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Friday, April 12, 2013

Day #9 - Cultural Day 0 comments

Our Team:


This was a day of site-seeing, being exposed to the beauty of Nicaragua, and learning more about the area.

We left in the morning and enjoyed a beautiful drive through more rural settings. Taking us to a local potter’s home.  We were given a demonstration on how the pottery is made, in a 22-day long process from start to finish.  All steps are done by hand, including mixing the clay (actually that is done by foot, since they walk on the clay and sand mixture to mix it together).  After the demonstration we were given the opportunity to purchase pottery for ourselves.  Many members of the team purchased beautiful pieces and we purchased unique pieces to put into the school sale as well, after we return home.

Next we went ziplining above the tree canopy  This was SUCH a fun experience!  Everyone participated, even if they felt a bit nervous or out of their comfort zones.  We tried everything including the “Super Man” or the “Super Chica” (depending on whether or not you were male or female) and hanging upside down while ziplining.  It was a tremendous amount of fun!

We experienced a fabulous lunch alongside Lake Nicaragua and relaxed while taking pictures and enjoying time together as a team.  After the lunch we went on a boat tour, going past many of the 365 islands that are situated throughout the lake.  Many of these islands are owned by North Americans and house their large beautiful summer homes.  We also stopped by “Monkey Island” in hopes of coaxing “Lucy” (the friendly monkey on the island) to come and visit on one of our boats.  Sadly, she almost joined us, but then decided not to.  We ended the afternoon with a stop in the beautiful town of Grenada where we spent some time walking around and shopping  among the local merchants.

We were not able to stop at the Masaya Volcano this year, due to the activity that the volcano has been experiencing lately.  Unfortunately, the volcano has been quite active and the walk to the top is closed at this time  While we could have stopped at the base of the volcano, we decided against it.  However, while driving past the volcano on the main road, we were able to seethe great amount of smoke that the volcano is emitting. 

We stopped to pick up supper and ate back at the Nehemiah Center, followed by rehearsal time for our skit and songs that we will be sharing in church on Sunday.  Then we had our usual time of devotions and sharing together.  What a great day we had!  We enjoyed seeing more of the beauty and splendor of Nicaragua, and appreciated the time to have fun and bond as a team!  

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Friday, April 12, 2013

Day #10 - A Time of Worship and Rest 0 comments


Today we joined the congregation at Bautista Libertad for worship together.  After breakfast we rehearsed our songs one last time and loaded the bus for the church/school.  

We received a warm welcome at the church upon our arrival.  The service began with singing songs of praise together, some in Spanish and some in English, for our benefit.  After a time of worship, the congregation dispersed to attend a variety of Sunday School classes for 40 minutes.  We were invited to join the Pastor’s class, and adult class that meets together each week.  The students thought that our time of “Sunday School”  would have meant time helping to teach or interact with young children for Sunday School.  And while this would have been more than fine to do, they were pleasantly surprised to participate in an adult study class.  They enjoyed the lesson and the conversations in the class.

The congregation returned to the church service where we were then invited to share what we had prepared with the congregation.  We started by introducing ourselves.  Then Kirsten sang the song “How He Loves Us” while playing the piano.  The acoustics rang throughout the church and it sounded beautiful!  Next our group performed the skit that we had prepared with the church.  Finally, we sang two songs:  10, 000 Reasons and Hold My Hand … we sang both of the choruses in English and in Spanish (Lennin helped us practice our pronunciation and our timing … He even sang with our team during the service!  J

After church we returned to the center for a snack, changed and got on the bus to head off to Pochomil Beach.  What a beautiful afternoon we had, enjoying the beach, a delicious meal, and time of relaxation together.

In the evening we stopped at the store to buy snacks for the evening at the Nehemiah Center.  We relaxed, Face-timed home, and then spent a lot of time organizing and separating the gifts that we had brought for our friends at Bautista Libertad.  We also prepared gifts for some of the staff at the Nehemiah Center.  We worked throughout the evening together to get prepared for our final day here.  Finally we finished the day by having our evening devotions together.  While we had a wonderful day together, we also were struck with the realization that tomorrow is our last day here hanging over us.  The time has gone quickly here in Nicaragua and we are not ready to say goodbye to our new friends.    

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Friday, April 12, 2013

Highlight of the Day - Day #10 0 comments


I want to give my perspective of the experience I have had over the first ten days as a parent and as a teacher. It is easy to worry about our kids when they travel abroad without our parental supervision. Many of these worries were quickly dispelled when I saw our home away from home- THE NEHEMIAH CENTRE! It is a large compound surrounded by concrete walls and multiple armed guards. Our living facilities are complete with large rooms and a bathroom along with a shower. Our main gathering room is a kitchen/dining/devotional/recreation room. The most exciting part of our first day was finding the GAZEBO which comes with WIFI. I have heard many FaceTime conversations and tons of laughter at the gazebo. It is a hub for our social life, both in person and over the Internet. As a teacher I have great pride in our grade 12 students. They have been great ambassadors of GCS and our Heavenly Father in their actions, words, interactions and especially in their service to the Nicaraguans. These 15 students have been more than that to me. I consider each one as my very own kid. I am a proud teacher and parent times 15 wonderful young men and women.  

-Abe Tuazon

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Friday, April 12, 2013

Day #11 = Saying Goodbye to Our Friends 0 comments

Today was a day of mixed emotions.  We loaded all of our gifts, teacher supplies and school supplies that we had brought to give to Bautista Libertad, and we drove to the school.  We again immediately felt a warm welcome when we arrived.


Our first activity was to work to make a memory book with the Grade 11 students for us to take back with us as a keepsake.  Then we worked together with the Grade 11 students to make necklaces and bracelets out of beads and Canadian pendants that we had brought with us.  It was a fun activity and one that everyone seemed to enjoy doing together.

When we had finished with the beads, we exchanged gifts with the Grad 11 class, giving the Gateway T Shirts and the gift bags we had prepared for them.  They had made special T shirts for our group as well, reflecting our new partnership together.  It was a meaningful time of exchanging gifts and taking photos together.

Our time at Bautista Libertad ended with an all-school assembly where we were again blessed by presentations given by different classes and individual students.  Then each person in our group was blessed with a gift from Bautista, presented by a student or a class from their school.  Finally we closed the assembly with prayer together, thanking God for this wonderful opportunity to become partner schools, and to become friends.    We shared many, MANY hugs and goodbyes before parting from one another.  Our hearts were torn as we left, knowing that we had become dear friends, but also knowing that some of us might not ever see each other again.  We are thankful for this new partnership and the promise to keep in touch as schools, continuing to learn and grow together.

After lunch at a cafeteria-style restaurant, we went to the market where we shopped for items to sell at our pancake breakfast and sale, as well as for gifts and souvenirs.  We began the process of packing after returning to the Nehemiah Center.  After supper we had a debriefing time with Peter, Trudy, Lester, Lennin, Marg and Phil Beck (who had just arrived in Nicaragua the night before and had joined our team on behalf of EduDeo).  It was a good time of sharing and reflecting together.  Again we had many goodbyes before they departed and we continued the long process of packing all of our luggage.  Our evening ended with devotions and reflection together as a team.  We will have an early morning departure, leaving for the airport at 4:00 am.

Tonight, we are overwhelmed by how blessed we are to have been able to come here to Nicaragua together as the Gateway HANDS 2013 team.  We are overwhelmed by how blessed we are with our families and all that we have back home  We truly appreciate the relationships that we have made with the beautiful people here.  We are so grateful for how close we have become as a team and for the many ways in which we have been blessed throughout this trip. 
God is good … and we are humbled.    


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