Nicaragua Day 4 and 5 – Finding Joy

So I can finally get around to posting some pictures and stuff.  We had a great relaxing day today.  It’s good to unwind after a wild, exhausting week of pouring ourselves into share God’s love with, and receiving God’s love in return from, some beautiful, amazing children and teachers.

It was such a time of fun and joy and sweat and dirt and laughter and hugs and tears.  I think the best thing to do is just show some pictures of some of what we did.  I’ll also try to post another time a few of the stories after I process some of the things I saw.

The best part of every day was worship during the assemblies (we had 3 on Thursday, 4 on Fridays, split by age groups). Since I did magic tricks and spoke at each one, I got to participate in all of them.

We sang and dance to an amazing song called “Gloria, Gloria.”  It was so fun and so moving to watch hundreds of kids dance and spin and jump for joy praising the Lord.  It’s amazing.  They live such difficult lives.  Their few hours each day at the school are their time to have fun and live with joy.  The rest of their day is devoted to survival, whether it’s begging on the streets, digging in the dumpground, caring for younger siblings, etc.  It was really special.  I have video of it I will post once I figure out how to format it for this blog.

I post the above picture to just show you how hot and humid it is here this time of year.  We gringos sweat a lot.  It’s rather gross.  A few kids asked what was wrong with Casey, as he seemed to sweat quite a bit.  But he is also amazing with the kids.  His role was to let them climb on him and spin them around for several hours a day. They love Cowboy Casey as much as we do.

The youth were amazing.  Here they are helping serve food on Friday.  Kayla, Jaci, Emily and Hayes loved those kids, and those kids treated them like rock stars.  Youth these days can get a bad rap about laziness and shallowness and all that stuff.  But these 4 do their generation proud. It was a beautiful thing to watch.  I could post 500 pictures easily of them interacting with the kids, whether it was Hayes beat boxing and calling himself Justin Beiber, Jaci spinning around with little girls, Kayla holding hands, or Emily showing love to every kid she came in contact with.  They made me happy.

I could post even more pics of the rest of our team doing stuff, but I would run out of time.  Here they are (along with a few kiddos who love to be in pictures):

I have to show a few of the friends we made along the way:

This is me with Jhonny, our interpretor who helped me all week at the assemblies and his wife Jessie and son Jonah.  It was awesome to meet them today.  We even got to treat Jessie to her very first Zip Lining adventure this morning.  They are a godly couple.  Jhonny is a youth minister who loves the Lord.  And I know he will be a lifelong friend of mine.

This is one of my favorite pictures.  It’s my and Jose Louis.  We’re talking to his mom is Jaqueline, who prepares food at the school.  She is my amiga from last year.  She thinks I am “loco. Loco, loco, loco.”  We have an awesome relationship, but she doesn’t like me to help serve food because I give the kids too much, I serve too slowly, and I sing too loudly about how she cooks food in bad Spanish. She is very fun to mess with.

Here’s me and Angel.  He is Wayne and Elaine’s right-hand man.  His testimony is amazing – he’s come out of gangs and a tough lifestyle to become an amazing young man of God that all the boys look up to.  He learned English watching American movies, and now he’s teaching English at the school along with serving as an interpretror Mr. Everything Else for Wayne and Elaine.  He’s very funny and a great friend.  And if you’re ever in Nicaragua and need anything, whether it is protection, food, sunscreen, jokes, history lessons, movie quotes, etc., look Angel up.

But more than anything, this week was about these precious kids.

Here are some of the kids heading home after school.

That’s where they go when they go home.  Much different than the places we’ll be tomorrow night. I’m thankful for where I live.  And I’m thankful I got to spend time with these kids.  And help Wayne and Elaine, playing a small role in the amazing work they do, providing joy and hope in the midst of ashes.

I’m sure I’ll post about all this again the first of next week, share a few more stories. I am still really tired and processing a few things.  But it was a great week.  There are still many stories to tell.  Hopefully I tell a few more.

I love it here.  I’m ready to go home.  I can’t wait to go back.


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