Trip Journal: Day One
Friday, December 8
Our first day with the kids! It's hard to put into words what it feels like to step off the bus and be surrounded by 38 people with big smiles and the best hugs, so I won't even try. It makes the waiting, planning, organizing and traveling worth it!
We started our time together playing Uno and Jenga, coloring and reading. As we strolled the orphanage grounds, Moe found his handprint on the Remar-FAB mural that was painted by a team a few years ago. That mural is a symbol of our long relationship, and the love we feel for each other.
Todd, Moe and Sara went to explore the neighborhood while Katherine and Phillip worked on a project with the kids. A local classroom is learning about Christmas in different parts of the world, so they had some questions for our Remar kids. As you can imagine, some of the answers are quite entertaining!
After leaving Remar, we had the opportunity to visit Old Managua, an area that was devastated by an earthquake and recently revitalized. Nicaragua celebrates Mary with a big festival (that was tonight), and the decorations are tremendous. Right at the edge of Lake Nicaragua, Old Managua gave us a chance to experience some of this country's rich history and culture.
After a long day of travel and an exciting day with the kids, we opted for an early dinner and a good night's sleep. We each experienced God today, whether through the smile of a child or the touch of a stranger's hand during prayer. Our time here is just beginning.
Trip Journal: Day Two
Saturday, December 9
We started our day reading Scriptures that Moe had selected for each one of us. As we took turns reading them aloud, each one evoked memories of past missions or from our personal lives. As is true of most mission trips, we're growing closer through shared tears and laughter.
We then headed to Huembes to go shopping with the boys. Have you ever taken 20 boys to buy tennis shoes? They were much more interested in the toys, snacks and shoes than in school uniforms, but we eventually purchased every necessity, and fulfilled many wishes. Huembes is hard to explain, and just has to be experienced to understand it. It's hot, loud, close and fast-paced. Watching the kids pick out their things is wonderful. They have so little choice in their lives that a new pair of tennis shoes is a. Dry serious matter.
We returned to our hotel for a few hours as Remar got ready for the graduation ceremony. Todd walked down to a produce stand and treated us to a snack of the most delicious fresh fruits and vegetables. It was a lovely time of reflection and rest before we headed to the graduation. Our driver, Ramon, gifted us with a loaf of freshly-baked bread to enjoy on the way. We were honored to be invited to the ceremony, and it was with a few tears and great pride that we watched 3 of our wonderful young ladies graduate.
We returned to our hotel to meet with our friends who aren't an official part of our mission, but are here on their own missions. As this is being written, we are preparing to sit down to dinner together, talk about our time here and share our love of Nicaragua. We have had a day of faith, family and food, and we are full.
Day 3, Sunday December 10
We started our day by worshipping with our Nicaragua family. It's a fairly contemporary service with a lot of praise music, so we clap along with the songs and the kids come to the front and dance. When you don't know the language well, you tend to experience the service by feeling it, and it's remarkable.
After church, we headed out for one of the kids' biggest treats, a party at Pizza Hut. There were 60 of us, and we always do our best to make a joyful noise! A few of the kids like to take some pizza back to the orphanage to savor later. This is a very special outing for them, and a blessing for us to be there to witness their happiness.
We returned to Remar for a few hours of playing games and simply enjoying each other's company. At the end of the day, both the kids and the team were tired and happy. Every one of us looks forward to our week together, and time passes so quickly.
Trip Journal Day 4
Monday, December 11
As a team, we agree that this is our favorite day of the
trip. It's all about just spending time together and having fun. We stayed at
Remar for the day and played.
We made cards for our local classroom friends, and the kids
did some pretty detailed, elaborate work. It's beautiful to watch the older
kids help the younger ones. They do a great job of looking out for each other.
Sara brought supplies to make string bracelets, and these
kids love crafty projects. All of the kids made bracelets, anklets and/or
necklaces for themselves, plus a few for each of us. We cherish these sweet
tokens, and will look at them in the coming months and remember this day.
After fairly sedentary fun, we were all ready to move around.
Moe, Todd and Sara played baseball with some of the older boys and it was quite
a no-holds-barred, go-all-out game! Luckily, there were no injuries, and it
turns out that one of the boys could play in the majors.
Phillip played soccer, our translator and friend LaRue played
basketball, and Katherine played with the dogs. The kids went from one activity
to the other, with the occasional break to sit and talk or spend time on the
Upon our return to the hotel, the team spent some time on the
patio snacking, again, on local fruits and vegetables, and talking about our
day. The conversation moved to a discussion about the difference between
"good tired" and "bad tired". We agree that today, we are
Trip Journal –Day 5
Tuesday December 12
Today took us back to Huembes for more shopping, this time
with 20 girls! We quickly finished with the necessities (school uniforms), and
moved on to the fun of shoes, toys and perfume. These girls are just like any
young girls you might know, and enjoy having pretty things. It's such a
pleasure to be with them and witness the process. They are quite careful and
meticulous in making their decisions, and deliberations are lengthy! True to
form, after each purchase the girls would hand their bags to Phillip, calling
him "El Burro". By the end of the day, he looked like a real pack
mule! Imagine our surprise when we walked into the shop selling toiletries and
one of the women working there was wearing a Marshall shirt! She had no idea
what it was, but enjoyed that she and Phillip were twins. We had lunch, treats
and snacks at Huembes and then headed back to Remar for some play time with the
Our actual time left with the kids can be measured in a few
short hours, and as much as we are looking forward to the Fiesta tomorrow, we
know that it will be a long time before we can be with our Nicaragua family
again. It's different for every person on the team, but for two of us, God
lives in Nicaragua, with the beautiful lakes, awesome volcanoes and our
precious, wonderful kids, all 38 of them.