Youth Find Service and Blessings in Nicaragua
In March, Calvary Chapel Cary sent fourteen middle and high school level teens, along with six adults on a mission’s trip to Calvary Chapel in Managua, Nicaragua. The team was a mixture of boys and girls and all were excited and united to share the love of Jesus. No amount of training, or teaching or even preparation could prepare them for the difficulties and the challenges that they would face, and how the Lord would move in a powerful way in the hearts of the team.
The team arrived late on a Saturday night having spent the whole day traveling, praying and reading the Word together forming a bond of fellowship. On the first night, the team ventured out for food. The lifestyles and licentious lives of some of the people were obvious to the team, even while walking back to the church after dinner as they passed a man sleeping off his drunkenness and witnessed several prostitutes starting their night's work.
In the evening devotion on the rooftop of the church, we prayed for opportunities to share the love of Jesus with as many people as the Lord would open the door. Sunday morning we were met with warm smiles from the believers at Calvary Chapel Managua. After lunch, the youth went door-to-door in the surrounding neighborhoods praying for people and sharing Christ. That evening, they shared a time of worship and testimonies in a local park. It was then that the Lord began to show these teens that the people of Nicaragua are just like us in the U.S.: without Jesus we are lost in darkness; but with Jesus we have hope and love and life eternal (Colossians 1:13).
On Monday, we were off to the mountains to Jinotepe, where there was an orphanage. The youth were anxious and concerned about ministering to kids their own age, supposing that the teens would treat them like teens in the U.S. treat each other. Also, there was an added pressure of a language barrier. But, the love of Christ broke down all barriers within minutes of reaching the estate.
Before long they were playing soccer (our youth lost, by the way), throwing water balloons and playing guitar together. The Lord opened the door for the team to share their testimonies with many of the children. The bonding was so great and powerful that no one wanted to leave.
The next morning brought a different kind of trip for the teens, this time to the infamous 'La Chureca' Dump in Managua. In various piles of trash you will find people working. You will find mothers, fathers, and families living and playing in these conditions. The team's mission was to carry cool water, Gospel of John booklets, and prayer for the people in these difficult conditions. After two hours the team was emotionally and physically spent, but inwardly they were renewed for the work the Lord had done through them (2 Corinthians 4:16).
On Wednesday, the team led an all day Vacation Bible School which blessed the children from the surrounding community. The VBS included a skit from the book of Daniel, particularly Shadrach, Meshach, and Abed-nego in the fiery furnace; four classrooms where the word of God was taught and memorized and, games, crafts and snacks for 60 kids. A pretty impressive feat for 14 teenagers!
The first monsoon rains of the year held off until just after the Wednesday-evening church service that night where the teens had more opportunities to fellowship with the Body of Christ in Managua. That evening we had evening devotions, even after power outage due to heavy rains.
The stories told that night by the youth of their experiences with the Nicaraguans, and the stories of the people themselves were personal, emotional and spiritually uplifting in their hearts while at the same time creating a tremendous burden for prayer.
During this trip, God has taught the Youth of CC Cary, many, many lessons, lessons that will be remembered for their lives. During our trip back to the United States the youth discussed their trip and their new understanding of the greatness of the Kingdom of God. They learned that God can use them and God wants to use them. And they learned that being used by God changes your life and the lives of those that you share with.
For it is God who works in you both to will and to do for His good pleasure. Do all things without complaining and disputing, that you may become blameless and harmless, children of God without fault in the midst of a crooked and perverse generation, among whom you shine as lights in the world, holding fast the word of life, so that I may rejoice in the day of Christ that I have not run in vain or labored in vain. Yes, and if I am being poured out as a drink offering on the sacrifice and service of your faith, I am glad and rejoice with you all. Philippians 2:13-17
Grace and Peace