June 24, 2014

Coming Home

Woodland 2014 HANDS Team:

On Sunday afternoon we drove up into the mountains north of Matagalpa to have lunch and spend some time hiking at the Salva Negra Coffee Plantation.  According to the trail map, we started hiking at an elevation of just over 4200 feet above sea level and climbed through a stunningly diverse forest up to about 4800 feet.  As we climbed, Derrick, Mandy and I came upon the phenomenal tree of the photos.  We had been told that there were many century trees on the property that made up the top canopy of the forest, but we were completely unprepared for what we found.  At first we marveled at the height, breadth and age of 'our' towering wonder, and then we saw something else.  It wasn't one tree.  Two different trees (different species as well) had woven themselves together some time in the late 1800's and had grown to the heavens.  They were so inextricably linked that often times we could not see where one tree began or the other ended.  

In some small sense, that tree has come to serve as the extended metaphor of our trip.  At devotions the other night, Mandy shared a Maya Angelou poem that had the refrain

Alone, all alone

Nobody, but nobody

Can make it out here alone.

We reflected together on the idea building communities, churches and schools.  The expansion that we are completing at Woodland could never have occured without the support of a large intertwined community.  The expansion at the Nicaraguan Christian Academy of Matagalpa could never have happened without the support of a large Nicaraguan and international community.  The century tree we found was larger and stronger because of its component parts.  In Christ's church locally and internationally the same is true.

We leave the NCA Matagalpa with mixed emotions.  We have met amazing people and seen great things done in the name of Christ.  Leaving that is hard.  However we are returning to our own families and communities and that will be very good.  The NCA opened its doors in February 2013 with 40 students.  When they opened this February they had grown to 140.  When they open for business next February, they will have just over 200 student in their building.  While that sort of growth is very exciting, it comes with enormous challenge since establishing and maintaining a positive school culture with a student body that changes so dramatically is incredibly hard.  We pray that the administration, staff and parent community are up for that challenge and we pray that there will continue to be thousands of supporters in Nicaragua and abroad who are reminding them in tangible ways that "Nobody, but nobody, Can make it our here alone."


Jun 24, 2014 at 9:19 pm

What an incredible tree! Thank you for sharing that picture and metaphor. May the powerful experiences from your trip carry forward in meaningful ways here in Canada. We look forward to seeing you all soon!

Jun 25, 2014 at 6:25 am

Safe travels home, team. We will be praying for you today. May this trip and the memories and experiences it has given you, be woven through you for years to come. May God bless all of you. Thank you, Mr. Harris and Mrs. Wiebenga, for your role in shaping, mentoring and guiding our kids.

Shirley Macdonald
Jun 25, 2014 at 5:43 pm

What a beautiful site to see....and words to live by! Thankful that Christ unites into one body....Safe travel. Thank you for sharing your trip with us.

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