Category: Nicaragua 2012


So Ends Week Three

We have come down to the final moments of our three-week trip to Nicaragua as we send the final members of the team to the airport today to wend their way home to Ft. Worth and to Ft. Smith, Arkansas. We will leave on the early Monday morning flight tomorrow, and be home by late afternoon. Ain’t modern transportation just amazing!!?

I will speak in a church tonight – Iglesia Bautista Canaan. We have gotten to know and love the pastor and his family as well as several of the members over the last several trips down here. Pastor Everst asked me to speak at their main service, which is at 4 pm, before I leave town, so I will do that this afternoon. I will be sharing from John 10:1-10 about the Shepherd, the sheep and the “name” He calls us by.

We concluded our second English school Friday. It was a family oriented trip with several members sixteen and under, one who was eight. Family oriented trips are always a bit easier with fewer classes, so that we don’t work till 9 pm every night, and we only hold the school for five days instead of six. The eight year old quickly made friends with the children in the neighborhood, and though his “sport of choice” was American football, he quickly adapted to the many games of stickball they played daily in the narrow, rutted roadway in front of the church. Language proved no more a barrier here than in London at the Olympics.

For this English school, we were in a small church set back in a “rustic” neighborhood, and while the crowds were not as large, the adult students’ 75% response to our invitation to Christ on Friday made it all worthwhile.  One of our 14-year-old team members, who participated as a classroom helper, commented that every student in his class indicated that they had prayed this week to receive Christ. Since this was his first mission experience, I can imagine how that will stick with him as he returns to the U.S.

In the children’s program, we had about 60 children, and 19 responded to the pastor’s call to Christ on Friday.  We were in a neighborhood where it is unlikely that these people will ever meet and talk with another North American, and for many of them, ever get an opportunity to hear the gospel presented clearly to them again. So we trust that Jesus accomplished what He had in mind in sending us there.

All in all, it was a great week, and for us a chance to see a little more of what the real Nicaragua is like and what the local pastors and their congregations contend with day-to-day. The most amazing thing for us is always how friendly and loving the Nicaraguan people are and how appreciative they are that we come to teach them English. Gail had two male students in her class who both had tears in their eyes when they told her good-bye, which is very unusual for men here. Since we also saw that in our experience two weeks ago, God must be doing some serious work here in softening hearts.

It is the beginning of winter here, which means torrential downpours, great difficulty navigating the streets, etc. Fortunately, the rain hasn’t really started in earnest yet – we had a number of heavy rainfalls where the rain hitting the metal roofs made those of us not used to such fierce displays feel like the sky was falling on our heads, but, fortunately, they were short-lived. Each time it rained, it soon dried out and the hot, equatorial sun came back out. All in all, though, the overall temperature here has been much cooler this trip, and there were many more refreshing breezes that we each tried to embrace as they passed by.

As an aside, there was a big local holiday right smack in the middle of the week, one of twenty holidays throughout the year. Some are government holidays, and some, like this one, are religious. This particular celebration was in honor of the patron saint of Managua, Santo Domingo (see http://vianica.com/go/specials/27-managua-nicaragua-patron-saint-dominic-festivities.html for detailed information). Stores were closed, parades were held on every major street, fiestas were going late into the night all around us both the night before and the night of the holiday. From our compound where we were comfortably encamped, we could hear competing bands and singing partiers on every side, mixed in with fireworks at all hours. I’m pretty sure I heard a tuba blatting away during dinner one evening. I’m thinking a tuba is a pretty unusual instrument for Nicaragua, but we were near a university on one side, so perhaps one of the music students liberated it for the celebration. It made for interesting dinner music for our nightly gallo pinto.

Advertisements

We spent our first week in Nicaragua this trip ministering in a small church named Iglesia 5th Libertad Bautista, which is the fifth mission of a church the Kennedy’s have ministered in repeatedly since 2005 – Iglesia Libertad Bautista. The church was a small facility with a worship room and an apartment room, too small for the school. So we held the registration at the church and the English school in a school facility “down the block.” Children's Program

At the church each morning we crammed between 130-175 children into the worship center for the children’s program. They were so excited to see the puppets and to learn some English that they literally sat in each other’s laps.

We had about 187 teens and adults registered for English classes. Out of that group there were 61 “yes” decisions made by the end of the week. That means they in some way made a commitment to Christ. We assess that information with a survey they fill out on the last day about their experience during the school.

The question is sometimes asked whether these students really know what they’re doing when they write “yes” in response to the question, “Did you make a commitment to Jesus Christ during this week.” We believe that they do understand the implications of this question because so many of them answer “no” to the question, indicating that they do not choose to make a decision at this time, or that they are already Christians. It’s impossible to know for sure what the nature of a yes response is, but that’s why Jody Kennedy only works with churches that are committed to the follow-up process. We are confident that all these students with receive personal follow-up visits from the congregation of this small church. It’s not unusual for several of these students to become a part of the church where the school is held after we leave Nicaragua.

As a point of reference, let me tell you about one of the “no’s.” His name was Frank and he was in my class. I could tell by Wednesday that God was dealing with him. He was in my upper level class, so our discussions had more meat in them than some of the lower levels of English that are learning English basics. In these upper classes we engage them in thoughtful discussion exercises that encourage them to practice using their English to express increasingly more difficult ideas.

During some of the discussions, it was quite evident that Frank was struggling with some spiritual issues as he shared particularly about his family and his future plans. He and I spoke after class several times, and I encouraged him to find his peace in God, since he claimed to already be a believer, and I told him I was praying for him by name. He indicated repeatedly that he was struggling with the world in his walk. It was obvious that he was under conviction. He made a special point after our final meeting to come up to me and tell me that he had recommitted his life to Christ that morning in his church, and then to introduce me to his mother, who asked me to continue encouraging him in Christ. I have asked him to email me so I can keep up with him.

So that’s what our week was like. Good to be here. We are in-between this week doing various things, like a 2 night marriage conference, and refurbishing supplies for next week’s ministry, then another English school next week. Think and pray about joining us next trip. You can get the schedule of trips at jodykennedyinternational.com.

Back in Nicaragua

We arrived back in the U.S. Sunday evening July 8,  and had a brief time home. Then we left again the next Saturday, July 14, for Nicaragua. We are here for in Managua for several weeks.

We have just completed the first week yesterday and are settled this week at the missionary’s local residence doing support type things. Also this week we will share in a couple of one or two night ministry opportunities – a marriage conference at the church we stayed at last week – Canaan Baptist Church – for one. Next week we will stay at a camp and do an English school at a very small church with a family ministry team from a church in Ft. Worth.

Unfortunately, internet has been very spotty up till now, so we have been out of contact. It is good here at the missionary’s home (Jody and Trisha Kennedy), but I’m not sure about next week. I will not continue the blogs about the Italy trip until I return and have a stable internet to rely on.

That’s where we are for now. More later.