Guapinol, Nicaragua

Our mission trip to Nicaragua with El Porvenir was a wonderful experience for all of our team.  We'll be sharing about the trip in worship on a Sunday Night in the next couple of weeks.  


The short of it is this: we sent 13 people to Nicaragua from July 11-18. We will be working in Guapinol, which is a rural community that is home to about 50 people. We helped finished the construction of a lavendero, a facility with two shower stalls and a covered area with large sinks for washing laundry.  


El Porvenir, an organization whose mission is to "improve the standard of living of rural Nicaraguans through water, sanitation, health education, and watershed management projects," helped organize our trip and handled all of our logistics while we were there. They respond to requests from local residents and encourage local leadership to be responsible for the construction and long term maintenance of their projects.  


Below, you'll find a day by day account of our experiences through the eyes of various team members.  You'll also find some photos associated with each day.  

Background of Our Trip

We're sending a team of 13 people to Nicaragua from July 11-18. We will be working in Guapinol, which is a rural community that is home to 85 people. We'll be constructing a lavendero, a facility with two shower stalls and a covered area with large sinks for washing laundry.  


We are working with El Porvenir, an organization whose mission is to "improve the standard of living of rural Nicaraguans through water, sanitation, health education, and watershed management projects." They respond to requests from local residents and encourage local leadership to be responsible for the construction and long term maintenance of their projects.  


We intend to provide updates here about our work each evening that the team is there.  

fundraising

We began talking about taking an international mission trip early in the fall of 2014, but it started to feel real when the congregation began organizing to work with the community to raise money to help fund the trip.  The support that we've received locally and even from great distances has been overwhelming.  We're grateful to everyone who gave generously of their time and money and who came together for the great fun that we had at all of our events.  

  • frying fish at the brewer opry

    We held a Fish Fry more or less every third week from January through June.  With tremendous support from men and women, young and old in our church and community, we had several record nights!  We'll let you know the next time we're fixing a meal to raise money for our next endeavor.  

  • Chili Cookoff

    Our first effort at hosting a Chili Cookoff was a roaring success!  With awards for "crowd favorite," "best traditional chili," and "best non-traditional chili," we had more than 20 entries in all.  The competition left all of the chili-tasters full, and some of our entrants hungry for another shot at victory in years to come. 

  • stained glass crosses

    Wynelle Benson has been using her gift with stained glass to serve God and raise money for various causes for quite some time.  This time, instead of simply selling the crosses, she asked folks to donate to our mission fund so that a cross could be given to patients at the infusion center at North Mississippi Medical Center, making her work a blessing to our mission team AND to a wonderful Easter happy for folks battling cancer.  

Day 1: Saturday



OFF WE GO!


To him who is able to do immeasurable more than all we ask or imagine, according to his power that is at work within us, to him be glory in the church and in Christ Jesus thought all generations, for ever and ever!  Amen.  

Ephesians 3:20-21 (NIV)



Our Itinerary

7/11 at 11:13pm (CST) –Arrive in Managua


7/12  at 9:30am – Worship at El Buen Samaritano Methodist Church in Villa Roma

           at 2:30pm – Depart for Sebaco


7/13 morning - 7/16 morning – Work in Guapinol Community, constructing a lavadora; visit other projects, returning to Sebaco each night


7/16 at 2:00pm – Depart for Grenada


7/17 morning  – Cultural & Historical Tour of Granada

         afternoon – Canopy tour at Miravalle

         evening    – Return to Managua


7/18 7:00am – Depart for US

          3:00am – Arrive in Birmingham



Day 2: Sunday

Worship, Travel, and Sabbath Rest

Today has been a tremendous day! We woke up early to a fabulous breakfast of fruit, gallo pinto (a colloquial phrase for rice and beans), eggs, toast, and coffee. Then we travelled to la iglesia El Buen Samaritano, a Methodist Church in Managua, for worship. This church just moved into their new worship space in mid-April of this year, and pastor Manuel took a few minutes before worship to witness to us about how God has been answering their prayers in ministry for several years and leading them to this point.  


