Our first full day is now nearing completion. As I sit up here on the third view looking out into the darkness, a cool breeze envelops me (even though my legs are burning with my laptop on them) and it is a gentle reminder of God’s presence that has been all around us so far this mission. I’ve been leading our team time at night through a study on having an intimate relationship with God – really learning to listen, follow and walk with Him.
I’m always curious as to why His presence seems so much more palpable down here. It’s not that I believe that He is here in greater dosage, but that our senses are much more aware as we are outside our normal routine, comforts, technologies, distractions, noise and the list could go on and on.
We started our day with some great time alone with God after breakfast and then had the morning to unpack all the donated clothes that will be used in various communities down here. Since we start our first day of camp tomorrow, we then loaded up and headed out to Las Parcelas – the community where the Ruby Ranch is – and where we are hosting the camp. This is quite a change for us as we all anticipated and prepared for using Campo Alegria again this year. But as we are learning together – God is in charge here and we want to be moldable and adaptable to His plan.
You see, last year, we worked a day out at Ruby Ranch doing seemingly mundane tasks of clearing trees and cleaning up at the playground (see post here from August 2011) where most of the team really struggled to see the purpose. Then in December of 2011 when I was down here with my family, we held an awesome block party out at the Ranch (see post here) which allowed me to see some of the purpose of what we had done earlier that summer. Then today while we were setting up at the Ranch, the light clicked on for many of us who were on the team last summer. Little did we know the work that we were doing last year would pave the way for us to be the first team to use the Ranch for a camp. God is so patient with our lack of vision and understanding and then gracious to give us glimpses of His awesome plan at work!
So we are excited and a bit apprehensive about our camp starting tomorrow. It’s in a new location, different amenities and just all-around ‘new’. But in our wondering, God has already said to us, “I’m here, I’ve planned this and I’ve got this.” Whew… that is always a relief. We are just praying we continue to learn to trust and walk in greater faith.
Another unexpected this year was that this team would turn into a full-fledged construction team as well. God is yet again surprising and challenging. We did some small construction projects last year, but this year we are going to do a complete home for a great family. Manuel currently lives in a 1-room home with a side “kitchen” that probably isn’t much larger than 8′ x 10′ with his wife and two daughters. We surprised them “Extreme Home Makeover: Nicaragua-style” with the news today and they were overwhelmed.
You see, 10 years ago, Manuel sold all his goats to purchase construction materials to build a new home for his family. He got an area leveled out and about 4 rows of blocks up all the way around before he ran out of money. For 10 years now, they have looked in faith to God to provide. How awesome that God chose to use us to help his vision become reality. What a great lesson to us in stepping out in faith and trusting – through a long wait – for God to provide.
We are praying God will do a good work at the Manuel’s home and at our camp. We’ve already seen some of the kids who came to Camp last year and even one of the ones who gave her life to Christ. We are praying for more to do the same this year!
PS – You can check out some of our mission pictures here