Bringing DCC's and God's Love To Nicaraguan Students

Well, we are in our final day here in Nicaragua. Yesterday we spent the entire day at Rey Salomon School with the kids sponsored by Dayspring individuals and families. We did a short program for them, and then met and interviewed each one, giving them the notes and gifts sent with us by their Dayspring families. We’re bringing back notes from many of them for their sponsors.

After the time at the school, we went on an outing with the kids that many of us sponsor. We took them to Pizza Hut for lunch, and then were going to visit an active volcano with them, but rain forced us to go to plan B, spending time with them instad at a children’s park.

Many emotional tears were shed as the sponsors saw their kids for the first time in at least a year. For some it was the first time meeting them.

See you Wednesday night. Please pray for safe travel for us!

Thanks Dayspring!

Emily is a high school student who is sponsored by the Dayspring Student Ministry. The students gifts go to support this bright, winsome student who has big dreams.

Emily is a high school student who is sponsored by the Dayspring Student Ministry. The students gifts go to support this bright, winsome student who has big dreams.

Sue and I spent the afternoon with Yarmin, a bright, talkative little girl. She is sponsored by Dayspring Kids, and our kiddo's offerings go toward making sure she gets every possible chance to succeed.

Sue and I spent the afternoon with Yarmin, a bright, talkative little girl. She is sponsored by Dayspring Kids, and our kiddo's offerings go toward making sure she gets every possible chance to succeed.

Wow, God Is At Work!

Things here have been so busy! Yesterday we left La Quinta at 8:30 in the morning, and pulled back in at 10:30 at night. The day was full again of more construction of the home, food distribution to poor families, and an amazing event we did for the entire church family including serving dinner to everyone, playing some fun minute-to-win-it games that had everyone laughing until they cried, doing an amazing drama in Spanish which touched people powerfully.

Today we did an event for about 40 teens which built relationships with them, had a ton of fun, and challenged them to follow Christ and not turn back!

There are so many stories we could tell you, but we will have to wait until we have more time (and internet). Hopefully these few pix will give you a taste of some of our experiences.

The work begins to give someone a new home!

The work begins to give someone a new home!

Getting ready for the footers.

Getting ready for the footers.

Here is the dear lady who is going to have a new house!

Here is the dear lady who is going to have a new house!

Old house gone...ready to pour footers on the new house (which we did).

Old house gone...ready to pour footers on the new house (which we did).

Some of the kids who are going to be superheroes for Christ.

Some of the kids who are going to be superheroes for Christ.

Having fun with the guys at the teen event. This young man's father came to the church for the first time. He took the challenge to become a follower of Christ and to be the man God wants him to be. That may just be a part of this young son's joy!

Having fun with the guys at the teen event. This young man's father came to the church for the first time. He took the challenge to become a follower of Christ and to be the man God wants him to be. That may just be a part of this young son's joy!

The winner...she was able to get a cookie from her forehead to her mouth, just by moving her face around. Pretty fun to watch.

The winner...she was able to get a cookie from her forehead to her mouth, just by moving her face around. Pretty fun to watch.

Mikalyn's new friend.

Mikalyn's new friend.

Brad's new superhero friend.

Brad's new superhero friend.

Thai's new friend. Yes, that is a huge cockroach...and no, he didn't eat it!

Thai's new friend. Yes, that is a huge cockroach...and no, he didn't eat it!

You Are Praying...God is Working!

Wednesday we had the amazing privilege of starting to build a house for an elderly lady who lives just a couple of blocks from the church we work with. We know her because we have taken her food each year here. She is at least 85 years old, but no one, not even her daughters, knows for sure. She’s very small and frail, and when you hug her all you feel is bones. For years she has lived in this small, dirty shack, cobbled together from old bricks, and random pieces of wood and tin. A small electric light allows them to see inside the windowless dwelling. We can imagine her joy when soon she will finally have a comfortable place to live. So part of the team spent the day digging a trench in hard, rocky soil into which the footer will be poured. The rest of the team wired up rebar which will reinforce the footers and form the support columns for the walls. This was extremely hard, dirty work, and the team was exhausted! Yet after supper they all pulled together for over two hours of sorting through the various things we brought: gifts for our sponsor kids, supplies for our events for kids, teens and adults, toiletry items (which Dayspringers donated) which will be handed out when we distribute food.

