Monday, May 5, 2008

Hello from Nicaragua 2!

Dear Family and Friends,

Thank you so much for your prayers for us this weekend! God is continuing to confirm our call to Nicaragua and showing us more about what this may look like.

Dan has spent the past few days with Nicaragua Christian Academy’s director, Liam and his 18 month old son, Caleb. They have spent some time touring around Managua and drove to Granada yesterday and did a boat tour and visited an island. They have had a lot of time to talk and they actually seem very similar in personality to me. One of the Nicaraguans asked Dan if he was Liam’s brother which does make sense given that they are both tall, blond, Dutch boys. It has been good to talk with Liam about expectations for Dan’s position, etc. Dan will assist Liam with many of his responsibilities at the English speaking school which will free him up to be able to spend more time at the Spanish speaking campus which is what he desires to do. The Spanish school is growing very fast – from 166 students last year to around 250 this year- and growth is expected to continue. This school is only four years old.

I had a wonderful weekend at the retreat which was at a small resort on the beach. The speaker was from Precept ministries and helped us to learn how to study the Bible inductively. We had lots of fun too – watched movies, walked the beach, sat in the pool, had lots of great conversations, ate wonderful food, and I tried keeping up with the 20 somethings by playing beach volleyball and am quite sore and bruised today, but had a blast. I’ve been telling everyone that if this is what missionary life is like – sign me up! I’ve learned that there is a very strong community of missionaries here in Managua which is such an answer to prayer. I’ve met women who are directors of orphanages, those who are involved with Food for the Hungry, others who direct other schools, medical missionaries, church planters, and many teachers.

There are so many needs in Nicaragua as the poverty is so great. Theft is a problem and begging is a way that many people support themselves. Children will approach cars at stop lights, actually any time a car stops, to ask for food and money. Women and girls as young as 10 use prostitution as a means to survive (I learned today that close to 5,000 girls between the ages of 10 and 18 are prostitutes in Managua. This number obviously does not include adult women.) There are many nominal Christians – Roman Catholic and Protestant – however, among those who identify themselves with the Christian Church, it is estimated that around 15% are committed believers.

In spite of the problems, the people of Nicaragua are very warm and open and kind hearted. The missionary Moms were talking about a Pediatrician that they all use who gives them his home number and asks them to call him to give him updates on how their child is doing if they are sick. He is also a very capable doctor. Health care is said to be very good here in Managua. People have given me many examples of surgeries, C-sections, etc. that they have had and found the care to be very good. We visited a hospital tonight and it was very clean and professional. We were reminded too that many doctors and nurses are here from the states on medical missions – many associated with the school and so they too are a great resource for health care.

One thing that is developing as a burden for Dan and I is a need to learn the language. We feel very handicapped in this area as we so want to talk with the people but cannot. A Nicaraguan woman who was cleaning at the guest house we are at tried to strike up a conversation with me the other morning and I tried my best to talk with her. But then, finally, I said – or at least thought I said – that my Spanish was not that good. What I realized later is that I got my “tus” and my “yos” mixed up and actually told her that her Spanish was not that good. This explains why she laughed. J But someone reminded me today that Dan and I have had a couple of years of Spanish in college and I’ve had a past experience of living a Latin American country which will make language learning easier – they tell me it will “all come back”. I hope so!

My Mom has emailed us, as has Will, and it sounds like things are going well at the home front. Thanks so much for praying for their health and safety too. The kids are in great hands and we are so thankful for Grandma’s desire to spend the week with them and take them to their practices and games and schools. She is even doing some home schooling with Will this week!

Thank you again for your prayers for us. I heard one missionary comment today about how incredibly important prayer support is and is not taken for granted. Thank you so much. We appreciate you!


Dan and Lisa