For those of you that don’t know, Harvest Vineyard Church (here in Ames) makes a week long trip to Nicaragua every March. This is the 9th year, and God opened up the opportunity for me to go along. 12 of us went to Arms of Love in Jinotepe, and it was a great week. Once I returned home though, I discovered I’m pretty bad at summing up trips/experiences. Whenever someone asks me “How was Nicaragua??” I just say “It was awesome” which clearly describes nothing and is the same descriptive word I used for my coffee this morning. So it took me a whole week of getting out most of the highlights, then cutting down my update to a reasonable length, and finally sending it out to the wonderful families who supported this trip. This Nicaragua update is the longer description of what we did, for anyone who is interested. But below are ten simple, sweet memories (in no particular order) that I bet I’ll remember for a long time. Like even when I get a mom-haircut.
1) We threw a fiesta for the kids, with pizza and loud music and a pinata. Apparently their radio isn’t edited, and apparently Enrique doesn’t really say “lovin” in “Tonight I’m lovin you.” …Awkward. I also have a funny video of Ronnie, an older boy at Arms of Love, dancing while hitting the pinata. But I can’t figure out how to upload it! Blast!
2) We got lice. But the rest of the Lice Brigade had awesome attitudes about it, so it was easy for me to do the same. We walked to a pharmacy, and bought the tiniest packet of shampoo I’ve ever seen. It had a cartoon dino with a little bug riding it. Weird? I don’t think it did the trick though, so our first stop when we were back in Ames was the Wal-Mart shampoo section at 4 am. I couldn’t stop laughing in the check-out. The worker was unamused, asking if I would be okay. I think she thought I was drunk…but let me assure you if I WERE drunk at 4 am, spending $50 dollars on lice shampoo is not what I would do.
3) Our bus driver, Frank, knew absolutely no English. Trying to have conversations with him were my favorite. He was very patient with my terrible Spanish, and one night we played hangman and made paper swans.
4) Playing “Bear, Fish, Mosquito” with the little kids. Bear > fish. Fish > mosquito. Mosquito > bear. Malaria! It’s kind of like a mega game of Rock, Paper, Scissors. But “oso! oso!” sounds cuter than “Scissor”.
5) Our team had devotions together every morning, and Thursday morning was one of my favorites. A team member, Jon, shared about his anger with God when his wife died. He talked about how God led him back to Himself and revealed His trait of faithfulness. We talked about other characteristics Christ has revealed to us personally. Afterwards we did some tradition of “passing the peace” that Jon had learned from preaching to men in a jail. You hug each other and say “Paz de Dios contigo” or something like that. It was a good moment with our team. And I bet it’s how we all got lice.
6) Walking through Jinotepe to the tiniest stores to buy Coca-Cola. And I don’t even like Coca-Cola. That’s how fun it was.
7) Ned singing “Master Builder” while we painted. Our translator, Nestor, especially found it entertaining, and we sang that song all week. “Jesus was a carpenter a long time agooooooo……….”
8) The first night, Ronnie gave us a tour of the homes at Arms of Love. We went to the younger kids home, and they one-by-one told us their names. Then they practically ran us over to go into their bedrooms and try to clean it up a little. The boys stuffed clothes under the beds and in the closets faster than you can say “holy cow, how much axe did you just spray.”
9) Richard shamelessly announcing to 20+ people that the coconuts we had the night before had “given him the trots.” The coconut guy didn’t deliver one to him again.
10) Coloring with Marlo on the last night. He is one of the sweetest little boys I have ever met, and as he cuddled in my lap while watching a movie on that night, I became incredibly close to tears.
18 “But forget all that—
it is nothing compared to what I am going to do.
19 For I am about to do something new.
See, I have already begun! Do you not see it?
I will make a pathway through the wilderness.
I will create rivers in the dry wasteland.