Our team was struck by the hospitality offered to us before, during, and after worship. They welcomed us heartily, they prayed for us powerfully, and took time to let our Marcos translate the sermon sentence by sentence. Preaching from Song of Songs 5, Pastor Manuel preached about how God pursues the church as a lover pursues his beloved, and how it breaks God's heart when we don't respond faithfully to his efforts to woo us.  


The rest of the afternoon was spent in transit. We returned to our hotel in Managua to eat lunch and load our luggage for our trip north. We stopped by the airport to pickup the three bags that didn't make it onto our flight from Houston last night, and then drove to Sebaco, where we will be staying while we work in the Guapinol community. This evening, we had a couple of hours to rest and fellowship before enjoying an excellent dinner and being led in the night's devotion by Jacob Lindsey. 


We look forward to offering more thorough update tomorrow; we should know a lot more about what our week's labors will look like!  


La gracia de Dios y la paz de Christo esté con ustedes esta noche! (May the grace of God and the peace of Christ be with you tonight!)



Day 3: Monday

Elise and Susanne share their thoughts on the day.

From Elise's Perspective

Today was our first day in the village. We traveled today in the back of work trucks. Along the road we saw different mountain views, cattle, tobacco fields, and much poverty. Before going to Guapinol, we stopped at the office of El Porvenir. Excitement was in the air! When we arrived at the village, we were greeted by the members of the community, which consisted of eleven family homes. Smiles were on all faces! They had a song prepared which they sang to us. After introduction from both sides the work began. Rocks, small and large, were collected and moved to the wash station. Due to the amount of rain received rock walls and fill dirt are needed to prevent the foundation from washing out. The rocks were very heavy. Teamwork was essential. Some of our group was invited to take a tour of some of the homes within the community. Everyone felt welcomed everywhere we went within the community. At first the children in the community stood afar, but they warmed up to all of us and never left our sides. Lunch was prepared at a local home and we were invited in to wash our hands and fix our plates. There was no running water in home. Our hostess poured water over our hands from a small cup as we washed our hands with soap. We choose to sit outside where we enjoyed a nice breeze. After lunch, work began again. Along with a few members of the community, we built another rock wall. We hauled dirt in empty sugar sacks on our back to areas that needed to be filled behind the back of the washhouse. We ended the day feeling proud of what we were able to accomplish. No matter what language we speak, LOVE is seen and felt by our actions. Everyone so far here has been nothing but warm and welcoming to us. I am so proud to be apart of the TEAM.

From Susanne's perspective

Our mission team started the morning refreshed and ready to work. We enjoyed a hearty breakfast that consisted of (a) an egg/tortilla concoction, (b) toast, and of course, (c) rice nad beans. After breakfast, we traveled to Cuidad Darío and met with the El Porvenir Staff. They briefed us on our work for the work site—we will be finished up a place for the people in the Guapinol community to wash clothes and take showers. The project was 70% completed before we began today, and we should put the finishing touches on it by Thursday. 


When we arrived at the community, they were very welcoming. They introduced themselves and sang a song for us. We introduced ourselves and went to work. The first order of business as hauling rocks to build a rock wall. Once we had gathered the rocks, some of us began stacking them into a wall and others started digging a pit for a septic tank. We were moving dirt from the hole for the septic system to fill in the area behind the rock wall to help secure the foundation of the wash facility. We ran into a little problem when the ground became so rocky in the septic hole that we could not continue digging. 


As we awaited guidance on our digging, we took a lunch break. Our lunch was prepared by Rosabela. We walked to here home where we enjoyed a wonderful lunch of pasta with red sauce, rice and bread. After lunch, Shelby Lindsey led us in a devotion time. A few team members took siestas before we returned to work. It was decided that the chosen spot for the septic hole would not work. 


