Nicaragua Day 7: A Very Good “Viernes Santo”

Friday… Good Friday… The week has gone by so fast.

It has been amazing to see the Lord work in the lives of so many people during this trip… And we count ourselves in that.

We did not have the Kid’s Club today, and the team from Benson had to leave, so the rest of us took a trip to Grenada (to the south). The El Salvador bus was pulled over 4 times on the way by the police… But it was ok, they had all the proper paperwork. Apparently, the El Salvador license plate attracts attention here in Nicaragua. The funny thing was that at each stop, street vendors would board the buses and try to sell food and drinks. But the funniest thing of all was during one stop when the vendors did not get off in time. We sped off – and were half a mile down the road before they were able to jump off the bus – and walk all the way back to the checkpoint. 🙂

Speaking of going back… We went back to the Villa Venezuela part of town tonight and saw some familiar faces – but also very many new ones. For the occasion of Good Friday (“Viernes Santo” in Spanish), we showed the movie of Jesus. A very powerful and graphic movie.

Alex Vasquez found his groove this week inviting people to the movies, and then setting up / tearing down the equipment. He did it with the Nicaraguan boys in the church such as: Humberto, Edmon, Claudio, Juan, Kevin, Dustin, Francisco R., Francisco M., & Julio. Alex was able to speak in Spanish with them and really tried to use the time effectively for discipleship. Some of them just don’t have that opportunity all the time, so this was a real blessing. They all did so well in the skits and dramas this week – we believe there is a lot of talent here in Nicaragua.

Our team was chosen to give three of the invitations after the movie and skits this week. To be chosen just one time is special. Steven Wallace presented on Tuesday, Ryan Haynes on Thursday, and Don Ceccarelli on Friday… And Roberto Maldonado translated on both Thursday and Friday. All four really presented the message of Jesus clearly and concisely, and will tell you that God did all the work. It is incredible that there have been well over 500 decisions made.

Nicaragua Day 6: Do Not Grow Weary!

 

David Kwon and Raphael were canvassing the neighborhood during the Kid’s Club, but were just about to give up since hardly anyone was opening their door to them. But then they spotted a young man, and began a conversation with him. He had so many questions, and spoke so fast, that it was difficult for the translator to keep up. David grabbed Paster Lopez (Koky), and the two of them talked about the many questions he had. He tearfully accepted Christ’s forgiveness and wants to do all that God wants him to do. A life changed because David was faithful and pressed on.

Today was the last Kid’s Club, and we were able to give away most of the hats, dolls, and shirts. Alex was completely mobbed! But the boys and girls absolutely loved it! We truly appreciated all the people that donated.

Ryan sat on the ground during the movie, and a man named Noland came and sat beside him. He could speak english very well, but was troubled how one man could be so blessed with money, family, and a home while another would not. Ryan told him that none of those things last. After speaking with him for 30 minutes or more, Noland accepted the Lord!

As of Thursday afternoon, 418 professions of faith have occurred! God is so good! The church is having good success in follow-up. Obviously not all are interested in joining Vida Nueva, but many are still making decisions that will impact eternity.

Nicaragua Day 5: Feliz Cumpleaños El Jefe

Tuesday night and Wednesday morning we were in Villa Venezuela. As the Kid’s Club went along, more and more children came and the groups got bigger. A lot of fun for everyone.

Ryan Haynes, and Roberto Maldonado canvassed the neighborhood and talked to a young woman named Gretel who had a very young baby. Ryan asked her how much she loved her baby, and she said more than she ever could have imagined. He then said that Jesus loves her in the same way, then shared the plan of Salvation and she accepted!

They also came upon some clothing tailors, and Ryan asked what kind of shirt they would make him 🙂 This also led to an opportunity to share the Gospel. We’ve found on this trip that Ryan can start a conversation with anyone – and Roberto can keep it going.

Dr. Gerald Cowen (Professor Emeritus of SE Baptist Theological Seminary) met with a couple and attempted to share the Gospel, but some Jehovah’s witnesses kept trying to interrupt. He told them that if they stand in the way of these people’s salvation, then they will be held accountable for it. Strong words, but the truth. Dr. Cowen also shared with some others, and after the second time of going through the plan of salvation, they understood and believed that Jesus gave them the assurance they did not have.

Today was also Wayne’s birthday! MaryBeth had everyone sign his card not-so-secretly and Roberto took a special trip to a bakery to get the cake. It wasn’t covered, so he had to be very careful bringing it back in the taxi. The whole restaurant sang “Happy Birthday” to “El Jefe” (Wayne).

Nicaragua Day 4: Barcelona vs Milan meets Evangelism in the Park

Last night and this morning we went to an area of town which translates to mean “The 10th of June.”

Several members of the team worked at the Kid’s Club, while a few groups went out to witness.  Caroline even taught a cheer for Jesus to a young girl at her home. At the Kid’s Club – Don got to see a normally shy team member (but we’re not naming any names) share the Gospel with the children using the witnessing dolls and bracelets.  The witnessing dolls were all made by a HGBC church member, and the bracelet packets made by several Hickory Grove children’s Sunday School classes.

