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Tuesday, March 12, 2019

Ten Thousand Reasons 0 comments

Our Team:

A week has already gone by since we arrived home from our trip to Nicaragua. Each of us are richer from the 11 days we spent together in Nicaragua. Many times, in this last week, I have been asked: “How was your trip?” Each time I find it almost nearly impossible to summarize. There are so many different angles which I could share from; so many things I learned about Nicaragua, past and present; so many experiences we’ve shared as a team; so many beautiful, beautiful people we met, who touched our lives.  

Instead of trying to pull all things together in some kind of concluding blog, I just want to finish it with a list of the many ways we were blessed by this experience. In order to this justice I invited the team to share how they have been blessed; their contributions have been included.

For all Your goodness, I will keep on singing
Ten thousand reasons, for my heart to find … (Matt Redman, 2011)


  • We were blessed to have been a part of this trip and be a part of a group working together helping the least of these! Another blessing was getting to know our group – meeting some for the first time. I loved getting to know each other better and being an encouragement to each other. That was Special! We shared life with you all for 10 plus days! Something to cherish as we return home to our lives here.
  • I have a better understanding of what is happening in Nicaragua. We’ve heard Pete Kuipers share so many times in front of the church telling us about Edo Deo, Christian education, etc. but to see it all with own eyes is just so much more than hearing a story.
  • I so enjoyed Muff’s “Questions of the Day” and all the response to it. I loved hearing the stories about how we seen God working in our daily lives.
  • I’m thankful that I had the opportunity to go together with my son.
  • We have many good memories & blessings from the trip but one that really stands out for us is the blessings we got from watching our grandchildren blossom & grow in their faith in the short time we were there. It really warmed our hearts & will be a memory we will always cherish.
  • The little children touched my heart and makes me think: “What more can we do for them?”
  • Working in the “trenches” together.
  • I loved witnessing the joy of the Nicaraguan school children and all the smiles on the kids’ faces.
  • One of my highlights was meeting the Potter and his family. To witness his talent – how effortlessly he took a lump of clay and formed it into a vase. Also, to see his finished product and being able to bless him and his family with our purchases of his pottery, and then being equal blessed by owning one of his works of art
  • All the awesome people we met – students, teachers, Lester, Nilda, Netty and crew...
  • Being Part of an amazing team that worked so well together. 
  • To pear and witness the power of a live active volcano!!
  • Sharing and devotions in the evening was so meaningful and brings us all closer to God.
  • I loved hearing the stories, to hear of the determination of the School principals to keep going despite of hardships they face. The public expression of faith and trust in God in people’s testimonies
  • What stands out for me regarding our Nicaragua experience was the stories of the people we encountered, how often God was mentioned as part of it, how he answered their prayers. In a country where there really is no political freedom of speech, they are so free and open to say where their real hope lies. I found that very refreshing and something I can learn from.  In a country that is so unstable I can’t help but think but think with that “trust in God mindset they are better off than we are.  I realize that is quite a generalization but that is what stood out for me.
  • To see the public display of the scripture on people’s cars and businesses. People seem more open to express their faith and reason for hope then we are in Canada.
  • To experience how thankful to God the Nicaraguan people were that we came despite their difficult situation!!

Thank you to all who have taken the time read these blogs. My hope is that through it you will be intrigued and even enticed to find out more about HANDS Team and support this important ministry or maybe even join a team in the future.

To God be the glory for the things he has done!!

Henk John Kuipers

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Monday, March 11, 2019

Day 8-11 - A Day in the Life of Hand's Team 0 comments


After three very different and amazing cultural days it was time to go back to work. Monday thru Thursday are scheduled work days – 4 days in a row! Instead of trying to create a blog for each of these 4 days I will try to capture what is like being on this HANDS team in Nicaragua.

The day starts around 6:00am. One of my roommates is always the first to get up – he too is an ex-dairy farmer and does not mind the early rising. I usually follow within 15 minutes, leaving the last two guys to get up within the next half hour.

