Today we rested, ate, relaxed, ate, shopped, ate, chilled and then we ate some more before we checked in to the airport Hotel here in Menagua to get ready to come home tomorrow. We fly in at 8:00 pm tomorrow night so be sure to meet us at the Continental baggage claim for kisses, hugs and stories of our adventures. Love you our family. Hasta ma’ ana.
Today made it all worth while. We attended church in Bethesda this morning, Pastor Gary preached the Word, we had an incredible altar time and then Pastor Antonio and the people of Bethesda prayed for us. It was powerful and God moved tremendously among us.
After church was the big reveal when the people of Bethesda got to see the finished school for the first time. All of the kids of the school were there as well, and by their faces you’d have sworn they just went to Disneyland. The people toured the newly renovated facility, saw the awesome new classrooms, the kids new uniforms, school materials, curriculum and school supplies. And the best part of all, we got to see the kids playing on the playground for the first time.
Several team members, including many of our men, wept openly at the sight. Thank you God for letting us be a part of this.
We stayed there for a long time and then headed out to our next hotel. After a brief delay with a flat tire on the bus we were on our way. It was an awesome little place on the beach where we were able to decompress.
The last thing we did together was baptize several of out team members in the ocean under the starlight. We worshipped God knee deep in the Pacific Ocean, under a sky full of vibrant stars, lightning flashing on the horizon singing, “How great thou art.”
It was a good day. Thanks God. We really needed that.
Tomorrow is our last day, then we get to come home and see you all. Can’t wait.
What the heck!?!?!?! That’s all we can say. What! The! Heck!? Seriously!
So where to begin…
Today started as normal with breakfast and heading to the school to work. At 9:00 am people from the village started to show up for the big outreach. We had a great time of prayer and worship with them, a short message, and then we had the first of one year of food distributions that you, our GV Christian Center family, gave the money to provide for the people of Bethesda. It was very touching truly moving to see the gratitude in their eyes as we handed the families simple bags of food.
After the outreach we jumped right to work. Many of the team were working on painting murals in the classrooms and the rest were trying to complete many of the detail and grunt work jobs outside to finish the project. All the while we kept praying for our second container to be released. Then at 1:00 pm we got the call that the container had been released. Immediately 6 of the burly men including Geoff Sample, Mark Verslues, Nick Cootware, Paul Kendo, Curns Moore and Pastor Steve jumped in the car and jammed to Menagua to unload the trailer and gather the remaining supplies and items we’d need for our project including the playground equipment. This is when things started to get a little nuts.
The remaining team at the school finished up everything the could and headed back to the hotel for a brief rest at about 4:00. That was about the same time the six men arrived in Menagua at the Convoy of Hope/Latin American Childcare Headquarters to throw down with a shipping container full of food and supplies. These guys busted out the entire container, a semi-tractor trailer, in under two hours. They were animals, truly men among men and their iron was sharpened.
Those guys loaded up all the remaining needed school supplies, uniforms, tools, and playground equipment and headed back up to Bethesda. They encountered a few strange obstacles along the way but God got them all the way through. They met up with the rest of the team at 8:45 pm at a gas station and jammed up to the school.
We unloaded the truck, divided in to teams and blew through the school grounds like a tornado. Classrooms were coming together. Kid’s backpacks were being stuffed. Final paint and details were going up on the walls. Playground equipment was being assembled, leveled and concreted in to the ground. We went beyond a second wind to a third, fourth, fifth, sixth, seventh and finally nothing but the Holy Spirit wind holding us up.
We worked until almost 4:00 am, but we got it all done. We were exhausted, sweaty, beaten, bruised, bloodied and battered, but it was done. Truly our blood, sweat and tears went in to this school, and God helped us make it through. And through it all, not one person complained.
God released our containers. God gave us the strength to make it through the night. God did it all. All glory be to God.
Our final workday and God came through in a big way. Church tomorrow. Love you bunches and see you soon.
God continues to surprise us every day. In fact in the words of Gia Shafer, “Today has been the best day so far.” Of course she’s said that every day, so now we are just wondering what God’s going to do tomorrow.
