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This post is part of a series of posts about a Madison Youth Listen and Learn Cross Cultural Engagement trip. You can read more about the purpose of the trip here in the blog post titled A Different Kind of Short-Term Missions Trip. You can also read about our first day in Nicaragua here, our second day here, our third day here, our fourth day here, and our fifth day here.

Thursday, June 23, 2016

The following update about our sixth day in Nicaragua was written by Meikea Bonnema: 

Six days down, two to go.

By now we’re all tired, hot, and falling in love with this beautiful piece of God’s world. At the beginning of this trip, at least for me, the days seemed to last forever. And I mean that in the best way possible.

We were constantly experiencing new sights and smells, soaking in every detail, all making the days linger. By now, we’re starting to adapt to the rhythm of life in Nicaragua and I think I speak for several of us when I say that the days seem to be slipping through our fingers, and we wish we could stay much longer. Nicaragua has left its mark on us.

Throughout this past week, we explored various non-profit organizations, churches, and schools to see how God’s hand was involved in each. Today was mostly devoted to seeing how small businesses survive and thrive within their communities. To do this, we traveled about an hour away to a quaint, and very hot (it reached 100 degrees…not including humidity) city named Leon. We visited three small businesses.

First we met a lady who made jams with her family out of her house to sell. What was unique about her business is that she marketed online via Facebook. Most of the businesses here thrive by word of mouth almost exclusively. All of her jams were handmade and completely natural. In fact, the mangos that she uses were grown in her living room!

Next we visited Catalina, a lady who screen printed designs on shirts, skirts, bags, etc. What struck me the most was her joy and exuberance. She was delighted to invite us into her house/business and answer any questions we had. Her kindness and love for our Lord overflowed to each of us. She spoke about how the ultimate business leader is God, and she asked us to pray for success in her business and wisdom from God on where to go next. We all surrounded her and laid our hands on her as we prayed.

So far it had been a long day, and we were all very hot and tired. From the van I noticed a vet’s office and saw puppies in their cages in the doorway. My heart filled with joy and I started snapping pictures. When the van stopped and I realized that this was the business we were visiting I was elated! After petting the adorable puppies and bunnies, we all gathered around to hear the vet speak. He was a strong follower of God, and very inspirational. He spoke about how there were many challenges that he faced that God helped him overcome. He talked about how he had to be smart, not just book smart, but also smart in dealing with the people that walk through the doors. He wants to do more than leave them with a healthy animal; he wants to extend God’s love to each of them. He then prayed for us as a group focusing on Matthew 6, urging us to give our worries to God.

After this we stopped for lunch and then checked in at our hotel. It was only 2:30 in the afternoon, but at this point in the day the sun was the hottest, and we were exhausted. So we decided to have a relaxing rest of the day, napping and shopping in Leon.

Throughout this trip, we have done a lot of growing in lot of different areas. One of these areas is in our relationships with others. As a group we have bonded over traveling, games, constantly applying and reapplying sunscreen and bug spray, many laughs, and much more. Due to all of this we have developed deep, Christ-like friendships with one another. We have created lifelong friendships. I am so excited to see how God continues to knit us together even after we return.

Thank you to all of you who have been covering us in prayers. Your support and prayers for us are truly a blessing. We would like to ask for continued prayers specifically for health, as a few of our stomachs are disagreeing with the food (as delicious as it is), and also that we can hear God clearly speaking to us on this trip and have affirmation for why He called us to Nicaragua.

Muchas gracias! Dios le bendiga!

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