Constant Changes

Another day, another change. It seems unending, really, but a good tool to keep us trusting God.

After our encouraging time together last night as a team, we felt refreshed as we awoke this morning, ready to face whatever scene God may put in front of us. Last night was also our last night to stay at the Provadenic. So, this morning, we also packed up our bags and said our goodbyes to our safe little haven in the middle of busy Managua and we were ready to move out into the jungle at the orphanage. We took our last photos and said our goodbyes to Gonzo (please ask your kids and friends who that is, it’s a good laugh and were on our way.)

We were excited as drove up to our team residence at the orphanage. It is a new building, funded by an American donor to encourage more teams to stay at the orphanage as well as to provide revenue by those who pay to stay there. The facility is beautiful, newly furnished and very accommodating. The team was thrilled to move into their new rooms and explore the landscape around them. They were also pumped to be so close to the kids.

Our arrival on the worksite was a pensive one. We were unsure of exactly what we would be able to assist in doing but were ready for anything. And, yet again, another change. We got to the worksite and were met with jobs lined up. Alongside mixing and pouring cement for the house’s floor, the septic hole needed to continue to be dug. In addition, they need more fine sand for mixing cement and a trench dug for the placement of a pipe so they could have running water inside the house so that, when her son needed to bath, he could do it in the house. Also, the small area that resembled a driveway was over grown with tree branches and a few dead trees and they wanted us to remove them. Corwin talked to the builders as well as the mom moving into the house about the potential of a mural in the girls room and they were all very excited about it. When we asked our little friends, Cindy and Sbietta, they were elated. Unlike the day before, there was now much work to be done.

The girls promptly started on the art project. They went into the room and checked out the walls they had to work with. They sketched things and found a few verses that they could paint on the walls in Spanish. They asked the girls about their favourite colours and flowers. Soon enough, all the girls, along with Sbietta and Cindy, were off to the paint store with Esteban and Corwin so they could pick their colours.

While the girls were gone all morning, the boys and I stayed back and worked to get things done. Braden and one of the carpenters tackled the digging of a trench. They worked so hard as they dug, unearthing a tarantula on the way. Matt and Marshall jumped on the digging of the hole. This year the earth we are digging into is a lot harder and the boys have been spending much more time chipping away at the rock inside of the square hole. The head carpenter, Milton (who is Richard and Shirley’s son) have built a pulley system to help carry the buckets of dirt up from the bottom. Denver, Kirk, and Curtis started in on the cement mixing as the carpenters said that their goal was to finish most of the flooring that day. Anthony had the unique privilege to go with Wilber and Richard to the rock quarry to get the fine sand. He had fun as he fumbled his Spanish enough to understand them as they worked.

The morning went fast and sweaty, the unforgiving sun only avoided by moments of cool breeze every now and then. When it was time for lunch the kids were amazed that it had all gone by so fast. They were excited to eat and get back to work.

The afternoon proved to bring joy to our whole team. It was definitely an afternoon of understanding that we are in a partnership with these people down here, just working alongside them. The boys at the hole had a humbling moment when one of the workers told them that they had a wrong strategy for chipping off the rock. It was taking them about 10 minutes a bucket. All of a sudden he hopped down there and, in 10 minutes, had done about 5 buckets just on his own. He told them their strategy needed some work. They boys remarked later about how we, as north Americans, often feel like we know the best ways to accomplish it all. We have the technology to do it all in just moments. But, in Nicaragua, they have a different sort of technology. They may not have the fancy toys, but they definitely have their strategies well thought out and functioning for the best. The boys were stoked to take the new strategy and put it into motion.

The cement mixing seemed unending and the afternoon brought more humbling moments. Denver, who seems to be a cement mixing veteran, talked later about how the carpenters never seem to keep the same cement recipe. One carpenter will tell us a different thing than the next, yet it will always turn out to be exactly the kind of cement they need. It was frustrating, because just when we thought we had gotten it right we had gotten it wrong again, but a reminder that we need the help of the Nicaraguans to do it right.

