Days 2, 4 & 6 in Nicaragua - by Jay, Laura & Calvin

Sunday – Day 2
 
Today was our first full day, and the start of our actual ministry.  This was completely up my alley as it was sports day. So, shortly after breakfast, began the soccer matches.  Dan and Chris each gave a message before games.  They did great.  That helped me mentally prepare for my message later in the day.   

We had a break for a while so we were formally oriented by Scott and Jennifer.  To say they have vision for this place is an understatement.  Knowing all God has done here in the face of impossible odds, over the last few years, I have little doubt that he will bless those plans.  Just what I’ve ‘seen’ in the way of changes over a year would be borderline unbelievable.. But with God all things are possible… 

After a pickup game of softball with some world racers and local kiddos, the parade marched in.  Not figuratively, either. There was this awesome parade of a couple hundred female kickball players, their friends and families.  They had a full procession through a neighborhood and onto the land.  When I volunteered to give the message, i thought 20 people, not 200, but our God is BIG, so I knew i’d be fine.  That and the fact that the verse I chose to reference in my message (John 15:33…in this world you will have tribulation, but rejoice, for i have overcome the world” ) was the verse of the day on my Bible app.  Found that out after I had chosen it, so I had this extra peace, like God was confirming my topic.  It went well, and God willing seeds were planted.  

Finally, post a well needed shower, we headed to town for some good old fashioned thin crust pizza.  We are blessed as much as we are trying to bless others.  During debrief, we all agreed that we are excited to continue on and see where God will use us next. ~ by Jay Michaud
 
Tuesday – Day 4
 
Tuesday began a bit later than Monday.  Up and out by 7:00 and in the field by 8:30.  By field, I mean the field at the farm.  While the men went into town to help pour concrete, Melissa and I stayed and helped plant trees.  Something like apples, sweet oranges and nectarines.  To be more accurate, we dug holes for the trees.  This is the end of the dry season and the ground is like rock.  Melissa was a machine!   We worked alongside Erika, Jesse, Byron, Caitlin and and of course, Scott.   We’re getting better at speaking Spanish and holding conversations.   It doesn’t take long!  This was relationship-building time for Melissa and me.  Digging holes frees you up to ask and answer a lot of questions.  And oh yes.  Sweat.  Lots and lots and lots of sweat.  95 Degrees and sunny.  Melty melty.  But really, we love the hearts of these folks more every day.   The crops are a means by which this burgeoning community thrives and is one of several vehicles for building relationships and discipling the love of Jesus.  What a privilege to see it happen in front of us.
 
After lunch, a prayer walk.  We prayed for families in their homes and for more healing of diabetes than anything else.  An 85 year old woman with diabetes, heart disease, kidney problems and her caretaker/daughter.  A man with diabetes who prayed with us - he and his wife raised their arms and their voices to praise God.  They thought we were blessing them when in fact, they were blessing us.  On the lighter side, we learned that chocolate-covered frozen banana is a remedy for heat stroke.
 
Reap Granada does a pop-up store for local artisans to sell their wares to visitors.  We were able to relax a bit, speak with these amazing folks, and support their families by purchasing their wares.   Some of you may, or may not be on the receiving end of some of these….
 
Now we wait for transportation to teach at Young Life at the community center.  Stay tuned on that - we don’t know how we’re getting there and, per Nicaragua-style, nobody is worried.  
 
Honest impression this year:  Yes, there is poverty.  Yes, there is political strife that’s putting much pressure on the local people.  But this year, I’m struck with the realization that these people or no poorer than our neighbors who lives life without embracing the grace of God and the love of Jesus.  There’s alcoholism here.  There’s alcoholism at home. There’s drug trafficking and abuse here.  There’s drug trafficking and abuse at home.  There are acts of violence here. There are acts of violence at home.   There’s beauty and love here just like at home.  We’re the same, just separated by miles. ~ by Laura Varley
 
REAP Granada Day #6 – Thursday
 
There was something missing today. After a good night’s sleep, I awoke to the sun rising over the hills and made my way to the dining area for a time of personal devotion. As I read through Hebrews chapter 10, the local missionary workers started arriving one by one on their motorbikes, stopping to say “Buenos Dias.” I love the communal living and ministry that occurs each day, as we encourage one another here and continue to form bonds and friendships with brothers and sisters in Christ. We ate breakfast and then headed out for our ‘Fun/Rest Day.’ 
 
As the bus pulled up, we all loaded on (bundled on is probably more accurate) with our backpacks for the day and headed off. Our first stop was the volcano and their visitor center. It is fun for me to return to places and see how they have changed. There had been a number of upgrades at the center and it was very exciting to see them. However, we were the only group there. Scott, our host missionary, connected with the workers by hugging each of them. It is amazing to see the relationships and love of Jesus that is spreading through the work that Scott and his team here at REAP Granada.
 
We then headed to the Laguna for lunch and to relax. The drive there is incredible, and the streets are a narrow maze going down a steep hill… let’s just say sitting in the back of the bus was not the best idea! However, as soon as you get out and see the view it is all worthwhile. Again, Scott gets out and immediately greets the workers and the owner. There was only a few other visitors there.
 
It is amazing to see that every opportunity, whether it is prayer walking, buying food or having fun, that it is an opportunity for Scott and his team to build relationships. The amazing thing is to see that with many of the tourists missing, due to previous unrest, that people are so excited that Scott and REAP Granada are still here. God is at work. God is using REAP to share his love and I am so grateful that I have been able to be even just a little part of this.
 
God bless,
Calvin