waiting. And waiting… The kids didn’t seem disturbed by it and I actually was enjoying some reflecting time and time to visit with my sister. We weren’t in charge of our agenda so I can see why we were just trusting our leader to know all that was going on.
It seemed like everywhere we went everyone had this same mindset. They were very laid back in their approach to life. I noticed this characteristic in these beautiful people and during my time to Nicaragua I actually developed a hunger to learn how to relax more.
Sometimes God puts us in circumstances where there is nothing else that we can do but wait. We have to develop patience because we aren’t in charge. This is sometimes harder for some of us than others.
Later that same morning, we were deep entrenched in our agenda of visiting with the 4 churches and schools to hand out 200 bible lessons and back packs, when we had some “surprise” circumstances that was beyond our control. Once again, we were called to trust the one in charge. Hence, another reason to just relax, and enjoy the moment.
We were traveling about 10-15 miles back into a jungle-like area. The roads were curvy and primitive. There were plantain fields that covered the pastures as far as you could see. So in case I haven’t made my case clear enough for you….we were DEEP into the remotest of areas of Nicaragua.
All of the sudden our bus comes to an immediate halt!
There was a makeshift bridge that was in front of us and we clearly realized that we weren’t going to be able to get our bus over it. That is…it was obvious to everyone except the driver. We assured him that it would be unsafe for us to attempt to take the bus over the bridge. It was a nice day anyway, so we asked…
“How long of a walk is it to the school we were to be going?” They said, “Only about 1/3 kilometer.”
That didn’t seem far at the moment. So we began our trek across the bridge on foot.
You can see in the pictures that this bridge was pretty shaky with its structure. We had a small truck with us that was carrying our Bible lessons and even backpacks filled with school materials that we were giving out to the children. Fortunately, that truck DID make it over the bridge.
We placed Mom (with a history of knee and foot problems) and some of the kids up on there and they took off to the school to let them know we were coming.
This 1/3 mile was actually more like 2 miles. 🙂 We were engulfed in the moment.
It didn’t matter a hill of beans to us that we were walking. This was the most beautiful countryside. These people lived in such humble accommodations. It tore at my heart to see how they even survived in these conditions.
My thoughts screamed, “I take so much for granted! I am so sorry Lord! Quicken my heart to see the excess in my life and how to glorify you! But Lord, I notice one thing…they seem happy and they have smiles across their faces.”
They were unaware of how poor they really were. But they were so happy. Smiling at the “missionaries” passing by. They all knew we were headed to the schools because as we passed – you could tell they finished their lunches out in their front yards and headed on mopeds to the school ahead of us.
They were so hungry to hear about our friend Jesus! It was priceless.
This is a picture of John Mark Eager, who heads up the Mailbox Club, who we were traveling with. He has such a passion to see these kids get the absolute best gift they can – JESUS CHRIST! The discipleship lessons take these kids through understanding creation, sin, forgiveness and salvation. The children are just are hungry for knowing about a Savior. They end up sharing these lessons written in their languages with their families and many more are brought to Jesus.
We haven’t forgotten our Nicaraguan people and I am not sure if a part of them will be with us for quite some time. We saw Jesus there in so many ways.
At the end of this hard day of ministering to all these people, many of us had questions that were swirling around in our head like..
“Why are they in these conditions and I live in a country with healthcare, Tylenol, and a home with air conditioning?”
“Can they ever get to a better state of living?”
“Is that what you want Lord?”
These are questions that are hard to answer, especially in a children’s mind much less an adult’s mind.
So we decided that we were so close to the Pacific ocean part of Nicaragua that we took a detour and headed to the beach to end our day with a few hours of down time before sunset.
Here was the sun set that I felt like God specially delivered to us. Isn’t it beautiful? God’s message in this scene comforted my questions and said to me…
“I am here and I am in control. Learn to trust Me with all things, slow down and appreciate the important things in life. Love me with all your heart and go to the ends of the Earth to tell others about My Son Jesus.”
Please listen to this song by Christy Nockels “Carry Your Name” that she sang at Passion Conference 2011. It hung with me the entire time on our trip. God speaks so much of the simple-ness of the power of the name of Jesus. There are so many that are searching for this in our world. Who are you to share it with this week?