Our journey in Nicaragua ends today… but the mission does not. This is something we train and press in to all of our mission teams. We are not missionaries because we go on a mission trip, but simply because we are followers of Christ. He has saved us and sent us on the mission to make disciples wherever we go. For us, Nicaragua just happens to be one of those places.
We tried to squeeze every opportunity for ministry – to learn, grow and serve into our time in Nicaragua, so we stayed on a regular schedule this morning with breakfast, team devotional and TAWG. But then it was time to say our “see you laters” since we don’t believe in goodbyes! We loaded up the bus, but not to go directly to the airport. We had the privilege to visit Club Esperanza first.
Club Esperanza is a newer ministry of Open Hearts that started after the residents of La Trudeca (the city dump) were relocated. The Buzbees had a long standing ministry to the residents of the dump and ran a school there for many years. God opened an awesome door for the ministry to continue to the people and even others is surrounding communities through the Club. It was purchased and has been renovated and expanded. It hosts a preschool, feeding program (2 meals/day), tutoring, after school care, computer lab, playground and so much more.
It was so cool to get a tour of the neighborhood and the Club. In the background, we could smell the smells of the dump and see the burning pillars of smoke rising in the air. It brought back many memories for me as we took many teams through the years into the dump. It was always a spiritual wake up call for us – to remember, but by the grace of God, that could be us. But also to see spiritually that many of us still live in the dump when we run back to our sin day after day.
It was time to load up and move through Managua to get to the airport. We took in all the sights as our love for this country has only grown deeper through our time here. One last Nica lunch in the airport and we were bound for the US… but on a delayed flight. This made for a stressful time trying to make it through customs, immigration and security. We were slated to board at 6:40p and some were still in the security line. Most were able to snag a bite to eat and bring it on the plane with us.
From Houston we were off for Orlando. We made a speedy entry, landing and taxi due to a medical emergency on our flight. We prayed as a doctor on board helped the man. EMT boarded and took him away, but we were able to see that he was stable and our team followed him down the hallway of the airport.
We said see you later to two team members in Orlando, while the rest of us loaded up our charter bus for the 4-hour trek back to Tally. We arrived at 3am and a few were picked up, but the rest of us crashed in the student center for the night. It was an eventful, long and exhausting day of travel.
But we’re back. And the mission continues. We’ve just changed locations. So we’ll continue to love, serve, grow, share and do ministry together. That’s what we are called to do!
I’m personally incredibly grateful to this year’s team. They worked very hard whether camp or construction or some days, both! The Spirit most certainly unified this team in heart and purpose. God showed up in our midst – working in and through us! We celebrate the changed lives… many of which were our own! We are grateful to God for His presence and power and recognize that He alone is worthy of all of the glory!
PS – Stay tuned to the blog for some guest posts by our students reflecting on their time.