April 13, 2012

Azarias and Bautista Libertad - God is so Good!

Gateway HANDS Team:

 “I thank my God upon every remembrance of you”  Philippians 1:3.   Today started with a visit to the work site where last year’s HANDS team worked:  Azarias.  The team had worked to help in the construction of a second floor of classes that were added on to an existing building.  Martha is the Principal there - a woman who is a true example of love and service in action.  It was wonderful to see Martha again and so exciting to see the classrooms finished!!  Some work is again taking place there now, so the students were off of school and were not there.  However, we visited for a bit with Martha.  She expressed gratitude to the Gateway HANDS teams … both last year’s team and this year’s team, as well as to the Gateway community for sending teams to help in Nicaragua.  She was truly grateful and voiced that ANY of us are welcomed there any time!  … She said to be SURE to say hello to last year’s HANDS team … and to give a big hug to Vince from her!  :)  What a blessing it was to see last year’s project completed and to see Martha again! 

God is so good!

     We then went to our work site at Bautista Libertad, to continue to the cleaning and painting of perlins (beams).  Since we were there in the morning, the students were still in school, which meant that work space was limited.  So, while some worked, others visited the students in various classrooms.  They were very receptive to visiting with us, hearing from us, and practicing their English with us!  We felt very welcomed by them!

God is so good!

     The school was incredibly hospitable to us throughout the day … bringing drinks and snacks to us and making a wonderful meal for us for lunch.  We were a true distraction to the students … and we enjoyed interacting with each other!  Many students stayed for the afternoon Compassion Program at the school and would stop to talk with us and visit with us throughout the day.  The quickly forged relationships were enjoyed by all, making it a very special day!

God is so good!

     One of the highlights of the day was a 1-on-1 basketball game between Avery and a boy from Bautista Libertad.  They started to play a friendly game with each other, and ended up having quite a crowd watching them and cheering for them.  It is amazing how something like a sport can bring people together … there are no boundaries dividing you, and whether you are able to speak the same language or not, you can communicate and have fun together!  It was a blast for everyone to watch!  Avery played hard … and shed a LOT of sweat in that heat :) … but what a memorable experience!

God is so good!

     The remainder of the day was spent cleaning and painting the perlins, and taking breaks to interact with the kids and the people.  Many kids made special pictures for members of our team, and showed great interest in us and kindness towards us.  It was a hot afternoon in the sun, but we worked hard and felt good about the amount of work that we were able to accomplish!  We left feeling incredibly blessed to have been there that day, and feeling as if we personally had been served, more than we ourselves served. 

God is so good!

     We enjoyed another delicious supper at the Nehemiah Center (they feed us so well here … so much for thinking we’d shed a few pounds while on this trip!  Haha!)  and a presentation to our group by Food For the Hungry  (an organization that helps to train local artisans to learn to be self-sufficient, in a Fair trade manner).   It was good to hear what they do and how many people the work with.

God is so good!

Our usual evening devotions as a team take place in the gazebo in a grassy coutryard-type surrounding.  It is a really important part of our day and we enjoy the time of reflection and sharing together.  Each day we begin by sharing our “Highs and lows” with each other.  Suffice it to say, there been very few “lows” for any of us!   For that, we are incredibly grateful! Each day has been full, and busy, and GREAT for all of us … and for that we are so thankful!  Throughout our time of team preparation before coming on this trip, we have asked specifically for prayer and have often prayed ourselves for team unity … and we have truly felt that those prayers have been answered while we have been here together!  We are enjoying getting to know each other better, see each other in a new light, and to be unified as a group!  

God is so good!

Team members also enjoyed receiving special little care packages from their families tonight … a bit of a taste of home for them to enjoy and to help remind them of those that love them and are praying for them back home!  It was a wonderful day! 

God is so good!

We truly do appreciate your prayers and your support.  We feel the hand of God watching over us and protecting us!  We know that we are covered in prayerful support …. we feel it!  We are having an amazing experience so far and truly feel blessed to be a part of this opportunity!  …. Each day is full and memorable … and each day we, as team members, are changed and are growing a little bit more!  

God is so good!    :)

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