The decision was made to run a pipe to a nearby creek to dispose of the shower and laundry water in lieu of creating a septic pit. Thus, our afternoon work consisted of moving dirt by means of shovel and burlap sack to our rockwall and gathering more rocks to fill in the foundation support. Thirteen worn out bodies finished working a little after 3 o’clock for the day. We are tired today, but we have been filled by Guapinol’s offerings of hospitality, generosity, and thankfulness!

  • Orientation at El Porvenir

    We, and a group from the Mid-west working on a reforestation project  gathered at the office in  Cuidad Darío to learn about what we'd be doing for the week. 

  • Local Market

    This is a market we drove by on the way to the worksite Monday morning.  

  • Greetings at Guapinol

    More than a majority of the residents of Guapinol, young and old, gathered to welcome us to their community first thing this morning. Not only did they introduce themselves and their families to us (some of the boys ran away during introductions because they are shy), they also sang a song to express their excitement and gratitude for our presence. Marcos' translations of their introductions and ours were essential!     

  • Our Youth

    Shelby, Jacob, and Lia worked hard and brought a tremendous amount of enthusiasm and joy to the worksite today.  It's been a pleasure to travel, work, and learn with them.  

  • Pete and her new friends

    Photos know no language barrier.

  • Jamie "hard at work"

    He did work.  Really.  At least, he says he did.  

  • Jacob and abel

    Over lunch, Jacob joined some of the boys who live in Guapinol for a game of marbles.

  • Foreman Mark

    Mark gives instructions to Shelby, Susanne, and Elise about our next steps..

  • The rock wall

    The second rock wall that we built.  All of the rocks were gathered from (relatively nearby) and carried by hand to this place.  The space on this side of the rock wall will be filled in to short up the foundation of the lavandero.  

Day 4: Tuesday

Read about our Tuesday from the perspective of Becky and Shelby. 

Shelby's Perspective

This morning, we woke up stiffer than usual. We ate breakfast at La Padre, where we enjoyed pancakes, freshi fruit, eggs, and bacon. Then we drove 40 minutes to the village and got to work. We finished the stone wall and leveled out the dirt. Then we learned how to make stucco. Daddy [Jamie], Momma [Susanne], Brother Chad, and others soon began to apply the mixture to the walls. That was an interesting experience, and soon we were covered in mezcla. Meanwhile, Ms. Pete, Ms. Pam, and others helped to dig a ditch to the washing facility. This was made more difficult by many rocks and roots that were in the way. 


For lunch, we ate chicken, squash, rice, and tortillas for lunch. We had coconut custard for dessert. The ladies in the village prepare for us their best! Afterward, Jacob, Lia, and I threw a tennis ball with two other boys. It was nice to see that even though one boy could only use his left hand and spoke Spanish, we could still have fun together. 


Daddy led us in a devotion on prayer, and then it was time to get back to work. We sifted graved and covered wals with stucco. Then I started taking pictures of kids. Everyone loved seeing the pictures. The kids love to give high 5’s. Then I played catch with more of the boys. We laughed and had fun. I learned that Ms. Pam is right—laughter is universal. We do not have to speak the same language to laugh and become friends. The children loved the stickers we gave them and put them all over themselves. 


Then we drove to the village where we raised money to build a well. The roads were a little bumpier. The people were very thankful. You didn’t need to speak Spanish to know that. They showed us the well and storage tank. They said the well never ran dry even when the river does. They would pump water up tot eh storage tank and from there, the water would go to their homes. 250 people use this well. I couldn’t believe that I had helped to change the lives of 250 people! The people did not fight over who controlled the water, they were just grateful for what they had. We then returned to Hotel Casa San Jose. I am amazed about how grateful these people are, even for the smallest things; things we forget about like waking up, water and air. These are truly grateful people.

Becky's Perspective

I think everyone slept well last night. Everyone seemed refreshed and renewed. This morning, breakfast was a little different. Instead of rice and beans, we had pancakes, scrambled eggs with bacon, along with fruit—papaya, cantaloupe, and the sweetest bananas. 


