Last week, we went to Nicaragua to explore ministry possibilities and meet with some possible partners in ministry. Some of you were praying for us and we are very thankful that you kept us in prayer. We had a very productive trip. I (Maria) will let Cody elaborate about the ministry details of our trip, especially since we are still in the praying stages regarding some of the things that we saw, discussed, and learned.
For now, I just wanted to share with you a series of picture posts about our trip. Nicaragua is such a beautiful place. The people are very kind and we felt very welcomed. I really enjoyed learning more about this country, its culture, its people, its ups and downs, and the opportunities for ministries. I was amazed at the beauty of the country, but also burdened over the spiritual condition of Nicaragua.
We arrived Managua, on Thursday afternoon. We rented a car and spent the first hour and an half driving around looking for our hotel. Yes, we had our GPS with us and we also had downloaded the Nicaragua map that another missionary recommended, but unfortunately the hotel where we were staying was NOT programmed in the GPS. So we spent what seemed like forever just driving around looking for a hotel that we later found out was only 7 miles away! We were exhausted. Not because of the travel, but because we were mentally tired of asking people if they knew where the hotel was only to get a thousand different opinions of its exact location.
Once we found the hotel we quickly programmed it into our GPS as HOME. This made our lives, and our travels, much easier. If we ever got lost (which thankfully we didn’t) all we had to do was push the HOME button and there you have it! What a great invention this GPS is!
On Friday, we met with Eric Loftsgard, the director of Nicaragua Christian Academy and a board member of the Nehemiah Center in Nicaragua. Eric works with a ministry that is currently in the process of starting a school in the city of Matagalpa. He invited us to tag along with a team from Florida that was working with him for the week. We visited the school site in Matagalpa and also a rehabilitation home for malnourished children in the city of San Ramon.
We rode with the team on a school bus to Matagalpa and San Ramon. We had a great time of fellowship, but also getting to know Eric. We learned so much about his ministry and about the people of Nicaragua. We also shared our hearts for teaching and training and making disciples of Christ. My favorite part about this day was learning about how the Lord has provided for the school of Matagalpa and getting to know some of the team members from Florida.
On Saturday, we visited some ministry sites with a local missionary, Lincoln Wright. He took us to the place where he feeds and disciples 200+ local children from a barrio in Managua. We also walked around the neighborhood and drove around the city to check out some of the places where Lincoln ministers. He took us to a great place for lunch somewhere in Managua. The food was super good and super cheap!
In the afternoon, we met with Dr. Jeff Love and his wife Heidi at a ministry called El Samaritano in Managua. Dr. Jeff and his wife are also exploring ministry opportunities in Nicaragua. We got connected with Dr. Jeff through Dr. David Sills from Reaching and Teaching. We were really excited to meet Dr. Jeff and Heidi and to hear their hearts for making disciples in Latin America. After spending a couple of hours with them we all went to dinner at a local pizza place called, Casa Mia, with the directors of El Samaritano. We were encouraged to hear liked-minded people share about the many opportunities for the gospel in Nicaragua.
On Sunday, we went to church at International Christian Fellowship Church. This is a church made up of local missionaries and expats in Nicaragua. They preach in English. We decided to go check it out and see if the Lord would have us make any connections with other missionaries. The Lord allowed us to meet some wonderful people at the church and learn about what other missionaries are doing. We were also encouraged to hear about how the Lord is moving some of the missionaries from Managua to take further steps to bring the gospel to other places in Nicaragua where the gospel has not reached.
After church we headed to the city of Granada. I loved the city of Granada! It is a very pretty city rich in Spanish history and culture. It was also an incredibly hot place. We made it out of the car, walked a few blocks, and turned around to find one of the guys with a horse carriage to take us around the city and give us a tour. HA! There was no way I was going to walk with sweaty Jake around this hot place. We had forgotten how hot it can be anywhere outside of San Jose, Costa Rica.
We had a great time in Granada. We learned so much about the country’s early years and early struggles. We also learned how the city has risen from the ashes (literally) three times and is now established as a favorite tourist spot in Nicaragua.
I purposely chose not to take pictures of the people because I wanted to be respectful of them. I didn’t feel comfortable taking pictures of the people without asking them.
In the afternoon, on Sunday, we had dinner with a wonderful Nicaraguan couple that we met during our first trip, Hector and Yaimi. We have been keeping in touch with them over the email and they invited us over to their house for dinner. We enjoyed getting to know them and their family. We had a great time of fellowship and talking about our Lord.
I hope you enjoy the pictures. In my next post I will post some pictures of Matagalpa and Esteli. These are two other cities we visited.
Many blessings to you!
For this I will praise you, O LORD, among the nations, and sing to your name.
(Psalm 18:49 ESV)