This blog is to provide updates from the Global Health Outreach (GHO) medical mission trip to Matasanos, Nicaragua May 14-22, 2011.

We pray that God would be glorified by the work of this team and the National team in Nicaragua, and by those who are participating via prayer and giving support.

Saturday, May 21, 2011

Farewell to Friends, Our Final Night in Nicaragua

A week ago we stumbled into this lobby, bleary eyed and exhausted from all day air travel and meeting the humidity of Nicaragua head on in the parking lot.  Tonight, we're packing our bags, significantly fewer and lighter than what arrived with us! We're torn between excitement about returning to hot showers, soft beds with extra pillows, sinks where you can brush your teeth without bottled water and other such luxuries, and a little sadness that the torch has passed now to the next team, the next town, and the next mission.  We've left behind the clothes and supplies that we can spare, and will continue to love and support the Nicaraguan people and GHO with our prayers long after our daily routines become "routine" again. 

God has opened our eyes, our ears, and our hearts this week in a dozen different ways.  While each trip and each individual's experience is a bit different, one common theme will always echo through--Our God is an AWESOME God, and we are all equal in the eyes of the Lord.  Geography, genetics, and language may vary, but we are more alike than different.  By humbling ourselves and answering His call to participate on this fantastic journey, we truly have received so much more than we have given. 

Friday, May 20, 2011

Faith & Fellowship--Friday

Wow.  What a whirlwind of a week!  Was it really just 5 days ago that we first started seeing patients?  By noon today, the clinic doors were closed, the pharmacy boxed up, and the truck mostly loaded. 

Lunch was a little tearful, as we learned that all the baseball gear that our supporters (our faithful prayer warriors at home) had helped to gather was an answer to prayer.  We thought we were bringing gear to help Mary's vision of a successful VBS program idea.  It seems the community outreach here has been praying for some time to establish a local baseball league as a means of youth ministry. We're leaving behind so much more than bats, balls, and gloves.  We're leaving the tools this community had specifically prayed for to reach young people of Matasanos and the surrounding area.  Yet again, God has revealed to us how all of the puzzle pieces fit together when we had no idea a picture was even being formed.  How humbling it is to be even a small part of that picture.   

Saying goodbye is always difficult, and we've had to let all our fabulous translators return to their own lives again.  Words (in English OR Spanish!) cannot do justice to their contribution to our group.  Without them, we would not have been a team.  Their generous hearts, their testimonies, their passion for God and for the people of Nicaragua are qualities that outshine the outstanding language skills.  We may could have stumbled through the language barriers, but without our interpreters, we would never have been as capable at breaking down Satan's barriers. 

It's late in Granada, and tomorrow brings zip-lining, boat rides, shopping, and PIZZA!  Ah, it's beginning to feel like home. . . . . 

Pastor's Conference & Misc Fun

Thursday, May 19, 2011

Baseball, Bibles & Barnyard Animals. . . .Thursday's Activities are priceless!

Only in Nicaragua can you lose your baseball under the piglet when the second baseman throws the ball to home plate, but Bill managed to have that happen today!  Granted, on a field that has a banked turn around third and the first base line is all uphill, you have to expect a few unusual events.  Still, the view of more than 50 teenagers and adults from 2 different countries & a half dozen states that don't speak the same language laughing and playing together is priceless (even if the pig wasn't so happy about the game!).

We're going to have to rename Bill (we're thinking Ole' McDonald), as the dental clinic continues to lead the team in barnyard animal sitings.  The hen was finally successful, and is nesting on 9 eggs as we speak (we've lost count of the baby chicks actually running around).  In addition, as the cows headed down from the mountain, one curious bovine decided to poke her head in the door to check things out. 

VBS had another outstanding day, and in addition to the increasing fame of "The Magician" (the kids chant for Richard all day long), we had simultanious "volleyball," bubbles, and balloon animals.  The support the community has shown in the kid's programs is awesome, and the younger members of our team continue to show wisdom, leadership, and patience well beyond their years in working with the many challenges they've faced.  Mary's dedication and preparation certainly have payed off,  and God has used her many talents here.

Kitty & Mark wrapped up the Pastor's retreat today, with great results.  Rolando heard awesome things from the local preachers and their families, not only about the talks and programs they shared, but with the books & gifts provided to them as support for their continued growth.  It is gratifying to know that while the local men were already working well together, they've been given some helpful hints on how to improve their relationships with each other, their families, and their communities.

Our clinic will close tomorrow at lunch, and we'll move on to a little R& R before transitioning back toward home.  We've already begun to say our goodbyes, though as one of the pastor's so aptly put it, if we don't see them again before, we'll certainly see them again in Heaven.  Please pray for continued wisdom, restored health, and safe travels. 

Triage, Pharmacy, and Moises in action!

Wednesday, May 18, 2011

Inside the medical clinic. . .

Weds--Clinic Day 3

We ended our day today with a mid week church service, and the local community sang as they each came up and greeted us individually with a hug and/or a handshake.  It was an overwhelming scene, especially since it was another "standing room only crowd."    Some of the families in attendance had walked three hours through the mountains to help with the clinic today, and had been on site since 6 am.  When we left the grounds around 7 pm, those families were still going strong, but did catch a ride back with us on the bus. . . .

It is an amazing thing to witness the dedication to each other, their churches, and God.  Once again, we are restored by what they give back to us, no matter what  as we might share with them.  There were many new believers brought into the fold again today, including a 12 year old girl who made the committment to Christ today.  Our interpreter staff is so dedicated to the purpose of this trip, and has made our jobs easier in a dozen ways, not the least of which is helping us to pray with our patients.  

Please continue to pray for wisdom for our physicians, evangelists, and leadership team, adequate supplies in our pharmacy and eye clinic, and continued good health with our team.  As God continues to provide, we continue to minister and be ministered to. . . . . good night & God bless.

Our Community Health Team in Action