The first stop after a washroom break and a bit of freshening up, is to our good friend, the coffee pot. Slowly everyone gathers around and by 7:00am breakfast is set out for us. The cooks are amazing and never seen without a smile.  The person in charge of devotions for the day opens with prayer and then we eat all together in the open aired covered pavilion. The weather today, tomorrow and the foreseen future: warm and sunny, turning hot by 11:00am.

Lester arrives before 7, with Pete and Trudy arriving before 7:30. Sometime between 7:30 and 8:00 everyone gathers their stuff for the day and load up in the van – all 15 of us in one van. We are lucky, the ride is a mere 10 minutes and Lester is at the helm.

The Jobsite is Caroline de Sirkir Christian School where we are helping build an additional two classes along with two washrooms. Netty, and his workers are always there before us, even though Netty and his son have to bike an hour to the site.

There are four main tasks for us to do; three of them usually happening simultaneously: Cleaning and painting of purloins, tying of rebar, and dirt work on the building site. The fourth task is the making and placing of the cement which takes most of the team to complete.

10:00 am is our first official break. The cookie Lady (Trudy) treats everyone to a small package of cookies. Lunch is at noon and is prepared for us Gringos by local restaurant which Lester picks up. We eat together in a Gazebo a few short steps from the job site. After an hour or so of rest we head back for more of the same work.

2:30pm is Eskimo time (Ice cream). A local ice-cream vendor arrives with his peddle version of an ice-cream truck. We treat him well and he arrives early every day – a classic mutually beneficial reciprocal relationship.

Around 3:45 it is clean-up time when all the tools are packed and locked away, ready for another day. At 4:00pm it’s back in the van for our 10-minute drive to the Nehemiah Center – our home for the 11 days in Nicaragua. Some days we stop at a local grocery store where we stock up supplies; yogurt, ice-cream and junk food are the most popular items.

As soon as we arrive back, the four showers in the four separate rooms which we are staying get busy. 13 showers later and everyone is clean. Time to relax and mingle till supper at 6:00pm. The meals have a surprisingly and good variety and are enjoyed by all.

After supper we all gather together for our evening devotions. Heather and Henriette lead us in song. There is something so special when we open up to others what is going on in our lives. Often these times are raw and filled with emotions. Devotions are often concluded with Muff’s question of the day  

The rest of the evening is free time; a time of relaxing, catching up on things, reading or phoning loved ones back home. By 10:00 pm almost everyone is in bed, preparing the body for another day’s work.



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Monday, March 11, 2019

Day 7 - The Potter's House 2 comments

"Go down to the Potter's shop and i will speak to you there." So I did as he told me and found the potter working at his wheel. But the pot he was shaping from the clay was marred in his hands; so the potter formed it into another pot, shaping it as seemed best to him. (Jeremiah 18:2-3)

We did many few different thihgs yesterday including going to a Spanish Church service, to a potter's house  and going to see an active volcano. If i could find a common theme in the day it would be the molding or shaping that God does in our lives.

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Saturday, March 9, 2019

Day 6 - Blessed to be a Blessing 2 comments

Today was our Culural Day. Instead of going to the traditional spots like the ocean, we honored and blessed to be guests of Roberto and Mary-Lou. They are the parents-in-law of Marcio, an excellent and very personable contracter Edu-Deo used on one of their builds last year.  To get their place we drove an hour out of the city,  then took a gravel road/path for 30 minutes to a tiny town in the middle of nowhere called Los Brasiles. Then we went a number of kilometers further to the middle, of the middle of nowhere, which is where we found Roberto's 1800 acre ranch.

The drive was long, but the hospitality was rich, and overflowing with generosity. Roberto and Mary-Lou were so appreciative to have us as their guests. It was great to see the farmers in our team exchange stories, talk about their different practices, along with those things they  have in common. In sharing with each other we quicly learn the value of each other's way of doing things. We were treated to more food then we could ever eat including a very traditional meal which Muff helped prepare. We also were given a tour of a small portion of his ranch. 

It was a great day which reminded us how awesome the church can be when each person uses their gifts to bless each other.. We experienced true interdependence today, and as we found out, this can be within your own local community or clear across the world.

How will you enrich someone else's life today?

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