So, we returned from our trip to the states last Tuesday. We were there for almost a month and I must say that we were extremely busy practically the entire time there. We spent 5 days in South Florida, then drove to Asheville North Carolina where we stayed 9 days, then drove to Connecticut where we stayed 9 days. We spoke with many people, several churches, and had several home gatherings. As most of you know, our primary reason for the trip was to share about our ministry and pray that God would bring more monthly supporters to our team so that we can continue here in Nicaragua doing what God has called us to do. Overall, I would say that our trip was very successful in the fact that we had so many opportunities to share and encourage the body of Christ through the Word of God and our testimony. We had an opportunity to spend time with so many of our good friends as well as make new friends. And, thanks to God, many more people have been led to become part of our support team. So, even though our time was incredibly busy and it was anything but a vacation, we had a great time and we are so thankful that the Lord used it for His glory.
One stop along the way, of course, was to visit Susana’s memorial in Black Mountain, NC. Its always hard to be there. I can’t help but cry whenever I go, but it is also just a sweet time to remember Susana and to dwell on the fact that she is living the true life having been lifted for the shadowlands where we still run. She finished her race. We still run, and with a joy knowing that Jesus is our great reward, but that also we have a little cheerleader who has become part of the great cloud of witnesses that urges us on. We miss our Susana and think about her every single day. I was sharing with Maria just the other day that I still see Susana completely as part of our family even though she is not here with us. Its like when I think of my kids, I automatically think of Susana as part of the group. No, this isn’t some denial type let’s imagine that my daughter really is sitting at the table kind of thing, but rather a fact that my little girl is alive and well living in the presence of Jesus, but she was born to Maria and I and she will never stop being our daughter. And we don’t have to force ourselves to think like that…its just the way it is. That’s why we think about her every single day even though she is no longer with us physically on this earth. She is still just as much my daughter who I love so much as my other children who are with me.
Whenever we do this kind of whole family, international, we’re missionaries so let’s stock up on everything we need while we’re in the states, type trip, our travel day back to Nicaragua is something that we all must prepare ourselves for. Its not so fun when my family, which consists of myself, my wife, my 9 year old daughter, and my almost 2 year old son are responsible to carry 5 suitcases, 4 carry-on bags (which if you are a missionary, you know that you pack your carry-ons to actually weigh more than your suitcases so that you can take advantage of the free weight), 3 back packs, a baby stroller, and a car seat! Oh what fun! Its not like I can expect Jake or Isabela to pull their own weight. So, that leaves Daddy to load and lug all the bags up to the counter while Mommy and kids look pretty while waiting in line. Haha. Seriously, I am always super jealous when I see a businessman passing by me in the terminal with nothing but a briefcase and a newspaper while I’m strapped with a backpack that weighs about 30 lbs from all the computers stuffed inside, an over the weight limit carry on gym bag across my shoulder, pulling two 50 lb suitcases, and having to go a snail’s pace and stop every minute because my daughter is falling behind. haha. Welcome to the family missionary travel back to your country day! Can I get a witness?
But now we are home in Nicaragua. We are really coming to love it here. We finally got our visas, so we are officially residents of this country. Woo hoo! Anyway, it has been great to get back to our lives and ministries here. We are super excited to see what God is bringing about for us, how we are growing in His grace and truth, and how He is using us to share His grace and truth with others.
Last Saturday, after the leadership meeting, a big group of us went out into the city at night to bring food to the homeless. This was Guillermo’s idea and it looks like we will try to do this once a month, just as a way to demonstrate the love of God to the people in our community. We gathered at the church where the women were already cooking the olla gigante (gigantic pot) of rice and chicken. We served up about 70 meals, then piled in the back of a few old beat up pick up trucks and drove to various parts of the city to give these meals to the homeless and hope and pray that God would use it to open the door to share the Gospel. We had a great time serving together, and even though we have to work out some major kinks, it was a great first time doing this. And the Lord opened the door for some of us to share the Gospel with a few people. I was excited to hear that this was Guillermo’s idea, something that he has been wanting to do for a while.
Also, we visited with Guillermo and his family a few days after we got back. We were excited to see them and to give them some of the gifts that we brought back from the states. I was most excited to give him the theology books that we got for him (well, actually good friends of ours blessed us by making the purchase) so that he can begin to get better trained and equipped to be a pastor. I am so excited because I am going to start meeting with him twice a week for several hours to teach him and take him through various training. We are going to start with a book that is a free pdf download called Si Jesus which is a detailed look at the doctrines of grace which are seen all throughout scripture. He is super excited to get started and I am super excited to begin teaching him. So, please pray for the both of us as we begin next week. The books we gave him are “Teologia Sistemática” ( Systematic Theology) by Wayne Grudem, “La Predicación” (Preaching) by John MacArthur, and “Sigueme” (Follow Me) by David Platt. He has already started reading “Sigueme” and likes it a lot.
We resumed our Tuesday Bible Study with the kids in Guillermo’s neighborhood yesterday. It was great to see those kids again. I spoke to them about God needing to have first priority in our lives over everything else. I spoke about the first commandment from Exodus 20 and how Jesus related the same thing when he said what the greatest commandment is. I then shared the story of the rich young ruler who went away sad after Jesus showed him in his heart that he was not following the first commandment because his riches were his god. It was a good message. Then I passed out bracelets to each of them that I had bought in the states that say “I am Second” signifying that Christ alone is first and I encouraged them to live in such a manner as this.
Scott and I met this morning to talk about starting up our Bible Study with the guys at El Anexo. The computer classes continue to go well and continue to give us open doors to get more into the lives of these guys. So, the plan is that we are going to take them all out for a fun day at the beach in a few weeks. We’ll play some soccer on the beach, then we’ll eat dinner with them at a restaurant on the beach, and then we’ll announce the startup of the new Bible Study. I am excited about leading this study and being able to bring the Word of God to these guys. I think I am going to use a study by Paul Washer called “El Único Dios” (The Only God). It is great material that will just teach these guys about the nature and character of God. I pray that the Lord uses it to open the hearts of many who hear. Please be in prayer as we get ready to start this.
Well, there are a few other things that are going on, but we’ll save it for another time.
Oh yeah, one more thing…Maria is pregnant! We are super excited! Peace.