We finished the 2nd edition of the Youth Pastor's Congress in Nicaragua yesterday, and set the date for the next one. This update is going to focus on the event, and I will plan to do another update to give a summary of the trip overall. A huge thanks to all who got behind us in prayer and financial support to pull this event off. We strongly believe in the Lord's intention and grace on the emerging generation, and are really thankful to have the opportunity to work with them here in Nicaragua.
The event was held over three days in the remote mountains near Ticuantepe, Nicaragua,very close to a natural reserve called El Chocoyero for the thousands of chocoyos (parrots) that call the cliffs of it's waterfall home. Beautiful is an understatement. Many of the participants and folks from from Nicaragua who participated expressed that they had no idea this place was even in their country. It is hidden, but worth searching out.
In some ways this is also true of the potential of the generation that is arising in this land. It is a challenging ascent, but the climb is worth the effort, getting to your destiny in God. We want to continue to help this along, in every life the Lord gives us opportunity.
Our team was a great one, whose names are detailed in previous updates. Thank you Jesus for such a team, and it's members individually. I am hoping to get a blog post from each of them to give broader perspective on the event soon. I will post them under this trip as they come in.
This event intended to build on the momentum of last year's event, and I believe that was accomplished. We had about 50 participants. One of the couples at the event, Charity and Leo Marroquin, directors at New Hope Children's Foundation, opened the idea to host next year's event at their place, which would allow us to hold a much larger group. We are going to work in this direction. Leo interpreted for us also, and he could even do my laugh. He did an awesome job, and it is greatly appreciated.
Getting to significant impact in someone's life takes time, commitment, and persistence. We are working with this in mind. We need to demonstrate patience as we are growing our relationships, especially those who are from different parts of the world than ourselves. God's has graced me with some significant friendships in far away places, and I want to be a good steward of them, and the opportunities for impact that they offer.
One of our main goals for the event was encouragement. I believe this was accomplished. We were able to honor and build up those who came, and once again provide personal prophetic ministry to each participant. This is fairly uncommon in this context, and seemed to be especially touching / impacting. Please continue to pray for these young leaders.
Sorry to jump out of this update mid stream…. more to come.
Monday 09Jan2012 – One bad thing about reporting on short term trips is that time to write, available internet access, and a break from the actual activity rarely align. I planned to update daily. So far I am behind.
There has been a lot that has happened since Saturday morning, a whole lot.
Our border crossing went smoothly, once we got there. Getting there was a challenge, though. We had a flat in the middle of Guanacaste, Costa Rica. Fortunately for us, we were only a few hundred meters from the YWAM Missions Base we were going to visit. This spot has some awesome leaders, Diego and Salla Silva, and they got us back on the go, but not before Victor climbed a tree in pursuit of an iguana. Iguanas make good soup, I am told. Check out the Silva's website by clicking here, and better yet, go see them!
We were also delayed by a visit to Tres Hermanas Barbeque….. this is becoming a regular stop on the way to the border, and it was every bit as good this time as last! And we stopped and got the tire replaced in Liberia, which is about 1.5 hours from the border crossing…. Crossing dicey borders in the dark is not the best way to go about it, but we soldiered on, making it Victor's house around midnight. This was a few hours south of our planned stop for the night, but he made room for us and treated us with the fabled hospitality of the Latin American brotherhood. We were fed and on our way before 8am the next morning.
Our first stop was Los Limites (what is something like “County Line” in English) for a repeat visit to Pastor Saul and his group there, situated in a small village of 14 families. Jason and Ixil spoke – did a great job – and we prayed for everyone. The Lord's grace was present, and many people were touched and blessed. They wouldn't hear of us leaving without eating grilled chicken, which we did. It was great to be with these guys again, and I am looking forward to catching up with Saul and company when we get back this way.
Meeting one done, meeting two straight ahead.
We dropped our gear and down for a quick nap at the place that we were staying about 20 more minutes up the road in Cuidad Dario. Funny thing, there was a little protest about a parade that was supposed to take place related to politics. Some folks got shot, mortars were going off, and somebody house right down the street got blown up, but we mostly just heard a lot of explosions. One of the ladies in the house told of how her dad was almost killed by a mortar that landed on the other side on the column at his house just a few doors down. It was sort of anti-climatic though, we thought it was fireworks.
We joined in with Harry Rios and Rey de Reyes Fellowship for their afternoon service with testimonies and some words of encouragement, with accompanying personal ministry. It was great to see these guys again, as I had been with them last summer. The team did well, except that we were scolded for only being around for part of a day. I get that a lot. Trying to cover too much ground I guess. I am going to do better.
