January 16, 2012

Reflection on the HANDS team experiance

Smithville HANDS Team:

Now that the Smithville Edu.Deo team has been back in Canada for 2 days, it’s a good time to reflect on our experience in Nicaragua:


It was very good! Our flights were on time. Our hosts did a fabulous job. The job-site at the Emaus Christian School in Esteli was prepared for us to get to work as soon as we arrived. Big thanks to Peter Kuipers and Lesther Gonsalez for this.


The principal and other staff at the school greeted us warmly. They not only worked with us on the site, but also took great care of us in a loving way. Our work-site experience began with prayer and it ended that way on our last day with them.


The team got along very well in spite of a few health issues while there.


We worked very hard digging 17 foundation holes for a new multipurpose facility at the Emaus school. These holes were 6 feet deep and about 4-½ feet sq. We had to simply remember we were there to serve, and do what was needed.


You cannot overestimate the impact a team has on a school community. Bringing the funds for the project is huge, but to actually show up and establish relationships and work along side them is just as important. You can only imagine what they are thinking when we leave on the last day as our van sliped out of view through the wall gates.


One of highlights of our trip was our devotion-and-sharing time in the evenings. The experience is also a faith revival time for many team members. What a blessing that is!

Many teams report this on coming back. That’s a wonderful thing.


It’s been 5 years since I have led a team to Nicaragua. It’s encouraging to see that the country has progressed. Changes are evident upon leaving the airport. The roads are better. The vehicles are newer. The busses are newer. The Managua dump has been cleaned up, and the people who lived there have been re-located. However, there remain many challenges in this country. Many children still do not attend schools due to poverty and ingrained attitudes. Even the government gets in the way.


There are opportunities for you to join a HANDS team and experience the richness of God’s mercy in your life and in the lives of children in Nicaragua and other countries.  The impact you can have is almost immediate. That is what excites teams to go again and again.


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