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Nicaragua 35-Day

Thank you so much for your prayers!  We made it safely and smoothly, making our connection even though it was tight.  The students were very excited to see their friends from other teams and begin sharing stories.  Tomorrow will be spent sharing stories amongst the teams and processing  through our experiences from the summer.  We had an amazing trip and saw God do so many incredible things!  Thank you for walking alongside us and praying for us!

Following Him,

Kenny & Whitney

Today was a very bittersweet day.  It was our last day with our translators, and while we were excited for them to spend the day with us, it was hard knowing that this was it.  We had the opportunity to go on a boat ride through the second largest body of water in Nicaragua, docking at the city of Grenada, which was founded by Christopher Columbus.  There are 356 islands in this body of water, but our favorite was Monkey Island because Lucy and little Lola came out to say hi to us.  On the way back to the dock, the students shared the Gospel with the captain of the boat.  He was already a believer but was greatly encouraged by speaking with our students.

We had some time to shop this afternoon, and then we had a wonderful dinner.  Our cook, Silvia, spoiled us by baking a special cake for our last night.  She said that we are her children, and she loves to spoil her children (she has eight of her own).  As our translators told us goodbye, they said that they had never felt like part of the team before like they had with us.  Usually they do not stay for the last day, but they wanted to spend more time with us.  Many tears were shed as we hugged and said, “See you later,” because we know that if we do not meet again on this earth, we will at least see each other in heaven.

Tomorrow we fly back to the States.  Please pray for safe travel and swift dealings in the airports.  Please pray that we are able to pass through customs quickly and make our connection.  We will not arrive back at the college until very late tomorrow night, so we will post an update when we get back.  The students will call parents Thursday morning before breakfast to update you.  Thank you so much for your prayers and walking along this journey with us!

Following Him,

Kenny & Whitney

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When the students returned from ministering in homes yesterday afternoon, they were so exuberant to share how God had worked to not only share His name but also to encourage them. One group met a lady who has been a believer for 40 years. She called them over to sit on her porch with her, and she sat on her hammock and made herself comfortable as if she had a lifetime of wisdom to share, and she did. When they asked her to describe what it is like to walk with Jesus for so long, her eyes lit up and she said, “How can I? There are no words!”

Another group met up with some men who build rocking chairs for a living. After hearing the Gospel, these men were hesitant to make a decision. Our students encouraged them, but then shared that we are not here to force this upon anyone. While we want them to know the Lord, a “yes” simply for the sake of responding to our question is not the deeply rooted decision this needs to be. These men were moved by the sincerity of our students. They said many have shared with them before, but it has always been in a forced way. They appreciated that our students stepped back and let the Spirit do the work.

During one of the POP times on the trip, the POP group studied Proverbs 31. After studying this passage, the guys decided they needed to affirm the women on this team. Last night, this affirmation played itself out so sweetly. The guys approached the girls to whom they had written encouragement notes and spoke into them who they are in Christ. They gave the girls the notes and then prayed over them. It was such a great moment to see these guys step up and truly be the men God is calling them to be.

This morning, we had the opportunity to share in the service at the church we had been working with the past several days. Kenny brought a teaching from John 9 about how Jesus got His hands dirty in doing ministry and loving people. Both the students and the nationals were encouraged to “give a spit” for Jesus and follow Him in His work, loving the least of these, dying to ourselves, and following Him.

We arrived back at the mission home late this afternoon. After dinner we had some great time together worshiping our Lord and sharing what we have been learning from His Word. Tomorrow is the students’ last day of ministry through doing the drama. It is hard to believe our journey together is coming to a close. Thank you so much for your prayers! We appreciate you walking through this with us and recognize that many of the blessings God has given has been because of your requests and petitions. Please pray that God will do something awesome here in these last days!

Following Him,

Kenny & Whitney

Country Coordinators

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The electricity came on last night right before dinner!  It was such a blessing to have lights in the evening and fans going in our sleeping quarters.  We often take so many things for granted that we forget to be thankful for the normal, everyday gifts we have.

Yesterday we had the opportunity to be in five different schools.  It was wonderful how open the people are.  In one of the schools in the afternoon, one group had the opportunity to speak with several of the teachers.  They were very excited we were there because they are believers too, and they were thankful for our encouragement to share their faith with their students.