After lunch, Pastor Felix invited all the youth to his home to watch the big soccer match between Barcelona and Milan. About 30 of the kids got to experience watching soccer Central American-style. And much to everyones joy, Barcelona won! (Drew had on his Barcelona shirt for the occasion).

Julie, Oswaldo, and I (Tim) met some skateboarders in the park… and I asked to ride their skateboard.  This made them laugh as I tried to do some kickflips. Julie and I were able to share with them using the Evangecube and telling them of our past and how God changed us.  Both Osman and Omar made the decision to accept Jesus’ forgiveness, so we offered as much info as we could to get them plugged in.
Eddie, Jadon, & Lorena (their interpreter) had a chance to share the Gospel with a young woman named Patty on the street who sold cheese burritos. She was touched that many of us came such a long way to share the Good news of Christ.  Patty expressed to him that she has felt something missing in her life and felt empty even though she did good works through her church.  They told her that what she was missing was Christ in her heart by using the Evangecube.  Eddie & Jadon were able to share the information about Vida Nueva so that she could ask them more questions.
Don and Drew talked to a man named Luis who was tired of hypocritical Christians, and was mad at them.  It was not until Don told him “Luis, I’m not concerned about others, I love you and I’m concerned about you” that he eventually realized his own hypocrisy, broke down in tears, and surrendered his life to Christ.  He wanted to go to church Easter Sunday, so Don & Drew introduced him to Pastor Felix.  He didn’t have a Bible, so Don gave him his Spanish/English Bible. Luis was so happy!

Nicaragua Day 3: First Kid’s Club

Sunday night and Monday morning we were in the area of town called Canada. The first “Club de Niños” was awesome! A “Kid’s Club” is a whirlwind VBS done in less than 3 hours. Five “Stations” set in tents have many different fun learning opportunities. One station had a puppet show and dancing. Another had a Scripture to memorize, witnessing bracelets and dolls, and the hats. A third had a Biblical story. The fourth was an inflatable slide. And finally, there was a refreshment station.
A few quick stories:
Caroline Taylor prayed with two teenage girls at the Kid’s Club. The teenagers weren’t there for the activities, but they had come to the movie Sunday night and wanted to talk some more. Planting seeds.
I (Tim Wallace) shared the Gospel with kids at the station with witnessing bracelets. One young boy made a decision for Christ. He was so poor that he actually wore a puffy jacket in the hot sun because it was all he had to wear.
After lunch, Drew Ceccarelli, Mary Beth Teague, and Roberto Maldonado shared the Gospel with a young girl at the hotel pool during a break. They broke the ice by playing catch with a mango in the pool.
Later, as we walked the streets inviting people to the movie, two sisters (Ivette & Alejandra) came to faith in Jesus. Ivette said her young son would come to the Kid’s Club in the morning.

Don Ceccarelli met with a man named Luis who came forward after the drama.  He wanted to know what he needed to do to be saved. Don shared the Gospel with him, and he prayed to receive Christ!  Drew gave his daughter Fernanda a witnessing bracelet and shared the Gospel with her.
As with each day, there are so many stories to share….

Nicaragua Day 2: Palm Sunday

Sunday morning, April 1st, we had a multicultural worship service at the hotel conference room.  Believers gathered from Vida Nueva Managua, Vida Nueva El Salvador, Hickory Grove Baptist Church, Crossroads Baptist Church (Benson, NC), First Baptist Church Glen St. Mary (FL), and a few people from several other US states. It was half english & half spanish.

After the service, we were blessed to have a baptism in the hotel pool!  A young man named Melvin decided to identify himself as a believer to everyone. What a blessing.

In the evening, team members were paired up with interpreters and we went out to a neighborhood. We showed a movie called “Lay It Down” about a street racer that didn’t know Christ.  He was in an accident that woke him up to accepting the Lord.  This movie strongly impacted one of our interpreters (Oswaldo Rivera), who also gave up racing after he came to Christ some years ago.

There were many decisions made last night.  Here’s just one specific story: Team members Steve & Abby Wallace asked three teenagers if they knew what the “big question” in life was.  And the guys said “We would know if you told us.”  That opened the door for Steve & Abby to share the Good news of Jesus, but also the bad news of sin and condemnation. Two of the men were ready and accepted Christ during that conversation. Steve tried to give the third man a last chance to also accept, but he just wasn’t ready.  All three were a success, though, because Steve and Abby were obedient to share the message with them.

Nicaragua Day 1: Charlotte to Managua

Team members met at North Campus at 3:30am Saturday morning.  Can you say early? Everyone actually made it!

The Lord blessed our travels, and by about 12pm Nicaraguan time (2pm EST), we all landed safely in Managua.  Pastor Felix and his family greeted us at the airport and helped us to the hotel.

Most of the people from the two other American teams also arrived in the afternoon.  This day became a travel and orientation day. Late in the evening, the team from El Salvador(our interpretors) arrived after a 17 hour school bus ride from that country.