Abundant Answers

In just over 48 hours we will be leaving the Provadenic for the airport. It seems like just yesterday we landed here…encountering our first sites and sounds of Nicaragua and struggling to make sense of it all. In only one week, so much has changed.

I’d like to start by thanking you all for your prayers today as Denver was sick, and also for words of encouragement and comfort as we continue to process and glean lessons from our experience at the beach yesterday. We feel the power of those prayers daily and not a moment goes by when we aren’t so grateful for them. Mrs. & Mr. Johnson…your son is well and getting stronger. I have come to appreciate him as one of the most humble people I know. I pray that we can return him to you with full strength. I have no doubt he will be a very changed man after this experience.

This morning our team got the chance to head to the market to get some cool Nicaraguan souvenirs. As you may have read earlier, because Denver was sick, I stayed with him at the Provadenic while the kids went to the marketplace. They told me they had a fun time exploring the shops and bartering with the store keepers. They came home loaded with machetes and t-shirts and all sorts of other goodies. Denver and I had a quiet time at the Provadenic. He was extremely sick all through the night and in the morning, not able to keep even a sip of water down. We worked really hard at getting him rested and cooled off (without being able to swallow pills or water) for the few hours the team was away. By the time they came back, he was taking small sips of liquid. I knew that he was really disappointed when he did not get to go to the market but he put a huge smile on my face when he heard the team come back and looked at me and said, “will you ask the boys to come show me what they got?”. Even in his sickness, he shared in the joys of his friends.

Today was a fairly integral day in the story of the adoption of Wilber. While we have been here Corwin has been trying to see if he could get Wilber back into the orphanage where they first met so that Wilber could get out of the dangerous neighborhood that he now lives in. When we were at the orphanage on Wednesday, Corwin’s meeting with the director gave us no answers as to if that is possible. Today Corwin found out that it was not…Wilber would not be allowed back into the orphanage. But, Corwin was fortunate enough to see his Nicaraguan lawyer today. After our team returned from the marketplace she paid a visit to the Provadenic. She informed Corwin of an option that he had to send Wilber to a private English school about 35 km outside of Managua. It is a boarding school where the kids live in dorms and are taught completely in English. They have 4 week terms starting at the beginning of every month and it is a very safe place to be. But, if Corwin was to register Wilber for school he had to do it during administrative hours on an administration day…leaving only this afternoon for him to rush out there and try to get Wilber in.

When the team found out about this unique opportunity they responded with a resounding supportive response to go. They didn’t just release him to, they commanded him to! They said that what is most important for Wilber is most important to us and that Corwin needed to follow God’s leading to that place. And so he did. Corwin, Esteban, and Wilber headed to the school while the rest of the team headed to Veracruz, praying all the way that Wilber would have a safe home until he gets to come to his new home with us in Canada.

Our day in Veracruz was short. After lunch the boys headed to the worksite and the girls stayed at Shirley’s to sort through all of the donations and make up back packs to give to kids in the community as well as bags to leave with the church and then the rest for the orphanage. Denver was able to travel to Veracruz with us but was still very ill and had quite a fever. As soon as Shirley heard that “her baby” was sick, she put him directly to bed, put fans on him, and got a cool cloth on his head.

The house is coming along so well. We are so excited for it to be done! The front of the house is poured with smooth cement now, ready to be painted tomorrow (a first for Project Serve!). We will also get to see the doors and windows put in before we leave…another thing that no other PS team has seen. Because Corwin, Esteban, and Wilber were all away and I was at Shirley’s watching over Denver, the boys had to conquer the language barrier at the worksite on their own. They said that at first it was a little daunting, but they managed to communicate and were able to get all their needed tasks done. The sewage hole that they are digging is now 11.5 feet deep!! Watching them get in and out is a little tense (well…for me), but they have found a passion to dig the whole thing. They have about one more metre to go and are so excited to dig every inch of it.

Evelyn, the mother of the family that will live in the house, has been our “site mother” while we have been working. She is the sweetest woman with the greatest smile. She has the true God-given heart of a mother. When we left the site on Wednesday she noticed that we all were carrying our work shoes with us. She told us to leave them there and she would watch them until we needed them again. Mitch Epp said that, when he got to the site today, she had taken all of the socks out of the shoes they were in and washed them and matched them up. When I saw the freshly laundered socks, I saw not only that that was true…but that that woman got those socks whiter than they were before they came to Nica! What an example of a servant. We were all very humbled to receive such a powerful gift.

