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Missions Blog

Everything listed under: Nic2015

  • Muy Caliente!

       

    Caliente is Spanish for hot and that accurately sums up much of today.  

    It was 92 with a heat index of 102 and no wind today in El Platanal. As we wrapped up our time in Somitillo, San Fransisco del Norte, and El Platanal today we are coming away with many lessons and memories from our friends and co-laborers in Christ.  It has been a joy and a privilege to serve alongside the pastors, deacons, and church member as we have sought to serve their communities.  While we were able to bring specific gifts like medical treatment and training for their pastors.  They provided us life lesson in contentment and joy in all situation.

    We spent the day today in El Platanal and I am coming away from day humbled by the way the people in that community love, serve, and are genuinely care for each other. I had countless interactions with people and they are genuinely content and joyful in in a way many in the United States should be.

    I had the privilege to sit down this morning with 15 pastors and teach them about God the Father and God the Son.  These pastors love their churches and are hungry to learn so that they can teach their people.  We had great conversations and they were helping to teach each other as they asked questions.  We encouraged them to continue to meet together and discuss the materials so that they can continue to grow and be encouraged by one another.  This afternoon Jay and myself spent 2.5 hours running around in the heat and humidity of the day playing soccer with about 20 kids and 2 of our translators.  It was unbelievable hot and humid but the kids loved playing and I don't recall many drinking any water.  I had to drink 2 bottles of water and 2 Powerades just to try and keep up with them.  They were still running circles around me.

    I had the privilege of preaching tonight at church.  We talked about how you can know for sure that you are saved from 1 John 2:3-6.  It was a joy to get to teach and encourage them from the scriptures.  Edgar who helped us by giving eye exams and acting as van driver lead us in worship for the first time this trip and is an excellent singer.

    To recap our last 4 days of ministry here is difficult as their have been so many blessing it is impossible to list them but a few highlights that I want to share are:

    • 84 people came to Christ this week through the ministry of the clinic and pastors who shared the gospel with many hundreds of people after going to the clinic.
    • 722 patients were seen in 4 days.  210 today alone. 
    • 220 pairs of glasses were provided to people this week.  The wife of one of the pastors cried tears of joy when she realized she could read her Bible for the first time in a long time.
    • Through a series of events this week Pastor Diomedes has had the opportunity to build a better relationship with government officials in this area especially one of the major political leaders. Our prayer is that through our interaction this week and the pastors continued interaction when we leave that this relationship will continue to grow and that they would come to know Christ.

    Gloria a Dios, (Glory to God!)

    John Erdman


  • Be Bold For Christ

    Have you been in a store and there was a person that was trying to get help and no one could understand anything that person was saying?  Now flip the situation and you are in a different country and no one in the store speaks English. These are the challenges we would have had in Nicaragua if it wasn't for our translators Miguel, Luddy, Domingo, Jimmy, Alex, Eric, and Junior.  This is the first time I have been with our church to Nicaragua but for the half of our mission team that has been here multiple times I could immediately tell on Sunday the excitement and respect they had for these young men and lady. After getting to know them for the last 3 days, they are not just translators to us but young people who have a heart for the Lord!

    Today our team had an exciting day. We made our early morning one hour fifteen minute drive to San Francisco to continue our second day of medical missions and pastor training for that community.  When we got there we were met at the church by a long line of people but our team was ready and excited because I believe God has been present here in Nicaragua every step of the way.

    At noon everyone loaded up and we drove to a river near the church for a baptism. Pastor Jeff had the pleasure to baptize 3 people in the river in front of our mission team and Pastor Enrique and members of Iglesia Baptista de San Francisco. Being on a riverbank in Nicaragua for a baptism was an unbelievable experience!

    Tonight we stayed for a worship service at the church in San Francisco. Before Pastor Jeff preached he asked Pastor Enrique and the Deacons to come forward for the members, our mission team, and the rest of the congregation to lay hands on them and pray as a dedication for their new church building.

    In our morning devotions Pastor Jeff has been reading from Philippians 1. He talked about instead of praying for safety for ourselves, family, or friends we should be praying for boldness for Christ. In this chapter Paul was in prison but it didn't hinder him from spreading the gospel. It created new opportunities because of his boldness. What can we do to be bold for Christ?

    Shawn Rich

  • Monday - Settling In

    Settling In

    Monday’s are always a little hectic. Getting everything ready. Getting everyone in place. Getting the routine down. Finding a rhythm.

    It started off a little difficult. But, everyone adapted and within a few hours everyone was settled into their new assignments and roles. Our doctors and nurses saw so many people. We were able to help those with diabetes, stomach problems, skin problems, fevers, and much more. We gave away glasses. There were a number of 80+ year old women who had not been able to see for 60+ years who walked away being able to see.

