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Wednesday, July 31, 2013

A Time of Reflection 0 comments

Our Team:

This morning we visited Centro de Fe School in Managua. Sandra, the principal, shared her school and herself with us. Every little part of the school and the church - which was physically connected to the school - was being used as teaching spaces. Sandra proudly showed us around, introducing us to her teaching staff and showing off the well used spaces. Once again I witnessed the resourcefulness of these Nicaraguan teachers. There was a class meeting in the upstairs portion of the church auditorium. Even though on a slant, the teacher was able to fit 40 desks for 38 students into the space to conduct a science class. The Phys Ed class was playing chess in a small storage room. Sandra explained that normally under the supervision and guidance of the Phys Ed teacher, they learn and play outside - on the front street. She thanked God that so far there has not been any accidents. In another classroom, a student proudly displayed her project made using hair gel, plasticine and styrofoam. it was a model of a paramecium! i am so stealing that idea! This same class took time to sing a worship song with us that was taught to them by the students of Abbotsford Christian School. Finally, Sandra lovingly led us to the only air conditioned room - the computer lab. She explained how the Abbotsford school connection was made through EduDeo and passionately spoke of the blessing it has been for the students of her school. My mind wondered - imagining how the students from Abbotsford were impacted by their visits to Nicaragua. Sandra teared up as she spoke of the love she had for the teachers whom she had developed a close relationship with from Abbotsford. We wrapped up our time with prayer, and left yet another school connected to ACECEN with much on our minds.

As we left Centro de Fe, I reflected on a comment made the previous day when meeting with the ACECEN facilitators...  "Although ACECEN is greatly empowering the teachers involved in Christian education, due to limited resources, they have only been able to reach 30% of the Christian schools throughout Nicaragua."

In the afternoon, we spent some time as Christian school teachers from across Canada contemplating what we have experienced throughout these past ten days in Nicaragua. We brainstormed what we had discovered by trying to answer a few questions:
* What have we learned about Christian education?
* How has our time in Nicaragua challenged us in our Canadian context?
* How have we grown in our faith and understanding of ministry?
It was an excellent wrap up to an amazing time together.  We have been blessed to have been able to see this beautiful country and amazing people - even if only for a short time - and witness the work that God has begun here.
I will leave this beautiful country being challenged personally: in the way I relate to and raise my family, in the way I teach in the classroom and interact in my school, in my community -both locally and globally. At the moment, I ask myself how to respond intentionally and immediately to my love and burden for Christian education, and to the work that God has begun through ACECEN and EduDeo in Nicaragua.
Submitted by: Vanessa Luloff 

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Tuesday, July 30, 2013

Inspired by ACECEN Facilitators 2 comments

Meeting and engaging with the people of Nicaragua has been a beautiful experience and has wonderfully challenged my faith. We have been blessed richly by our interactions with our new Nicaraguan friends. They display an unswerving faith and trust in God. In our many conversations, we hear repeatedly how God has provided and they know God will continue to provide. While the challenges they face are not unlike our schools - finances, facility needs, etc. - their complete trust shines through as they share with us their passion and commitment to Christian education. Many principals shared how the tuition they receive is often not enough to cover the salaries of the teachers so teachers are paid very little (and the principal will go without). They have huge hearts and remind us that our God is big and they trust that he will answer their prayers in His perfect way. They truly live out Jesus' words in Matthew 6:

“If God gives such attention to the appearance of wildflowers—most of which are never even seen—don’t you think he’ll attend to you, take pride in you, do his best for you? What I’m trying to do here is to get you to relax, to not be so preoccupied with getting, so you can respond to God’s giving. People who don’t know God and the way he works fuss over these things, but you know both God and how he works. Steep your life in God-reality, God-initiative, God-provisions. Don’t worry about missing out. You’ll find all your everyday human concerns will be met. Give your entire attention to what God is doing right now, and don’t get worked up about what may or may not happen tomorrow. God will help you deal with whatever hard things come up when the time comes." (Matthew 6:30-34 MSG)

God has provided beautiful schools, amazing opportunities, and incredible lives, all which are transforming Nicaragua. He is at work here and through the amazing stories we get to hear, God graciously reminds us that his grace is all we need. Together with the Nicaraguan people, we can sing "How great is our God!"

Submitted by Jodi Wildschut

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Tuesday, July 30, 2013

What am I doing here? 8 comments

After missing my flight out of Winnipeg, and having to spend a night in Chicago due to a cancelled flight to Houston, I arrived one day late in Nicaragua. To make a situation even more frustrating, I was without my luggage. Phil - the EduDeo team leader, Lesther - our driver, and Mike - my fellow Manitoban on the team, met me in the airport. Although I had never formally met any of these men, I felt an immediate relief when they hugged me. My first few days in this foreign country has really been an adventure. I am not sure of how to describe all of what I am experiencing, but I will say that I am witnessing the evidence of God at work. My first night, during devotions, I asked the question, "Why am I here?". The question was one that I needed to wrestle with, because God had called me here for a purpose, I just wasn't sure of what that purpose was. Six days later, I am still wresting with this question, but it is becoming more clear to me. In the meantime, I am meeting some people, visiting some Christian schools and enjoying God's creation.  I have met a wonderful Nicaraguan, Lesther, who bridged the culture divide for me my first day here as he lead me through a crazy bustling market to find clothes that I needed. I have met a warm and mild mannered translator, Lennin, who likes to go to the movies on his free time and would like to one day visit Canada. Most rewarding so far though is that I have met some amazing Christian teachers and administrators who obviously love and take seriously the high calling of serving in Christian education. They share stories of students coming to know Jesus, of making do with limited resources, of the joy they receive when a student masters a skill, of the struggle to find space for learning, of the struggle to pay the teachers and sometimes keep students, of the beautiful legacy that is left after seeing students spend years with them and then graduate, and of the faith they put in God when there are needs. I am in awe of these teachers and administrators that I have met; interesting that some of them are from Nicaragua, and some of them are from Canada.

Submitted by Vanessa Luloff

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Sunday, July 28, 2013

Celebrating the Sabbath in Nicaragua 0 comments

It was a lovely day of rest in Managua.  We were able to sleep in and enjoy a leisurely breakfast together.  Lesther, our driver, took us us to Verbo (The Word, I think).  He is a Nicaraguan who grew up in California, and returned here as an adult.  He really knows how to get around the city and seems very well connected.  Verbo is the church he attends with his family because, as he says, he likes a "happy church."  Words cannot describe the vitality of the worship and enthusiasm of the people.  Flags were flying, people were dancing, and we clapped (bopping was kept to a minimum).  :)

Two members of our team with relatives in Managua, spent an afternoon reconnecting with them. They left us at Verbo, and we headed out to visit Lesther and his family in their home. They have a new baby that is now at risk of being abducted to Canada by some doting Canadian moms who miss their own kids.

After lunch, we headed for the beach.  Lester appears to be quite well connected as we had a shaded patio with tables, chairs and several hammocks.  The girls for the most part opted for playing in the huge waves and walking the beach.   The boys occupied the hammocks.  One of the local children named Alin taught us how to find sand dollars.  We never really mastered it, but Alin stacked them up like pancakes!   It was an amazing sight to watch these curious creatures bury themselves back into the sand.

After a quick change back at the guest house, we went out for pizza!  And not just any pizza.... It was the best pizza ever!!!  That might be the steady diet of rice and beans talking, or may be the deep hunger that comes from frolicking in the ocean, but I doubt it. 

Submitted by Jennifer Shoniker

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