Nicaragua Mission Trip 2014
I left at 6:30am Friday Feb 14th during a snow storm and I arrived in Managua, Nicaragua during a heat wave. I traveled to the Quinta Shalom Guest House about 45 minutes outside Managua to meet the rest of the team. Early Saturday morning, we were off to Ometepe Island to begin our work sewing with the women. It’s about a three hour drive south to the town of Rivas to catch the ferry. We rented a 15 person van and hired a driver who stayed with us for the week. The team consisted of Anne and Bill Freund from the US, Hermano Antonio Vivas Cruz, head of CHE Nicaragua and his wife Hermana Lena, Pastor Darling Lopez, a lawyer and worker for CHE and Janneth Diaz Vargas from the Ocotal region. This region in the northern part of the country near the Honduran border is the newest outreach of CHE. Janneth made a 6 hour bus ride so she could be part of our team. Janneth is a natural leader and we welcomed her enthusiasm and sense of humor.
It was very windy on Saturday morning and the ferry to the Island was definitely rocking. I found my seat out on the deck and waited for my first glimpse of the island; this view of the island never fails to delight me. Traveling by car or van on the island can be hazardous (shocks and tires don’t last long). The government is building a new road around the island which is great but has failed to maintain the old road so our travels were very slow. We arrived Saturday afternoon in the community of El Congo. We planned to stay for two days to visit and teach our sewing project. The women of El Congo welcomed us into their homes and provided our meals. Some women from the communities of Tichana and Merida traveled about one hour by bus or walked about 2½ hours to also meet with us at El Congo. Monday we traveled on to Balgue for more visiting and sewing. Some women from the community of El Corozal met us in Balgue too. This year we worked with only the leaders of these communities. We were able to spend more time with each person as we taught. It is now their responsibility to go back to their communities and teach others. It was amazing to see the sewing talent of many of these women. Hermana Lena has the extraordinary gift of being able to find that one woman who might be feeling alone or left out and bringing her into the group. She has a very calming influence on people and easily shares her love of sewing. What a blessing to be able to spend so much time with these women.
We were also able to visit with some of the women in their homes. We could see the pride on their faces as we entered and saw how they decorated their living space. Most of these homes are bamboo poles with palm leaves as walls, dirt floors and black plastic sheeting dividing the bedroom space. How humbling when I think of what I have in my home. We had to say good-bye on Wednesday knowing we will probably not see each other again. It was a very emotional good-bye.
One highlight of my time there was being able to attend the wedding of Tanya who works for CHE. I have known Tanya for 3 years and her prayer has always been to find someone to love. Actually it was a double wedding. Tanya’s sister, Avana, married also. The grooms had been best friends most of their lives and prayed that they would be able to stay close after they married. I think these sisters will keep these 2 friends very close. It was a very moving ceremony officiated by Pastor Jose Antonio Ramirez (Chico) at Esperanza en Cristo (Hope in Christ) church.
I want to thank everyone in Carmel church for their help and prayers during this week.
Thank you, Heide Miller