Our team was a varied group from 10 to 72 years of age with 16 from Asheville. Ron met us in Managua on Thursday July 29th and Lauren, Mathison and Eric who were presently in Nicaragua meet us at the airport arriving at the mission center after midnight.
It was different having a team already there, took a little adjustments to get settled in the first night. Friday morning we started out with a wonderful breakfast from Antonia and Ron did a great tour and overview of the mission property. Enrique did an overview of the cultural difference in Nicaragua. Mario took part of the team to go buy the rice & beans we were to give out in Chonco the next day, this was a great experience for first timers to see the city and markets. Part of the team packed rice & beans and the others went for a visit in Bethel, we all had dinner and got to know the mission center.
Saturday morning after breakfast and devotions we loaded the rice and beans and headed fro Chonco. We meet at the church at Chonco and gave out the rice and beans, we then hade a piñata for the kids with only one kid having a knot on his head from moving in to fast, “ouch”. The highlight was when we divided our team up to go and visit in the homes at Chonco, this was a great experience for our team and every one including the families in Chonco enjoyed this time of fellowship. Saturday evening was spend getting gift bags ready for Mocoron. The water fro the city was cut off and the pellas were empty on Saturday and the city said it would be 3 hours before the water would be turned on (do you know how long 3 hours are in Nicaragua). We had about 40 tired dirty people with no way to shower, but with God’s gift of a great rain storm we all got to shower under the eaves of the mission center, so were the city took away God replaced. After the rain storm we enjoyed a beautiful lighting show, God is so good to supply our needs.
Sunday was breakfast and devotions and we planned to go the Dr. Michaels church, we had one team member sick, so Cathe stayed with her and the rest went to the Dr. Michaels church service, Dr. Michael gave a tour of his church and we were very impressed with the Sunday school classes there. We came back to the mission center for lunch and the team then we loaded up gifts and headed fro Mocoron. We gave out gifts and had a piñata with the kids and then stopped at the Rosti Pollo for dinner that afternoon.
Monday morning found 3 team members sick (do not order your hamburgesas rare) after breakfast and devotions we prepared for the Pastors and Pastors wife’s retreat. We had two pastors on our team and they spent the morning with the pastors encouraging and praying for them, our pastors wife and other ladies spent time with the pastors wife’s encouraging and praying with them, this was well received. Some of us went to Bethel to visit some 2 sick men and some other sick people. We visited with Veronica who is recovering very will from a stroke, we then visited with little Migal who we had seen a year early, he had a large tumor on his lower back, he was recovering great, and his dad his tumor in a quart jar. Monday night we had the girls retreat led by the young ladies Lauren & Mathison who had been working with some of the girls over the summer. It was very obvious the love and time Lauren & Mathison had been giving these young girls leading up to the retreat. The excitement and confidence was very evident. The event was attended by about 20 plus young ladies form Bethel and our girls, the guys served the meal to the girls before they took of for a guy’s night out on the town.
Tuesday breakfast and devotions then packing up for a medical clinic and VBS in a new village called Neuvo Versalis. Lauren, Mario and Dr. Michael did a great job of scoping out 2 great new villages to work in. The clinic setup was great in an abandoned house, we saw about 40 patients in this village, a lot of respiratory issues. The team members not working in the clinic did a VBS with the village kids which was interesting with all the barbwire around the VBS area. There were salvation bracelets and decorating little wooden boxes, sang songs and played games with them. Tuesday evening after the clinic we stopped by the mission center unloaded the truck changed clothes and headed for the beach. Those wanting to enjoy the water did so while the rest of us just enjoyed the views, read and fellowshipped with each other. We then enjoyed a great fish meal with a great view of the ocean.
Wednesday was breakfast and devotions, then packing again for another medical clinic and a VBS. We visited the village of El Ensayo. A lady in the village had arranged for us to use her house to hold the medical clinic. The rest of the team had fun with the kids doing a VBS and a piñata and songs. We then remembered that we had gift bags for the kids here, so Lauren and a few others headed back to the mission center to get the gift bags. We treated over 60 patients here with a lot of respiratory problems; they were very sweet and very appreciative of our help. We headed back to the mission center so the guys could get ready for the boys retreat. The girls went out on the town for the evening and the boys had their retreat. Eric did a great job coordinating and leading the retreat. The boys retreat consisted of about 20 young men from Bethel along with our young men. They joined together in games and a message for Pastor Ricky and, Eric and had a great time playing pour, pour drench, drench.