This morning (Thursday) we did a lot more rebar while others went out on “food distribution.” We take along 6-7 of our team along with a translator and we go to the homes of people in the church or those people the church is trying to reach. We go into their humble homes, converse and pray with those living there, and present them with 1-3 bags of basic food items and toiletry items. It is amazing how much the people open up with us, even though they don’t know us very well and most of us don’t speak their language. Many tears were shed today.

In the afternoon we did 2 children’s events in the church, and something amazing happened that showed me the importance of what we do here…but we’ll save that story for tomorrow. We’ll also save our pix for tomorrow because our internet connection won’t let us send them right now.

Thanks for praying for us. We can feel it!

We Made It!!!

We made it! Arrived at our "hostel" just before 11:30pm Indiana time. Just ate a delicious breakfast, and are getting ready to get on the bus and go to the worksite where we will start work on the house we are building for an elderly lady in the congregation. Updates tonight with pix! Thanks for your prayers!

NIcaragua Blog - Pray For Your Team

At the Sunday gathering Pastor Steve prayed for our team, which is leaving on Tuesday. We are counting on God to use us and to work in us. I hope now that you will pray for us starting today and continuing every day until we are back. Why? Your prayer matters!

From left to right: Cayden Skaggs, April Bednarczyk, Troy Snyder, Easten Russell, Karalee Russell, Mikalyn Doty, Joyce Doty, Thai Rotz, Kyle Skaggs, Sue Lyne, Bill Lyne, Jennie Stauffer, Becky Gordon. Four of our valued team members are missing in this pic: Brad Nordness, Nolan Traylor, Amber Poling, Gracey Yarian.

From left to right: Cayden Skaggs, April Bednarczyk, Troy Snyder, Easten Russell, Karalee Russell, Mikalyn Doty, Joyce Doty, Thai Rotz, Kyle Skaggs, Sue Lyne, Bill Lyne, Jennie Stauffer, Becky Gordon. Four of our valued team members are missing in this pic: Brad Nordness, Nolan Traylor, Amber Poling, Gracey Yarian.

If you can we'd love for you to come and see us off at the church this Tuesday (6/13) at 7:30am. Watch here for our regular updates.

Wow, It's Been Busy!

We have been super busy the past couple of days, and have not had time to do an update. So here is a quick tour of what’s been happening.

THURSDAY - Cement, Food, & Kids

Cement - Some stayed at the church and completed the cement walkway between the pastor’s house and the back of the church, which will allow them to not have to walk through mud and dirt every time they go back and forth or use the restroom.

Food – The rest of the team did our final round of food distribution, visiting the humble homes of many who live in the local “barrio” of the church, and praying with them.

Kids – In the afternoon we did our biggest kid’s event of the week, using high-energy music, crafts, and a fun skit to help them grasp that “there is always hope when the God of hope is in their life.”

They all went home with a backpack emblazoned with these words: “Tengo Esperanza” (I have hope).

FRIDAY – Family Time

We spent an enjoyable day building our relationship with the pastor’s family (including their married children, spouses, and grandchildren). It included a tourist boat ride and a great meal together.

In the evening we attended their church service and said our goodbyes to the church family.

Tears flowed as we hugged these dear brothers and sisters in Christ and took selfies with them. We came here to bring them hope (esperanza) and it was obvious that with God’s help we were successful. But there is no doubt that we received just as much encouragement from them…and we will ever be the same.

SATURDAY – Winding Down

Today was our free day, and we spent part of it swimming and kayaking at a beautiful lake in a volcanic crater (where I saw this little guy).

As I write this we are on our way back to “La Quinta” where we will eat an amazing dinner (all the food here has been amazing), and then we will get packed for our 4am departure (6am Indiana time).

By the time you see this we will already be in route, but please pray for safe travel. See you soon!

Bill Lyne

Changing the World One Child at a Time

Wow!  Day four has turned out to be an amazing day!  Far greater than I had anticipated.  Our God truly is an Awesome God!!!