We arrived back in Guapinol with great energy and willingness to work. We began with moving more rocks, which we can now do quite efficiently! We placed the gray water pipe, set up the rest of our rock wall and filled in the space with dirt to finish shoring up the foundation. Then we began to make stucco. We toted buckets of sand and 100lb bags of concrete, mixed them together, added water. Then, we were shown how to put the stucco on the walls. Frog, Mark, Jamie, Jacob, and the preacher took turns trying. I guess they decided to give the job to Mark and Jamie after they seemed to pick up the skill quickly. We are certainly realizing all of the conveniences of home that we don’t pay much attention to. 


A lady in the community was using a machete to chop down a (relatively) small tree. She made it look like there was nothing to it, so I decided to take a turn. Needless to say, the entire team and the community had a good laugh, but I did master the machete enough to chop a limb off that tree. 


The work began to slow down while Jamie and Mark and some of the men we are working with continued to put stucco on the wash house. The rest of us were anxious to have more work to do, so they told us to dig a ditch to connect the water supply line to the new wash building. After we did that, we were looking for another task, but began thinking, “Maybe God is waning us to stop and just be in his presence; spending time with him is an important part of this trip. We rush through our days wanting one more thing to do, one more place to go, one more person to see.” I felt like he was just saying, “Stop!”


We take so much for granted; things all around us. While visiting with our new friends in Guapinol, we have seen how thankful to God they are. They thank God for everything–even the air they breathe! I decided I need to thank him more and not go around thinking that all I have is because of what I have done. 


Jose and Rosibel prepared a wonderful lunch for us– chicken with vegetables, rice, and corn tortillas. And then… coconut pudding! After lunch, we sifted more sand, mixed more stucco, and unloaded the laundry sinks from the truck. It took about 5 men to carry them. The excitement of the ladies when they got to touch the sinks was powerful. In their excitement, they even pretended to do laundry as we took photos! 


We left work a little early to go visit the project that was built with the money that our Tweens Class raised last year. Lia, Shelby, and Jacob were so excited (and I was too). I am becoming more emotional just writing this. This was one of the most touching experiences I have ever had. The road to the site was very rugged, but there were several men from the community who met us when we finally got there. They were on the board for the water project, and the greeted us and expressed their gratitude for partnering with the to accomplish such a vital project. The project has provided water to 45 families and 250 people! 


We had to walk a little ways to the actual site, but after we arrived it was one of the most beautiful things I have ever seen. The men were proud of it and were pleased to share it with us. We were able to look into the well that they told us was dug by hand. The kids were able to see their reflection in the water of the well! It has a gas operated pump to move the water from the well into an elevated tank that was connected to the galvanized lines that supply water to the homes. Right now, they have to walk to the well twice a day to run the pump and fill the tank. They have an electric pump that they were able to purchase with the money that we raised. They want to connect it soon so that they won’t have to keep walking down to fill the tank, but they have not yet been able to get electricity run to the pump. As we left, our translator Marcos pointed out three outhouses at the school that were a part of the same project. We are so often unaware at the need for water, a vital part of our existence that we so often take for granted. 


Today, for me, was a day spent with God. He has been showing that his greatest power is revealed when we listen to him and follow his desires for our hearts. He has an agenda greater than we could ever have for ourselves. We are able to help each other and love each other. He is everywhere, not just in one state or one country, but everywhere!

More photos

  • Becky & the Machete

    She did break off a limb.  Here's proof.

  • One more time...

    This is some of the last laundry done on the stack of rocks that have functioned before now as the laundry facility! Adding running water, a smooth surface for doing laundry, and a sink that can hold soapy water should save time and money (for soap and clothes!) for all of the ladies in Guapinol that can't get water run to their house.  

  • El Jefe

    Our foreman Lionel putting together the drain pipe away from the showers.  

  • Unloading the sinks

    The sinks weigh a lot.  It takes about 5 men to carry them..

  • Juanita pretends...

    to do laundry in one of the new sinks.

  • The tweens raised the money...

