This mission is a partnership between:
CHRISTWAY, LIRIO DE LOS VALLES, PROJECT E.A.R.T.H. INTERNATIONAL
To present the Gospel to the people of Nicaragua through music, drama and the spoken word.
To encourage and build up the body of Christ to "live for JESUS" and share their faith daily.
To live out the "Great Commission" given to us by JESUS - "Go into all the world and preach the Gospel . . ."
A Partner Ministry of
SHILOH COMMUNITY FELLOWSHIP
Taking another leap of FAITH on SPIRIT
Be careful with the word: "never"! I have used that word far to often in my life only to find that the thing I said I would "never" do again seems to come around to haunt me. I remember driving on the expressway through the Bronx late one night and looking out at the city and said: "there's a place I never want to have to serve GOD. Within months I was in New York serving the LORD. Well, my first expereince with this budget airline was not great and I said I would "never" being flying SPIRIT again - but, here I am. I am glad that GOD gave me this opportunity because it was totally different than the first with two exceptions. My first flight took off 1:30 min. late. The second flight a problems with some electronics in the cockpit that had I sitting on the plane waiting for nearly 40 minutes. Since last time SPIRIT found some "friendly" people to work with the passengers! I arrived in Managua at a little before 3 a.m. EST.
ACKNOWLEDGEMENTS: Tedd for coming with me to the airport. The HEILBOCKS for providing a wonderful home and rest for me during my short stay in the USA. TIO for a safe ride from the airport in Managua and Daniel, Yolanda, and Denis for coming to greet me.
Our first visit to: LIRIO DE LOS VALLES
It's "GOOD FRIDAY" and it's our first opportunity to visit the church who is hosting "3 Dias Despues" (3 Days After). This all began many months ago when my "son" Daniel told me that a famous evangelist was going to be coming here to do a rally over Easter. As time went by there were complications and the crusade was cancalled. We began to talk about the possibility of still having a crusade and CHRISTWAY (the band) put together the event.
When they asked the Pastor of Lirio De Los Valles, Sandio City if they could host the event he said yes and the moved full speed ahead. Though it would be a huge leap of faith for me to be involved so soon after a major mission trip to AFRICA, thanks to the approval of Pastor Brett we agreed that I would come and do the event and spend time encouraging Daniel, his fam-ily and the band.
What a blessing it was to for me to meet Pastor Ronald Flores today. I was hosted by the pastor for lunch at the church where I met many of the folks who were working hard to
make the church ready for "3 Dias Despues" that would take place in a few hours and also on Saturday evening. you could feel the SPIRIT of God moving in that place.
MORE THAN A CHURCH
Lirios De Los Valles is more than a church. It is a place where children of all ages are finding JESUS and learning skills that will be a blessing to them the their community. Education is an import-ant part of what the church is doing but, computer training, sewing, fasion design, cosmotology, classes in guitar, piano, baking, expresive dance and drama are on the list of opportunities. With more than 400 young people being trained Lirios De Los Valles is changing the world of Sandino City and beyond. Creating a "Brand" and marketing their products in next on the list. Also English class! You might be thinking . . . oh no . . . Pastor Chris is about tell us PEI is expanding to Sandino City, Nicaragua? I think it is something we should begin praying about.
This ministry is recoginzed and supported by one of my favorite Christian organizations: Compassion International.
Pastor Flores and the people of Lirios De Los Valles have a huge vision for what GOD is going to do for the youth of Sandino City. They are serving JESUS, knowing that HE will take care of all the needs of the people. By the end of this year their goal is to serve 500 children in Sandino City. Pastor Flores explains that the children are a bridge to reach the parents and their desire is to ministry to families! Next weekend the church will sponsor a family re-treat where they will be able to get to know the parents and begin building relationships with them. "Earning the right to be heard." I love everything I have learned about this ministry. Please pray for Lirios De Los Valles! Amen.
in association with: LIRIOS DE LOS VALLES, Sandio City & Project E.A.R.T.H. International
The first night of our crusade was a bit late getting started due to a few technical difficulties and a missing band member. Though I was tempted to get concerned about the schdule GOD reminded me that HE is in con-trol and that I should just trust HIM. I did!
The event was awesome. Worship was what we came to do and the band brought everyone before the throne of GOD. Scripture was shared and prayers were offered and JESUS was lifted up! It was everything we prayed it would be and more.
