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Wednesday, February 8, 2017

Day: Nine 0 comments

Our Team:

Our final work day included building some forms for the concrete to be poured in the trenches we dug over the last few days. This took the better part of the day.  Some other team members continued to diligently wash and paint the steel beams for the roof.

Morning school was in session as we worked directly outside the classroom ‘windows’. These openings are screened with wrought iron but no glass.  It was interesting to observe the ability of the majority of the students and teachers to focus while we hammered, shovelled and tamped.  These Nicaraguan students might possibly be thinking that if those white folks had only gotten an education they wouldn’t have to do this hard manual labour.  The students are smiling and friendly and that is as far as most of our communication went.

Around mid-afternoon we were invited to the church (school auditorium) where various age-groups of dancers demonstrated their talents.  The church pastor and the principal expressed their thanks to God for bringing our team to Nicaragua.  Our team led the school in song with “If you happy and you know it….” and the students seemed to know the Spanish version.  After presentation of plaques to both the Ontario and theWestern Canada team leaders we were happy to return and mix, wheel barrow and pour some more cement.  The rest of the afternoon passed quickly and soon we departed the school work site for the last time.

Supper at 6 PM was followed by a debriefing session with Lesther, Peter and his wife Trudy. There was opportunity for each team member to share their story relating to what impacted them most during this trip. We then had our last full team devotional time during which we watched the final video segment of “Helping without Hurting”.  Time was spent sharing our life verses and then we closed our trip and evening with thanks to God for His gracious care and blessings. Final farewells were said and then time to pack and sleep.

End Note:  From Nicaragua’s perspective I might be considered a “persona non grata” and forever banned from returning.  It is to my shame and guilt that I confess to flushing some toilet paper on two separate occasions.  I trust all my readers to not advise the authorities.


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Tuesday, February 7, 2017

Day: Eight 0 comments

A regular sweat day and we were on the road at 7:30 AM.  Though some of us may have secretly hoped that the previously dug holes would somehow be magically connected with the required trenches, the rebar all assembled and the steel all painted…..such was not the case. Our muscles were again to be stressed.  The work started out with some breeze to fan our labouring bodies but this subsided to leave us in a temperature of about 38 C.

One team member, Andrew, is suffering with a debilitating ear ache and stayed back at the centre. Please remember Andrew in your prayers as in two days we expect to be on a plane and that will undoubtedly exacerbate the pain.  Despite his absence we made it through the day and are thankful for the progress made.

Our evening was closed with the viewing of a video entitled “Reparando”.  The story related the devastating long-term repercussions of the war in Guatemala in the lives of children and families and how God, through another long term of relationship-building, is slowly bringing healing to a community within the capitol city.  We saw that ultimately homelessness is fundamentally more of a spiritual issue than a physical problem.  The purpose of showing the team that video was to make us aware that Nicaraguans also endured a war in recent memory and are still suffering from the spiritual and physical devastating consequences.

Tomorrow we anticipate a lot of cement mixing and wheel barrowing, which will cap our construction efforts of the trip. We are thankful for the Woodynook segment of our team: although they arrived a day after us, they will also stay one day after our departure and we don’t mind at all for them to finish the concrete work.


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Monday, February 6, 2017

Day: Seven 0 comments

Today also, was spent with hours in the van.  It was a day referred to as an ‘educational day.’  We travelled to visit schools where some of our team have worked on previous trips.  It was an opportunity to hear from the principals the history of the schools and to tour the facilities.

Our first school, consisting of 2 classrooms, was in a very poor neighbourhood. With the exception of one child having a tantrum, the others sat there very quietly not at all concerned about their classmate throwing his paper and backpack against the wall.  These 3 to 5 year olds were very neatly dressed in uniforms.  Tuition at this school is $7.00 per child per month.

We then travelled to a school where with a second storey, 6 classrooms were added last year. This school has about 400 students enrolled.  The teachers were all present, preparing for the new school year starting tomorrow.  Tuition here is $25.00 per month per child since this is located in a more well-to-do town.

The last school we visited is located in an area to which families were relocated after hurricane Mitch.  These people were given only a peace of land, without any nearby employment opportunities.  The result is an impoverished neighbourhood where the tuition is $2.00 per child per month, and that includes lunch.  This school was started by a single lady who is a dentist.  She came to the area to demonstrate proper dental care, which led to providing a daily nutritional meal for the children of the community.  She is an amazing Christian who told herself she would do this for 1 year despite family and friends telling her it would never work.  Ten years later there are about 150 students at a school where she is now the principal. She recently managed to get the government to subsidize the teachers’ income since at the current tuition level the teachers often had to do without. The principal herself still does dentistry to make ends meet.  In sharing her story with us, she was both emotional and grateful to God for His miraculous intervention and continued care through the assistance of Edudeo.

Every story from the principals’ experiences demonstrates the deep love and trust in God that these Nicaraguans have, that motivates their passion and care for bringing a Biblical worldview into the classroom.

The stories of struggles and blessings that Christian schools have to endure gave us a whole new perspective on “trust and obey” despite the odds of human failure.   

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Sunday, February 5, 2017

Day: Six 0 comments

Today is Sunday and we had the privilege of worshiping in a large church with everything happening in Spanish for the first forty-five minutes. There was a praise team leading us in enthusiastic, joyful singing and clapping accompanied by colourfully dressed girls expressing their praise in dance.  We were then blessed by a forty-five minute sermon on the topic of our freedom in Christ, using 2 Corinthians 3:17 as the text.  An interpreter stood alongside the pastor to translate into English for all the visitors so the message could be a blessing to all.

After church we returned to the Nehemiah Centre for some coffee and lunch followed by a one-hour ride to the Pacific Coast.  Time was then spent with rather brief stays in the waves of the ocean, in reading and conversation.

Question: How does one get around and find where one has to go when in Nicaragua, street name signs do not exist? 

Directions to any place usually start with a known larger stoplight intersection defined by a business or landmark of some sort.  From that intersection one could be told to travel 11 blocks south and 3 blocks west and then one would find one’s destination across the street from where the shoe store used to be. 

That makes us all the more thankful to Peter and Lesther for taking the responsibility of driving our team during our stay.

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