Two years ago I was in a weekly service at Dayspring and listened as I was told about the need for sponsors of Nicaraguan children.  I was inspired, as was my son, and we both sponsored a child. 

I wrote a check to NRN, we wrote our letters, bought our gifts for the Dayspring Nicaraguan team to take on their annual trip; and the next year……we did it again.  I knew God was giving us the opportunity to bless these children, and I was thankful for that opportunity, and happy to do it.  An easy….logical decision.

Now that we are members of Dayspring’s Nicaraguan team, today we had a chance to meet our sponsored children. 

Today….Yes, I had a truly amazing day.

My child’s name is Jimmy, and Cayden’s is Julio.  They both have special needs and without the opportunity to attend the private school that our sponsorship allows them to attend, they would have little hope for more than a very meager existence. Due to the severe poverty, and living standards that are shocking to us as Americans, most of the children in Nicaragua will probably never rise above these conditions.  However, the children that attend Rey Salomon school are provided an opportunity to truly rise above.

Today, the easy, logical decision, to sponsor a child that I made two years ago, became a decision of the heart.  God touched my heart as Julio’s older brother explained to me that he was accompanying Julio on the visit, only because their mother could not, because she just had surgery and would be bedridden for two months.  However, he wanted to show me a letter that their mother had written to me, graciously thanking me for the hope that I am offering Julio and their entire family.  Both Julio’s brother and his mother expressed such sincere gratitude and thankfulness.  This sponsorship, that I honestly have to admit that I am doing halfheartedly, and that I am only thinking about a couple times a year, is providing this family with hope.  It is sincerely changing their lives.

Our team also met with many of the kids from the school.  We brought them gifts from their Dayspring sponsors….and we played with them….and spoke with them…and we began to see firsthand….they truly are God’s children, and they are beautiful.  They told us about their dreams and aspirations.  They are each so much like our own children.  They smile….they laugh…and their eyes sparkle, as they anxiously tell you who they want to be some day.  They have hope!!  In the midst of this poverty stricken area, where it appears there is so little hope, these children are bursting with hope and are anxious for their future.

As we left the school today, I thought again, how amazing our God is.  How these kids have hope because we are offering them the chance for a very good education.  They have hope because we are offering them the opportunity to learn about Jesus.  Jesus is changing their lives!  Jesus is changing their families, and Jesus is creating the opportunity for the children we sponsor to change their communities.  Jesus is giving them hope!!!


Kyle Skaggs

Bag of Hope

Tuesday – Day 3

It is end of day three. It feels like three monthsGod is good (Dios es bueno!).

Mucho (many) mucho blessings and God’s love is spreading through his Dayspring Nicaragua team. Today we have finished mixing concrete in Pastor Chama’s walkway between the Tabernacle Aqua Viva and Chama’s home. The old concrete was busted up and removed via buckets and many willing hands. The new concrete mixed under direct supervision of Cecil (of Quinta Primavera) and work foreman, Kyle Skaggs, of Dayspring was completed. Although I was blessed with concrete work yesterday…God wanted me to work with distributing food to local church families today. I had no idea what I was in for.

            Of the seven families we visited in one hour, one particular family touched my heart. We were asked to enter a home where the Grandmother was living with her grandson’s family.

When you enter a home, you need to be invited inside. We visited most of the other families in their doorways or modest front yards, where you may also see dogs, cats, chickens or even turkeys running about. One of our group leaders will greet the family by introducing our group and explaining why we are there. We offer them a modest bag of food and toiletries from God. We then ask them if they have anything they want us to pray for. Each one of them needs prayers…just like their American visitors. Our leader will then ask for permission to lay our hands on the family and pray all at once, Nicaraguan style!

The grandmother had her feet propped up in front of her with medicine spread on her legs and ankles. She had been having medical problems with her legs related to fat on her liver and she wanted us to pray for her health. She lives in her grandson’s home. This home is so small by any American standards. It is just such a culture shock to see how little they have. They are so grateful for our small offering from God. The grandmother reminded me of my own grandmother, who is 95 and living with my mother in Wolcottville. I just wanted to bundle her up and take her home with me. She was so sweet and giving it just melts your heart. God was with us in that small home today. I know that God has a plan for this family.

