Well, here we are in Leon, Nicaragua. After a year in San Jose, Costa Rica in full-time language school (which, thanks to God I scored a 90% on my final comprehensive grammar exam and was given the status of Advanced Medium in my fluency level), we have finally arrived at our intended destination. As always, moves can tend to be stressful situations. And even more so with two children in tow, especially when one of them is a toddler. And to just add an extra measure of stress, throw in the fact that it is a move to another country.
So, yeah, the first few days we were all wound up a bit, but now we have re-centered our hearts on Christ from whom the peace of God richly flows to us broken vessels. And after spending some time as a family last night in God’s Word and reminding us that there is but one reason as to why we have moved here as a family, and that reason is so that the Gospel of Christ might be proclaimed and lived out in this small part of the world so that on that great and final coming day of the Lord, Nicaragua would be part of the great chorus of voices giving praise, honor, and glory to the Lamb of God. This is why we have come here. This is our purpose.
We are excited to be here. Everything is rather new and it will certainly take some time to adjust to a new culture. It will take time to learn all the different one way streets in Leon, practically all of which are not marked. We are only beginning to learn which is a one way street by the fact that pedestrians start waving their arms at us like crazy when we start heading in the wrong direction. So, the driving in the downtown area is pretty crazy. But we like this area. We like downtown because there is a lot of people and a lot of activity all around, but it is not huge. The city of Leon itself is certainly less than a hundred thousand people, maybe even half of that. So, downtown has this crazy busy feel, but really it is only for a couple of blocks, and then your out of downtown. I believe that Leon is one of the oldest cities in Nicaragua, maybe even in all of Central America. It used to be the Capitol of Nicaragua. Therefore there is a lot of old Spanish style architecture around the city. There are about 12 huge old catholic churches that have some beautiful architecture. So, the city is nice and has a real spanish feel to it.
But its HOT!!!! Yes, many people warned us of the heat, but we figured that if we were able to handle the heat of Haiti, then we should be able to handle the heat of Leon. And I think we will be able to do so, but let me tell you again…its hot here. The first few days were not that hot, and this morning I just told Maria that I don’t know what everybody has been making a big fuss over concerning the heat because I didn’t think it was that bad. And then just this afternoon it seems like the house we are staying in turned into an oven. I was trying to take a nap after church and I kept on waking up every 15 minutes with a face full of sweat. I just checked the weather and it said it reached 95 degrees today with 90% humidity…so, yeah, today was a hot one. But I still will say that Haiti is hotter overall. So, I’m sure we’ll survive.
Its been great that we have already connected with a few missionaries who also live in Leon. So, its nice to see that there is a small community of missionaries that we’ll be able to share life with. Most of these other missionaries also just arrived within the last few months. So, there is already a plan to start having a Sunday Night time of Bible Study and fellowship. I’m looking forward to getting more connected. We are also very excited about the opportunities for ministry that are already in front of us. Our passion is to share the Gospel and make disciples, teaching the Word of God and investing our lives into others for the sake of Christ, and there are certainly many ways that we can go about doing that.
Our ministry partners (the McEwans) had a team here on the day that we arrived. The team was on their last day and they invited us to go to the beach with them for their fun day, so Isabela and I went since Maria wanted to stay back and spend some time just chilling with Jake. I brought my fishing rod with me because…well…because I’m a fisherman, that’s why. But I’m also a fisher of men, and though the fish from the ocean were not to be taken that day, the Lord did give me the opportunity to share the Word of God with about 5 young guys that were hanging out on the rocks. It was awesome! It was my first time sharing the Gospel in Nicaragua, and of course…it was all in Spanish. So, I know I wanted to say some more things that just didn’t quite flow well off my gringo tongue, but I certainly was able to articulate the Word of God in a way that brought challenge and light to the guys I was talking to. The conversation just fell in my lap. They asked me how the fishing was, and the next thing I hear one guy saying is how he no longer believes in God. I was like, “Okay Lord, time to go fishing…for men” So, I probed him a bit and listened as he shared his thoughts about catholicism and organized religion. I directed him to God’s Word and told him that the word “catholicism” is not found anywhere in the Bible, therefore it must be understood that Jesus came for a greater reason than catholicism and organized religion. I shared with him what the Bible tells us about sin and how there is only one way that we can be forgiven of our sin, and that was through Christ. But then I also shared that if we truly understand what it means that Christ has forgiven us, then that will certainly cause our desires to change and will make us want to live for Him instead of for the world. I shared a while about what a true follower of Christ will look like and what he will strive for. I shared this because he was telling me that he believes in Jesus that he is the One who saves him from his sins, but it was very apparent that these were just words to him and that his life did not reflect that. So, I challenged him a bit on what it means and looks like to truly be a follower of Christ.
After about 15 minutes, he told me that he had to go because his mother was calling them all for dinner, but that he really enjoyed talking with me. Then, as he and his friends were leaving, he turned back around and told me that he really would have kept talking about these things if he didn’t have to go and that he hopes to see me again because I said some things that made him think. I told him that since I am a fisherman, I do plan to be back. He then thanked me for my good words, and I simply told him that they were not my words, but simply the Word of God. So, even though I did not catch any fish from the ocean, I praise God for the opportunity to be a fisher of men and share His word with those young guys on the rocks. I pray that our lives are filled with such opportunities each and every day.
We visited a bi-lingual Baptist church in Leon Sunday morning. The pastor was out of town, so they had a guest speaker. It was a good word. We enjoyed our visit. Isabela found some friends her age that she was able to play with. We met another missionary couple who also attends. I also had an opportunity to meet a handful of young Nicaraguan guys and just start making connections. We are praying that the Lord leads us to a church from which we can work out from under in helping reach the community with the Gospel of Christ.
So, please keep us in prayer as we get ourselves settled in over the next few weeks. We are house sitting for a month, but we already found our own house, so little by little we will be furnishing it over the next month. May the Lord be glorified in our lives as we are once again at a place of new beginnings. Our hope is that the Lord keeps us here for a long time, that we bear much fruit here for His kingdom purposes. Que Dios todo poderoso tenga su propósito en nuestra vida. – Cody