    And Jacob, Jamie, and Lia got to enjoy the refreshing clean water that has been funded by their well project last year!  

  • Our Team at the well.  

    You can see the gas generator and the well which is about 16 feet deep and provides them with water even when there is little rain.  

Day 5: Wednesday

What happened on Thursday?  Let Jacob teach you about handball, and let Pete & Pam tell you about their new friends Juanita and Rosibel!

A post from Annetta (Pete) and Pam

We began Wednesday with a hearty breakfast that began with oatmeal cooked in cream and flavored with cinnamon and was followed by scrambled eggs and French toast. As we arrived at the worksite, we met a man riding a mule carrying 2 milk cans that he delivered to Rosabel, our hostess for the week.


Jamie and Mark continued to work with Lionel, our foreman on the work site to finish applying the stucco to the new wash station. Door frames were put in the showers. The rest of us began removing dirt from the front of the facility so the a foundation can be laid. 


We completed the stone all that serves the purpose of stopping the solid from eroding around the wash facility. We needed large stones to use as the base of the wall and our dear friend Juanita motioned for us to tear down one of the two wash basins that they have been using for some time. When it was torn down, she shouted to the heavens “GLORIA!!!” Juanita is the matriarch of Guapinol and has worked shoulder to shoulder with us each day, even though she lives at the top of a steep hill and the gravity fed water system will never be able to be run to her house. 


Lunch at Rosabel’s was pork, vegetables, rice, and beans, cooked by Jose, the guy who has managed the logistics of our trip. 


The men continued to work on the wash station and landscaping while women and children from the community came together for fellowship. It is amazing how hard both groups work to communicate with gestures and smiles! When the new concrete laundry sinks were moved into the wash facility, we asked Juanita and Rosabel to pose for a picture. Then, EVERYONE in the community wanted their picture made. They were gathering children and husbands and grandkids as best they could. We took hundreds of pictures. 


Through our interpreter Marcos, they told us how much they appreciated us and how much they will miss us when we leave. It brought all of us to tears. Pam’s devotion at lunch was based on Matthew 6:25—not worrying about tomorrow. We all agree this community of people have taught us that we are not in control of tomorrow; God is!

Jacob LIndsey's take on Day 5

I woke up this morning and went to breakfast. We had oatmeal, French toast, and eggs. We got in the truck and headed towards Guapinol. Along the way, we picked up cement and bricks. Once we got there, we picked up rocks, built a rock wall, and continued to put stucco on the wash facility. 


After that, we went to lunch, where we ate pork loin, rice, beans, and plantains. After that, everyone else went back to work, but I played handball with some of the other kids from Guapinol. Handball is just like baseball, except you use your hands instead of bats. There are two bases and you hit the ball out of your hand. After playing 3 games, I went back down near the worksite, where I played ball and Frisbee with more kids until it was time to go. 


On the way back, we got ice cream before we returned to the hotel. We played hard, worked hard, and a good day was had by all. 

day 5 photos

  • Juanita & her Husband Manuel

    Juana is a very proud mother and grandmother.  She has two sons who are in seminary in Guatemala to be priests in the Antiochene Orthodox church.  She has also been working as hard as anyone to finish this laundry and shower facility.  

  • Martin, Pete, and Shelby

    Martin is 22.  He's one of Juanita's children and a very hard worker.  He spent much of the afternoon working with us and trying to learn as many words in English as he possibly could.  

  • Beísbol

    Jamie is pitching and Santos is hitting.  We had a great time playing a makeshift game of baseball with kids from the community.  

  • Breaking down la Pila

    As we looked for rocks to finish up our rock wall, Juanita recommended that we use the large rocks that had been stacked to use for washing clothes.  She was thrilled at having the makeshift platform removed, because it meant that the new sinks would be up and running soon!  

  • Juanita and Rosabel

    They were SO excited to have the new sinks situated properly in the lavendero.  

  • Stucco Ski

    Mark's skills in applying stucco have grown tremendously in the last two days.  He's even gotten more considerate about who might get hit by the spray.  