The girls were very tired as they sorted through donations this afternoon. They are feeling tired, weak, and a little depleted. But, even through their need for rest, they did an awesome job of organizing things while I was checking on Denver. It was fun to sift through the donations and recall some of the stories of the people who gave them to us and the reasons they gave them for. We realized that giving those items not only touches the people who receive them, but the people who give as well.

At 6 o’clock the boys returned to Shirley’s from the worksite. We discovered that the tired feeling the girls were having was also present in the boys. Instead of going out to Delpha’s Chicken, as we had planned, and going to church…we decided to spend time together at Shirley’s. We were able to let Denver continue to rest (and, by this time, hold down his liquids and even eat a small bun!) and encounter some rest ourselves.

Being in Shirley’s home is like being in our own home. She calls each of us her “baby” and cares for us as if we were her own children. She feeds us, cleans up after us, and encourages us to use her home as our own. Her little son, Ritchie, who is 2, never stops giggling and laughing when we are around and throws his arms loving around all of us to show his affection. We always feel bad when the bus pulls out of their yard and he stands there crying. Jenna got to have a sweet conversation with Shirley (who speaks very broken English) today about the differences in our cultures but the similarities in our relationships with God. Shirley said that she cares for all of the kids that Corwin brings down so much and that she just wants to see us grow in our faith in God. She is a wonderful and tangible example of God’s love.

During supper Corwin shared his findings at the school. He said that the campus is exquisite, a completely safe place for Wilber to be. It is guarded and gated. It’s all in English, forcing Wilber to learn the language. The dorms are nice, there is a great soccer field, and even a computer lab where Wilber could make an email address for the first time in his life. Corwin said that the only catch was that there were no dorm rooms open right now and that there is a waiting list. But, through his charm and God’s good graces, by the end of their meeting, Wilber had been placed at the top of that list. Corwin must now wait until next Friday to see if there is an opening for Wilber and, if there is, he will move in on the 3rd of March. God has been SO GOOD to our team and we have seen so many prayers answered already…so we know that God’s plan will go on in this situation. We believe God has a purpose for Will in all of our lives.

Just before leaving Shirley’s, Denver’s fever broke and his body began to cool off very quickly. Another prayer answered! He started feeling stronger and was able to drink a lot more. He does not have an appetite yet, but is loving his “Club Socials” (for those who have been sick on previous PS trips, you know what I’m talking about). I believe his strength will return in the morning and he’ll be back to himself in no time.

I would say our team’s overall feeling is weary tonight. It has been a long few days and we are still processing the afterthoughts of our experience at the beach yesterday. We only have 2 more days to do, and we want to live each to in fullness, but I think we feel, at this point, that our hearts can only go as far as our bodies. We need energy for the next few days.

Tomorrow is a busy day. We have decided that, since he will be strong enough, we will take Denver to the market so that he can get some of the things he wanted to bring home. Then we will head to the house to do some painting and finishing touches. After lunch we plan to drive through the community to drop of back packs to some of the special friends we have made with the kids and then head to the orphanage to hand out the abundance of donations.

The team made an observation tonight that I feel that I, personally, have been realizing a lot too. We were talking about the culture differences we notice so much here and many of the kids talked about how the people here are content with being still. They are content to sit in their front room and watch cars pass by or sit on the porch with their baby in their lap or walk down the street and saw hello to all who pass. They don’t need to have the distractions and the hobbies that we tend to feed off of…they enjoy their simplicity and honour it with complete contentment. I have been challenged by this. So often we fill up our schedules to “get things done” and “make an appearance” and we never really allow ourselves to just be and just be happy for just being. I think that is something that all of our team wants to take away from what they have learned here.

Once again, I hope you all know that we just can’t get enough of your prayers. Here are things you can pray for while we finish our time here;

-for Corwin and Wilber; that there would be an opening at the school and that Wilber would be accepted and registered
-for Denver; thank GOD for his start of recovery today. Pray for renewed strength and an appetite.
-for health; now is the time that sickness will strike (when we’re tired and run down). Pray that we take care of ourselves!
-for those who receive the donated gifts from Canada; that they will feel the love of God that it has been given with
-for the team; that they continue to grow and be challenged…that they seek after what God is telling them to be bold in and to absorb all that they are seeing, hearing, and feeling.

We are thinking of you always. We carry you with us.

With love,
-The team