Wednesday, October 20, 2010

Short time, no see.....

Hello again!! So happy that I am able to write again in less than a year's time! It is almost a miracle! haha So continue on with the happenings of summer time teams, we had a a small team from Tacoma, Wa come and fill the Villa with hard work and lots of fun and silly-ness! They loved the girls form the Villa, played, talked, prayed and they sang A LOT! Our theme song for the week was "Never gonna Give You Up' by Rick Astley...My question was how did these kids know this sing so well? That is a song I grew up singing and I am no spring chicken. They were thrilled when they found out I knew every word! :)This team had the honor of planting an endangered species of trees at the school "Cama de Piedras" in Chiquilistagua. This is the school a majority of our girls from the Villa attend. We had an assembly with all the students from the school and then we had a planting ceremony. Each team member partnered with a chosen student and they planted trees together. Altogether I think we planted 60 trees in total at that school. We then planted some of the trees at other surrounding public schools.
This was a team that had a good time no matter what they were doing! They were 100% themselves and 100% accepting of all people. They had the advantage of having 2 Spanish speakers on their team which helped the team to connect with many of the people we served. They shared their powerful testimonies with our girls from the Villa, other teams and with each other. I learned a lot from this group and what it means to be saved from a former life that does not have to define who you are. That knowing and loving Christ changes your story the moment you surrender to Him. I knew that, but sometimes I think we don't get to SEE it played out in front of us and especially see it played out in young people. It is powerful for the people of this country to know that we have struggles in our country(USA) and culture as well. Sometimes Nicas watch TV and think that that is the culture and lifestyle for all North Americans. Through our teams they are able to see and learn about what most of our country lives like. They can hear about the struggles, hardships, and issues we have with in our own country, and alongside that, they can hear about how our Lord Jesus has overcome  it all  and has changed lives forever. We have a common bond that I don't think many of us think about or realize. We are given the opportunity to touch some one's life in profound ways if we only keep our eyes and ears open to God's leadership and guidance for us. This team knew that and I believe it changed and touched the lives of both the team and the Nicas they came to know and love.

We went back to 'The Refuge" ministry with a few more teams and were able to help complete the renovation of the building and the yard. God transformed this location with the gifts of many teams from many partnering ministries. 
We also had the privilege to visit HAT with a few of our teams this year. HAT is a temporary protection center run by the Nicaraguan gov't. In the past they had children with special needs living in their home for a longer period of time than the 21 days that supposed to be the amount of time children would reside there until they are placed back with their families or placed in a different more permanent location. Many of the children we came to know in the last year have been moved to other locations and HAT is now more of a temporary home for kids off the street.
The center has been upgraded leaps and bounds from last year. They now have two dorms for boys and girls, working lights and electricity throughout, AC in a few rooms used as classrooms. New paint inside and out. The new director has really stepped up and fought to improve the conditions to help the well being of the new children living there. Our teams helped by doing various small projects like yard work and painting, but mostly our focus was to build relationships with the children and workers. Spending and investing time one-on-one with the kids is really valuable in a place like this. We did crafts, played baseball, painted faces and just spent time sharing smiles with the kids. They in turn shared their gratitude by dancing for us. They danced national folklore dancing which as always is a pleasure to see. And it is always so good to know that they are learning about their culture and heritage in a place like this. 
 The Refuge in Los Brasiles

 Face painting at HAT

They go crazy for candy!

I have to close for this episode....My gardener just told me there was a big snake in my backyard and he wants to show me the skin it shed!! I just saw it and it's was at least 3 ft + long.....he says it won't go far and that it will come back at night and I should look for it with a flashlight or maybe it is in the house rolled up in a shoe....huh??? What the hecks?!? You want ME to look for the snake (big poisoness snake he says) at night??? And do what?? So he says he will come back at night and look for it with machete in hand, Praise You Lord!! Thank you for sending me people who look after me!! 
Soon to come: Eight new girls move into Villa Esperanza!! Yeah!!