    Our Health Education Team taught the importance of cleanliness, how to trap flies, wash their hands properly all to help improve their entire families health. As a part of this Education the Gospel was presented through the sharing of testimonies from our group.

    Playing with children is always a great way to minister to the women and children in the communities. We play kickball, soccer, hand games, make glasses out of pipe cleaner, color and share Bible Stories out of the Jesus Storybook Bible.

    After everyone has seen a doctor and been given their prescriptions, a pastor meets with them to share the Gospel and give them an opportunity to accept Jesus. Many prayed with Pastor Hidalio.

    Our Water Purification Team was able to install one of the systems on Monday at Sunnyside where we stay. We will test the Sunnyside system out today and begin installing the second system at the Clinic in Somotillo. Hopefully by the end of the day there will be purified water at both locations.

    Meeting peoples individual needs is important. Jesus met many peoples needs. The blind, lame, sick, lepers, all were healed. But, was that His main purpose, to heal the physical needs? No, Jesus came to heal their spiritual needs. He knew that meeting a persons physical needs would lead to their being open to discussing their spiritual needs. This is the model we should take. Not stopping at meeting the physical or emotional needs. Go further and share Jesus. He will meet everyones most important need, spiritual healing.

    This is true in Nicaragua and also in Kentucky, Cambodia, Russia, China, Brazil and all the parts of the world. Take time today and pray for us to not just focus on the physical or emotional needs, but also to share how Jesus can help meet ALL their needs.

    While your praying for us, take a moment and pray that God will use YOU today to help lead someone to Jesus.

    Jeff Wilson


  • To Advance the Gospel

    Saturday and Sunday

    Thankfully everyone arrived safely to Managua. But, we had some issues with some of our luggage. All of our glasses and some of our medical supplies are still in customs. We were unsuccessful to get the bags after many attempts to persuade them to release the bags to us.

    So, we go to plan B. Luddy, one of our interpreters is also our Optometrist. Back at his home he had 800+ pairs of glasses. So, Mike & Susan Byers, Linnea’ Smith , Luddy and I hopped in my truck and headed out to Rivas, Luddy’s home. Rivas is a beautiful community situated 20mi west of the Costa Rica border. 1.5 hours away from Managua. We headed East, and the rest of the group headed West. We were able to get all the glasses. I was able to meet his wonderful family and then we headed West towards Somotillo. (See the photo)

    The team arrived in Somotillo around 2:30pm. We arrived around 5:15pm. We prepared ourselves to go to worship. What a joy it is to sing and pray and sit under Biblical teaching with this wonderful Body of Christ!

    Just as Paul says in Philippians 1: 12, “I want you to know, brothers, that what has happened to me has really served to advance the gospel,”. We are praying the event though we may not have all that we think we need, God will do a mighty work to advance the gospel through all that has happened and will happen.

    Today we will be working in the clinic in Somotillo. We will also begin the installation of the water purification system. Pastor training and Health Education will be held in Somotillo and El Platanal. It will be a full day! 

    Please join us in praying for the advance of the Gospel here in Somotillo, San Francisco and El Platanal.

     

  • Going On Mission

     

    Good morining from Nicaragua! I have been in country since Monday spending time with Pastors Diomedes, Juan and Enrique. I came early so that I could take care of some of the technical details of our trip but to mainly spend time with these dear friends. Every time we come to Nicaragua I get to see them, but rarely do I have time to sit down and speak with them at length about themselves, their families and the ministry. It has been wonderful hearing how God is moving in their lives. I've shared coffee with them, laughed, eaten wonderful Chicken Soup, played with their children and prayed with them. 

    You might be wondering why I titled this post "Going on Mission." It sounds a little odd. It doesn't seem like I'm using correct grammer. (Although, I'm not the person to ask about grammer) Yes, it was purposeful. 

    Scripture tells each of us, I'm speaking of believers, that we are sojourners in this world. This is not our home. Our home is in heaven. But, while we are here, we have a mission. That mission is to Love God | Love People | Make Disciples. Our mission is the same no matter where we might be.

    While in E'town...we are on mission. While on vacation...we are on mission. While at work or school...we are on mission. Our mission doesn't change. But, at times our location does.

    Today, 19 brothers and sisters will hop on a plane and join me in Nicaragua. Our mission...Love God | Love People | Make Disciples. Our location: the airports, airplanes, hotels, Somotillo, San Francisco and El Platanal. 

    Would you pray for us while we are on mission in Nicaragua? We promise to pray for you while you are on mission back in Kentucky.