You meet the most interesting people on the field… Had an awesome talk with Anna-Sara Bergwall, who is running missions school in Dario with Swedish and Nicaraguan students. They are doing some things I haven't heard of. Very cool stuff. No room here for all the details, but it is really interesting to see a young woman in her 20's leading a multi-national missions school, thousands of miles from her homeland, and carrying a significant measure of God's grace. I like this stuff, and I thank God for Anna-Sara, and for others like her. Check out her website, and use something to translate it, unless you read the tongue of the Swedes. Here it is>>>>> Anna-Sara
This morning we headed out, yet again, after a delightful breakfast with Harry and Heyllin, as well as Jairo, Claribell and Hannah Mirando. Rarely enough time, and this proved to be the same. Pray for these guys, they are on the front lines.
We made it to Matagalpa and rendesvouzed with Ixil, fought lines at the bank to straighten out some money stuff for the coming Youth Pastor's Retreat, and overcame the general opposition one grows to expect from the type of efforts we have chosen to engage.
This afternoon we headed out to a remote mountain village with a brother from Concord, NC named Bobby. We were going to just visit them, see the work they have been doing there over that past few years, and give the kids some candy and prayers. It is one of the most beautiful places I have ever been. Why is it that the things with the most beauty are also the most challenged? I will put up some photos of what we did and saw, but it can be certain that they have really impacted this village. Check them out here>>>> Project 1:27 Here is a quick video from the village we were in that their ministry filmed earlier, which shows the girl who led them to the village a few years ago, leading worship>>>>> Jasmine
We had a great time with the kids, as nearly all of the adults were all off participating in the coffee harvest. The season is coming to close, from what I am told. It is always something of a shock, though it has happened to me many times, to see just how remote and detached some parts of the world are. The sadness in it these places are overrun with abuse, poverty and a lot of little smiling faces who are happy to see you. You want better for them, and so does Jesus.
Saturday 07Jan2012 – When I got off the plane Jason, Kyle and Amy were waiting for me, but no Jon. Jason gave a quick update that Jon was in Miami, and because his passport had less than three months from the the day of his departure, he was not allowed to get on the plane in Miami. It is a little weird that they let him on in Dallas. In order for him to complete his itinerary, he would have to go the US Consulate and get his passport renewed, in a city he had never been in, via public transportation, and by surprise.
He got it done, but not before generating a story he will tell for some time, of finding the “real Miami”, of chain link fences in hotel rooms, and the further surreal.
Since there was no Jon… oh yeah, did I mention his cellphone went on the blink at just the time he got denied entry to the plane? Yep. We were trying hard to communicate with him, and he with us, but to no avail. We headed to our appointed rendezvous in case of a delay, Cafe Liberia. From here, we took some down time and established communication with Ixil, who was having her own dramas with border crossings.
A few hours later, she would arrive with a surprise host, Victor Benitez. When you are stuck in Latin America, Victor is the guy who can fix things. Don't doubt it. They introduced us to Diego, a Tico friend of Victor who was helping them navigate Liberia. We passed out greetings and some introductions, and got in the van. We were off to Playa Samara and Tico Adventure Lodge.
Because of cumulative delays, we arrived at Samara quite late and with just enough time to hit up a local restaurant for comidas tipicas and then back to the lodge for some much needed rest. The day had been a long one. I don't remember struggling to go to sleep.
In the interest of brevity, I will summarize the next days events.
We got a text from Jon, who was hold up in an Cubano hotel in Miami. He would hopefully arrive at 6:30pm local time. He would later confirm, and Victor and I hit the road for a near two-hour return to the airport. This was after a morning of group prayer dedicating our time and ourselves to the Lord's will and purpose for the time and trip, and other hanging out, including a boat trip to a nearby island, which Jason and I affectionately tagged Rattlesnake Island.
While we were gone, a beautiful sunset was enjoyed by the team, wherein Kyle proposed to Amy, and she said yes! Congratulations Kyle and Amy!!! We fetched Jon, who told of some additional trip resistance he had been getting, and we headed back. Upon our arrival we grabbed a quick moment with the team, finally all together, and then headed to carve out some sleep.
Keep praying for us. We are overcoming our obstacles. Join us in believing our momentum will build, and our border crossing today will be without drama. Please.
Blessings and grace to you.
Wednesday 04Jan2012 – This morning my phone told me it was time to check in for my flight to Costa Rica. We head out tomorrow morning. From a logistics and planning standpoint, we are pretty squared away, thanks to a ton of work from Ixil Torrez, who is coordinating ground efforts as a part of our team. Team is as follows:
- Kyle Ledyard
- Amy Layman
- Jason Reeves
- Jon Mackey
- Ixil Torrez
- Jairo Miranda
Pls pray for us that the Lord's grace will flow abundantly to those who come in contact with, and that His purpose will be accomplished. We will be posting to this page from the other side, so stay tuned for updates and real-time prayer requests and feedback.