First we would like to thank you so much for your prayers and financial support. Without our family and friends would not have been able to attend this trip. God used so many people to send us on this trip and we know you will be blessed because of your part in the furthering of His Kingdom. We are excited to tell you that in our four clinic days we saw over 2800 patients, plus at least a few hundreds more in home and remote village visits. From this, we know that hundreds accepted Christ as their Savior and thousands of seeds were planted. Please continue to pray that these peole will grow through the ministry of the local pastors and for the seeds to be watered for those who did not make a profession so that the harvest time may soon come.
Unfortunately we were unable to update our blog while in Nicaragua. Even if we had had access, we would not have had the time. Our daily schedule began at 6:15/6:30 each day and went until at least 10:00 each night. We would like to share some of our experiences and some pictures we took. We hope to put up some more pictures that others took of us in action as we receive them.
We arrived safely into Managua Saturday night with every piece of luggage! If you have traveled before, you know how rare that is for one family, but especially a group of 55. Sunday morning we had our first team meeting. It was there that we surrended some “rights” to God. Some of those were: a comfortable bed, familiar food, dressing fashionably, control of circumstances, and cleanliness. Our team leader challenged us to sit beside people we did not know on the bus rides, switching as we stopped. So we loaded up our luggage on the top of two old school buses and boarded them with 53 other Americans and 25 Nicaraguan translators. We headed about five hours south to the town of San Carlos. San Carlos is on Lake Nicaragua and near the Costa Rican border. We began to meet team members from South Carolina, Georgia, Ohio, Kansas, Oklahoma, New York, and Nicaragua.
After briefly settling into our room, we loaded up and headed to Los Chiles to unpack and attend a church service. We had originally thought that we would be going to Los Chiles, Costa Rica, but we actually went to the village of the same name in Nicaragua. It was an hour and a half each way to get to our clinic sight from our hotel. We were not able to set up clinic Sunday night because of a late arrival. Monday morning we had breakfast and team time. We had team time every morning and most evenings. This time consisted of worship through songs, prayer, testimonies and challenges from the Word from our team leaders and pastors. We arrived to the clinic sight in Los Chiles a little behind schedule Monday morning and were met with a large crowd of people waiting. We quickly set up and got to work.
We would like to tell you about our typical day at the clinic and then share some special experiences we had throughout the four days we spent there. We had people come from Los Chiles and some that walked as long as 8 hours to come to clinic. The people would register to get tickets, go through evangelism, and then sit through a public health class before they even entered the lines to be seen by our team. We had the help of about 25 local pastors and volunteers from local churches. Each patient was first seen in “triage” by one of our nurses. There they had their vitals taken, discussed what was wrong, were evangelized to, prayed with, given vitamins and parasite medicine, and then sent to a designated clinic to see the type of doctor they needed to. We had a general medicine clinic with family doctors, internal medicine doctors, and a midwife. Our midwife even had an ultrasound machine to check expecting mothers. We had a lab for simple tests to be done. We also had a physical medicine clinic with a physical therapist, orthopedic surgeon, and podiatrist. We had a dentistry clinic with one American dentist and 2 Nicaraguan dentists. Finally we had an eye clinic in which patients were fitted for prescription glasses, given sun glasses and eye drops. Each time a patient was seen in one of these clinics they were evangelized to again and prayed with. Each day people went out to remote villages to set up mini clinics or do home visits, as well as teams going throughout the streets of Los Chiles for evangelism.
Beyond the medical clinics we had ministries for the children and teenagers. We conducted a VBS style program each morning and afternoon for children. This program included singing, learning a memory verse, hearing a Bible and missionary story, playing review games, and completing a craft. The team ministered to older kids and teens through sports evangelism. They played a lot of soccer on concrete fields. The main way we evangelized with the people were through “Evangicubes”. This cube opened up to different pictures telling people about God, Jesus and the cross, and the choice they have. In addition to all of this going on from about 9:30 to 4:30 each day, we had a prayer room set up for people to go to for an hour at a time to pray. The clinic was set up in the local school of the village. The principal relocated the students to another building and had altered the times and sessions so that we could use the school facility.