    Jeff Wilson

     

  • My Missions Experience - Bill Johnson

    In January 2013, I expressed an interest in going on a mission trip to Nicaragua. This was to be a water well installation team. I felt this would be something I could do as I knew I could work with my hands. On the flight down I sensed from Jeff that this would be something much grander. He was speaking of more trips. We were going to be trained to take over what his friends from Oklahoma had begun. Those guys were remarkable but ready to serve in other areas back stateside. I was very unsettled to what I had signed up for. It was probably just a day or so before I told Jeff of my apprehension in one breath and then telling him I am there for wherever God leads in the next breath.

    Present day, May 9, 2015, we are just completing my third trip to Nicaragua. I believe that everyone on this team would tell you that God really blessed the trip, but more importantly softened our hearts. The Lord is most definitely at work with the seeds that have been planted.

    Monday, Tuesday, Wednesday and Thursday Jeff, Emmet and Austin did pastor training. It was attended really well. We also experimented with a new water system that we took with us in hopes to have the ability to give them chlorinated water. We experimented with it on Wednesday night and we actually chlorinated 5 gallons of water in under three minutes. It was absolutely amazing. We did not get this unit placed anywhere, but all is ready for the next trip.

    The conclusion to the week was a church service at San Francisco in the new facility which is under construction. Even though the building doesn't have a roof, the people attended really well.

    I would encourage anyone to plug into an opportunity that you may be led to go on a mission trip.  It has blessed me way more than I would have ever thought possible.

    Bill Johnson

  • San Francisco - Day 1

    Grace and peace to you! I have the pleasure of sharing with you about our first day at San Francisco Del Norte, a town about an hour up into the mountains north of Somotillo, and how we participated with the Lord there.

    The trip to San Francisco was beautiful. Not only did we have the rare opportunity to see Cortez trees, (which only bloom three days out of the year) but we also saw the handy work of the Lord in the majesty of the mountains. That was the perfect start to the day.

    When we arrived, we started working. The church was under construction, and we helped out by tamping dirt, carrying blocks, sifting sand, painting metal beams that will be roof trusses, and a few other ways. But the focus was not our physical work. After roughly an hour and a half of work, Jeff gathered all the workers for a siesta. We all stood in a semicircle, and we got to hear Bill Johnson and Mike Brady’s testimony. This was the focus of the week.

    "Sharing God’s Word."

    Instances like this illuminated the focus throughout the entire week, but hearing their testimonies made it potent.

    At this point, the group divided. Jeff, Emmet, and Austin went to lead pastor training, while all of us went to play soccer in the square. Our next activity was with younger, more energetic children. This was also an opportunity to share God’s Word. We tried to keep up with the kids, contributed to the team, and attempted to avoid injury, but soccer was not the focus.

    After we had attempted to play for an hour, one of our interpreters, Alex, called all the kids to the stairs behind one of the goal. Our opportunity arrived. Peggy and Cheryl presented A Bible story, then I had the opportunity to share my testimony. Every time I shared my testimony highlighted my week, because it allowed me to participate in the focus of the week in a powerful way.

    "By sharing how God has changed my life."

    When I participate in foreign missions, it re-focuses my mind to my purpose. Matthew 28:19-20 outlines what we are commanded to do. “Go therefore and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit. Teaching them to observe all that I have commanded you. And behold, I am with you always to the end of the age.”

    Isaac Wright

  • El Platanal - Day 2 (part 2)

    Hola from Nicaragua! I find it hard to express in words how blessed I feel to be here. The country is beautiful, the food is delicious, and our team has bonded. But for me, it is the people, especially the children that make this experience so amazing.

    Let me tell you about our second day in El Platanal. El Platanal is a small village with dirt roads and small houses. When we drive in children and people come from their houses to greet us at the church. They are as happy to see us, as we are to see them.

    My first blessing that day was to witness the baptism of four new believers. We walked through town to the river. It is hot and dusty because it is the dry season. The river is very shallow so we went to a place deep enough to baptize. Jeff and Domingo waded into the water with the believers. It was a beautiful picture of following Jesus into the waters of baptism. There were many adults and children there to witness this act of obedience.

    In the afternoon, when the children were out of school, Cheryl and I shared a Bible story, a craft and songs. I told the story of Zacchaeus, with Alex translating. We taught them the song about Zacchaeus and also “Jesus Loves Me”. The children, and some adults, listened attentively and enjoyed the craft. We are blessed to see their hunger for the word of God.

    My greatest blessing was during the worship service that evening. During the two days we were in El Platanal I had become attached to a young girl named Julie. Or should I say she became attached to me. Some how God drew the two of us together. On the first day she helped me get the paint off my arms that I had managed to splatter all over me. We sat side-by-side during the worship service, listening to each other sing the songs – some in Spanish and some in English. Jeff preached a powerful message from Luke 7:36-50 about the sinful woman that anointed Jesus’ feet with oil. During the invitation Julie responded. Gloria a Dios (Glory to God). Julie is in the picture with me.

