It's a bird ... It's a plane ... It's VBS in Nicaragua!




“Dios me dia el poder!” screamed the children. God gives me the power! The power to be brave! The power to be obedient! The power to be faithful! This was the theme of our Vacation Bible School lessons on the superheroes in the Bible.

Arts and crafts provided a social opportunity that broke through language barriers.

And while the children learned about the superheroes of the Bible and how they braved the giants, the fiery furnace, the ridicule of others, the risk of genocide, and a military defeat – we learned about the super love and generous spirit of the families in Mount Sinai. Mount Sinai is located about 30 minutes from the El Ayudante campus, down crowded roads, teeming with industrial workers, and bumpy dirt roads navigated with great care by our skilled bus drivers.  The contrast of semi-trucks and factory complexes that share the road with pigs and chickens and satellite dishes on one or two room homes without indoor plumbing can be disconcerting. But the love and openness of the people is unwavering and delightful.

Each day we start by inviting the children in the community to come into the open air church to learn about the superheroes in the Bible. On Monday, they decorated their own capes and learned about the bravery of David (played by a local youngster) in defeating Goliath (played by our own Stephen Busbee) because he trusted God. They also learned about how Esther risked her own inclusion in the genocide of Isreal by bravely trusted God. 

On Tuesday, they made their masks and learned about Meschach, Shadrach, and Abednego surviving the fiery furnace through their faithfulness to God. They also heard about how Mary faithfully accepted the shame that her neighbors would have for her, in order to be obedient to God’s calling. On Wednesday, they made their cuffs and learned how Noah trusted God to save his family and rebuild the world and how Joshua humbled his military skill to accept God’s solution to defeat Jericho. And now  that their superhero outfits are  complete, they can rely on God to give them the power to be superheroes for God!

Nothing can quite describe the exuberance and sheer delight these children take in everything they do! And watching our Hyde Park team draw and dance and sing with them was inspiring! Say what you want about today’s youth, but Hyde Park kids are amazing witnesses of God’s love in action!

VBS included a silly lesson in how to dance to an iconic K-pop song.

And for a special treat today, we watched Tommy and our translator, the amazing Cynthia, dance Gangnum Style  – much to the giggling delight of the children. In addition, most of the Isel family joined in to Whip the Na Na with Cynthia. The laughter for this demonstration almost drowned out the music.

Our Hyde Park kids also found great delight in getting to know the new puppies and in feeding the pigs. No wasted food after our lunch breaks on this trip!

While the VBS was ongoing, other team members were working tremendously hard at building a kitchen for one of the families. Digging ditches, mixing and pouring cement, laying bricks, tamping dirt, and many other jobs had to be done before Gladys and her family will have their indoor kitchen (making a fire there – no stove, no water, no plumbing, just a roof & floor). Despite the heat and humidity, our faithful team members worked daily with the local team and on Wednesday the project was on its way to being completed hopefully tomorrow.

Each night, our team reflects on the “Wow!” moments of the day. And for me, one of the biggest “Wow!” moments of this week is just how quickly friendships form over baseball and soccer. By day three, our team and the Nicaraguan kids were fast friends and truly connecting while they tossed and batted balls. Boys and girls alike just came alive when the balls came out. No language is needed. Minimal equipment is needed. No uniforms are needed. All they need is a smile and a ball and sometimes a bat. Friendships formed so deep that one young boy walked (or biked) many miles just to come see his friends from last year (he was now at a school much further from the community) each day. God’s love reaches across the miles, the lack of language, the lack of resources, the disconnected cultures and joins two boys, two mothers, two workers with bonds that endure many years. It’s powerful and moving!

And to emphasize that what we have done really matters to the children, as we drove out of town today, down the road from the church, we were greeted by three youngsters, dressed in their superhero capes, masks on and cuffs cheering us home! They must have ran with superhero speed to beat us there and their smiles made it all come together in one giant WOW! moment of the week.

This article was original posted at HydeParkSpeaks.org.



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