After food distribution and finishing the concrete walkway, we gathered for a modest lunch and then geared up for two children’s events. God’s love spread through the group and kept us strong with sharing the love of God, even though some in our group were not feeling the best. This Nicaraguan team is doing amazing things in the name of God. Send your prayers and positive thoughts to us!!! Praise God! God loves all of us.



Mix, Mix, Mix

Hola! Como está? That’s my sentence of the week. Hi guys! Amber here! It’s day 3 down here in wonderful Nicaragua. We are all doing amazing things despite our small size.

We are hand mixing concrete and pulling some odds and ends jobs around our wonderful sister church. We have begun food distribution, and our lovely kid’s events, one down two to go! Sunday we enjoyed a wonderful church service alongside our Nicaraguan brothers and sisters with fellowship and food afterwards.

You know, I came down here thinking that I might even lose a couple winter pounds but noooo. I have not eaten one thing so far that I didn’t have seconds of. We have a lot of first timers on this trip, including myself! That hasn’t slowed US down at all. We are all doing things quickly and efficiently at everything we are put up against, and believe me, God IS testing all of us in different ways. God has got some amazing things in the works for us here. Stay tuned throughout the week for updates and pictures! Tengo Ezperanza! 

God, Community, Love

June 12, 2016


Some bags were placed on standby (meaning they could get there 1-8 days later).

The checked bag conveyor belt was not working (meaning we had to take all 1,000 bags down to the end of the terminal).

Our flight was delayed (probably because of our 1,000 bags).

Our connecting flight was boarding as soon as we landed in San Salvador (but it ended up being delayed...)

Nicaragua customs wanted to check all 14 duffels that we had (after checking 4 or 5, they decided we were good to go).


All of these things could have caused anger and could have dashed our spirits, but because of the amazing God that we serve and live for, we remained strong.

By the way, God blessed us during that long day of travel by blessing us with a short security line.

God is bigger.  


On Sunday, we got to sleep in until 7:30 (believe me, that is sleeping in). After breakfast, worship, and devotional time, we prepared for our biggest event for Pastor Chema's Church. 

The event was focused on the hope of community and the one God that we share and server as a family.

After a message on hope from Pastor Bill, We presented Pastor Chema and his church with a banner that had pictures from past trips and represented the community and partnership that we share as brothers and sisters in Christ. 

My favorite part of this evening was that we were able to serve dinner hand have dinner with our Nicaraguan church family and celebrate what God is doing through us. 

My passion (and everyone else here) for Nicaragua and this bond we have with our family, comes from God.

What God is doing here in and through us is far greater that anything we could ever do on our own.

Gavin Mosier

Gavin Mosier

Leaving Chicago

Leaving a little late for San Salvador, where we will have a really short connection time because of being delayed 40 minutes in Chicago. Pray that we're able to make it. FYI, we got thru TSA checkpoint in 15 minutes. Incredible!!

We are scheduled to arrive in Nicaragua at around 11pm Indiana time. 

It's Almost Here

We are just a few days away from our trip to Nicaragua to share the hope of Jesus with the people there and to encourage our sister church, the "Tabern á culo de Agua Viva" (Tabernacle of Living Water). Team members are (l to r):  Bill Lyne, Michelle Snyder, Cayden Skaggs, Kyle Skaggs, April Bednarczyk, Gracey Yarian, Gavin Moser, Natalie Haley, Amber Poling, Sue Lyne, Becky Gordon, Jennie Stauffer      The team leaves Saturday morning, and we invite you to come and pray with them at 8am at the church.      We will try to post here daily, so check regularly...and keep us in your prayers!

We are just a few days away from our trip to Nicaragua to share the hope of Jesus with the people there and to encourage our sister church, the "Tabernáculo de Agua Viva" (Tabernacle of Living Water). Team members are (l to r): Bill Lyne, Michelle Snyder, Cayden Skaggs, Kyle Skaggs, April Bednarczyk, Gracey Yarian, Gavin Moser, Natalie Haley, Amber Poling, Sue Lyne, Becky Gordon, Jennie Stauffer

The team leaves Saturday morning, and we invite you to come and pray with them at 8am at the church.

We will try to post here daily, so check regularly...and keep us in your prayers!

