Dear Family and Friends,
Below, are 6 stories and 8 prayer requests/praise items. Thanks again for your interest and attention!
1) Dan enjoyed spending time with 16 of NCA's High School students as they participated in HACIA Democracy. The following is something NCA’s director wrote in a newsletter regarding HACIA Democracy. “A delegation of 16 students from NCA English and NCA Nejapa (Spanish) participated in a 3-day event in San José, Costa Rica sponsored by Harvard University and comprised of over 450 students. The event was held in English and Spanish. Our students represented different member nations of the OAS (Organization of American States) in formal debates about problems facing the western hemisphere, including the war on drugs, terrorism, judicial reform, human rights and other important issues.
Our students spent months researching their topics before the event and participated in weekly practices since August. Our students were very active in defending their position and introducing viable solutions for further debate and support of all nations. Three of our students won awards for their exemplary roles. Edoarda Pérez won the essay contest (out of all 450 delegates), and Carlos Mántica and Narayan Núñez won the prestigious Best Delegate award in their committees. In addition to their three days of debate, students spent one day sightseeing in San José, including a trip to the Poás Volcano.”
Group pictures from HACIA:
2) I’m reading a book called “Humilty: True Greatness” by C.J. Mahaney. Excellent little book. One part was about defining greatness for your kids. God opened up a great opportunity for me to share with Rebekah and Will about “Greatness” through a situation that involved Dan at the school. Our conversation went like this: So guys, who can you think of that is really Great. Will said, “So, do you mean like Micheal Jackson or Jesus?” I said, “You hit the nail right on the head.” We talked about who the world would define as “great” – those with power, money, fame, etc. Then we talked about how the Bible defines greatness as someone who is humble, dependent upon God, and who has the heart of a servant. Then, I shared the following story . . .
I said, “This past year Daddy has seen a need at our school for a principal for the Elementary. Right now we have one principal for the whole school – Pre K through 12th grade. And that is a lot of work for one person. So, Daddy researched other schools our size and found that there were usually 2 and sometimes 3 principals for the school. So, Daddy talked with a lot of teachers and the administration and asked them to consider this idea. At first, people were not too sure about this idea because it would cost money to pay the principal. But, Daddy prayed and just kept asking God to show him and others what God wanted for our school. And then, God directed many people to begin to think that our school definitely needed another principal and also showed them how the principal could be paid. And not only that, God directed us to Miss Meija (who is currently our Pre K 1 teacher for 3 year olds, is a Nicaraguan woman who speaks perfect English, has just completed her Master’s Degree, has been with the school for 15 years, and is a good friend of mine). When everyone thought of her as the Elementary principal, they got very excited! So, the school asked her if she would consider being the principal and after a lot of prayer and thinking, she said “yes”!
But here’s the thing . . . all that time that Daddy was working toward the idea and presenting the idea of our school hiring an Elementary principal, he knew that it would cost him something. He knew that it would cost him his office because his office is right near the Elementary which has been so much fun for you guys and for him. But, what I want you to see is that this is what Greatness is. Daddy will not get money, fame, or power for being a part of getting the new principal. And he loses something – his office. But, what matters to him is that he got to be a part of what God was doing at our school. And now he will trust God to find him a different office. That is what being Great means.”
3) During the weeks that I was really struggling, I met with the team of women that I was planning a women’s retreat with. I shared my struggle with them which was a good thing, as everyone could relate to my struggle and also shared their own. One of the women said, “Lisa, our family will often leave the city and just go somewhere to get away. It is something that you need to do.” We followed her advice and took off for the mountains a couple of hours north of Managua. We stayed at a place called Selva Negra which is owned and operated by a German couple. It is a self-sustaining coffee farm with hostels, a hotel, and a restaurant. It was so fun for us to wear long sleeve clothes and jeans and snuggle under fuzzy blankets at night. We also walked trails through the rain forest which reminded me so much of walking trails at a lake near my parent’s home. And the “Germanness” of the restaurant was such a comforting feel as well – something familiar. We did find adventure too as we took the most frightening horseback ride of our lives. The ride down to the valley was pretty rough, but riding back up was beautiful. Indescribably beautiful. I think the greatest thing about our time there, however, was the drive through the mountains, the quietness, the time just to sit and relax, and the opportunity our kids had to just run free, to play on a playground again, and we just all enjoyed trees and grass and creation. It was such a healing time for us.
