Leon Nicaragua Mission Trip
July 11, 2014
The team will return today. Please pray for safe travels.
Day 6 in Leon, Nicaragua. After V.B.S. we said our goodbyes with broken hearts. We then headed to eat chicken for lunch at the Tip - Top in downtown Leon. - Juan Garcia
July 10, 2014
July 9, 2014
Tuesday after a light breakfast at the hotel we traveled to the church building for our morning devotional. We were lead in thought by Jeremy Pate and it was also interpreted in Spanish for the members at the building. Jeremy gave an inspiring message and reminded us that it is the power of the Gospel that will convert the lost.
After the devotional the men went out to the streets to continue bible study with neighbors. Several studies were conducted and seeds planted. Meanwhile the ladies and teen girls held another session of VBS. Mrs. Pat taught a lesson on Jesus the Good Shepard. Becky Strickland and the girls gave out water bottles with labels that said "Jesus es mi Pastor" (Jesus is my shepherd) on them. The children then put stickers on to decorate. Ms. Regina played a game with balloons that had been turned into sheep and the kids had to herd the sheep into the corral.
After our first session, we left to eat lunch and then back to the hotel for a little siesta time before we went back for the second session.
We arrived back at the church building around 1:45 and the kids are always already there waiting on us! The guys went out again to conduct their scheduled bible studies or went to seek out others willing to study.
For our second session of VBS Ms. Pat taught the story from Luke 10:1-12 when Jesus sent out the 72. In art we then made sheep on a big board that read "Jesus es mi pastor y nosotros ses ovejas." Which means Jesus is our shepherd and we are his sheep. In games we played the card game again to put the books of the New Testament in order.
It has been such a blessing to be here to work and worship with the congregation here. They all have been so welcoming and encouraging to all of us. It has really put a perspective on how awesome God's church is no matter where we are. We all have a common bond and love. God is good!
Carey Lane and Becky Strickland on behalf of the team
July 8, 2014
It has been two years since I have been to Nicaragua. Over those years I have forgotten the extent of the Nicaraguan people's happiness. It is a genuine happiness that most people in America do not have. In America, most people are not happy with what they have, but rather, they are always striving for more. However, in Nicaragua, whether they have absolutely nothing or just a small make shift shack as their house, they are fully content with their current state. While Americans are always busy, busy, busy, only fitting God into their schedules, the people of Leon fit their schedules around God. They are always willing to stop what they are doing and have a Bible study in their home. Even if their shack is smaller than a lot of closets in the US, they always take care of what they do have, cleaning their dirt floors. Additional, when we are teaching the Good News to them, they are extremely receptive to it and open about their lives and spirtual well being. They hear the Gospel in it's purest form. Instead of molding the Gospel around their lives, they mold their lives to the gospel. - Will Bryan
We began our day on Monday eating breakfast at our hotel and spent time having a devotional led by our own Kyle Coker. He spoke to us about the importance of bing a "Light" to others while we are here based on Matthew 5:14-16.
Monday we had two sessions of Vacation Bible School at the church building. In the morning we have been serving young children pre-school age up to about 5th grade. Yesterday we had a little over 20 students in the morning. They were so adorable. Mrs. Pat Owens taught the little ones a bible lesson on the 23rd Psalm. Teaching the children The Lord is my Shepard and that The Lord watches over us. Several of our teen BYG girls assisted Mrs. Owens in the class ( Annie, Rachel, Claire and Ashley). Elvira Sr. was Mrs. Owen's interperter. The kids enjoyed their time with the ladies and learned a lesson they can take with them always.
Mrs. Becky Strickland, who is our lead in crafts, guided the children in a fun activity of using cookie cutters to cut out a "Shepard's staff" and popped popcorn on top. This was used to help reinforce the bible lesson. Mrs. Strickland had Elvira Jr. as her interpreter and Katelyn, from the Buford youth group assisted.
Meanwhile, while the ladies were teaching VBS, the guys all went out in teams to door knock, invite local children to VBS and conduct Bible studies. They had several studies with folks and have been busy planting seeds of the Gospel. The men were Jeremy Pate, Kyle Coker, John Owens, Chris Counts, Juan Garcia and his sons and Herman. The BYG teen boys assisting with the campaign are Dalton Counts, Noah Strickland, Will Bryan, Peyton Coker.
