Last week I was in Nicaragua with some friends, old and new, on a mission trip and an adventure!
I went with a group from Grace Community Church, Fort Smith, AR, on a mission to La Flor Village, Nicaragua, July 14-21, under the leadership of Ken Duncan, and in cooperation with El Porvenir, an NGO with a 20+ year history of helping the poor villages of Nicaragua with clean water and health related issues. Our task was finishing the job of installing efficient wood cooking stoves with chimneys in 17 village homes, as well as sharing love, hugs, our faith, and our lives with the children and people of the village. It was a great week, and a joy to get to know all who served the people of La Flor Village and the King.
Click here for some photos of our mission.
While there is no way to see the whole world or volunteer for every opportunity that comes along, I do pray you are asking the Lord to guide you in ways you can be involved in people’s lives, discipling and serving others. He will lead you if it’s your heart’s desire and you ask. You’ll find yourself enjoying the relationships that follow and storing up treasure in heaven, real treasure for a real eternity. The Bible teaches us, and Jesus taught us by rising from the dead that people are eternal, and not the stuff we spend much time and energy accumulating.
This was the group’s second time in the village. And there’s a chance we might be returning next year. A pastor of a thirty member congregation asked us to come back and help them build a church building on land they own. They are presently meeting in his home and others that are scarcely large enough to hold that many folks. Let me know if you’re interested in helping and going next year!
I learned Nicaragua is the largest country in Central America, and also the poorest due to nearly two centuries of dictatorships, civil wars and natural calamities. The average income per person is $1,028 (2% of USA). They are about 6 million people with 60% living in urban communities making it the most sparsely populated country in Central America. 75% of the population is less than 30 years old, and 35% is less than 15 years old, making it a very youth filled nation. They have a Pacific and Atlantic coast with mountains in the middle, the highest being 7300′, and there are eight active volcanoes! It’s very U.S. friendly these days with businesses and tourists beginning to pour in. And if you haven’t heard, the Chinese are about to start building a canal across the country much larger than the current Panama Canal. That will be a game changer hopefully of benefit for them, and certainly the world economy. The most important thing I came away saying about the country is that the people are warm and friendly, engaging and precious.
Spiritually speaking, possibly due to the poverty and suffering, many have and are turning to Christ. Operation World reports, “Evangelical growth is high and sustained amid the upheaval. Evangelicals grew from 2.2% in 1960 to 29.8% in 2010. This is more than a 40-fold numeric increase in 50 years, with no sign of such growth abating.” Who knew? I don’t think I saw that on CNN, did you?
Indeed, while people talk politics, war, corruption, and how to humanly solve the world’s problems, it seemed to our little troop that the Lord is quietly, consistently sending people to help the poor and needy, the downcast and afflicted, to help lift people up. That’s always been His Way and His Heart. The experience was a joy for us!