Loving Letters

Buenos Dias. We are thinking of you and praying for you tonight as we fall asleep. We have been reminded tonight of your love and affection for us tonight and are crawling into bed with warm hearts and smiles on our faces. We love you.

Today we were back to the grind of the worksite. We awoke at our second morning at the orphanage, excited to be awaking to the beautiful sights and sounds of the surrounding jungle. Bobbi even woke up early to watch the sunrise over the mountains. We are so fortunate to be amidst such lush beauty.

After breakfast we headed out to do our work. We had three main projects on the go; the hole for sewage at our current worksite, the mural which was not yet completed, and the bathroom for Evelyn, the woman we built a house for last year. We divided up evenly. Because Marshall and Denver got to work with Evelyn and her family last year, they went with Kirk to built the latrine. The rest of us headed over to our current worksite and divided up between painting and digging. The hole is getting quite deep now and is into the very thick clay, making it very difficult to dig quickly. Braden, Matt, Anthony, and Curtis took turns playing with the boys at the worksite and digging as much as they could. The girls tackled painting, along with as many kids as there could be in that one little room. The mural was beginning to look absolutely beautiful…and the kids loved to help.

The worksite is a unique place to be. Its on the edge of Veracruz, so it's in a bit of a farm setting. It's not unusual for us to look up while we are working and see cows and bulls walking across our materials to the field near by. Or to step back and have to dodge some baby pigs that are running by. Or, like today, to look down while you are painting inside the house and pick up some chicks that have found their way into our project. Its fun to always be exploring the animals and have them close by. It makes the site feel like a little world of its own.

After we worked hard this morning there wasn’t very much work to do in the afternoon. The girls really wanted to try to finish as much of their mural as they could today so they decided to head back to the worksite and paint. The boys, who had finished their work for the day, came back to the orphanage to get cleaned up and play with the kids as they got out of school.

Painting at the worksite in the afternoon was tons of fun. The children love to grab a paint brush and help in whatever way they can. At one point we had 14 people in our little room, painting and hand printing and giggling and enjoying our creative bliss. The mural was almost finished when we left to clean up for supper, and it was stunning. I got tears in my eyes as the girls gathered with Sbietta, the girl who will live in the room, to take a photo. The painting is breath-taking, nothing like this girl has ever experienced, I’m sure.

The team is learning much from their Nicaraguan friends. They have started to learn the stories and hardships of those around them and have learned to value the strength and joy these people exude. Today Shirley told a group of us the story behind Sbietta and the family that we are building this house for. Shirley said that her children in wheelchairs have had muscular dystrophy. This woman has 5 kids, all with the same man. Edgar, who was 13 when he died last summer, was the sickest of them all. He needed expensive medicines which she couldn’t provide. He died because she couldn’t help him any longer. Orlando, her second disabled son who is still alive, is much healthier. He loves to sit at the worksite and watch us dig or paint or mix cement. He is shy (timido in Spanish), but always is smiling. This woman has two more young sons who can’t go to school because they have to work to support the family. And then were is Sbietta, one of our favourite little girls, who we learned today is also showing the same signs of muscular dystrophy as well as a respiratory problem that her mom struggles with that is very rare and serious in Nicaragua. She is beginning to react to things such as dust and dirt (which there is plenty of here in Veracruz) and she will get worse. Now, when we look at that sunrise we painted on her wall, it seems to have new meaning.

Shirley told us today that this woman who we are building for has not had contact with her husband in 5 years. He had served in the Nicaraguan army to help support his family and the brutality of it messed him up. After serving his time he just up and left to Miami, never to return or call again. This woman still aches for her husband and asks why he will not be back and prays for him. She said she believed God would take care of His little ones. And so He has.

Tonight, after saying good bye to our little ones at the orphan and playing with them before bed, we gave our own team a taste of home. We gathered them around a table and delivered to the them videos from their parents and letters, gathered from their friends and family by their parents, from home. It was beautiful to watch as they found spaces of their own and sat and laughed, and cried, and laughed again at the wonderful words of love and support that flood through those pages. For many, it was a strengthener, for others, a chance to process, and for others still, simply sweet taste of home. Many said it came at just the right time. Some said it was as if people knew exactly how they were going to feel and spoke to them in that moment. They are going to bed with a new sense of confidence, tonight, and need you to know that they are all loving you just as much back.

Our days and moments are numbered here and we are just trying to soak everything in. Tomorrow morning we are heading to a kindergarten run by a church in Managua as well as the market and then are going back to the worksite and to Shirley’s to sort back packs for the kids in the community. Our hearts are connected here, and with every new experience comes a new thing to which we are about to say goodbye. The team is unguarded, though, and desiring to through themselves whole heartedly into whatever God has for them…even good bye.

Tonight as I close, I’ll ask you to pray for these things:
-continued health
-safety for our trip into the city
-that we continue to love these kids to the tips of our fingers
-that we cherish the most of our time left here.

Know that we are strong and that we are happy. That we see God in the eyes of every person we meet here and that we are living a new and changed life every day. We will see you again and you will be able to look in our eyes and see it.

Until tomorrow…

-PS 09 Nicaragua

P.S. Mrs. Bader… Erin has not seen a sloth…but she appreciates you asking!
Corwin Thiessen3 Comments