  • helados

    We finished the day today with a scoop or two of ice cream. Que rico!

Day 6

Read about our Thursday as told by Jamie Lindsey and Linda Deas


If you want to catch up on the final day of our time in Nicaragua, click here.  

Jamie Lindsey's Perspective

The  sun rises early in Nicaragua, at around 5:30.  We left the hotel around 7 again for breakfast at La Casa de la Pradera.  That's the same Casa de La Pradera where we have eaten breakfast and super since Monday.  They do a good job of having a different breakfast each day.  Today they served a fried egg, fried bologna, and beans & rice.  After breakfast, we stopped at a local school to see another El Porvenir project.  They had built a sanitary latrine at an elementary school.  The students were rather amused by the Americans that stopped to take pictures of their bathroom.  


We arrived at the job site around 9:30 and were amazed at the amount of work that had been accomplished while we were gone.  The men from the community were installing the tin roof.  They asked us to do some more landscaping around the facility.  We used a pick axe and a pry bar to loosen dirt and hauled it 50 yards in sacks.  We worked in this manner until 11:00am.  


At 11:oo, we went to tour Maria's house.  Maria has the nicest house in the community.  it has a tile floor and a solar panel for electricity.  In the kitchen, they were cooking tortillas over an open wood flame stove.  The El Porvenir staff explained that one of their projects is to encourage the use of more energy efficient stoves.  The stoves require less wood for cooking, which helps minimize problems with deforestation.  The stoves cost about $120 and the recipients are required to pay 10% of the cost ($12.00).  The Guapinol community does not have any new stoves, but three are on order.  


The final celebration was a grand event.  It was full of laughter (which always translates) and a few tears of joy.  There was a piñata in the shape of a cartoon character that the children (from Guapinol and from Brewer) attacked viciously.  The candy barely hit the ground before it was scooped up by eager hands.  In the closing speeches, one of the ladies fro the community [Juanita]  apologized to the El Porvenir staff because she did not believe them when they told her people would come help them.  Everyone was very grateful.  The kids loved the bead necklaces the McDoles sent.  


After lunch, we walked to the job site one last time, and the foreman was making the final connection to the water line.  The whole community helped tear down the other old rock wash stand and repurpose it as a retaining wall.  There was a genuine excitement as the water was turned on for the first time at the wash stands and in the showers.  The women were immediately washing clothes and the kids were playing in the showers.  It's hard to describe the magnitude of the impact that this facility will have on the quality of life in the community.  


Parting is such sweet sorrow.  Everyone was sad to leave the Guapinol community for the last time.  It took a while to leave as people kept stopping us to say gracious and other untranslated words of appreciation.  It has been a very rewarding and memorable trip, and it will take some time to understand the impact it will have on our own lives. 


After a journey of a couple hours, we have arrived in Granada for tonight.  

Linda Deas' Perspective

Today has been an adventurous and bittersweet day, because our mission trip is almost over.  We were able to go see a school of 1st-3rd grade students and the water system for bathrooms and hand washing sinks that El Porvenir built for them.  The children are being taught the importance of hand washing after using the restroom.  What a blessing it was to see those happy children proud to be in their classrooms.  At this school, it is the responsibility of the parents & children to keep the area clean and free of trash.  Even though there was no playground, the kids are happy and content.


We finally got to the village to finish up our mission work.  We quickly began filling up tote sacks with dirt to help secure the foundation around the shower and sink area to make it safer to walk around it. Picking, shoveling, and toting the dirt took a lot of work power.  


It is amazing that the villagers are so proud to have running water to shower and wash clothes with, even if they still have to walk to the facilities.  It is a blessing that they don't have to dip water out of a bucket and bathe in a bathhouse made of 4 poles wrapped in plastic.  The folks in Guapinol have been washing clothes on a pile of giant rocks for seventy years.  Even without a sink, their clothes are the whitest I've ever seen.  