    We know God is working in El Platanal. Please continue to pray for Pastor Juan and the church there.

    Peg Grimsley

  • El Platanal - Day 2

    Tuesday was our final day in the community of El Platanal. It began with an opportunity to be apart of a baptism service. There were four new believers that are apart of the church who wanted to be baptized. Unlike our baptism services at Severns Valley they do not have a means to have the baptism services within the church walls. So we all went down together to the river just outside the town.

    Pastor Juan and Pastor Jeff lead the church through what baptism is about. How it is not the act of baptism that saves, but it is an outward symbol to those present that God has changed you already. That it is the going public of your new life in Christ. The rest of the morning was spent painting the inside of the church and playing with the children.

    These children are the ones who make up the majority of the body of believers here. The fathers must work long hours in order to provide for the family so they are often unable to attend. There is also the view that the church is a place only for woman and children. The Lord has been using the beautiful kids in order to grow the church. Our prayer is that through the children more families will become a part of the body of Christ.

    In the afternoon we returned to the church to continue our pastor training. We taught through the second lesson of the Foundations of the Faith Core Class. Anywhere the body is located it is important for us to know the Word and trust it and teach it well. As his disciples we are called to become more like Christ. Romans 12:2 tells us that we must have a renewed mind. How we think affects how we feel and how we feel affects how we act. So what we think about God is important and how we learn more about God is through the Spirit illuminating God’s Word and giving us understanding. Thirteen pastors took part in this training! Please pray that God will guide them as they shepherd their flocks!

    In the late afternoon we meet together with the church and had a service. Domingo was there to interpret for us and we sang and heard the word preached. At the service two more beautiful little girls came to know the Lord as their personal savior! As our time in El Platanal has come to a close and we move on to the community of San Francisco del Norte we rejoice in how God has allowed us to partner with the church in El Platanal and remember again that it is Christ who builds his church. We simply have the privilege to be used if we are willing. There is nothing that brings me more joy and revitalizes me then seeing God at work. Being here, we get to see that He doesn’t just work where I live, but everywhere the gospel is present.

    Please continue to pray with us as we move to a new community and see how God is at work in San Francisco del Norte and don’t forget to pray for the people of El Platanal! God is at work here and desires to do so much through us even at home in Kentucky. We just have to respond like Isaiah and say here am I Lord send me!

    Austin Wright

  • El Platanal - Day 1

     

    Greetings to the church in Elizabethtown from your emissaries in Nicaraugua!

    Yesterday started with a sputter, but our Nic Team finished hitting on all cylinders. Being flexible is always an advantage in such situations. From the get-go we had a truck drop a tie-rod and finding enough of the correct type paint for the church at El Platanal proved to be tough. Paint guru Bill Johnson and partner Emmet Holley visited 5 local stores to no avail before making the 45-minute trip to Chinendega to score the paint.

    The rest of the team shifted gears to playtime with the kids……always a highlight of this trip! Peg Grimsley and Cheryl Holley made a great call in bringing jump ropes. Combined with new slo-motion video on our phones the children lined up to get their turn on the “big screen”. Peg and Cheryl also captivated the children who were hungry to hear about Jesus walking on the water and calming the storm as well as doing a coloring/crayon depiction of the same.

    Couldn’t count the number of times I’d just be walking and one of these children would latch on to my hand or rest their chin on my shoulder as they’d sneak up behind me. As an empty nester it’s great to have (multiple) kids in my lap again……even at 100+ degrees. Selfies with 10 faces in the screen ruled the day!

    THE HIGHLIGHT of the day was the response of the local churches to send their pastors for training led by Jeff Wilson, Emmet and Austin Wright who are launching the same Foundations of the Faith training we do at Severns Valley Baptist Church. A total of 17 came for instruction, which focused on the accuracy, history and inerrancy of the Bible.

    Love it when a plan comes together! Even with a late start everyone pitched in and we got primer and paint on the outside of the church building in a little under 3 hours. The children were not to be denied as they got to make the paint fly…..and in some cases it literally did fly! I also learned that Steve Wright has handled a paint roller before…..dude covered some ground.

    In his first time to Nic, Chris Dunham hit the ground running sharing Jesus with several children……was awesome to serve with this guy and see his love for his Lord! Thank you Chris!

    Finally—by virtue of being in the right place at the right time—I got to witness a special moment as we dropped off Annibal (Hannibal is the Amercanized version), the father of our translator, Domingo. Got to see a father’s blessing of his son, which included a “vision” he had many years before that his son would work closely with American mission teams and become a man of God. Annibal beamed with pride as he recounted this timeline of events and spoke proudly and emotionally of a son who he got to see at work for the first time ever because Jeff was a receptive to the Holy Spirit’s call to arrange this beautiful thing!

    Mike Brady