One little boy was very interested in the drama.  Afterwards, one of our team asked him if he had ever heard this story before.  He replied, “No.”  The next question was if he attended church, to which he replied, “Yes.”  How heartbroken our team was to learn that he was attending church but had never heard the Gospel!  He heard it shortly afterwards and believed on the name of the Lord Jesus Christ!

The school we attended preceding the lunch hour brought us a new friend.  This little guy of ten years, Axel, came over to us after the drama and began preaching the Gospel to us.  He explained everything and was thankful we had come to his school.  He said that he studies the Bible and goes to his church.  He had many questions for us, and we encouraged him to keep sharing Jesus with his friends.  Please pray for Axel that God will continue to use him.  He was a great encouragement to us!

Today we have had the opportunity to rest some.  It is one of Nicaragua’s national holidays, and most of the people have traveled to Managua to hear the president speak.  This morning we took several hours to affirm each other of our identity in Christ and how we have seen God move in each others’ lives over the course of this month.  This afternoon we have the opportunity to do some ministry in people’s homes, and the students are looking forward to being back at work.

Tomorrow we leave in the morning after a brief service with the church here, and we will be traveling back to the mission home in Managua for our last few days in country.  Your students have been a privilege to lead and serve this summer!  We are so thankful for their hearts in following Christ!  Please continue to pray that we will focus on today and the task at hand, that we will enjoy our last few days together before we reunite with the other teams in  Dallas.  Thank you for your prayers!

Following Him,

Kenny & Whitney

Country Coordinators

We apologize for our delay in updating. The city we moved to yesterday does not have electricity. The school where we are sharing the drama this morning, though, has graciously allowed us to use theirs while we are here. The following are stories from yesterday’s ministry.

The first day we were in Chinandega, the pastor of the church had gone to ask permission of the school for us to perform there. Their response was, “Not right now, but Thursday morning we should have around 400 students here.  Come back then.” As soon as we finished breakfast, the team headed for that school, and true to their word, they opened their doors to us and allowed us to share the Gospel with 400 students. Many of them responded to the Gospel, and our students were thrilled at how engaged the students were and how they saw the Holy Spirit move in that place.

As we began our journey to  our new city, El Sauce, we made a side trip to the village of Pinoalar. This village was an hour or so out of our way, but we were so blessed by the people there. The pastor was very enthusiastic about our coming; very few people every make it out that far. Several people decided to follow Christ there, but we also had the chance to talk to many believers. The believers’ number one request was that we not forget them, but to please remember them and pray for rain. As the pastor shared with us, they have been in a three-month drought, and it is really affecting the people. Not only are their water sources drying up, but their crops are suffering, which will increase the poverty there. Please join us in praying with the pastor for that village to see both physical rain as well as spiritual rain fall and begin a revival in that place.

We will be in a handful of schools today, so please pray for the students we meet to have hearts open to Christ.  Please pray that our students will walk in obedience to Him, having the attitude and mind of Christ. Thank you for your prayers!

Following Him,

Kenny & Whitney

Country Coordinators

It is wonderful how open the schools are to allow us to come in!  Today we had the opportunity to be in three different schools.  The first one brought a unique opportunity in that one of the teachers knew English very well and acted as another translator.  He was so thankful we had come.  What a way to practice your English, by sharing the Gospel!

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When we present the drama, we always challenge our audience to look for the second story with their heart.  As our students went out to talk with the kids after the drama, one little boy started shouting, “I saw the second story, and I was the first one to see it!” He was so excited to truly understand.  As there were others around him who had not quite caught on yet, our ministry team shared the Gospel, and several came to believe in Jesus, including our excited friend.

Another component of today was the opportunity to elevate a MOM and POP to the role of “TDs for a day.”  It has been so wonderful to see each student rise to the new challenges to which God has called them.

We enjoyed a delicious dinner of spaghetti this evening.  We have been so spoiled by our cook, Silvia.  She loves our whole team and says she is our Nicaraguan mother.

Tomorrow we will be moving to a new city, Leon, which is about an hour back towards Managua.  That will be our last stop before we return to the mission house on Sunday.  We only have a week left here, but please pray that the students will focus here, on today, and not be distracted by the things of home.  Please pray that we will take every opportunity to share the Gospel and to love people, both the Nicaraguans and each other.  Thank you for your continued support!

Following Him,

Kenny & Whitney

Country Coordinators

 

Today we kicked off our time of ministry in Chinandega.  After a quick breakfast prepared by our dear cook, Sylvia, we headed off to our first drama site.

