Our month in Nicaragua has been very memorable. This month has been so amazing and full of happiness thanks to the people of Palacaguina. We have laughed, made memories, and have friends that will last a lifetime. We have worked alongside many different people in the community. We are eleven unique individuals from all over the United States who came together just to experience the love of God in other parts of the world, to expand His Kingdom. We came to love on others and serve where needed when in reality we were loved on way more than expected.
One of the ways that we served with the community was by helping at the Christian school, Palacaguina Christian Academy (PCA). We got to spend time bonding with children from the ages of 3 to 9 year olds at this school. That looked like three of us ladies going into different classrooms helping with pronouncing words in English, playing games, and talking with them. Most of us did not know Spanish but that did not hinder us from connecting with the kids. Also, we were able to form relationships with the teachers and learn how to better love the kids from the way they interacted with them. One of the girls, Aliyah, said her favorite takeaways was that she got to love on them even though she only knows a few words in Spanish. When we asked the other girls the same question, they all said the same thing.
The other main ministry we did was construction for a local church. We moved dirt and rocks to level the ground so as to be able to expand the church building out more. From about 9 to 12 we worked in the heat with shovels and pickaxes, but for some of us it was our favorite ministry. We had the opportunity to work alongside the pastor and his son. We laughed a lot and learned about each others lives through this ministry. Some of us know enough Spanish to have a conversation and help to communicate with the people who were helping us and it was a very beautiful example of the way the love of Christ has no specific language. One of our favorite memories was when the pastorʼs son, Edwin, played a joke on our leader. We were drenched in sweat and Edwin pulled a bottle cap out of his pocket to stick it on his forehead and see how long it stuck. He lasted for about 30 seconds with the bottle cap sticking to his forehead, then told Morgan to try. He pretended to put it on her forehead and she stood there counting like she was seeing how long she could last with it on her forehead. She got to 20 something before she realized it wasnʼt there and we all laughed. It was something that we would continue to bring up and laugh about throughout the rest of our time working at the church.
In the afternoons, we would have a bible study for children one day a week. We taught on Abraham, Issac, Jacob, Esau, and Joseph. We spent time teaching kids about the Old Testament and they really enjoyed it. Each time we also played a fun game that we came up with and tried to teach them a song about God. Doing this ministry gave us the opportunity to connect with the kids through the word of God and it was very special. One of the funniest moments was when we played a game with all the kids. We tied string around their ankle with a balloon attached and they had to try to protect their balloon while trying to stomp someone elseʼs balloon. There was a lot of laughing and screaming during this game, but you could see the happiness in all of their eyes.
Another type of ministry we did was visiting families to collect information and take photos of them to help find a sponsor that would help with all their basic necessities. It was very special to get to visit these families and have the chance to pray for them in their homes. We got to see the ways people lived and loved. It was very special when they shared with us what specific prayer they needed because they opened their hearts to us in a vulnerability that isnʼt seen in the States.
One of our favorite things during our “off time” is spending time with the people here and developing personal relationships. We have all bonded with various people in various ways and some of us have plans already to come back and visit. The friends we have made here are more like family and we are extremely grateful for the lessons they have taught us. All of the relationships we have made will be cherished forever and as our host said, “no goodbye,” “see you later.” His son, Osman Pequeno is our 14 year old best friend that has become the teamʼs little brother. We all love him so much and are quite sad to say goodbye. Another closely cherished relationship weʼve made here is a Pastor weʼve worked with named David, and his family. He opened up his home and his family opened up their hearts to us. We have played games, done magic tricks, had meaningful conversations, shared jokes, and learned about each others lives. Our last Saturday here in Palacaguina, we took a bunch of the kids and our friends with us to the pool and had so much fun. We played, swam, and took lots of photos. There were at least 20 of us and it was so funny watching all of the little boys take turns belly flopping into the pool. We were able to teach some of them how to swim and just simply create long lasting memories with them. Sitting here, on our last day of Nicaragua, we are all so grateful for that day and will smile upon the memory of it for years to come.