During all of our activity George Reese had errands to run and made sure we all had our water and were safe and accounted for. He has been very busy.
Mrs. Regina Counts led the children in games; teaching the children the Books of the Bible. Mrs Counts used an interpreter as well and several our our BYG teen girls assisted including Annie, Ashley, and Claire.
After lunch and some rest we returned to the building to evangelize and teach. While the men and boys were out door knocking the ladies stayed behind to teach VBS.
The afternoon session of VBS went smoothly. Our Bible lesson was about John prepares a way, based on John 1: 19-24. The kids made sheep with yarn and foam board cut out into the shape of a sheep and the game was teaching the Books of the Bible and putting them in order.
-On behalf of the team, Carey Lane
Day 4 in Leon, Nicaragua. Today was a great day. Jeremy reminded us, early in the morning, during the devotional, that Jesus' Great Comission is about making disciples who in turn obey the gospel when they are properly discipled. With this biblical teaching in our hearts, we out with boldness and taught Jesus to the surrounding community. After today's Gospel meeting Esteban, a man of the community, confessed Jesus as the son of God and was baptized for the forgiveness of his sins. - Juan Garcia
Last night additional 20 bags of food were handed out. It is amazing how many more people are living in the area. There are small houses that have sprung up on places that were open fields before. Most of them are very small made out of poles with black plastic tarps wrapped around them. Communal bathrooms are at the end of sections. But they are happy people who love God and want to hear his word. The VBS is going well. Our team of workers play with the children, crafts that go with each lesson. We teach twice a day. The worksheets and activities are loved by all. It is hot and we come back worn out but it is SO worth it. - Pat Owens
This week has already impacted me so much. I came here thinking that Nicaragua would not be all that different than the US, but it is extremely different. Houses are made of sticks, concrete, sheet metal and tarp. Streets are filled with garbage, dogs are skin and bone and no one has beds. Yet everyone has a huge smile on their faces and their hearts are so big. Even with a language barrier connections are still so strong with the kids. It's amazing how these people can be so happy with what little they have . Whenever I can't have something I really want I get kind of upset, but these people are teaching me to be content with all that I have because it's more than I could ever need. We all need to be more thankful for what we have because we are so blessed. I can't wait for what is next to come this week and continue spreading God's word. - Rachel Tinker
Day 3 in Leon, Managua. V.B.S. began yesterday at 2 p.m. but today was the first day we had two sessions. The first session was between 9-11 a.m. and we had 20 children and in the 2-4 p.m. session we had 50 children. Today we didn't have any baptisms but we had a great number of Bible studies. Today we were motivated in the morning by Kyle Coker to be the Christians who need to shine their light in a world that walks in darkness. The gospel meeting continued in the late afternoon and went on unto the night. The theme was about "Obedience." - Juan Garcia
July 6,2014, Sunday
Today was the Lord's day and about 100 attended the Azarihas Iglesia de Cristo in Leon, Nicaragua. John Farber and Guillermo Hernandez came from Managua and we all rejoiced in remembering the Lord's sacrifice.