A Day of Rest.

Today started as the others with a hearty Nica breakfast but as we departed at 8:45 we were not heading to Tipitapa for ministry but rather the “Potter’s House”. Our scenic drive, lasting over an hour, was a progressive climb with dropping temeratures and gusty winds; a welcome respite from our usual high temperature sticky day. Reaching our destination revealed a simple man who works clay and produces stunning art pieces. The man’s mission however is much deeper than simple clay. He explained that his work with clay is like God’s work with us forming and molding us into a more refined piece. Everyone enjoyed his demonstration of throwing clay and firing it culminating to a trip to the area to purchase pieces. The potter accepted only a love offering as payment. We prayed for the potter and his family which was most welcomed.

Phase two of our rest day took us nearby to an extinct volcano for an afternoon of swimming, kayaking, and tubing. The team enjoyed a bellyflop and cannonball diving contest off of the swim platform. We enjoyed a wonderful lakeside lunch and then resumed lake activities. Our drive back to la Quinta was longer than expected and we arrived late for dinner. We ate the meal that was ready but our wonderful cooks were gone for the evening so clean up was our chore.  Our porch meeting was started with a devotion done by Mark Foster which was quite a blessing and then our meeting was interrupted by a disc jockey at the rental hall next door. The music was so loud we could not here each other. Pastor Shawn explained everyone needs to go into the dinner hall and sprung a surprise birthday cake and song on Mark Foster and Caitlin Sido. We all enjoined the moment and then regrouped to organize all material movements for tomorrow. All of us truly enjoyed this special day of rest and ended the evening with a cold beverage and plenty of loud dance music into the wee hours.

Michael Richardson

Why Not?

We just heard that Donald Trump is officially running for president.  Running for president has never really been part of Josh’s master plan for his life, but tonight he says that he’s thinking, “Why not?  After all, everyone else seems to be running.”

Conveniently, this leads me to the main idea of tonight’s post:  Why not? 

Flexible plans are a must in Nicaragua.  According to the official schedule for today, we were to distribute food, finish our work project, and lead our final children’s party.  But the barrio we’d planned to deliver food to is mostly working families who aren’t home during the day.  We finished the work yesterday, and there was miscommunication about the time of the party…for the third time.  Develop a flexible, last-minute new plan?  Why not?

I know what you’re thinking.  It starts with U and ends with HAVEGOTTOBEKIDDINGME.  Flexible, last-minute planning is uncomfortable for many Americans.  When we say the party starts at 1 p.m., we mean 1 p.m.  After all, time is money (that’s almost definitely gotta be from the Apostle Paul).  While rigid scheduling might seem comfortable for us, it’s not actually a biblical principal.  Clothing ourselves in compassion, kindness, humility, gentleness, kindness, and patience IS, however; so that’s what God has us learning.

Since Plan A was a fail, and several other plans fell apart, Flexible Plan J was this:  First, we took a quick tour of the boardwalk of Lake Managua.  When we arrived at Pastor Chema’s church we split into several work groups.  Caitlin and Lisa prepared lunch while Mike moved dirt.  Abby, Robin, Danielle, and Kaitlyn went back to visit the 10 year-old girl with cancer who broke our hearts yesterday.  Gavin, Mark, Dante, and Josh went to investigate a potential project to help some elderly women who have 3-4 feet of flood water running through their home every time it rains (which is often).  Karalee, Shawn, and Becky met with Chema to talk about current needs for his church and his family.  Braelyn, April, and I prayed over the pastor’s ailing in-laws and their granddaughter.  After lunch, we held our third party for children, which turned out to be a much bigger group than expected.  Do all of that in 91 degrees with 89% humidity?  Well hey, why not?

And I’ve got to say, Plan J was a good plan.  We were able to meet unexpected but important needs.  We were able to demonstrate patience and kindness in significant ways we couldn’t have foreseen or planned for.  God’s plans for us are always good plans, so why not? 

Jane Foster

Courage, Dear Heart.

“Courage, dear heart.” C. S. Lewis

Today, I saw a lot of courage, a lot of love…and a whole lot of God.

To say that it was an emotional roller coaster would truly be an understatement. I personally have never experienced as much emotion and as much God in my life.