Thursday breakfast and devotions with another sick team member. Today Mario was scheduled to have a root canal, so he took us to our third medical clinic at the Special Needs School in Chichipgalpa. Here we treated over 70 people including students, teachers and others. This was a place that broke our hearts; we felt so helpless and wanted to do so much for these precious children. They were all so loving and innocent, all children her had learning disabilities due to a variety of problems such as Cerebral Palsy, Downs Syndrome, and other disabilities, we had one beautiful young lady with elephantiasis affecting her face. Part of the team returned to the mission center to rest and go to Bethel as we continued to see patients here. We finished the clinic talked with the principal about some needs they had for the kids here and we returned to the mission center. One of the needs was for shoes for some of the children, and on the day before we left North Carolina a friend at our church gave me some money and said us this for shoes please, well the amount he gave us was just enough to purchase this shoes, God is good and supplies our needs. We returned to the mission center and started packed up rice and beans for the workers, and this was when Ron started feeling bad. We had dinner on our last night at the mission center and watched Ron start feeling worse. Ron was to take Lauren, Mathison and Eric in t Bethel to spend the night and did not feel like driving, Mario was recovering for a root canal, so Ray offered to drive the big truck. Ask Mario if Ray know where reverse is and how many times can you drive past the entrance to Bethel, it was an adventure.
Friday morning was breakfast and devotions, Ron did not join us he had had a rough night and we called Dr. Michael to see him. After evaluating him we set off for Chinandega to get some IV fluids and other medication he ordered for Ron, we were going to make a short visit by a women & children’s hospital while there, do you know the deliver 30 to 40 babies a week here. Some of the team went to Bethel for a final visit while we were in Chinandega. We then went by Reyna’s to get the medication and also to call Dr. Alberto a surgeon we knew in Managua who worked with Reyna. He advised us to get Ron up to Chinandega at a clinic where one of his friends worked, we had Juan Carlos bring Ron to the clinic where he was evaluated by ultrasound and lab work and was OK’ed to fly the next day but should go straight to his doctor in the USA. In the mean time we got a call from the mission center that another team member was sick and needed our attention. Ron was feeling well enough to travel on an air mattress in the back of the truck, with the other sick team member in the front of the truck, we headed for Managua after Antonia’s farewell meal at the mission center. We arrived at the Best Western and after a lot of room rearranging got everyone settled in for the night, some resting some enjoying the pool.
Saturday morning we got up early (Cathe, Enrique and I) to get Ron to the airport and on his way home to Marty, he can fill you in about the trip home, we had breakfast at the motel and were off to Masaya minus a couple of team members who were not feeling well. Under the directions of Enrique who gave us history on Masaya volcano and a guide tour to see the lagoon. There is a cross on the hill above the volcano with about 300 steps at least, great view from there. After everyone had returned and we loaded up and we stopped at the visitors center for some more history on the area of Masaya and the volcano. We then headed fro the Masaya market for some shopping and a lunch, we then went to Catarina for some more sightseeing and shopping. Catarina looks down upon a beautiful blue lagoon and has some great craft shopping also. We then returned to the motel and said goodbye to Mario, Enrique and Carlos and sent them on their way back home. This always hard as we say goodbye with tears, hugs and smiles. The team meet for dinner had a final devotion and those with the energy went for a swim in the pool, the rest of us just went to bed.
Sunday morning we were up and at the airport by 5:30am for our flight at 7:30am and just beat the crowd, we still had one not feeling very well. We arrived in Atlanta at 1:30pm and call the bus driver expecting him to be around the corner, but due to someone who will remain anonymous but his initials is RB the bus was 4 hours late, so we had lunch and waited on the bus to arrive at 5:30pm. We wearily climbed into the bus when it arrived and headed back to Asheville arriving home at about 10:30pm. We all hug and said goodnight and head to our homes.