March 28, 2016

Easter Sunday

Gateway 2016 School2School HANDS Team:

The Lord is Risen!

Our morning started early! After arriving at Quinta Arien guest house after midnight last night, everyone was excited to be settled. Showers, unpacking, games, fun all seemed to happen simultaneously. Another group was staying at the guest house for the final night of their trip, and some of our HANDS team visited with these guests from Indiana. They are a team from the organization called Make Your Own Ball and they had just spent the last week building a soccer field in Managua.   Finally it was off for a short sleep interrupted by the sound of dogs, at least one rooster, and multiple early morning firecrackers celebrating Easter.

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What a privilege to be able to worship with brothers and sisters in another country. The team boarded the bus at 830 after a breakfast of eggs and toast, to the local church VERBO - a vibrant worship community that filled the early morning service with dancers, loud and fast music, staccato drum solos and a lot of ribbons twirling. Students experienced the Joy of the Lord, in Spanish, but thankfully also heard the message preached through earphones translated into English.

After a quick lunch back at the guest house, we once again boarded the bus, this time for a nice drive outside of the sprawling city of Managua to a beautiful guest house on the outskirts of town. This retreat center, owned by a Christian family from Oregon and used to bless ministry groups in the area, had incredible spacious and manicured lawns, and a POOL!! We lathered on sunscreen repeatedly as the mercury topped 104 degrees Fahrenheit! After a lot of water polo (rules made up by Brayden) some epic football catches into the water (best by Angelica) we toweled off and headed back into town for Nicaragua's better version of KFC - TipTop! Delicious.

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The team was blessed by Mail Delivery. Most were surprised, all were delighted to receive encouraging notes, little snacks and goodies, games and even a few Sudoku puzzles in their envelopes.

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It is the dry season here. Many of the trees are bare, going through a dormant state before the rains come in May. But the mango trees are in season. Fruit is green and bending the branches under its weight. As they begin to ripen and turn their ready yellow, the mangoes fall to the ground with a plump thud, ready to be picked, peeled, eaten. Our evening devotion centered around our witness: while we are here, and at all times. What will others see in us, and what does that tell them about our relationship with each other and the Lord? The fruit of the Spirit is: love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self-control (Galatians 5:22-23). Pray for our team as we grow, work, visit, interact. Ask God to bring to fruition the characteristics only His Spirit can mature.

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