We had a couple of wonderful young women serve with us this summer! Melanie came from the Westcoast in Oregon and Carley came down from the Eastcoast in Virginia. Narrow Gate is a summer program we host for individuals who want to serve in Nicaragua for a more extended period of time. Our focus is “Learning, Serving and Living in Community”. Both Melanie and Carley brought great skill sets to Nicaragua with them, including impressive language skills and a love of Jesus that made for a great summer! We really enjoyed having them in our home and working together hosting short term missions teams, at Clubs Esperanza and Los Brasiles, Ruby Ranch, Casa Havilah & Casa Robles.
The serving came in the normal onslaught of summer activity. Often random but always something to do, working with kindergarteners at Club Esperanza, coordinating work projects and activities for teams, volunteering with Vacation Bible School, living at Casa Havilah, taking rescue homes on fun days, ah and oh yes babysitting the missionaries kids 🙂 Some of the “work” is also the unnoticed type, like doing the dishes…the only dish washer down here is your two hands and a sponge! It was a very big help for our family having two skilled individuals with servant hearts. In simply living the daily Nicaragua life and touching the lives of people in need whom we cross paths with every day, the Lord moves and uses each of us to draw others closer into relationship with Himself and to establish works that have an eternal impact for His Heavenly Kingdom.
In the midst of the serving activity there are also times for study and devotion with the Lord. Quinta Havilah can be a real refuge and retreat and we took advantage of that too. We studied a couple of books together. A classic on Spiritual Disciplines called “Celebration of Discipline” by Richard Foster and a book by David Platt who is currently the President of the International Missions Board of the Southern Baptist Convention. That one is called “Radical: Taking Back Your Faith from the American Dream”, that title says it all and it was a good challenging perspective to read through. Then whether gathering with friends down here to watch the “Father of Lights” documentary in our living room, or listening to Ravi Zacharias’ lectures on a three hour car ride, or watching Graham Cooke preach about prayer on YouTube, we had some very good influences getting into our minds. Then of course I would get distracted on YouTube and we might end up watching The Guy on a Buffalo LOL! Oh but the times of study and discussion are never enough and time does slip by…the moments we did get together were great!
Living in Community is something that is also a part of serving the Lord overseas and we got plenty of that too. Living in closed quarters with people you have just met. Having visitors come and go throughout the summer. Sitting down for meals together, but also preparing the meal and then cleaning up after. Living in a home with four perfectly behaved children (ok fine they aren’t always perfectly behaved hahaha). God uses these times to refine each of us individually with patience in the chaos, with grace towards others in light of their faults, with compassion during tough moments, and so on. It is a real chance for growth in the midst of serving the Lord in ministry.
We had lots of fun together too, because Nicaragua is a beautiful country! One of the craziest sights is Masaya Volcano which currently has flowing lava at the base of its crater! Also beautiful Playa Gigante down south where we did a solitude retreat, or chiming the bells in Granada and getting a boat tour of the islands…and oh yes Zip Lining.
Thank you both for joining us I know we will get to see you all again down here in NicaraguaLand! We are blessed to have you as friends be working together in the Kingdom of God. “May the Lord bless you and keep you and make His face shine upon you” wherever He takes you! I got it right this time, and we sincerely mean that 😉