I was part of one of the food distribution teams today, and we traveled with Pastor Chema out to some of the homes that were farther away from the church.  Going into it, I was nervous, because I did not even know what to expect from this experience.  We went to the home of this older woman and her two daughters.  This woman does not know her age, so she always says that she is 85.  It seemed like a complete miracle that she was still alive, considering her living conditions.  I still have not been able to wrap my head around the living conditions of so many beautiful, wonderful people.  I probably won’t realize it until I am gone.  This woman’s heart was so beautiful and her faith was unforgettable.  They had rocks piled up around their home and we asked them why.  They continued to tell us that when it rains, water washes into their home (which was made out of scavenged materials, with cardboard beds).  We decided to take time tomorrow and help them build up their wall so they can at least sleep in comfort without the fear of losing the very few possessions that they have. 

People who know me well, know that I love the whole abstract idea of magic.  Magic has different definitions to different people.  Today, what I experienced, and what the team experienced was way bigger than magic.  It was God. It was God working.  It was 100% living God.  There were a lot of factors today that were out of our control and things did not go to plan.  We almost had to cancel our first event due to the kids not showing up due to miscommunication. However God provided us with the kids, especially with a very, very special child named Crystal.

  We had the honor and privilege of meeting Crystal. She was a 10 to 11 year old girl who has terminal cancer.  She came in and she was very frail and sunken in. The translator was hugging her so tightly, praying for her.  My heart broke, as I watched tears run down their cheeks.  As I watched her throughout the event, and as the translator introduced her as “princess,” tears rolled down my face, one after the other.  After all of the kids left, we surrounded her and we prayed our hearts out for her and lifted her up to God.  As we were starting to pray, I looked at her eyes and a tear rolled down her cheek.  I wiped her tear away and I began crying hysterically.  Never have I experienced such a heart break in my life. 



We told Crystal how beautiful she was, we told her that God made her special, that He loves her deeply and unconditionally. It was easy to see that her faith has been shaken by this evil that is cancer.  A majority of us have been asking that faith defining question of “Why God?” I am asking myself that.  Why must Crystal go through this, why must she be in so much pain.  I can only hope that I will discover the answer to that once I get to the streets of gold.  Don’t get me wrong, I have so much faith in God…but sometimes there are those questions that there are no answers to and I must say “Yes, Father” and continue having faith that His will be done. 


Crystal changed my life.  We all obviously pray that God will place His healing hand on her.  But we also know that His plan for us is so much greater…no matter what we wish it would be.  If God’s plan for her is to come home to His precious arms, Crystal has given me a reason to be more excited when I go home to the Lord.  I get to see her beautiful face again.  I get to walk with her in streets of gold, rather than streets of dirt and dust.  She will no longer be bound by the slavery that is cancer. Those chains will be gone and she will have a reason to smile once again.

 If we’ve even had a sliver of the impact on her, that she had on us…that would be enough.  I pray that as she goes to sleep tonight, she knows that she is so loved by this team, and more importantly that she is so loved by the God who created her beautiful heart.  I hope that from this night forward when she says her prayers, she is reminded of the pure love that we have for her and that God has for her. God bless that beautiful little girl and her precious heart.  Never have I been so heart broken and inspired by courage in my life. I love that little girl with all of my heart and with all of my being.  I think everyone else on this team would agree.  My cup of courage is now overflowing, and my heart is anxious for the day that I get to see her again, whether it be tomorrow, or in God’s almighty kingdom.  Courage, dear heart. 

Haggia 2:9 "The glory   of this present house   will be greater than the glory of the former house,’ says the   Lord   Almighty. ‘And in this place I will grant peace,  ’ declares the   Lord   Almighty.”  On the wall where Crystal lives...

Haggia 2:9 "The glory of this present house will be greater than the glory of the former house,’ says the Lord Almighty. ‘And in this place I will grant peace,’ declares the Lord Almighty.”  On the wall where Crystal lives...

Gavin Mosier

Cockroaches and Tarantulas

Karalee here.  Josh composed the first blog and Braelyn scripted yesterday’s.

