Culture Collision

Greetings from sunny and warm Central America. We have just completed our first day of construction on the house and are finally clean and ready to rest up for tomorrow. This is Nurse Chandra writing…Corwin has handed me the duty of summarizing the last two life changing days that we have had here in Nicaragua.

Sunday was the very first day that our team met Veracruz. After our long and crazy adventure to Matagalpa we still managed to get ourselves up early and were filled with energy and anticipation as we made the journey to Veracruz. We arrived in the village and headed to our church. As soon as the van entered the yard the children were waiting for our door to open so they could grab our hands, give us hugs, and sit beside us in church. We participated in Sunday school where we sang some songs with them and Denver told them a little about Canada and Jenna told them about what it’s like to go to summer camp. The rest of the morning was filled with playing games and giving lots of hugs to the children.

When we are in Veracruz we are fed by a wonderful woman named Shirley in her own home. Shirley loves God with all her heart and feels that is a blessing to be a part of the work He has us do down here. She had asked Corwin in a previous visit if we could bring some of the donations of school supplies and hygiene items that we brought from Canada with us to some very poor families that live in the more remote areas around Veracruz. After lunch at her place we put together several back packs full of stuff for the families that we would see along the way. The team had only had a taste of Veracruz, so what came next was a culture collision for them.

Shirley guided our team to the home of the first family. She explained that it was a home with a single mother who took care of five children. Two of her children have muscle problems and were unable to walk and move on their own. This woman cannot work because she must take care of her children. We gave her the back packs we had prepared and prayed for her and her family. The kids quickly developed a deeply personal awakening to the devastation that some of these families live in and as we walked away there was a new and abrupt awareness in their faces. The next family we visited had a similar situation; a single mother of seven who couldn’t find work. Her home was a small shack made of scrap pieces of corrugated metal with a dirt floor. She allowed us to enter her home. Corwin and I watched as the kids absorbed all that they saw; mats on the dirt floor for beds and clothes in a bag in the corner of the room. As we prayed for the woman she started to cry and the emotions that the kids experienced were new for many. There was this sense of introspection; ‘How is this fair that I have so much and they have so little? Why do I complain about the things in my life? How do I make this right?’ The kid’s hearts started to break for the things that break God’s.

The last house we visited taught us a lot about humility. We came to a third property that was not unlike the first two. The exception was that this one had an innate joy about it. The family members were Christians and greeted us with smiles and love. Though they had almost nothing, they told us that they have never gone without their basic needs and that God is so good to them. We offered them our gifts as a blessing, but then they asked to bless us in return. They offered us some of their crop…yucca root…a vegetable for us to take with us to cook for a future meal. At this point our tears began to flow. These people, who have nothing, still wanted to give to us, who have everything. Through choked tears Regan prayed a blessing over their family and we left with a dose of humility.

We also got to walk through the community and see the other houses that past PS teams have built. At one point we turned down a road and were literally swarmed with children wanting to hold our hands or ride on our backs. It was an overwhelming welcome to Veracruz.

Today we started construction on the home for Hector and his family. The team has been anxious to get working and it showed through their wholehearted efforts. Though we started our day with a minor delay due to lack of equipment, the team’s spirits were never dampened. All it took was one look at Hector’s beaming smile to make us want to work so hard at giving him the first home he’s ever had. We spent our day shoveling & sifting sand, chiseling excess cement off of the brick walls, digging a whole for a toilet, cutting wire for rebar structures, making cement, and leveling the dirt floor inside the house so that we can poor concrete. All day long the team worked with amazing initiative. The children in the community joined in our work too…sometimes distracting us to play games and other times grabbing a chisel and working along side us. A morning that was started clean and cool was ended in dirty hands and faces, legs caked with mud and cement, sweat like we have never had before, but the most content feeling in the world. We can’t wait to wake up tomorrow and do it all over again.

God has been so good to our team. Those who were suffering from colds before the trip are now much better and feeling strong. We have had so much safety in our travels and feel like God has been protecting us in that way. We are growing rapidly as a unified team and are learning to not only serve the people of Nicaragua, but also to serve each other. And we are truly grasping the love God has for all His creation in the eyes of the children who so easily accept us and show affection to us.

Thank you so much for your love and support. We can feel those prayers!! We miss you guys lots and can’t wait to tell you about all we are seeing and doing. Here are a few prayer requests:

-continued safety, health, and unity for our team
-for God to continue to break our hearts for the needs around us
-for Regan; on Sunday he had terrible hives on his neck and arms. We prayed for no hives while he worked on Monday and not one showed up! But once we were done work and back at the Provadenic he was covered once again. Pray that God shows Himself to us in healing those hives!!

Blessings to you all…Dios les Bendiga…
-Chan, Corwin, & the PS08 team
Corwin Thiessen3 Comments