April 12, 2013

Day #11 = Saying Goodbye to Our Friends

Gateway 2013 HANDS Team:

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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