Quick run-down of today…After an early breakfast of rice/beans, eggs, and fresh fruit we set out on our first journey to Church of the Living Water.  The 45 minute drive on the small, non-airconditioned bus (Jane has affectionately named Dante’s Inferno) was full of singing, great conversation, and yes sweating. 

Once we arrived at Chema’s church the team was divided into three groups.  2 groups traveled the neighborhood to distribute food bags, pray with families in their humble homes, and encourage them with the hope and love we know comes from God.  The other group was composed of solely guys.  They had the not-so-glamorous job of hand-digging a trench for sewage pipes so that tomorrow we can install new sewage lines for the toilets.  The quicker this project is completed the sooner we have toilets at the work site/church.  You guessed it, we either have to “hold it” all day or shall I say “rough it”.

While digging the trench with the pick-axe the group experienced Nicaragua in the raw.  First there was a colony of very large cockroaches that emerged.  Shawn decided it would be amusing to see what would happen if he threw one in the rooster pen.  By his accounts the rooster pounced on the scurrying critter and devoured him with his beak.  The next surprise produced from the broken earth was an emerging tarantula.  One of the guys “wacked” him with a shovel and another split him in half.  Someone said the rooster would eat that as well.  Indeed he did.  While on this mission trip I have learned the tarantulas live underground and that roosters aren’t vegetarians.  Hmm.  Who knew? 

After several hours of food distribution and trench digging we reconvened as a group for a simple lunch of chicken salad, pringles, trail mix and summer sausage.  Then we joined together to host a children’s event for 54 children ages 5-8, although Jane is certain that she had a three year old.  The theme this year is “you are special.” 

There was singing (if you had been listening you might have heard “Allelu, Allelu, Allelu, Allelujia” on the wind because those sweet children sang louder than an 11 o’clock service at DCC).  As Lisa read a story by Max Lucado, the children’s team presented an award worthy performance of “you are special”.  Mike didn’t wear a tutu, but he was a fabulous wooden doll.  April was the prettiest doll and Jane was the strongest.  I am certain the skit won’t make the big screen at DCC, but the children loved it and heard more about how God created us just the way He wanted to.

The children made cards for someone in their lives to encourage them and remind them that they, too, are special.  We played parachute games with the children and sent them off with hugs, high-fives, and a gift bag.  I was so proud of the group and how they worked together to make sure each child experienced love today and heard just how special they are.

A long bus ride back landed us at La Quinta for an incredible meal of baked chicken and vegetables.  Gavin said that while the chicken was incredible he had a difficult time eating it because he kept thinking of the experience with the rooster.  We then met for early evening devotions and singing.  Joshie played guitar and led us in authentic worship.  I wish you could have seen them singing.  It was beautiful worship!  Danielle shared a devotion about encouragement as she read from II Thessalonians. She chose the topic because she said that she has witnessed so much “servitude” and encouragement among the team thus far and she didn’t want us to lose it.

I am humbled by this team.  They are doing a fabulous job of serving the Nicaraguans as well as each other.  They are sharing a love that continues to build each other up and breakdown walls so that we may be stretched outside of our comfort zone.  This positivity is indeed making us more effective out in the village of Tipitapa.  We are a true team that only God could have woven together.

Pray that we stay strong and healthy in every way.  Pray for our families because we are certain it is getting really difficult for them.  Pray for these sweet children that we will minister to tomorrow as well as the women’s event on Saturday.  And please pray for the projects that we are trying to complete.  #TGBTG (pound to god be the glory)

We know you love and miss us, as do we!  By praying, caring for our families, sacrificing for us to be here…you are serving!  Thank you!  We appreciate you.


Sponsorship Day!

Today the team spent the day creating memories with every child that is sponsored through Dayspring, and I must say it was quite the success. The morning was spent with the children whose sponsors were unable to accompany us on this trip. We began by introducing ourselves, which then led to several ice-breaking games. The games were based off the tv show “Minute To Win It.” The room was filled with laughter as children raced from one side of the room to the other while carrying a cotton ball on their nose only attached by Vaseline, while then shaking their heads above a table to get the cotton ball off of their nose. The giggling continued while we used a parachute to send beach balls flying in all directions of the room. After the games were over, tables were assembled for different activities. One table was designated for a craft to remind each child that they are special to God and they are loved. The next table was set up to allow each sponsor child to draw pictures and write letters to be returned for their sponsors. And the final table was used for the sole purpose of distributing the gifts sent by the sponsors for each child.


