Our worship thought this morning was from Ken’yun. He asked the question “Why we are so diligent in our work here in Nicaragua, yet we aren’t that way at home?” and read Ecclesiastes 9:10: “Whatever your hand finds to do, do it with all your might.”
We finished the mural painting on the Chinandega church veranda today. Walls formerly covered with moldy, green, peeling paint are now covered with bright birds, butterflies, palm trees and flowers. The crew mixed their own paint colors. Melody was the director and designer for this project. Check out pictures in the gallery.
We also completed the Posoltega one-day church project. The construction crew put in a hard day’s work and felt a wonderful sense of satisfaction. Two hours before the church dedication, the people arrived. You could tell Pastor Fley and the thirty or more people present were extremely pleased with the church. At the dedication, Jair read scripture and chaplain Jimmy Carter presented the church with a large set of Sabbath School felts. Read the story of how this church began after the pictures at the end of this entry.
Vacation Bible School was held at the Chinandega Central SDA School today. You could feel the energy as over one hundred active first- through sixth-graders filled the gym. They came in very orderly and sat in a huge square. They wore blue and white uniforms and warm ready smiles. Voices echoed off the walls as they sang laughed and played games. “I don’t want to leave,” said Jonathan when it was over. “I love these kids!” Melody said, “It’s like they attack you with their hugs!” “I’ve never felt so loved by kids,” added Lizzy.
The medical clinic went to the Adventist church in Santa Matilde today. This was the nicest location for a clinic we’ve used. It was clean, brightly painted, and surrounded by shade trees. One little boy brought a pet parrot for everyone to enjoy. Another boy did a belly dance. Kids climbed all over nearby mango trees picking the fruit for us. The people were extremely warm and hospitable. We treated 118 patients today.
It is very dry in Nicaragua. We heard there has been no rain since last September and they don’t expect more rain until May.
Here are some of today’s comments:
Melody: I really enjoyed painting the mural on the Chinandega church veranda today. It was nice to do something I’m good at and know other people can enjoy it. I got so much paint on my hands, at one point I looked like a smurf. But it was definitely worth it. I’m so glad we got the opportunity.
Jair: The highlight of my day was getting up early and getting ready to build a church in one day. One day! I got to be the translator for the project. It took us two hours to finish the first half of the roof, and only one hour to finish the second half. As we progressed with the project, we got better. I also read a Bible text at the church dedication today.
Vanessa: I really felt like I did something important today. I was part of a team that put up a church!
Pam K: Today we had a true experience of how some medical people around here may get paid for their services. Paula got paid in mangos, coconut, and artwork. We’ve seen 418 patients in the past four days.
Alan: We delivered 22 new chairs to the newly completed Posoltega church site today. These are chairs the group purchased out of our personal spending money.
At evening worship, Pastor Greg closed the day by continuing the thoughts Ken’yun shared this morning. “God has a role for you in the church,” said Pastor Greg. “Don’t let your ministry stop in Nicaragua.”
This was day nine.
Look for more mission trip pictures in the gallery and photo tour on the home page.
EXTRA: The Story of the “Joshua 1:9 Church”
About one year ago, Antonio Sandoval and his family were the only Adventists living in Posoltega, a village of over 6,000 people located 12 miles north-west of Chinandega. “We were very sad there was no Adventism in this area,” said Antonio. “So we began to preach God’s Word to these people.”
Antonio got in touch with a nearby Adventist pastor and told him he wanted to build a group of Adventist church believers in Posoltega. Soon two missionaries, one from Honduras and one from Nicaragua, came to help. The missionaries started visiting, giving Bible studies, and within three months, people were ready for baptism. Then the money to pay the missionaries ran out. Antonio and his wife decided to use their own funds so one of the missionaries could stay.
The Posoltega believers met in each other’s houses for worship each Sabbath, but soon realized they needed a church home. They began praying. Then a newly baptized lady, Sandra Vargas, donated enough money to purchase land. They bought a 40 by 70-foot parcel of land for 8,000 cordobas. (about $340)
They now needed a roof over their heads for protection from the hot sun. They kept praying. Then a man in the United States donated money for a tin roof. They built a stick structure to hold up the tin but found they didn’t have enough tin to totally cover it, so they used black plastic. “We prayed for something better,” said Antonio. “We did not want to have a dirty shack for worshiping God. Then, out of nowhere, Maranatha Volunteers International came! We were very happy when they told us they would build us a church.”
Students from Wisconsin Academy, along with several experienced construction men, completed a Mananatha one-day church in Posoltega on March 19, 2012. A brief dedication service was held the same evening and all the church members were in attendance. “We are very thankful to God, Maranatha, and Wisconsin Academy for providing us a place of worship,” said Pastor Fley. “Our next challenge is to share the message of God’s love to everyone in Posoltega.”
The group has named themselves the Joshua 1:9 Church. They have 20 members, with 15 baptisms planned for next month. “As you can see the area is really poor,” said Antonio. “Most of our helpers are women. Many men in Nicaragua leave all the hard work for the women. But there is much potential. Many children come and we have women who will preach and work. Many people have started studying the Bible. Next month we plan to hold evangelistic meetings.”
The church has a goal of evangelizing every house in Posoltega by the year 2013. They will go door to door with literature and an invitation to learn about the love of Christ. Antonio hopes the Joshua 1:9 Church will be an example of how to evangelize and start churches across the rest of Nicaragua. “It is only by the grace of God that people can do this work,” said Antonio. “Only the love of God in the heart can work. Our testimonies and actions are like tiny seeds.”
“Have I not commanded you? Be strong and of good courage; do not be afraid, nor be dismayed, for the Lord your God is with you wherever you go” Joshua 1:9.
Special thanks to Jair for translation assistance.