Today was an amazing day. We loaded up our family, with Brinson leading the way and Moses in tow, to head out to the Ruby Ranch to put on an afternoon block party for the kids from the Las Parcelas community. For those up to speed on our Nica Missions, these are the same kids that our summer missions team took down 40 of them to Campo Alegria and put on a camp and then returned to their community for our Extreme School Makeover: Nicaragua Edition. To read more about what our team did this summer, click here.
Las Parcelas is a very poor and rural community. Some will never leave their community, swim in open water, ride a bus or even travel to Managua. Now that we have started a relationship with them, that the Buzbees are continuing to develop, we are continuing to look for ways to make an impact for the Kingdom on this community. And we knew this party would be a big draw, since the schools are out and the gringos were coming!
We arrived and got to work getting ready about 15 bikes – which all needed air in the tires or small tune-ups. Then we headed over to the playground area to set-up tables for the cookies and cokes we would have later. I had many “moments” today, but an early one for me was just watching everyone in the family helping in their own way and working together to get everything ready for the party.
Then the first group of kids showed up, probably not knowing what to expect. But within a few moments we had 50 kids and few adults running around going crazy. We introduced them to trampolines which was hilarious to watch as the realized they could fly up in the air as they jumped. Then they became true Nica trampolines, each with about 10-12 kids all trying to jump together! We also hosted bike races around the field for prizes (that my little boys had a hard time giving out since they were former toys that they “donated”). Turn #2 on the bike race course was a tough one that gave us many laughs as the kids would fly uncontrollably from the downhill (mainly due to brake problems) into the turn and miss, landing in a pile of grass, hay and sticks. The would disappear for a minute and then pop back up and rejoin the race.
In the middle of the craziness and fun… I had a God-moment. Or God had a moment for me. Either way, I was standing in the middle of the playground when I remembered the day our team spent out there this summer. We spent all day in the hot sun chopping down trees, clearing brush, leveling ground and digging up stumps. Another team prior to us had come in and installed all the playground equipment and then we were there to get the area ready for us.
But it was a hard day for everyone on the team. We had just spent 4 days at camp investing in relationships and loving on kids and there we were – just us – working on a project that seemed a little tedious and probably less important. In fact, I remember fielding some “concerns” about the work we were doing during the day, and then at our team time at night, hearing the struggle to find value in what we had done that day.
And so there I stood today, when the light bulb turned on and God brought to mind what Paul said in 1 Corinthians 3:6-9, “I planted the seed, Apollos watered it, but God has been making it grow. So neither the one who plants nor the one who waters is anything, but only God, who makes things grow. The one who plants and the one who waters have one purpose, and they will each be rewarded according to their own labor. For we are co-workers in God’s service; you are God’s field, God’s building.”
Little did our team know… and little did I know that the work we were doing that day was in preparation for the great day of ministry that my family and I had today. We were just a part of the seed planting process. The mundane task of clearing a playground area that would later culminate in a block party before the year was out! God made it grow. And when I think of what ministry will continue to take place at the Ruby Ranch – God will be continuing to make the seeds that teams are planting or watering to grow into fruitful ministry.
The kids and parents all came up to thank us today for coming out and putting on the party. And they even asked if they could have another party really soon. And so I sit here writing this tonight, thanking God for giving me a glimpse into the big picture. Thanking Him for inviting me in to a moment with Him when I see a bit clearer than normal. And thanking Him for allowing me to serve on a team this summer that was just a small planting a seed in the larger plan of God of revealing His love and grace to a tiny, rural, farming community in Nicaragua.