Thursday, February 23, 2017

Day 3 - Nicaraguan Observations

We leave the airport in the hustle and bustle.  People loading trunks and boarding buses.  Taxi drivers scanning for their next patron.  Sonia greets us with a big smile that never leaves her face. 

On the bus. Dawn, Kelly, and Eddie.  Sueli and Ryan in the background.
 The air is heavy with humidity.  Its still hot even though its night.  I thought this was wintertime?  Driving.  It smells like car pollution, cook fire smoke, and cooking rice.  Pass the slums, houses built together with walls made of roof sheeting, beside the canal full of rotting garbage and probably raw sewage.  The poorest of the poor.  Turn the corner and here comes the boulevard lit with giant metal trees - all the colors of the rainbow.  $20,000 each.  Impressive sights, wasteful spending.

Children singing, eager to learn.  Today's lesson taught by those crazy (caring, attentive, altruistic, open) American UCCers.  Singing "Jesus Loves Me," reading books, dental hygiene with Senor  Boca (Mr. Mouth) the giant mouth, making necklaces, tiny beads everywhere.  102 students, after-school programat the church, lunch is served - no food at regular school, sometimes it is their only meal, all smiling faces nonetheless, what a joy! Practicing our less than perfect Spanish, we appreciate their patience, they appreciate our attempt.
Presenting on Oral Hygiene with Geri and Chris and Senor Boca (Mr. Mouth)

Practicing with Chris and Senor Boca (Mr. Mouth)
Dawn learning with the students
 Hot day, sweaty day, delicious food day, building friendships day, worthwhile day, joyful day, tired day, tomorrow is another day!
Lots of beautiful, happy children

Chris and Milanne with Ryan being a goofball in the back

Help, Thanks, Wow

1 Peter 2: 16 (MSG)  It is God’s will that by doing good, you might cure the ignorance of the fools who think you’re a danger to society. Exercise your freedom by serving God 

In a wonderful book by Author Anne LeMott she speaks that all the prayers in our lives can be boiled down to three types~ Prayers where we ask for HELP, Prayers where tell God THANKS, and Prayers where we can join nothing more then just say "WOW!"

We have had some amazing moments where I have asked God to help the person we are working with- this is not out a view of pity- but a sense that this person's life needs a break through, an opportunity of Help that God can give in prayer- isn't this often the view when we step outside of our comfort zone?

The type of prayer I have felt more strongly during our time thus far in Nicaragua with the great Sisters and Brothers of Mision Christiana~ has been prayers of Thanks and WOW. The smiling faces of children, then integrity of the teachers guiding us, the overwhelming sense of God Spirit's connecting us in worship and work....All lead me to Say Thanks and WOW..

So in your life~ What are moments where you say Help, Thanks and Wow Today?

Grace and Peace~Ryan

Wednesday, February 22, 2017

Welcome to Nicaragua!

Breakfast in the mornings is "Muy bueno" = very good and keeps us energized!

Si eres feliz y lo sabes aplaudir tus manos! = If you're happy and you know it clap your hands! 

Tu nombre? which means "Your name?"

Here I Am

Isaiah 6:8 (NRSV) Then I heard the voice of the Lord saying, “Whom shall I send, and who will go for us?” And I said, “Here am I; send me!”

This is one of our readings for today to ponder.

When I think about "Being Sent"  or Saying "Here I am God"  I can't help but she some of the fear that comes with moving outside of the comfort we have in our personal life. Not have the same bed, Nor the same coffee pot, being in a place that smells & looks different, not to mention not being able to understand the language around you.  "Being Sent" is a daunting task and require faith and courage that we may not always realize is within us.

Our day will be filled of shadowing the teaching staff of Church #1 and meeting with the almost 100 students who call the church- School.  It will be hot and humid and full of the unknown joy that God gives.

I will be humming this tune today

Grace and Peace~Ryan


Tuesday, February 21, 2017

Here we go!!

Wish us luck as we prepare for takeoff on a weeklong journey and mission to Nicaragua!  Together with a mashup of Syracuse UCCers and a wildcard from Rochester, a UCC Conference Minister we are heading to the capitol city Managua to serve at a local church where we will be teaching at their school for three days. Guided by the theme "Jesus loves me," we have prepared bible lessons, craft projects, and health lessons.   We are armed with almost 500 toothbrushes and nearly as many craft supplies to distribute to the students and community of the Mision Cristina and accompanied by the humor of Chris Hopkins' cat stories. This is sure to be a memorable and productive trip!  Thanks for all of the support and continued prayers from our congregations back home as the journey to Nicaragua begins.