However, moving on, I look forward to updating the blog once I return to the States and also sharing with you personally our experiences.
The last few days have been amazing.
We have had the opportnity to spend time with the Laredo, TX team and the Nicaraguan congregation they were working with. Last night the church had a going away program for the team with much praise and worship. It was so wonderful to see the youth of this church singing, dancing and praising the Lord without selfconscienceness. As one Laredo team member, Troy, shared in his testimony, ¨We came to Nicaragua to bless you, but we are the ones who have been blessed.¨
A couple of days ago Mike and Maria took us to the community of El Leminal. Friends, the poverty in this settlement is overwhelming. As I was talking with Maria afterwards, I asked her how she handles it week after week and she replied that she has to look beyond the poverty to the person.
In a previous post I shared about a group of four ladies in this community who have started a jewelry making business. In an effort to spend time with the ladies of El Limenal, I made up several beading kits so we could make bracelets together from the beads that were donated by the bead shop in Sacramento, U Bead It!. We had a wonderful afternoon of fellowshipping with the ladies, laughing and making pretty jewelry. It was so fun to see the women as they walked off purposely waving the hand with their new bracelet as we whistled and said, ¨muy bonita¨!
I was very, very impressed with the work of the four ladies. There is a website, which showcases their work, and the work of other artisans involved with NicaMade. I know that the beads, supplies and jewelry magazines I brought will be put to very good use.
We also had an opportunity to meet Cheryl Spence a bubbly Tennessee woman who runs ¨Jesus Centered Ministries.¨ If you click on this link, it will bring up the page specifically for Nicaragua.
Tonight Sarah is out with the staff of ¨New Song Mission, Nicaragua¨ to help out with the youth group in one of the communities they work in. I can´t wait until she gets home tonight so she can let me know what ministry they did.
Tomorrow we leave for Granada. I´m not if I will be able to post, so like my Mom would say, ¨expect me when you see me.¨
Right now, because of lack of time, I will just quickly post thoughts and hopefully fill in all the details later, along with pictures.
We´ve only been here five days, but so much has been packed in.
When our friends from Leon, Mike and Maria, picked us up in Managua Thursday, we took a quick tour of the city. We saw 6000 year old footprints discovered imbedded in volcanic ash, many monuments to the revolution and the cathedral of Managua, which is just a shell of a building as it was damanged by an earthquake in the early 1970´s.
Mike and Maria mentioned that even when they moved here in 2002 there was still rubble in the areas around the catedral, nearly 30 years later. It all seems to be cleared out now.
On Friday Maria, Sarah and I went on the tour of the Cathedral of Leon. We were able to go up on the roof and see sweeping vistas of the city with the volcanos in the background.
That evening we drove outside of Leon to visit a family who own a farm. We had to do a bit of four wheeling to cross a river to get to the farm. Henry (Enrique) and Fran (Francisca) are a precious Christian couple with three young boys.
Saturday we spent the whole day at the beach (tough, I know). It was beautiful sitting out on the veranda of a small hotel watching the waves crashing in.
Sunday we went to Mike and Maria´s church, Iglesia Christo Centro. It meets in the back of the pastor´s home. He built a large stage and the congregation sit on lawn chairs under a tin awning. We had a special time of worshiping through music with everybody clapping and dancing (they even started a spontaneous ¨conga¨line!). Pastor Freddy shared from the book of Joshua and the walls of Jerico.
Sunday, the mission team from Laredo, Texas arrived and we will be doing some work with them this week.
There is so much more I want to share, but alas, I have run out of time.
Anyway, we were able to stop by the Nehamiah center on our way out of town.
Some of you may remember Mark Tootle from the Christian Alternative band the 77s. I can remember going to one of their concerts in 1983 and seeing these crazy guys playing loud and long, writhing across the floor. Little did I know that 25 years later I would be singing with Mark and count him as a friend.
Mark's latest album, "Listen," is certainly a far cry from the musical stylings of the 77s. The beautiful arrangements and harmonies emphasize the heartfelt yearnings of Mark's lyrics.
Click here to preview the album and obtain information on ordering the CD.
The "Picture of Jesus" album is a full-length recording (2 CD set) of the rock opera. My husband, daughter, son and I have had the pleasure of performing in this amazing work several times over the last several years.
"Grateful" is a wonderful album of worship songs. Check out Jebby's MySpace to hear samples of his musical work.
A couple of weeks ago, I was in one of my favorite beading stores here in Sacramento, U Bead It!, and I shared with the manager, Yvonne, about our upcoming mission trip to Nicaragua and about the beading group. She immediately offered to donate a bunch of beads, tools and supplies to the cause!
Thank you Yvone and the staff at U Bead It! for your generous donation.
If you're in the area, please pop into the store and have a look around. They have a lot of wonderful beads and supplies, along with classes, kits and ready made jewelry. I could literally spend hours there - and I have!
2525 Yorktown Avenue
(off Watt & El Camino)
Sacramento, CA 95821