Kathleen and I just got back from a mission trip to Somotillo, Nicaragua where we served IMG_2619local villages, schools, and churches.  The trip was coordinated and run by Because We Care Ministries (BWMC).  Kathleen and I went down with 6 people from Portico Charlottesville and 16 midshipmen (men and women) from the Naval Academy in Annapolis (mostly from their Baptist Collegiate Ministry (BCM) group).  We were in Nicaragua for a week, supporting BWMC’s ministry in several ways, including:

  • IMG_1465We dug trenches, collected several dump truck loads of gravel, and mixed and poured concrete footings for the foundation of a new church office for Prince de Paz (Prince of Peace) church
  • We visited several villages (Esperanza, San Francisco, Laredo, Santa Cruz) where we gave out donated clothes, cooked a meal for the villagers to enjoy, played games with the kids, and shared the Gospel both in individual discussions and through whole-village messages, often by the missionary who leads BWMC, Donald
  • We shared our testimonies over the radio at the local radio station, 102.9 FM

IMG_2729The trip was a great experience, and I loved sharing it with Kathleen.  Some of the highlights included:

  • The power was out at Dulles Airport when we arrived, which made checking in and finding lunch pretty challenging — fortunately the power came on shortly before we were scheduled to leave, so we were able to make our connection in Houston
  • We went to a church service at Prince de Paz on Sunday evening (our first day in Somotillo), which was a great experience — it was impressive to see how similar some of the church was to ours (coffee was a very important part of pre-service socializing) IMG_2759and see how much passion and joy people had in this community
  • The high temperature each way was between 100 and 102 degrees, so we enjoyed lots of water
  • Most of our team had little to no Spanish language skills, so we relied on several translators and the team members with Spanish experience to communicate with people in the villages and work sites
  • Hearing Donald and Pam’s stories of how they heard about Nicaragua from a missionary at their church, went down to help support this missionary, fell in love with Nicaragua and sold their house and moved down to Somotillo to build a ministryIMG_2734

Most days followed a similar schedule:

  • 6am:  Donald woke everyone up how you’d expect a Marine Corp Drill Sergeant to wake you up
  • 6:30am:  Someone sharing a morning devotion
  • 7am:  Enjoying a great breakfast prepared by the kitchen staff
  • 8am:  Each day, about 5 people would go to the local radio station to share their stories over the radio
  • 9am:  Going out to work on construction project or to go to a local school to share stories and play with the kidsIMG_1356
  • Noon:  Come back to the BWCM mission house to enjoy a delicious lunch
  • 1pm:  Head out for an afternoon of engaging a local village, bringing food, handing out clothes and shoes, meeting the villagers, and playing games with the kids
  • 4pm:  Showers and resting
  • 5:30pm:  Dinner
  • 8pm:  Sharing God Moments
    • Each night, the whole group circled up for us to share our God Moments.  Each person gave a short (“Tweet, not Facebook post”) God moment, where God spoke to us, and an associated scripture.IMG_1382
    • God Moments were a great way to focus our journaling and get us into the Word
  • 9pm:  Journaling and hanging out

Some of my God Moments from the week:

  • It was great to meet people from both Portico CVL and the Naval Academy (Kathleen and I had met very few of them before the trip) and hear their testimonies and their stories of how they ended up in Nicaragua
    • Matthew 13:44 The kingdom of heaven is like treasure hidden in a field, which a man found and covered up. Then in his joy he goes and sells all that he has and buys that field. 
  • Hearing our team’s radio testimonies was so exciting — it’s amazing how rarely we hear people’s life stories and how God works in their lives
    • Rom 10:14-15 How then will they call on him in whom they have not believed? And how are they to believe in him of whom they have never heard? And how are theyIMG_2750 to hear without someone preaching? And how are they to preach unless they are sent? As it is written, “How beautiful are the feet of those who preach the good news!”
  • In a conversation earlier today, Dan talked about how powerful it is when you realize how much more valuable and fruitful time with God is over other activities like watching TV
    • Psalms 18:2 The Lord is my rock and my fortress and my deliverer, my God, my rock, in whom I take refuge, my shield, and the horn of my salvation, my stronghold.
  • We all need to find our place and role in the Kingdom of God.  It was great to see our team working so well together, both on the work site (mixing and pouring concrete) and working in the village
    • Rom 12:4-5 For as in one body we have many members,[a] and the members do not all have the same function, so we, though many, are one body in Christ, and individually members one of another.

Check out the ministry’s daily NicaNews posts for some more details about our trip (thanks to Molly for making these so great):IMG_2603

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Some memorable quotes:

  • “…or you will surely die!” – Don
  • “A team goes further and faster” – Don
  • “Die to yourself daily, and let God rule in your life” – Don
  • “60 hour per week secular jobs look noble, as you provide for your family; but you’re chasing mist” – Don (the temporary, not the eternal; see Ecclesiastes)
  • “Everyone needs to find their place in the Kingdom of God, and not try to be someone else or copy someone else’s mission” – Don
  • “We need to both live and share the Gospel” – Dan Magan

Finally, Kathleen and I want to say:  P1070765 - Version 2Thank you sponsors so much! — both financial and prayer supporters. We both had a great experience, and were able to make significant impacts in the lives of many people of Somotillo, Nicaragua thanks to your support.  Thank you!

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