After a bumpy ride along roads surrounded by peanut fields we arrived at a small village to present the drama.  Although we only had a small crowd, the Lord worked and the students had the opportunity to be a part of leading several people to repentance.

Amongst the many salvations of today, the students also learned a very valuable lesson that we are a herald and our task is to just proclaim the truth of the Gospel.  We can not in any way convince someone to accept Christ; that is the job of the Holy Spirit.  This is sometimes a hard thing for us to accept, but it is also so relieving to know that we can rely solely on God and He will never fail us.

The team is doing so great, and everyone is always so ready to do ministry.  It is such a blessing to see the way the Lord is using every one of these students to accomplish His will.  We look forward to all that is to be done in Chinandega, expecting to see God’s hand at work all around us.

Please continue to pray for rest and strength, not only for the team, but also for our wonderful translators and the pastors who we will be working with.

God is so good!  More stories to come soon!

Your TD’s

Jordan & Crystal

The team had the opportunity to present the drama at three different churches today.  In the morning, we began at a small mission church, where we had to walk a beautiful path in order to get there.  This particular church has gone through a lot recently, and they are striving to recover from those challenges.  Today was their first event in a while.  The students invited people to come to church, and a handful did come.  However, after they presented the drama, the church members went with us door to door to share the Gospel with the people who had chosen not to come.  The students were able to have some very fruitful conversations during this time.

This afternoon was a special treat.  We were able to go to the church of one of our translators.  She was so excited for us to be there, and it was a special blessing to be able to give back to her as she has already given so much to us.

Tomorrow morning we travel to Chinendega, known to all the Nicaraguans as the hot place.  Please be in prayer that our team will continue to be healthy and hydrated as we move to this new area and weather.  We will be out in the village area, so updating posts will be much more difficult, especially uploading pictures.

We are looking forward to our last full week of ministry here.  Please continue to pray for our translators, as they have encountered allergies that have hindered their voices.  Thank you so much for lifting us up!

Following Him,

Kenny & Whitney

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Today was a lovely day of resting.  We slept in and then spent some time in the Word after breakfast.  Our cooks treated us today with Pizza Hut!  It was a treat both for them and for us.  This afternoon brought the opportunity for some of the team to be able to help out the medical team that will be leaving out tomorrow.  They were able to work in the pharmacy counting out vitamins.  When they returned to the team, they were so excited for the time they had been able to work with Jack, the pharmacist on staff here, sharing their stories of what God has been doing in Nicaragua and in their lives.

This evening, Jordan (Team Director) brought us a teaching on the body of Christ.  The students really engaged in good discussion following the teaching.   Please pray for us tomorrow as we participate in worship with several different churches, having the opportunity to share both the drama and from the Word.  The students were thankful for the rest, but they are excited to get back out there tomorrow.

Following Him,

Kenny & Whitney

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Today was our final day of ministry for this week; tomorrow, we rest.  At the opening of the day, we went to a Christian school, but the headmaster was very straightforward with us, “Most of these students do not actually have a relationship with God, so share the Gospel.”  One of our students, though, was saddened by their students response to the Gospel.  When presented with the question if they wanted to follow Christ, they would look left, look right, then look down at the ground.  There was a lot of peer pressure in this place, and very few accepted Jesus as Savior and Lord. 

However, we had the opportunity to present it a second time at that same place to a second group of students.  This time, the drama ended right as their bell rang to dismiss them to their lunch hour.  Large groups of students began to leave as one of our team members stood up to explain the drama (cast the net).  It was evident that she was disheartened by those who chose to leave.  It was the ones who weren’t ready to accept Christ who turned to leave, but those who were ready stayed behind to talk.  Better conversations were had because those who would typically distract had already left the building.  One of the reasons we refer to the explanation of the drama as “the net” is because a net is designed for the little fish that are not yet ready to be able to slip through, but it catches the larger fish that are ready.  We saw a small group of students come to know Christ here, and it made a larger impact on our students because they were able to visually see the choice that was made.

Our students have been working hard, and tomorrow is our day of rest.  They were very excited to have the opportunity to sleep in tomorrow and are looking forward to some extra time in the Word.  Please pray that tomorrow will rejuvenate them and prepare them for the time we will spend in Chinendega next week.  Thank you for your continued prayers!

Following Him,

Kenny & Whitney