Tuesday, July 29, 2008

viva mexico!!!

No, I haven't changed country assignments. But I did just spend an awesome week with some Nicaraguan college students in the middle of interior Mexico, 3 hours north of the capital (where it was cold!!!). We were there for a sub-regional leadership conference, to which I was invited by my Nica friend Freddy (as an InterVarsity alum, I fit right in with the students and the leadership--it definitely made me miss Chapter Camp and Breakthrough. Anyone else out there miss those days?) in order to encourage and support the Nica delegation.

Anyway, I have a lot to say about the experience, but since I've managed to get sick in the last 24 hours since I came back to Managua, I'm going to have to save the many posts I have stored up in my brain for later on when I have more mental energy--in the meantime, check out the photos!


Thursday, July 17, 2008

dirty feet...full heart

In the midst of the greenest mountains you have ever seen, accessible only by 4-wheel drive vehicles who can handle the rocky, muddy roads (hasta cierto punto), lies El Progreso, a land bank community where for the last several years a small group of farmers have been learning new and better agricultural techniques while paying back a loan through the harvests they sell.

I was there this past weekend because my neighbors (the infamous Gutierrez family) were making their semi-annual trip to this remote community to offer spiritual encouragement and material blessing to these families who are working so hard just to seguir adelante (move forward). Francisco's organization, Accion Medica Cristiana, has an ongoing relationship with the community, which I was blessed to visit for the first time last year on a similar trip organized by the entire family. This year not only their family but friends and children from Managua joined us for the adventure...and adventure indeed it was. Check out photo album here:

It was a lot rainier this time around, and even in 4 wheel drive, the trucks we arrived in could not make it out of the muddy valley and back up to the hill on which the community had gathered. So, we walked. Well, I stumbled about quite a bit, having chosen Crocs instead of sneakers, thinking they would hold up better (being plastic and washable and all)--which was a fine theory until the mud slipped into the holes and made it almost impossible to maintain my balance. Alicia (Francisco's wife) told me to take pictures, but of course I couldn't. I could barely stand up!

Anyway, once we finally reached the top, the fun began. Dances, songs, words of welcome, biblical passages of Scripture were all part of the program. Glittery sashes for the moms, toys and clothes for the kids, kites (handmade by Fran) for the families, and lunch for all. I think we were all truly encouraged...I was especially moved by the theme of the event, "Lllenando nuestros graneros...compartiendo" (Filling our silos...sharing). Indeed, we were all "filled" by the mutual joy of sharing the day together--and challenged with the question, "what are we filling ourselves with emotionally and spiritually to give to others?"

At the end of it all, we began the trek down the steep and even muddier hill (it had rained for much of the afternoon), and I was aided by one woman in particular from the community whose name I did not even know. When my shoes got too muddy to walk she helped guide me a stream of water in one of the side gullies that helped remove the extra mud and enabled me to walk again. When I did not know where to put my next step, she told me where to walk--where the rocks almost covered by mud where located. And when we reached the top, she said, "let me get a pan of water to wash your feet." A few minutes later, she came back but she did not give me the pan of water. Instead she proceded to pour water over my feet, gently remove my shoes, and use her hands to rinse my feet until they were clean.

All I could do is give her a hug--which she received joyfully and returned with equal affection. The whole thing left me speechless and thinking...when I have ever been so full of love and gratitude that I would literally--or even metaphorically-- imitate Christ to such a degree in my service to others?

Every time I have looked at my feet this week, I have pondered that question.

Thursday, July 10, 2008


Oh, the sweetness of old friends, the precious moments--happy and sad and trivial and profound--and now a few more shared together in the land of lakes and volcanoes...here, a few of the pics from Cara and Judson and Jeremiah and C's parents' visit this past week. Like honey on the tongue, or melodic harmonies in my ears, their presence here brought a new lightness of spirit and refreshment to my heart. I love you guys!