Charles spent some time helping in the physical medicine clinic, but most of his time he was in the general medicine clinic partnered with a doctor or seeing patients on his own. About this experience Charles says “I had the privilege of serving many patients in the medical clinic throughout the week. On Monday I realized how little we could do for the patients from a medical perspective because of the remote nature of the clinic. However God showed me that the real reason we were down there was to share the gospel. The spiritual conversations in each patient encounter became the most important part. Each patient that we provided physical relief to would get sick again, but any patient who received Christ would have eternal spiritual healing. I realized what a privilege to be in the medical profession and the potential to serve God through spiritual and physical medicine is exciting. ”
I spent Monday and Wednesday teaching in the children’s ministry. On Monday I taught a Bible lesson about creation. We had about 30 children in the morning and 60-70 in the afternoon. Throughout the story I kept sharing the gospel and telling the children about God’s love. I was so blessed to work with Arlen, Francis, Lenin and Alvaro. Without these translators I would not have been able to share God’s word with those children. No one came to pray to accept Christ in this ministry that day, but I know that seeds were planted in the hearts of those children. I went back on Wednesday to tell the children a missionary story about Amy Carmichael. Through this lesson I shared the gospel and talked about how only eternal things are important as a principle for the saved children. That day we had about 100 kids in the morning and 200 kids in the afternoon. By the end of the week I had remembered some Spanish and learned enough through the translators to communicate some things on my own with the kids. Outside of the program, they loved blowing and popping bubbles. I had a wonderful time doing this with them.
Tuesday we arrived to clinic and began the day with an unexpected situation. A young man named Mauricio of around 30 had had a seizure at home that morning and aspirated. His family brought him to the clinic “dead on arrival”. The team did CPR but he was already gone. Mauricio and his family were Christians so we mourned his loss, but celebrated his passing into a better place as he had suffered from seizures for a while. Right after this we were supposed to go out to a village visit, but the roads were dangerous because of rain and mud (it rained every day, several times a day) so some of us had to stay back. So Charles went back to being a doctor and I helped the doctors and brought patients from triage to different clinics. After lunch we spent an hour in the prayer room together. We prayed for our team and the local people, our lives and things God had been speaking to us about. That was some of the best time we have ever spent together. It was such a blessing to have that experience as a couple. After this I was summoned to physical medicine because a mother and daughter were waiting and the daughter was interested in hearing about the gospel. Through a translator I shared the gospel through the Evangicube. The mother who had been resistant, prayed to accept Christ and so did the daughter. It was such a blessing for me to be a part of that.
Thursday morning we got to go out together with a team to do street evangelism. People welcomed us into their homes, we gave out medicine, shared the gospel, and prayed with people. I was able to go out with some of the women to meet with the pastors’ wives and spend time in prayer, the Word, and song. Sadly we packed the clinic up that afternoon and told the people goodbye. From so many we heard that they were so thankful for us coming and prayed that we would come back and we would always be welcomed. That night the pastors and their wives traveled to have a dinner with us where we honored them and our translators, blessed them with gifts, and said our goodbyes.
Friday we traveled back to Managua to drop off our translators and headed an hour from there to Grenada. There we stayed in a nice hotel, had a wonderful steak dinner, and had some to time to rest, relax, and reflect. The next morning some went to a zip line, while Charles and I chose to go with a group for a carriage ride around town and a boat ride through islands formed from volcanic eruptions.
We enjoyed some Papa Johns pizza and went to a market for a few souveniers and headed back to Managua for our final dinner and team meeting. We left early Sunday morning and arrived home safely with all our luggage late that night.
God used us and blessed us richly through this trip. We worked with the best team. Through testimonies we heard how God had shown His grace to them. We even had two team members accept Christ as their personal Savior. We made wonderful friendships and Charles had fellowship with several Christian doctors who taught him what it was like to care for patients physically and spiritually.
God showed us the importance of prayer. We learned that instead of just telling someone we would pray for them, to just stop and take the time to pray for them then. We have both been convicted to spend more time in God’s word together and separately. God also showed us that we need to stop “trying to be a good Christian” and just seek to know Him more intimately through His Word and prayer. We realized how much God has blessed us throughout our whole lives. We have wonderful families and were so blessed to have God’s protection and guidance in our lives from an early age. We also feel so richly blessed to have each other and pray that we will seek God even more every day to be the center of our family.
Again, thank you so much for your prayers and support!
Meghan and Charles