Saturday, August 13, 2016

Saturday, August 13

It’s hard to believe today was our last day here in Nicaragua. After such a crazy week of going place to place and working our butts off, it is even harder to believe that we have to go back to normal life in little more than a day, some even sooner. It was a great last day to close out what truly was a blessed journey with our team.

We started off the morning with quite the adventurous trip up to the Masaya Volcano. A few members of our team got to visit last year but said it was much more incredible this year, given the fact that this year we got to see what is essentially straight down into the middle of the earth…we got to see magma. It was so cool to see, and even more strange, to hear, as it bubbled and hissed and sounded weirdly similar to the ocean. We were only allowed up at the crater for five minutes because the volcano is so active and is emitting so many fumes. Naturally I took that time limit to mean I had to sprint around and look at the crater from every possible angle and then some before we had to go back down, and even then I was still the last one onto the bus after Pastor Alex had to call across the parking lot to get me.

After visiting the volcano itself, we went into the museum at the base of the park where it described a lot about the movement of the tectonic plates that causes such a weird phenomena as a mountain spewing the inner contents of the earth. Pastor Alex then took his opportunity to make the wonderful comparison that a volcano is just like a pimple, not just once but at least two or three times to make sure everyone got the picture.
After the volcano, we then traveled to Grenada where we took a boat ride around Lake Nicaragua. Between the monkeys posing for the camera on their island and the “sea” horses eating the plants growing in the water, it was quite the eventful ride. We also had our ever-faithful translator aka incredible tour guide Jimmy to give us a wonderful commentary as we toured around, so all in all it was a great time.
Once we all got our land legs back, we traveled back into central Grenada and had a delicious lunch at a local restaurant. After lunch we all just sorta wandered around for a bit. I ended up in a pack with Pastor Alex, Brinna, and Matt, and so of course we found a Japanese convention in the cultural center. Pastor Alex and Matt dressed up in Japanese yukatas and platform flip flops, and then convinced me to put on the full yukata ensemble, giant red bow and all. At least they only had belts trying them into their shirts; the girls working the stand took at least seven minutes tying me up into the whole ensemble, just to have me pose for a picture and then take it all off. We went back to the main square for some last minute shopping before re-grouping to continue our adventure.

Our next stop was a pottery place called “The Works of Our Hands” where the owner explained and showed us the process of making a piece, everything from mining the clay to baking the final product in the kiln. Brinna and Marie even got to *attempt* to make their own pieces. We also got to shop from their inventory while we were there, and witness some incredible driving as our driver managed to maneuver our 18-passenger van around trees and poles and turn around in a tiny little parking lot. Seeing how the pieces were made gave our next stop a whole new meaning as we had the opportunity to see hundreds of different hand-made items on a street of stores all devoted to pottery. Everyone did their best to spend down the last of their cordoba and we were off again.

Our last stop of the day was The Colonial grocery store. We of course needed one last chance to stock up on the foods we’d all be missing at home, namely Nicaraguan coffee. Once everyone had purchased their share, we headed back to the hotel that now seems like home. We had a late dinner, our last meal together as a group, and then had one last devotional session up on the roof, while witnessing what was probably the most beautiful display of lightning I have ever seen. I am now sitting in my room procrastinating packing as I write this because there is no way I can possibly be leaving in a matter of hours. This trip has been an incredible experience with some amazing people that I will never forget, and I am happy to be able to share our last day together with you.

With love,
Bethany Costello on behalf of the Nicaragua VIM Team

Friday, August 12

Friday, our last day  in New Jerusalem.
Bittersweet moments with fun, work and farewells.
We began by stopping at the school and spending time with the two classes of children.
We did several activities: Daryl brought crosses for the children to decorate with colorful stones and glitter. 
It was a great time! 

The children were so careful and did a great job.
We sang This is the Day in both English and Spanish. 
Each class had their photo taken with a Polaroid Camera so we were able to leave the photo in each classroom.
Then the fun really began as the children and some adults played with beach balls!  It was a time of fun and giggles for everyone.

On to the worksite where there was more concrete to mix, rebar to tie, poles to paint, and then the good-byes.
We  presented team t-shirts to many of the partners at the New Jerusalem Land bank and took lots of pictures.

Off to pack and have lunch before heading back to Managua.

After a wonderful dinner at our hotel, we went up to the roof for devotions led by Martha Vink. 
Especially moving was our translator Jimmy’s words of profound love and thanksgiving for our time together.  
He is not only a great translator, but a true friend of this team and filled with the Holy Spirit.
While finishing our devotions Dr. Belinda’s husband, Dr. Gerardo brought us a present from AMC.  Each of us received a mug with the NYAC logo, the Cross and Flame on one side and the AMC logo on another side. 
To make it even more special each mug had one of our names on it and the date of our trip.