I shared a testimony of GOOD FRI-DAY many years ago in Honduras. It was a personal experience. One that brought me face to face with pride, myself and my attitude about serving JESUS. I've never been the same. The message was received well and many people came to afterwards to tell me.
Everyone arrived ready to worship GOD and we began on schedule. The place was buzzing with excitement. I was a little concerned since my foot and leg were giving me quite a hard time today. I was in a lot of pain but I couldn't let that stop me from doing
what GOD brought me here to do. The time of worship was so intense. The lighting in the room was poor so it was hard to see the band clearly. That was great for me. It helped me focus even more on worship. I've always wondered what it would be like if we couldn't see the worship team - just hear them. It was great.
Tonight I portrayed PETER in a simple drama. He was in the upper room sharing the experiences of his final days with JESUS and the anguish of now being without Him. The fear. The sorrow. The memories. The guilt of saying he didn't know JESUS three times. The same of being to afraid to take a stand with Him. Then suddenly the NEWS from the tomb! It's empty! He's risen as He said! JESUS is alive.
After that you would think surely PETER will be about serving JESUS. I am shocked that JESUS encounters PETER later - where? Doing what? Telling people the GOOD NEWS? Nope! He's gone back to his old life. He is fishing. And as usual - catching nothing! You know what happens that morning on the beach. Three times JESUS asks PETER: "Do you love me?" From there it appears that PETER "get it!" and gets busy with ministry. What's your answer to JESUS' questions? Do you love HIM? Have you gotten the message? Are you sharing it yet? Or are you going fishing again? It's up to you. As for me - I WILL SERVE THE LORD!
SUNRISE SERVICE: Lirios De Los Valles
I told the Pastor I wanted to attend their a.m. service which would begin at 5 a.m. so he sent a car for me and my translator (Kevin). I was so blessed to see everyone again. They were happy to have me join them for this special service to celebrate the resurrection. Many came prepared to shared testimonies and scriptures. The worship was powerful even though the worship team is small. The pastor's 10 year old son plays the drums.
I shared at the end of the service and then the pastor had folks come and pray for my foot & leg. Afterwards they formed a line and came one by one to share a word of encouragment with me. It was a very touching time for me. GOD used those people to make me feel so welcome in His house this morning. I am thankful for what the LORD did in my life through this experience.
Working with CHRISTWAY was a great experience.
Now with the crusade behind us they wanted to
spend some time together having some food and
they wanted me to share something with them
as a band. We all chipped in and had a nice chicken
dinner and coke. Yeah - it was late!
After dinner I shared with them the importance of prayer before they even begin to set up their equipment. Pray thoughout the venue, pray over the electrical out-lets. Pray over their wires and equipment. Dedicate it all to GOD "every time." Honor the equipment as a gift from GOD and take care of all of it as though it is on loan to you. It is! It belongs to GOD. Treat it with respect - and you won't have to replace it.
I also reminded them to be careful as young men to remember that the way they dress, walk, talk, and act can cause people to glorify GOD or think evil thoughts. It was a message we all need to hear from time to time. Please remember to pray for the guys as they continue to minister through their music here.
With Easter behind me, and the busy weekend finished it's time for a day of rest. The swelling in my foot and pain in my leg are letting me know that I can't keep going like that. Quinta Shalom is such a blessing. Not only is it beautiful but, at this time I am the only guest in the house. It is the second time I have stayed here alone. I don't mind and I am so glad that they are willing to let me stay here when it might be easier and cheaper for them to just be closed. I love the garden that surrounds the house and the porch in front with rocking chairs. The inside porch and courtyard also has hammocks which I enjoy when it cools a bit in the evening.
During this visit it has been way too hot for me to enjoy being outside much. I think the heat is what is causing me to have the increased prob-lem with my foot and my leg. Today I will rest and work on a presentation for Pastor Flores about a vision I have for them creating a "brand" to be able to effectively market their products when the youth are ready to learn the business aspect of what they are doing at Lirios De Los Valles.
Pastor Ronald Flores is: "a man with a vision!"
When I met Pastor Flores for the first time, it was so obvious to me that this is a man with a vision. He's a "dreamer". I know because I am also a dreamer. Dreamers are often laughed at and misunderstood. Especially by those who do not dare to dream. There is one sure thing - if you never dare to dream you won't be sad if your dream never comes true! But, what if that vision I have actually happens.
For Pastor Flores and the people of Lirios De Los Valles, they have a vision for the future of the children and people of Sandino City. It begins with those people having a relationship with Jesus. Without that - they have nothing. But the vision expands with practical training in a variety of areas that bring opportunity for the youth of Sandino City to change their world!.
