I'm so excited to be writing this blog post from Nicaragua!
We arrived yesterday. After some adventure checking our bags and some rather rude airline employees, the rest of our travel went very well.
We left home around 2 p.m. and arrived at the house we are staying in at about 1 a.m. That was a long day friends! After we arrive at the airport, we still have another hour plus to drive to Leon.
If you have never been to Latin America, there is really no way to properly describe the driving here. You see vehicles, new and old, but also bikes, motorbikes, carts, horses, donkeys. It is very interesting to say the least. Some people pay attention to lights and signs, but some just don't and there is a lot of dodging and close calls.
We watched some of our luggage that was supposed to be strapped to the top of the jeep slide down the front windshield. You just have to laugh and go with the flow here. That's how they roll!
Today we packed 100 gift bags for a precious group of ladies we will get to serve lunch to and speak with tomorrow. We unpacked 22 suitcases full of clothes, backpacks, shoes, toiletries... and got them ready to hand to students on Monday.
Tomorrow we will also pack bags of groceries for every student we have sponsors for and their families. Sunday we will get to meet some of our students' parents and share with them the importance of encouraging their child to stay in school and get better jobs in hopes of breaking the cycle of poverty.
I wish I could express my happiness to be back in this nation. I have no idea why God would choose me to come here, but I am blessed beyond words to step out in faith and do it! A part of my heart is here now and forever.
I want to share how God provided for me to get here. I want you to be challenged to believe...maybe for the first time...maybe for bigger things.
Our trip is not cheap and we certainly are not women who just have this kind of money laying around to spend.
This is my third year, and I have watched God provide supernaturally for me every single time!
For this trip, I started praying back in the fall about how to raise my funds. I was reading my sons a book on the missionary, Hudson Taylor. He came from a wealthy family but knew once he went to China that He would not have his father's finances to help him. He decided to start praying and believing for God to meet his needs to serve God's people.
You see, it's God's heart to help people. He wants people to know Him and be with Him forever. So when He calls a person to go and serve, He also will equip that person to walk out His plan.
So I felt a little nudge in my spirit...to believe for something big.
I prayed more and felt the Lord instructing me to use my gifts to get money to go. I made handmade cards and sold them. That paid for almost all of my plane ticket ($700).
I then read another book about a man named George Mueller. He felt the leading of God to set up orphan houses in London in the 1800s. The cool thing was that the main purpose wasn't to help the kids, but rather to show people that God loved the orphans so much that He would move through people to meet the needs to take care of them...if someone would just believe and pray for it to happen. George Mueller did. And God always provided. ALWAYS. FOR YEARS.
So, I felt the nudge again. Believe for the big. Believe for God to move through the hearts of people and help me get to Nicaragua to do HIS work because He LOVES children!
I know the Lord spoke into my spirit and told me not to write one letter asking for support this time, but just believe and pray.
I received a precious message from a friend who had been in our youth group when we pastored there years ago in SC. She said she and her husband had agreed that God was telling them to give me $1000 for my trip.
Stunned. Dumfounded. Speechless. Humbled to my core.
In one fell swoop God was providing all I needed for the rest of my trip...from the least likely source.
The mother in me didn't want to take this young couples' money, for they have struggles of their own. But the wisdom of God in this young woman told me to stop seeing it like that and see it as an investment for her in God's work because one day she was going to go and help others too.
Even still, my faith was stretched as the money was not available until days before I was leaving and needed it. It is one thing for someone to have the best intentions and make you promises of a gift and another thing to actually hold that gift in your hands!
But my God is faithful and the money did come. Now here I sit...sweating at 9:40 at night, but gloriously happy to know I am right in the middle of God's will for my life.
Tomorrow I will have the honor of standing in front of 100 women and encouraging them to stay strong in the midst of a hard life. I feel completely inept to do this. I can't help but wonder why God would send me. But, I think, if I am understanding correctly, that it is because it's just not about me. It's about these people and it's about Him. Where I am weak, He is made strong. I am simply a willing vessel empowered by the Spirit of God because of the sacrifice of His loving Son.
I'm so thankful that my life has purpose. I'm so glad I am not floundering around meaninglessly, wasting away my days. I want to get to the end of my life and know that I did all I could to make a difference and love to the uttermost.
So many people have asked me why I go to Nicaragua when people in my own country have needs. First, I say, I don't go there and not help at home. It's not an either/or option for me! I do both and more. I want to reach as many people in need as possible...wherever they happened to be born! And second, I go because I know I am supposed to.
What a precious gift...to know your purpose and lay down your life to walk it out. In my own strength, I cannot do it. But with God, ALL things are possible.