Today was another awesome day of ministry! We were blessed to be able to join another team from West Virginia and head over to Los Brasiles, where my buddy Coburn has an expansive ministry – providing education, meals, after school programs and spiritual development to this little community. Our camp team had the opportunity to fall in love with their kids three years ago, taking them down to to Campo Alegria on Lake Nicaragua.
I can’t help but wonder what impact it makes for these kids to see familiar faces again. I have no intentions of heaping praise on our teams, since we can’t take credit for anything good at all. Christ is deserving of all the glory! But to see the face of a child light up and begin to talk about their camp experience from years ago shows the power of relationships and more importantly the love of Christ that binds hearts together. “Above all, clothe yourselves with love, which binds us all together in perfect harmony.” (Colossians 3:14)
So today, we threw a Christmas party for the morning kids (preschool), complete with some time coloring, playing on the playground, a pinata and cake! We then walked one of the poorer (a relative term for sure) sections of the community handing out coloring books, crayons and candy. These families live in very tiny single room homes made of scrap metal or plastic tarping, with few have running water or electricity. Seeing such a great need, we left to return with bags of rice and beans and water jugs to hand out. The people were very grateful to receive these gifts and it was a tremendous blessing just to be able to give so freely to people with such need.
One of my prayers, in returning here to Nicaragua so often, is that I never get used to what I see. The sights, smells, poverty, trash and most importantly the people. It is so easy in Western culture to forget how the rest of the world lives. In our family devotion time tonight we looked at Matthew 9:35-38
Jesus traveled through all the towns and villages of that area, teaching in the synagogues and announcing the Good News about the Kingdom. And he healed every kind of disease and illness. When he saw the crowds, he had compassion on them because they were confused and helpless, like sheep without a shepherd. He said to his disciples, “The harvest is great, but the workers are few. So pray to the Lord who is in charge of the harvest; ask him to send more workers into his fields.
I always want to see people the way Christ sees people. Even beyond their physical need to the reality that in the depths of their souls there is a great spiritual need. That is why He calls them sheep without a shepherd – scattered and helpless. And He has given us the great privilege to introduce them to the Great Shepherd – Jesus Christ. May our time, energy and attention – our full lives – be given to this one resolve. That we would be the workers that the harvest so desperately needs. That our time, talent and treasure would be given to be used at the Master’s pleasure. That we would daily understand what it means to deny ourselves – our plans, dreams, hopes, schedules, safety, comfort, etc – and take up the cross of Christ which is the Good News!
The night couldn’t have had a better ending. The boys from Casa Robles and girls from Casa Havilah (rescue homes) were invited to the Buzbees for their Christmas party. We had a blast swimming, eating dinner together and then giving each one a gift. To see these kids outside their normal environment – most come from La Chureca (the dump) – and see how they have grown physically, emotionally and spiritually in the rescue homes is so encouraging and a testimony to God’s love and grace to the least of these. They too were once sheep – scattered and helpless and many have met the Shepherd.
God is at work. I am so honored, along with my family, to have this opportunity to join God at work here in Nicaragua. So let me say a big thank you to those of you who are following us on this journey, but also those who are supporting us in prayer and through financial resources. Soli Deo Gloria!