Monday, May 6, 2013

Sweet Home Nicaragua

This post is long overdue but it brings me great joy to tell you all about my trip to Nicaragua in April.  Ella and I made the trip together from San Jose in a bus to Managua, about 8 hours plus border crossing time.  I think this trip came at the perfect time in between our intensive course and the beginning of our trimester (that starts tomorrow).  I think it gave me a great vision and sweet excitement for what's to come.  
One of my favorite things we did while we were there was get to participate in Young Life club with the international schools.  I have been helping out here in San Jose for the last 2+ months but there was something so sweet about hanging out with the kids that I will get to hang out with for the years to come.  The theme of club was "summer time" as if it's not hot enough in Managua.  We finished the night with the longest ice cream sundae that turned into the largest ice cream food fight/water war.  

The before...
My zipline buddy for last summer! Mariana went to Windy Gap last year where we met and concurred our fear of heights together.  This summer she is going on Work Crew at Lost Canyon in AZ.  Oh the way the Lord is  transforming hearts in Nicaragua! 
My sweet teammates. Dry, clean and happy during what turned into a huge food fight!  

I also got to participate in the Work Crew training for Mariana and Ana Maria who are both sacrificing a month of their summer to serve at a YL camp in AZ called Lost Canyon.  I met both of these girls last summer at Windy Gap and I love seeing where the Lord is taking them on their journeys.  

While we were in Nicaragua, so were most of the international schools in Central America for the annual AASCA volleyball tournament.  It was awesome because there were 3 girls that went on Service Project with us in March from Costa Rica that we ran into for a few minutes after their game.  They were shocked to see us in Nicaragua because not too many people make that trek. 

And finally, the weekend that we were there was also the weekend for "campomento crecimiento" or growth camp for team coordinators and planning teams.  These are the leaders who are new to their role as a leader so they start on the planning team and learn more about what it looks like to be a leader for Christ in their location.  All of these leaders/planners were from Managua - 80 new leaders in Managua! I L-O-V-E-D getting to meet these leaders.  They are the body of Christ in areas that this little redhead would never be able to go - they are leaders in their neighborhoods, at their universities and even a student leader for the international school.  I love that Vida Joven Managua has such an integration between Young Life and Vida Joven, that there isn't a division or separate trainings but we all learn under the same leadership.   

What's a YL camp without an obstacle course as soon as you get off the bus!? 

Club area - who needs walls!? 
Worship together at night :) 

Some of my new friends! 
A few of the beautiful faces that love kids for Christ in Managua! 
To finish off the weekend, a late night pool party in your clothes! 
The leadership team of Managua doing the new, up and coming dance "Limonada Style" 
So much joy flows out of this girl! 
One of the first things Pratt said to us when he & Ashley picked us up from the bus station was "Welcome home!" and that has rung in my ears ever since.  It was a beautifully simple phrase that went straight to my heart.  I know that there will be plenty of challenges in my future but I also know the promises of God, in HIS faithfulness will ring truer and louder than any challenge that will come my way.  I am thankful for this time in Costa Rica and language school (that officially starts tomorrow) because I know God is teaching me so much in my time here, more than a language.  He is teaching me to find my satisfaction in Him, something I have to be reminded of every morning with this verse: 

"Satisfy [me] in the morning with your steadfast love, that [I] may rejoice and be glad all [my] days." 
Psalm 90:14

Nicaragua may be one of the poorest countries but it is rich in the Spirit.  I am so excited to call this place my home and to learn more about who Christ is. 

Dance party at camp!