When these people have a solid relationship with JESUS, education and skills lead by folks who have "VISION" the sky is the limit. Today, the pastor told me that they want to serve 500 youth in Sandino City this year. Today they serve more than 400. Why do more? Because there will be that many more youth who have a chance!
It's not only the youth. Pastor Flores says: "the children are a bridge to the moms and dads!" He is interested in seeing the whole family saved and living abundant lives.
Lirios De Los Valles knows that JESUS is the Way, the Truth and the Life and and they want their friends and neighbors to know it too. They are willing to sacrifice time, money, - their lives to see that happen. This is the type of ministry PEI wants to partner with in these last days.
Denis & Yolanda Meza Castro Love that lasts forgets the past
For Denis & Yoli Meza Castro there are many challenges. They face thos challenges head on with little concern for themselves and their own need. Like most parents they care for their children and do what they can to help them but, they also minister to many young people who show up at their home on a daily basis. Maybe it's for prayer, a word of encouragement, BIBLE study, band pract-ice or even something to eat. They will share what they have with those in need even if it means them personally going without. I am so happy that GOD gave me the opportunity to minister to them and be an encourager at a time when they really needed it. We had a very much need time of counseling and PEI sent them out for the evening to have a special time together. Both Denis & Yoli have been having some problems with their health. Stress related. We talked about how they can overcome that stress as well. I praise GOD for them, their family and their ministry in their neighborhood.
Yolanda, Pastor Chris and Denis Meza Managua Nicaraga
An afternoon nap in the heat of Nicaragua
An afternoon nap in the heat of Nicaragua
An afternoon nap in the heat of Nicaragua
An afternoon nap in the heat of Nicaragua can become a comfortable oasis ~ a good dream!
After three months in the heat of Africa I was thinking I was prepared for the weather I would face in Managua. So much for that theory! It was hotter in Nicaragua on my coolest day there than it was on my hottest day in Swaziland!
It is amazing to me just how hot Nicaragua has been. I've been here in December, January, August, September and it was hot on all those journeys but, this was the hottest trip yet. Even in the shade there was not much relief from the heat. What amazes me is how many people who live here are saying how hot it is. You would think that they would be used to it. In spite of the heat and the problems my foot and leg are giving me I continued to do what GOD has
brought me here to do. This mission was more about being able to encourage the Meza Castro family in their personal ministry than it was about anything. The crusade was import-ant. Meeting the Pastor and people of Lirios De Los Valles even more important but, PEI is most concerned about being able to encourage those who minister in these countries on a day by day basis when we are not able to be here. I believe we have accomplished our mission to them while also being a blessing to many others. Thanks for sending me here!
FINAL MINUTES in NICARAGUA
Friday night we gathered the "family" together for a final dinner at "La Finca" (The Farm). It's a favorite and it has become something PEI does at the end of each journey. I am happy to be able to not only have a nice dinner togeth-er but we also get to support the Christians who own the restaurant. The atmosphere, traditional food and grilled imported meats makes La Finca a great place to enjoy being together.
As always there was a time for words of encouragement and challenge at the end of the meal. It was awesome. As always we even had a little rain during dinner, which made it cooler.
Saturday Daniel's family took me to a place at the water-
front where I could do some shopping. I enjoy the woven bracelets and purses they make. I found some nice things to bring back with me. We had a nice time together and it was so much cooler by the lake. It's a huge lake! If they had not told me it was a lake I would have thought it was the ocean.
From there we drove to Sandino City to see Pastor Flores and his family so I could see them one last time before leaving. My new friend was so happy we did that. They offered us cold drinks and welcomed us in their home that is literally right on the street. A very narrow sidewalk separates their home from the busy street. As we visited I often had a problem hearing because of the traffic just a few feet from me.
During our visit the pastor and I exchanged some words of encouragement and our dreams for a partnership in the future. I am confident that the LORD has something special HE is going to do. PEI has great interest in Lirios De Los Valles and the work they are doing in Sandino City. Late summer 2012 would be a great time for PEI to put together a team to go there and do a variety of things to be a blessing to the children and youth of Sandino City. Speak spanish? Have an interest in giving two weeks to be a part of it? Let me know. PEI is going to be very selective in choosing it team and training them for this special mission. Please pray for me as I seek the LORD for details about this mission.
Time to pack for the return to the USA and make sure I am ready to leave when the taxi comes! See you in the USA.