Pictures from Selva Negra:
4) The Story of Buddie - One of the interesting things about living here is that almost everyone has a dog. Most use them as guard dogs, but others have them for companionship. Our kids have wanted a dog for years, and the fact that nearly everyone here has one made their passion for a dog that much greater. Because of my allergies, only dogs with hair as opposed to fur would work for us which made the possibilities a bit limited. I remember at times praying, “Lord, would you grant this desire of our kids’ hearts.” Well, a week before Valentines Day, we heard that another missionary family had bred their poodle and that it had 4 puppies. So, on Valentines Day, we took the kids to their house blindfolded and when they saw the puppies we told them that we were giving them someone to love this Valentines Day. They couldn’t believe it! In fact, in the car as we were leaving Rebekah said, “Are we REALLY getting one of those puppies?” Our little guy’s name is Buddie. He’s brought a lot of joy and frustration to our home! However, in many ways, I’ve thought that he really has been a gift from God.
Picture of Buddie:
5) 4th – 6th Grade Spiritual Retreat – this year was Rebekah’s first opportunity to go on the two day 4th – 6th grade Spiritual retreat. The retreat’s theme was “Plugged In” with a focus on what it means to bear good fruit. The kids listened to a speaker and met with him for small group time, did 6 different science experiments that demonstrated how to use natural resources to produce energy. They made water wheels; made ovens out of pizza boxes, saran wrap, and tin foil – they baked some great cookies!; roasted marshmallows using gas that was made from cow waste; etc. The Middle School also had a Spiritual Retreat. I asked the leader of the Middle School retreat to give me a few details about their experience and this is what he wrote, “The Middle School retreat was held at Ometepe Island where we climbed the Maderas Volcano all the way to the top (and went down into the crater). It was a 10 hour hike (due to the slick trek with all the rain on the way down). All 30 kids made it along with 4 senior leaders and 8 adults! The theme was perseverance.” The High School will have their retreat this weekend at a retreat center.
Picture of Rebekah on the 4th – 6th grade retreat:
6) Rebekah’s song – Rebekah wrote a song tonight. I asked her if we could share it with you and she said that we could. It goes like this . . .
I Need You Lord
You are the vine in which I bear fruit
Without you I may do nothing,
Nothing may I do without you
I need you Lord
You are the shepherd, I am the sheep
If I wander away
At no matter what cost
You find me
I need you Lord
You are the lamb
The perfect sacrifice
And you died for me
Me and my sins
I need you Lord
You are the Living Water
You pour it out to me
I drink it and am revived just so
I love you and I need you Lord
Oh I need you Lord, Lord I need you
Jesus, Jesus you are my Savior and I,
I love you, I love you, you love me
Willing am I to accept you
I need you Lord
1) Health – a member of our family has been sick since March with bronchitis or a stomach virus that lasted two weeks. Please pray that we would return to the States healthy!
2) Housing – we are praising God for answering our prayers for new housing. We will be moving to a home up the street from our home before we leave for the States. This house has plumbing and lighting problems that we are praying the landlord will fix over the summer. It is also located next to the highway so there will be more traffic noise. Even with the problems, however, it is located in an area that is not as busy or noisy with “people noise” as the home we are now living.
3) Summer Plans – the kids and I will fly out June 4 and Dan will fly out a week later. Our plan for the summer is to see a few churches, to prepare for next school year, and to spend time resting and being with family and friends. We feel at peace with this plan knowing that our health as a family is a priority. Please pray for safety as we travel.
4) Electricity and Water – This past year has been great for us in terms of the consistency of electricity. These past several weeks, however, the electricity has been off and on – last week it was off for two days. We also just have a trickle of water coming out of the shower and the faucets. Today we had no water and all of our dishes are dirty and the laundry is piling up. Would you pray for patience for us and for God to show us how to work with this situation or that He would provide the water and electricity.
5) Lisa’s Dad’s recovery – My Dad is doing GREAT! The stent is doing its job and his energy level has increased significantly.
6) Dan’s Mom’s recovery – Mom VZ found out that the spot that they removed was not cancerous which was very good news. She is recovering well from her surgery.
7) After our last email, we received several responses from missionaries. One missionary wrote, “I appreciated your e-mail so much. There were so many things that I related to that it was both hard and comforting to read at the same time. I couldn't even answer right away because it brought up so many emotions in me.” This, for me, is a praise as my hope is that God would use what I write to encourage others on the field, but also to communicate to those back home about the challenges of this life, not only for us, but for missionaries in general. Please know that those who visit your churches from the mission field do not desire to be put on pedestals, but do have a need to be cared for/listened to/supported.
8) A final praise is for how God has so faithfully met me where I am these past weeks. I could tell you so many stories about how God has been drawing me in. I’m feeling much more at peace. Thank you for your concern and for your prayers.
Thank you for praying for us. We are so often aware of how we are lifted in prayer daily.
Peace to you,
Dan, Lisa (the writer), Rebekah, and William