Kirk and Curtis started to tackle the removal of the trees. They were armed with machetes, chopping through anything that didn’t need to be there. Again, a humbling moment ensued when Kirk asked Esteban if the cacti that were growing on the trees were parasitic and Esteban told him yes when they really were not, and Kirk proceeded to chop them all down. Soon a Nicaraguan man came running up to him yelling “no no no no!”. Kirk was so confused until he asked Esteban again and it seemed that the question and answer had gotten a little lost in translation. Oops. Lucky we’re not doing this on our own.

The girls were adorable as they got ready to paint the girls’ rooms. They girls mixed the perfect colours, checked the design, and got ready for their debut. The little girls who are going to be living in the room were so eager that they grabbed brushes too and together they tackled the first wall, the beginnings of a sunset. There were so many kids on the work site that wanted to help paint that by the time we were 10 minutes in there were no more brushes left for anyone on the team to paint with! It was fun to watch the girls smile and laugh and paint with us. And it was like each stroke brought life to an otherwise lifeless room. It was beautiful.

When our work day was over we all gathered into the van and felt like God’s surprises were good ones. We felt like He was really in charge of our project. And, I guess, we felt like it really wasn’t our project. It was OURS now. OURS meaning us, and everyone who supported us, and these people. It is truly OURS now. And we are definitely working together towards a good thing.

Today Corwin also talked to Richard about building the outhouse at the house we built last year and Richard said it was a good. He dropped off the supplies for Evelyn and her family and she started to cry, being so grateful and excited. We will start construction there on Thursday, with Juan helping as the foreman of the project.

At supper the team was jubilant with the excitement of the day. They shared stories, laughed together, and spent time just continuing to fall in love with Nicaragua. Jaclyn played with Juma the monkey, as he is in love with her, and some of us sat around and listened to Shirley tell us stories of snakes and spiders in broken English. It felt perfect.

One of the best things about staying at the orphanage is being close to the orphans…close enough to say good night. Before our team meeting tonight, we all walked over to the playground and said goodbye to our kids. Some of the boys talked with Stanley, an orphan who speaks very good English. Some of us played Uno. Curtis sat down with a guitar and played music with one of the older boys. Bobbi headed over to the older girls and tried talking about their lives. And the rest of us just played…until the kids were called inside. Then we gave them big bears hugs and kisses and told them we loved them. For this week, that is our job now. There is something very special about saying good night to orphans.

Our team meeting was considerably different than the one the night before tonight. We had a lot to share, recounting the moments of the day that seemed to stick out to us. We talked about the lessons we learned from the Nicaraguan people and the blessings those were. We shared our love for the work we are doing and doing it alongside our friends. And we confessed how we had felt before and how much God had changed our hearts now. We were excited for what our next few days had to hold.

As we headed off to beds in our new home tonight, we all welcomed the change. We recognized its working in our lives and we applauded its work. Change doesn’t always come easy, but it always makes you stronger.

We hope that you have been enjoying sharing this experience with us. Tomorrow is our team’s beach day…a little earlier than traditionally done in our work week, but placed so we can pair it with Denver’s meeting with his Compassion sponsor child. We are all excited to explore more of Nicaragua and praise God for the beauty He has placed here!!

If you would be so kind, please pray for…
- Our continued health; other than Corwin’s 24 hr bug and Jaclyn have a little bit of a rumbly tummy on Monday, we have been ridiculously health and wound-free. Pray we stay that way!
- The second building project; pray that our team can stay focused as we work in two different places
- The man that we were originally supposed to build the house for; he has been riding his bike past our worksite frequently. Pray God blesses him with peace.
- Denver; he is nervous about meeting his Compassion sponsor child, Brian, tomorrow. He wants to bless him but not make him feel embarrassed or awkward. Pray that their meeting is filled with love.
- The Belize Team; they are building a house as well and are hard at work. Pray their health and unity are kept well. Check out the link to their blog on the right hand of this page.

As the moments tick away, we remind you that we love you and miss you and will see you sooner than you think,

Chan & The team