To be honest, I don’t think I will be able to totally put into words what our team experienced today. We put work aside for the morning hours and started our day with a visit to La Chureca (the city dump). I believe it is estimated that the dump has about 1000 residents, with the majority being children. They live in such extreme poverty it is hard to describe. They rummage for whatever they can find to sell or use. Most of their homes are made of discarded tin. There is a heavy spiritual darkness where physical, sexual and drug abuse is commonplace. Our team walked the “streets” of the dump and got to experience the sights, sounds and smells. We also visited Colegio Esperanza which is the school in the dump that the Buzbees run.
There are so many spiritual lessons to learn from the dump. I am always overwhelmed that but for the grace of God, that could have been my home. But that doesn’t ease the pain we all felt as we saw the residents there living in such deplorable conditions. Yet spiritually we relate pretty well to the dump. Just as some Nicaraguans live in the dump physically, many of us felt convicted of the spiritual dump we live in on a regular basis. God offers us so much more – like CS Lewis said, “a beautiful home by the sea” – yet over and over again we trade it for the dump that is our sin. I was reminded of the Scripture that compares us returning to our sin like a dog that returns to its vomit. It was an emotional visit and one that will stay with us for sure.
From there we went to see Sister Ruby for a time of worship and prayer and God definitely met us there! It was a powerful time in God’s presence and we all walked away challenged and encouraged in our walk with Christ. I am always amazed at the unity that results of our time there. It is always a great picture of the Biblical community we should enjoy and practice on a regular basis. We are all still processing our time – even after we met tonight to debrief.
We did make it over to Casa Robles and got some afternoon painting done until we had a huge thunderstorm roll in. We were working exterior and with latex paint so you can tell that wasn’t a good combination. Unfortunately we had to watch some of our work washing down the walls. But we did get to rest a bit after a spiritually exhausting day, as well as making more progress on the murals.
Our camp team finally arrived and everyone has been trying to squeeze in some time together before we head off in the morning to our projects and the camp team packs up to head down to Campo Allegria. The construction team will be dividing up with one team going back to Casa Robles to finish painting and others going out to Los Cedros to work on Pastor Manuel’s church.
It is hard to believe that the construction team’s time is nearing completion and the camp team is just hitting the ground running. We have all seen and experienced so much – especially today – that we count every moment here as a blessing from God. Please pray specifically that God would continue what He has started in our construction team and that God would open the hearts of our camp team for what He has in store!