Nicaragua 7/5/2009 – Return Home and Final Thoughts

Posted on July 27, 2009

7/5/09  —  Sunday

What a week this has been!  We all awoke Sunday with an excitement to worship at La Montanita with our new friends at the church, which was now under major renovations.  While we were all excited, we were also prepared for the bitter sweet time that we knew it would be.  Due to our flight arrangements for our return trip the next day, we would not be able to worship with the church later in the evening.  After a great breakfast, shared with a large group of college kids from Costa Rica, we were off to church.  Earlier in the week, Pastor Jose had indicated that there were several surprises in the works for the service.

The service turned out to be one of the most moving experiences for many of us.  We sang many songs of worship, and even though we did know the words to most, the Spirit’s presence was obvious.  We did sing the Spanish version of “King of Kings and Lord of Lords” which many from our group had learned the words to while working with the children.  Pastor Dale gave his final message of the trip with Marshall translating once again – it was a pleasure to watch these two men of God speak together.  They have developed an excellent rapport with each other, which speaks highly for Marshall and his ability to translate the meaning of those Pastor Dale stories.  At the conclusion of the message, the church presented Pastor Dale with a hand-made hammock that was woven by one of the women in the church.  The words woven into the side of the hammock read ‘Brothers in Christ’.  The touching part of the day was just about to begin.

The service was concluded with a first for the church at La Montanita.  Much to our surprise, our hosts were about to enter into a time of ‘Foot-washing’.  Now most everyone in our group had experienced this symbolic ritual of humility and servant-hood, but none of us was prepared for what was to come.  Our experience with Foot-washing goes something like this… held at an evening service at church, everyone wears fresh socks and makes sure their toe nails are trimmed neatly, we all sit in a neat circle and remove our own shoes and socks, we take turns washing someone’s feet and then having our feet washed, we put our own socks and shoes back on, and the ritual ends.  Well, today there was no neat circle, just a row of chairs for the men on one side of the dirt pavilion, and a row on the other side for the women.  The leaders and a select group from the church were chosen to wash our feet.  As most of us sat in our chair sobbing with emotion, our Nicaraguan hosts proceeded to wash our feet.  While dressed in their nicest pants, dresses and skirts, they knelt before us in the dirt.  They untied our shoes, removed our socks, and very lovingly washed our feet.  This was not the usual two or three hands full of water that we are accustom to, but this was a wash complete with soap and water.  After our feet were dried, they were sprayed with perfume.  Finally, our socks were replaced, and our shoes were put back on.  The emotion and Spiritual significance of this act was evident in the many tears shed by all.  Even our La Montanita brothers and sisters were moved to tears as a result of being involved in this new experience.  We were not to wash their feet, but to simply sit in humbled silence while our feet were washed.  Many of us experienced for the first time what it must have been like for the Disciples when Jesus washed their feet.  Personally, I will never wash feet the same way again. The passage that came to mind was Isaiah 52:7.  With the service over, we shared a time of taking photos with each other.  Many handshakes and hugs were shared with man, woman, and child alike.  We did not want the time to end, but needed to be on our way.  We slowly made our way to the van, and everyone followed for the tearful wave goodbye.

For lunch we headed off to the market at Masaya.  We enjoyed one last meal with Pastor Jose and his wife Auru.  They accompanied us to the market for lunch, but also to help us with a bit of shopping.  Many of us wanted a few items to remember our time in Nicaragua, and the market in Masaya was just the place.  Items of interest included Machete’s, coffee, pottery, leather handbags, hand-woven items, and many other trinkets.  It was a bit of a challenge with language and doing the math to figure the exchange rate, but we all managed.  Having concluded our time of shopping, we made an early day of it to head back to our hotel in order to pack all our things for our travel day.  All the tools and children’s ministry items needed to be reorganized for the ride home.  It was early to bed for all.

It had been an awesome stay in Nicaragua, but we were all anxious to get home.  The only bad thing was the 3 am wake-up call to get rolling.  The staff was kind enough to get a pot of coffee going for us, which was a blessing.  We headed to the airport at 4 am, and by 5 am we were ready to check in.  There were many smiles in our departure photo in the airport, but if you look closely, you will see many very tired eyes.  We cleared all the immigration issues and were ready to go.  Both flights from Nicaragua to Houston, and Houston to BWI went without a hitch.  We were even ahead of schedule on both flights.  The Rineer’s met us at the airport and we piled into the van for the ride home.  Herr’s chips and Turkey Hill Iced Teas were passed around…already feeling like home.  We were a bit disappointed that they did not bring along Herrs’ newest flavor…’Rice and Bean’ flavored chips.  Oh well.   It was good to be home.  Cheeseburgers awaited numerous members of the team.

Epilogue

Marshall remained in Nicaragua for several days.  Before returning home, he stopped back at La Montanita to check on the progress.  See the pics…the roof is ON!!  Also, the following is an email that arrived from Pastor Jose concerning a young girl that we prayed for.  She was supposed to have surgery the week we were there to repair a hernia in her side.  Pastor Jose’s email explains the rest…

Saludos cordiales desde Nicaragua, les  escribo para decirles que por acá los hermanos están muy contentos por el trabajo que se hizo por la iglesia de parte de ustedes. Ha caído la lluvia y nosotros estamos seguros y secos en el templo que ustedes entecharon.  (Cordial greetings from Nicaragua. I write you to tell you that the brothers and sisters are very happy for the work you did for the church. Rain has fallen and we are secure and dry in the building which you roofed.)

Les escribo además para testificarles que la Niña Maziel , la niña por la que oraron los hermanos cerca de la iglesia. Su mamá nos contó que cuando fue al médico para consultarle sobre la salud de la niña el doctor estaba sorprendido porque en el lugar donde estaba la hernia parecía que jamás había tenido nada la pequeña. Gloria a Dios porque Jesucristo es el mismo ayer, hoy y por los siglos. La mamá de la niña estaba emocionada porque asistió con mas regularidad al templo y dio gracias a ustedes por haber hecho esta labor de fe de orar por su hija y que ahora este completamente sana.  (I also write to testify about the child Maziel which you prayed for here near the church. Her mother told us that when she went for a medical checkup, the Doctor was surprised because in the area where the hernia was, now there was nothing amiss. Glory to God, because Jesus Christ is the same yesterday, today and forever.  The mother of the girl was very much affected by this and now attends the church regularly. I thank you for doing this labor of faith in praying for this girl who now is completely healthy.)

Antes de visitarla la niña había dicho por medio de su abuela que deseaba que el pastor orara por ella para ser sanada y esto fue lo que sucedió.  (Before you visited the child the grandmother sent word that she wanted the pastor to pray for the child to be healed and this is what happened.)

Gloria a Dios por siempre!!  (Glory to God forever.)

Dios les bendiga por todo lo que hacen por su reino engrandecido.  (May God bless you in all that you do to extend His Kingdom.)

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