After breakfast and devotions we started the day leading chapels at the Bethesda school. We led one from 9:00-10:00 for the K-3rd graders and one from 10:15-11:15 for the 4th-6th graders. Gia shared her testimony in the first chapel service along with Marie Strange. Cindy Bones and Leah Dwyer shared their testimonies at the second service.
Team members Kaleb Salazar, Mike Clark, Mark Verslues and Amanda Allred joined the Convoy of Hope interns performing in funny skits with a great gospel message to the kids. Pastor Steve then shared a simple message from the Word geared to the kids and we closed with the team members praying for the kids and sharing some love and hugs.
We played with the kids for a few minutes before they had to go home then started jamming to get our work projects done. God gave us rain and cloud cover in the hottest part of the afternoon which helped us to push through until almost dark.
Right at the end of the day one of the villagers brought his ox cart just to give us rides and, beyond language barriers, you could tell he was just so proud to be able to bring a smile to our faces. Then right as we put away the last of our tools and paintbrushes the storm to end all storms moved in and the sky erupted unlike anything we’ve seen so far. The thunder, lightning and tumultuous rain lasted well in to the night and after dinner and devotions many of our team members went outside and soaked it up, literally. In fact several went up on to the rooftop terrace to watch the lightning flash across the sky and stand in awesome wonder of God’s power displayed.
We’re past the halfway mark, and coming home soon. Keep sending your prayers. We need them. That’s how you are a part of this team.
Dios le bendiga. That means God bless you.
Wow. That's all we can say, just wow. We started work early this morning and were getting pretty tired by about 10:30. Tell you what, that heat and humidity takes it out of you. And the sun here is INTENSE. We are only 2 degrees off of the equator so it just feels like the sun is just beating right down on you.
The kids got out of school at 11 am so we got to play with them for about a half hour on their way out. Some played soccer (futbol), some played basketball, some twirled the kids around giving them spinning rides and a few of our girls even busted out some finger nail polish that they put on the little ninas, whose faces just lit up! It was so much fun to play, and hug and interact with the kids. Really it was a highlight for many on the team.
After the kids left, we got back to work and stopped for lunch around 12:30. We had ham and cheese sandwiched and Pringles (they love Pringles here) and Nicaraguan cookies.
Immediately following lunch we all headed out and took a prayer walk around the village. We handed out candy to kids, talked to villagers and prayed for them and their families and just interacted with the people of Bethesda. It was amazing.
After working and walking though, we were hot. Yes, I know we keep saying that but, seriously, it's hot. We were sweaty and covered in dirt from the job and the midday sun was just beating down on our heads when all of a sudden black clouds rolled in, lightning flashed, thunder rolled and the heavens opened wide. It was like God was saying, "There you go, now just keep going a little longer, kids."
We danced and sang and worshiped God in the rainstorm while we joyfully went back to work. It was refreshing to the core and reviving to the soul. Rain down God, rain down on us!
We heard the rolling thunder, God's power throughout the universe displayed. How great thou art, oh God. How great thou art.
We miss you. We are incomplete without all of you, our family and friends, but we are safe and God is really taking care of us.
Love, us :)
Today was a WORK day everybody. We got to sleep in a little this morning, had breakfast at 7:30 am, devotions at 8 and left for the jobsite at 8:30 to start working at 9. We tore out the remainder of the foundation and finished the clean up of the demolition job. We got a lot of painting and priming done. We moved a ton of volcanic rock and debris. We dug a trench to run electricity to the school building, which we then had to fill up (just a small part) at the end of the day because it ran across the main entrance gate and our bus needed to be able to drive out. Oh, and we hit a water line while digging the trench and thanks to Sam Ingall's quick action were able to get it fixed before we flooded the whole yard. Of course we managed to have some fun today too, that's just who we are. Get the job done and laugh and play while we do. We are feeling a bit sore and fatigued so pray for us please.