Today we began our first day of V.B.S./Gospel meeting and had two baptisms. - Juan Garcia
There was a baptism today during our VBS session. Some of the men of the congregation went out to have Bible studies and this precious lady decided to follow Jesus! God is good! - Becky Strickland
Nicaragua the second time around brings back a lot of memories but never fails to keep creating new ones. Kids run up to us and want to know what we are doing in Leon. personally, I'm always on the lookout for familiar faces of the children I bonded with 2 years ago. Today I actually reunited with Joseline, with the same mischievous grin that brightens everyones day. She definitely put a smile on my face. From speaking the little Spanish I know to them to teaching them the Hokey Pokey (See Jeremy for video), moments spend with these precious children are a gift from God. The kids aren't all , adults from house to house will always greet you with a smile and an enthusiastic, "Bueno!" What I love most about the Nicaraguans is their willingness to learn about Christ. They always want to hear more, learn more. The people of Leon show us Americans how we should live, willing to show Christ in all we do. Even though we've been in Leon just one and a half days, I already can see that Nicaragua 2014 will be another opportunity God has blessed us with. #NICA14 - Dalton Counts
"Mas Fe" (More Faith) "Mas Amor" (More Love) "Mas Bondad" (More Goodness) Are 3 pillars of thought painted onto the shockingly green walls of the church building here in Leon, Nicaragua. The bright paint is invigorating, inspiring and lovely as we enter the church and obtain our circumstances. These 3 thoughts permeate our existence as missionaries as we dive into our existence as missionaries, as dive into the culture and evangelize in our first day. Nicaragua road "etiquette" is lacking: Mas Fe! Lizards are discovered enjoying the "comfort" of our hotel rooms: MAS FE! The open hearted, open home people are searching for the truth God holds: Mas Bondad! The people live in poverty, lacking all physical riches: Mas Bondad. However, the people are overflowing in spiritual and emotional wealth. Their hearts overflow into my own. The rejuvenating power that stems from their open homes (read door-less shacks) is captivating; contagious even. Most importantly, the greatest of these remain, however: Mas Amor. Love. The children hugged us as sisters for the first time they learned our name: Mas Amor. The people need us as we need them, we are all the same, sinners, children of The Lord: Mas Amor. Always Love. As the week slips from our grasp, I am enthralled to grow closer and increasingly Identical to Christ, immersed in their Nicaraguan aura along side my newfound and forever loved brother5s and sisters, Hermanos. Heaven will truly be a breathtaking place. Mas Fe. Mas Amor. Mas Bondad. - Annie Counts
We worshipped with the saints here on Sunday morning. We enjoyed hearing them sing and preach the word, and even though we could not understand, we understood. Many were in attendance and it was nice to shake the hands of our Nicaraguan brethren. After lunch the ladies got ready for vacation Bible school while the guys went out to evangelize. Two were added to the church on Sunday afternoon as a result of some of the studies that were held. After a welcome siesta, we went to the evening service and enjoyed another service with our fellow brothers and sisters here in Leon. After supper our youth participated in a devotional with Jeremy.
The theme for our VBS has been "Feed My Sheep"
26 grocery bags were given out today.
- Carey Lane and Becky Strickland on behalf of the team
Attendance - Sunday VBS - 40
Monday AM -20, Monday PM - 52
July 5,2014, Saturday
After a wonderful breakfast, we had our morning devo led by Juan
Garcia. He led us in a very inspiring devo based upon 2 Corinthians 2:15. He encouraged us to remember that our mission here is to be a sweet fragrance of God to those around us. Then it was off to Leon!
We arrived in Leon around lunchtime, checked in and then ate at the hotel. Shortly after we went to the church building and met some of the other brethren and took a tour of the building. Those who were on the trip 2 years prior were very pleased to see that the building was in excellent condition and that some of the improvements they had made before were still flourishing. We immediately broke into teams of evangelism and benevolence. The men and teens went out to seek locals to study with and invite kids to VBS and adults to the gospel meeting. Most of the women stayed at the building to put together food bags for members and those in the community. The ladies returned to the hotel to sort our VBS materials for the next day.
I know after seeing the neighborhood around the church building, we are feeling extremely blessed. Our hearts were touched after seeing the new influx of people to the area and we are praying that their hearts are open and that we become the sweet aroma of God that they need.
We thank you for your prayers and please continue to pray! VBS starts tomorrow!
Carey Lane on behalf of the team
Today we arrived at Leon, Nicaragua as planned. We were encouraged during the devotional, to preach the aroma of God (2 Cor. 2.14) and we did. We were able to prepare some food bags for tomorrow, pass fliers in the community and preach the fragrance of the Gospel which is Jesus. We praise God for given us a chance to participate in a life giving ministry. - Juan Garcia
Our Buford ladies and BYG girls filled the bags that were decorated at the Buford Ladies Day with rice, beans and oil. These bags will be distributed this week to families in need, both members of the church and from the community. - Becky Strickland
July 4, 2014, Friday
We left Atlanta bound for Managua and even though we left late our pilot made up for time and we arrived safe. One of the highlights of the flight was when we saw some fireworks as we were landing in Managua. After passing customs we went across the street to our hotel for the night. After getting settled we ate dinner and then retired for the night.