Before lunch, we had a candy-filled piñata celebration for the children.  The joy and laughter of these sweet kids hitting the piñata and grabbing candy was a priceless blessing to all of us.  We spent a few minutes exchanging words of gratitude with the staff of El Porvenir and the community and ate lunch again in Rosibel's home.  


We went back to the worksite to finish connecting the water lines and were able to see both showers and wash sinks functioning.  Praise God!  It was absolutely amazing to see the results of this project actually at work.  Yea Team!  This was bittersweet to SEE the joy of these amazing people.  Together, we have made progress to their village.  Thank you Jesus that this was such a blessing to our team and to these people we have gotten to know.  


The people of Guapinol are some of the hardest working people I've ever seen.  The love they shared with us daily through offering gratitude, joy, and hugs will be something none of us ever forget.  They do not need a lot to make them happy; only the basics of life– food, shelter, and clothing. The most important thing is family and love.  Thank you Jesus for the opportunity to serve in a way that was unimaginable before we left!  

Day 6 photos

  • First shower

    Juana's daugher jumped in to the newly connected shower to enjoy running water.  

  • Maria

    Today, our team visited Maria's home. She was so proud to show us around!  

  • Tearing down the old washing area

    This pile of rocks served as a washing station for over 70 years in Guapinol, first near the spring where they had water access, and for the last two years, next to the faucets put in down hill from the water collection tank at the spring.  We broke down both piles of rocks that had been used for washing  and used them as a part of the retaining wall to support the foundation.  

  • Tortilla making

    This is the open-fire oven used that Maria and her family use to make tortillas.  El Porvenir is looking forward to providing  three more efficient ovens to the community to minimize wood use and limit smoke inhalation.  

Day 7: Friday

Read about our day of tourism from Mark & Frog!

Mark Burleson's perspective

The last day of our mission trip began in Granada. The beautiful morning started off with breakfast at the hotel. After breakfast, we went on a boat ride to tour some Islands that the volcanoes formed 1000’s of years ago. Now the islands have houses and restaurants on them. The next stop was the museum, which had some beautiful cultural items from Nicaragua’s history. From the museum, you also had a beautiful view of the rain forest. That is where the volcano that created the islands is located. After the museum, we walked around taking pictures of some of the old historical buildings. Lunch back at the hotel was the next stop for us. It was great. All of the food has been great. After lunch, we left to go zip-line. I have been looking forward to this since I got here. The zip lines were awesome… even the part where some team members blasted out bad words in Spanish. We capped the day off with a visit to the market to buy souvenirs for our families. This has been an amazing experience for me. I’ve enjoyed working with everyone on the trip. I hope to come back one day. I would encourage other ones to come also.

Frog Odom's perspective

First, I want to thank God for blessing me with the opportunity to go on this mission trip. And I want to thank everyone who helped make it possible, whether by selling crosses, donating your time at the opry, donating money, or cooking chili. 


This morning, God blessed us to wake up in a different city (Granada). Today, we have been tourists. We ate a wonderful breakfast—gallo pinto, eggs, fried cheese, ham, pancakes, and fruit. We went on a boat tour of Lake Nicaragua. There was a volcano that erupted and rock that flew through the sky to make a bunch of Islands that were beautiful. One island had only monkeys on it. 


After that, we went to San Francisco Museum. Just walking around, we saw religious art. You could tell that it was old and some were broken. Becky called me back to that art and said, “Look, Jesus is broken, dying on the cross.” She moved on. I just stood there and it hit me. Jesus’ body was broken for me and you. I stood there and prayed. I thanked God for that example. Before we left the museum, Elise shared a great devotional. 


Then we went to a cigar factory. A few of us got our picture taken with a parrot. 


After lunch, we travelled up the volcano to go zip-lining. It was a great experience. When we finished, I was ready to do it again. 


Last, it was off to Masaya to the market. That had nice things there: shirts, bracelets, hammocks, and blankets. I would love to come back and work with El Porvenir again in the future. They do great things to help improve their country and the people of Nicaragua.