Today, we took a break from the hardcore manual labor and concentrated on the even more hard core spiritual labor. Our team was invited to minister in the Sunday morning service at a church in a town called Corinth (yes, just like the Bible), and the Sunday night service at a Church in a town called Chinnandega. In both services we joined the churches in worship, which was awesome because we were worshiping in different languages and crying out to the same God, amen! We all did a skit together in both services. We sang a fun greeting song at one church and Pastor Kevin led a worship song at the other. Then in the two services, team members Kaleb Salazar, Mike Clark, Nannette Bratton and Mark Verslues were given the opportunity to share their testimonies. Pastor Steve preached the Word in both services and the altar time at the end of both was AMAZING!!! Our team members were praying for people to be healed, for salvations, for outpourings of God and His Holy Spirit and God showed up. People were weeping at the altars. Several people our team members were praying for were overcome by God and fell out in the power of the Spirit. People were healed and delivered. And let me say it again, God showed up.
Today was truly an incredible day for everyone on the team. I will tell you though that we all sweated more today in church than all day working hard in the sun yesterday. Everyone was drenched. Pastor Steve even sweated completely through two shirts and a tie. That's right, even his tie was soaked.
God is good. We love you all dearly.
First day on the job and we were excited to get started. After an awesome breakfast of fresh fruit, rice and beans, and scrambled eggs we headed out and arrived at the Bethesda church and school at 8:30 am. EVERYONE was AWESOME! Every team member went right to work after job assignments were given. Some started to clean up the back side of the property so the kids at the school can plant a garden. Some started to paint the exterior of the school. The rest demolished an old outdoor kitchen building that was right in front of one of the main new gates to the property in the wall that YOU, our GV Christian Center family, raised the money to build. Video of some of our projects will be uploaded shortly. It was a lot of hard work, and we sweated a lot. Seriously, a lot. No I'm telling you, a whole lot, but it was an awesome day. God bless you all. We miss you!
Well today we finally gathered at the airport to depart for Nicaragua. We arrived at McCarran at 10:00 pm last night to check in the whole team and get set to leave. By the time we got everyone checked in and through security it was 11:30 pm and our flight was scheduled to leave at 1:00 am. We boarded at 12:30, and sat, and sat, and sat, and didn't actually end up flying out until after 2:00 am.
We landed and had a brief layover in Houston, Texas, then left for Managua, Nicaragua at 9:15 Friday morning. We finally arrived early Friday afternoon and grabbed our bags, got through customs and made our way the 2 vans and a bus waiting outside to take us to our hotel.
The first thing we noticed was the humidity. It is normally in the 90% range here. We're used to the heat, but when is 97 degrees with 95% humidity it's insane! There is also a thick smoky smell that permeates everything here. As with many foreign countries, people are constantly burning fires. Some are to cook. Some are to get rid of garbage. They all smell pretty much the same.
We left the airport, had lunch at a restaurant called "Rostipollo" and started the 3 hour drive to our hotel.
Nicaragua is called the land of a thousand volcanoes. That's pretty cool. There are actually less than 20 active volcanoes in the country, but so far we have seen at least 5.
The village we are working in is called Bethesda. That is where the church and the school are located. In 1998 when hurricane Mitch struck Nicaragua, it triggered a huge chunk of the nearby volcano to crumble and caused a massive mudslide that killed over 5000 people instantly. Many of the bodies were deposited where Bethesda now sits and many people who had lived at the base of the volcano before the incident relocated there. It is a small village with a very sad and devastating past. Every resident here lost someone in the mudslide and many people lost multiple family members. The events that took place here 10 years ago still haunt the residents of Bethesda, but God is truly doing a great work here.
So to end our Friday, we drove from our hotel to the church and school site at Bethesda to tour the facility and see the work we would be doing. We were warmly greeted by the pastor and his family, and some of the guys on our team joined several village kids playing basketball on the court our church raised the money to build. It was a long day but a great day.
We love you all.
711 Valle Verde Ct.
Henderson, NV 89014
We believe you should look forward to church. You'll experience a casual, friendly atmosphere, life-changing support ministries, joyous worship and humorous and relevant messages. We hope you and your family find your home here at GV Christian Center.