                The afternoon was then spent by taking all of the team members sponsor children out to lunch and to a park overlooking the city of Managua. There were many tears of joy and hugs as many were reunited. Lunch at McDonalds was a success as gifts were handed out and heartfelt conversations took place. The journey to the park was tremendously hot. After arriving at the park, and swinging and sliding, the heat was relentless which led to walking farther up the hill to get something to drink. After relaxing and cooling down, a small game of football/catch was started with a few of the children and team members. Far too soon after the game ended, we returned to the school to bring the children back and say our final goodbyes. There were many tears of sorrow and long hugs.

                After returning to La Quinta, dinner was served and preparation for the following day commenced. The exhaustion was conquered by laughter and team work as our efforts to stay productive continued. When the majority of the preparation was finished, the team met on the back porch to discuss the ways we saw God today and what we learned about ourselves. Our devotion began and Ginny discussed the idea of community and what that really means. To keep it brief, basically a community is united and it serves one another through the good times and the bad. Before praying, Shawn asked each of us to fill in the blank, “Because You (God) are_____, I am_____.” This was used as a time of reflection to really think about Who we are here for and Why He called us here. We are just broken people trying to serve a community that is so graciously loved by God. Through the tears and the triumphs, today was a success. God is here. 

The Joy Bus

Yesterday, our team had the honor of sharing with approximately 50 young Nicaraguan men and women that God finds them to be special. Through "minute to win it" games, several larger group games, and a glorious invention of the teen event team called "Soccer Chaos", we did our best to make sure everyone had a good time.

We joined them in a few Spanish worship songs, lead without any instruments, but just a strong Nicaraguan voice and a lot of passion, and then Shawn shared a message with them, translated to Spanish by our facilitators.

Soccer Chaos Now...

After lunch and a few more games, we spent the afternoon with Pastor Chema and his quickly growing family. Everyone was introduced (which can take a while when translated back and forth between English and Spanish) and we spent nearly an hour playing a game with the family. Dinner arrived and as we ate, smaller groups of conversation formed, translators working steadily to break through the language barrier.

Ginny, one of the full time directors here at NRN drove Pastor Chemas family home while our team worked on preparing our supplies for the next days events. When we finally wrapped up for the night at 9, the team had been up and working together for at least 14 hours.

In fact, the team was exhausted.

Nothing like a last minute meeting at 1 a.m.

Nothing like a last minute meeting at 1 a.m.

The previous day when we left Auburn had been long and hard. Nearly 16 hours of travel through 3 countries had left the group stretched to their limit, and travelling was just the first part of the day for the team. As soon as we arrived, we began searching through more than 20 different duffle bags and carry-on bags for the supplies for our teen event. By the time everyone was finally finished preparing it was after 2 a.m. local time (4 a.m. in Indiana), leaving us just a few hours to sleep before breakfast was served and another long day started.

The cost is high. Stressful travel, uncomfortable heat, and confined sleeping spaces did their best to discourage and irritate our team. The added difficulty of not speaking fluently the language of the people we are serving is real and takes a lot of energy to overcome. Personalities brush into each other as we begin to find out what it really means to live together over the next week, and the unfamiliarity of our surroundings leaves us with few places to turn for comfort.

Through it all, God has been faithful, rewarding our efforts of preperation and travel with the report of Ginny from her ride home with the family. "They couldn't stop talking about today." Ginny shared. "The whole ride home their were ten voices chattering away, reliving each game, each moment you brought to them. What you did for them today was something special, and they will talk about it for a long time. Seriously, it was like I was driving the joy bus! Everything you did today went well!"

Please remember us in your prayers, that we might bring the same joy to each event we have planned. The short nights and long days can take their toll. Pray that we will act as one group this week, united in our love for those we are serving and for each other. Pray that we will be stretched right to the breaking point, but that Gods strength will keep us from breaking. And pray that when we do find our way home next Sunday, our own bus driver will tell his employer. "Man, it was like I was driving the joy bus!"