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Friday, March 30, 2012

Landed in Vancouver 0 comments

Our Team:

It was an uneventful day. We had some fun in Houston and our plane was late taking off but otherwise it was a great day. We landed at 1:30am. Please remind the students to bring all the coffee to my office on Monday. Have a great weekend. Thank God for a wonderful trip of transformation. God is good. Mr g

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Wednesday, March 28, 2012

Day 9 - Last Day - Farewells 0 comments

Another early morning.  We woke up at 5:30 for a 6:00am breakfast and then off to Centro de Fe for a final morning of good-byes and a farewell assembly with the school.  We had some presentations, we sang "We Wanna See Jesus Lifted High" with the student body (they knew it well in Spanish) and then some farewell speeches.  Students had written ACS Thank You cards for each of their new friends and staff and we exchanged presents which included some beautiful murals, cards, sports equipment, pens, yo-yos and other small gifts.  It was a sad but wonderful morning.

Then off to an authentic Nicaraguan market for some last minute shopping.  People bought:
- hammocks
- pottery
- shirts
- purses
- bags
and a ton of other stuff that was well priced and mostly hand-made.  Shopping in the market was a fun experience.

Then back to the Nehemiah Center for dinner and then off to a school to continue painting new classrooms.  We finished the classrooms at about 4:30 and headed for home to get some packing done before dinner.

During devotions we had been reading about an organization which supports the local Niraraguan economy by helping coffee farmers in the Mombachito region.  They have set these farmers up with loans which they faithfully repay and have helped them market their coffee as organic and free trade coffee.  We were all inspired by the story and one night a representative (Nicaraguan) came to our group and gave us a presentation.  We were all moved by the story of this program and so we decided that we could support this project ourselves in a very creative way.  We bought a ton of coffee.

When we came down to Nicaragua, we brought all our clothes and personal items as 'carry-on' luggage so that our checked luggage could be full of school supplies and other needed items we received from the MCC.  So, we have a ton of empty, large suitcases and we have decided to fill them up with coffee for our return trip.

You can help as well.  Please consider buying some of this coffee.  Your support of this project helps Nicaraguan farmers earn a fair living off their work.  Ask a student for information about purchasing coffee from our ACS Hands team after we return.

This evening we had a wonderful group session with Trudy, Peter, Lennin and our group.  We shared some of our stories and experiences together
and then gave some suggestions to the leaders for future trips.  Everyone shared about the positive impact this trip had made on them.  After our sharing time, we watched a slideshow of highlight pictures from our trip.  It was a room full of laughter and fun as we revisited our days together in pictures.

Our goal for this trip was that it could have components of service, learning,
collaboration and transformation and from the stories we heard tonight, we
accomplished these goals and in many ways exceeded them.

Ms. Lammers has been an extraordinarily fantastic leader for this team.  Her positive energy, people skills and organization have made for an incredible trip.  Mr. van Eerden added much to this team as well.  His wisdom and insights combined with a cheerful spirit went a long way in building our team and unifying the group.  We are hoping to bring back several interviews, videos and slide shows for the elementary students as well as feature some of our sister school staff and students around ACS when we return.

Lennin, (our interpreter) Lester (our driver), Peter and Trudy (our hosts) have been wonderful mentors for our students.  What a great experience this has been and we can't wait to share our stories with the student body once we return.

Thank you again for your prayers, support and for reading this blog each day!  Love from the ACS Hands
Team 2012.

- Mr. Goertzen

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Wednesday, March 28, 2012

Coming Home Information - Tomorrow 0 comments

It will be a long day of travel tomorrow.


We will be picked up by the school van and a luggage vehicle but likely we won't be back into Abbotsford until about 2am.  We will call you by cell phone when we get close to Mt Lehman Road so that you can be waiting for us at ACS when we arrive.  Thank you for your help.

Mr. Goertzen

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Tuesday, March 27, 2012

Day 8 - Meetings, Painting and Preparing to Say Farewell 0 comments

Today began an hour earlier for Gerry and Roy. They were invited to a Nicaragua Christian Academy Board meeting to share what is happening at ACS. They are working at developing a more innovative and engaging curriculum and pedagogy in their schools. Upon returning to the Nehemiah Center at 9:30, there was time for a quick change of clothes and off to Centro de Fe. While the ACS and Centro de Fe students started painting the metal beams and supports in the school, Gerry filmed two students from grade 2 who led us on a tour of the school, showing the Preschool to grade five classrooms, the computer lab, the library, the indoor play area, the outdoor play area (the street in front of the school where Alison and Roy had played kickball with the grade fives last week) and the temple where assemblies are held as well as church on Sunday. Then we had another delicious lunch of chicken or beef with rice, beans, fried plantain and salad. After lunch the students continued painting while Alison, Gerry and Roy met with Sandra and Jorge to discuss the partnership in its current form, and its future. It was exciting to talk about the possiblities. We then returned to the Nehemiah Center for an amazing meal of chicken with vegetables, creamed cucumber and onions, beets, rice and beans. In additions to our nightly devotions, we wrote cards to prepare for saying good-byes tomorrow. It is hard to believe our time here is almost done. We have formed some strong friendships and had incredible experiences.

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