Last day before departure

We spent our final Nicaragua day at Church of Resurrection and Light. Activities included jewelry making, crafts, a microphone installation, and painting alongside our Nicaraguan friends. Following activities as the church, a member led us on a walking tour of the neighborhood.

Kathy and Joan make flowers and necklaces with children.

Kathy and Joan make flowers and necklaces with children.

Sandy watches a foam basket in progress.

Sandy watches a foam basket in progress.

After helping with jewelry making, Pastor Ryan decides to model it--to the amusement of both Nicaraguans and the team.

After helping with jewelry making, Pastor Ryan decides to model it–to the amusement of both Nicaraguans and the team.

Gringos and Nicaraguans paint together

Gringos and Nicaraguans paint together

Several men work on installing a wireless microphone system.

Several men work on installing a wireless microphone system.

Pastor Jose and Ignacia hold two of the gifts we gave them--framed art representing our relationship and a binder describing Faith Church.

Pastor Jose and Ignacia hold two of the gifts we gave them–framed art representing our relationship and a binder describing Faith Church.

As we walk the neighborhood, children look at us curiously.

As we walk the neighborhood, children look at us curiously.

A neighborhood girl uses a laptop in her hammock.

A neighborhood girl uses a laptop in her hammock.

Yes, there is poverty here....

Yes, there is poverty here, but after establishing relationships with the Christians of Chinandega, we see so much more than poverty. And in experiencing their warmth and hospitality, we realize we have non-economic kinds of poverty ourselves.

Monday learning and touring

The day began with a tour of a sugar cane cooperative. Iliana, a member of the Chinandega Nazarene church who oversees the work of the cooperative, hosted the tour.

The day began with a tour of a sugar cane cooperative. Iliana, a member of the Chinandega Nazarene church who oversees the work of the cooperative, hosted the tour.

Large equipment is present also, especially for hauling mature sugar cane to the processing plant.

Large equipment is used for  for hauling mature sugar cane to the processing plant.

Planting is labor-intensive, often done by hand.

Planting is labor-intensive, often done by hand.

Sugar cane is harvested once per year, section by section from October through May. Charlie and Marv check out a mature section.

Sugar cane is harvested once per year, section by section from October through May. Charlie and Marv check out a mature section.

A small planting of trees included coconuts, one of them aswarm with small wasps.

A small planting of trees included coconuts, one of them aswarm with small wasps.

A stop in the tiny village of El Viejo provided a chance to sample rosquillas--a crunchy cornmeal and cheeze doughnut-shaped pastry.

A stop in the tiny village of El Viejo provided a chance to sample rosquillas–a crunchy cornmeal and cheeze doughnut-shaped pastry.

The rosquillas are cooked in a giant woodburning overn

The rosquillas are cooked in a giant woodburning oven.

El Viejo also features Nicaragua's only Basilica, a beautiful site for worship and weddings.

El Viejo also features Nicaragua’s only Basilica, a beautiful site for worship and weddings.

Lunch included whole fish, complete with staring eyes--and a beautiful bowl made of edible plantain strips.

Lunch included whole fish, complete with staring eyes–and a beautiful bowl made of edible plantain strips.

The restaurant, aptly named Costa Azul (Blue Coast), featured an open-air patio overlooking the Pacific Ocean.

The restaurant, aptly named Best Costa Azul (Blue Coast), featured an open-air patio overlooking the Pacific Ocean.

After lunch, a small fishing boat took us to an island with a lighthouse and a statue in honor of Nicaraguan poet Ruben Dario.

After lunch, a small fishing boat took us to an island with a lighthouse and a statue in honor of Nicaraguan poet Ruben Dario.

The day concluded with a sunset view over the Pacific Ocean.

The day concluded with a sunset view over the Pacific Ocean.

 

 

 

 

 

 

Pastor Ryan spent the day on a different track–ash boarding down a volcano with Pella Christian High students.

Here he poses for a photo op, but it's only a pose. Ashboarders were required to recline on the boards.

Here he poses for a photo op, but it’s only a pose. Ashboarders were required to recline on the boards.

Despite his reclining position, he managed to fall off his board and collect a few scratches.

Despite his reclining position, he managed to fall off his board and collect a few scratches.

Sunday work and worship

 

We are  greeted at Amor Viviente church by a lush plant in a cracked bucket--symoblic perhaps of this country with beauty, poverty, and a creative ability to repurpose.

We are greeted at Amor Viviente church by a lush plant in a cracked bucket–symoblic perhaps of this country with beauty, poverty, and a creative ability to repurpose.

We greet Pastor Porfirio , his wife Suyapa, and their three children. We present them with gifts--toy cars, story-of-salvation bracelets, and a picture  representing our relationship.

We greet Pastor Porfirio , his wife Suyapa, and their three children. We present them with gifts–toy cars, story-of-salvation bracelets, and a picture representing our relationship.

 

 

 

 

 

 

Part of our team paints. Palmer watches Pastor Porfirio demonstrate how to mix and thin the pain.

Part of our team paints. Palmer watches Pastor Porfirio demonstrate how to mix and thin the paint.

Marv works on turning a wall blue.

Marv works on turning a wall blue.

Sandy enjoys crafts with children and youth.

Sandy enjoys crafts with children and youth.

A cross made by the Pastor's oldest son Antonio is espeically beautiful.

One cross is especially beautiful.

Our van driver Chino even tries his hand at a cross.

Our van driver Chino even tries his hand at a cross.

Joan learns to fry chicken Nicaragua style--by watching it instead of by timing it. The heat from a fire is not always consistent.

Joan learns to fry chicken Nicaragua style–by watching it instead of by timing it. The heat from a fire is not always consistent.

After the chicken is done, a huge bowl of rice is prepared.

After the chicken is done, a huge bowl of rice is prepared.

After lunch Marlo enjoys a jam session with the pastor's son Antonio.

After lunch Marlo enjoys a jam session with the pastor’s son Antonio.

The ubiquitous cell phone knows no national boundaries.

The ubiquitous cell phone knows no national boundaries.

Evening is the primary time for Sunday worship in Nicaragua. We attend the Nazarene church. Pastor Ryan preaches in English, assisted by a translator.

Evening is the primary time for Sunday worship in Nicaragua. We attend the Nazarene church. Pastor Ryan preaches in English, assisted by a translator.

The congregation sits on plastic chairs, as ubiquitous in Nicaragua as cell phones.

The congregation sits on plastic chairs, as ubiquitous in Nicaragua as cell phones.

Saturday, Step by Step

9 a.m.: We arrive at Manantial church, for a workday. Pastor Ryan, Spanish phrase book in hand, talks with Pastor Sergio in pidgin Spanish.

9 a.m.: We arrive at Manantial church, for a workday. Pastor Ryan, Spanish phrase book in hand, talks with Pastor Sergio in pidgin Spanish.

Pastor Sergio waters the floor where the final cement for the church floor will be laid.

Pastor Sergio waters the floor where the final cement for the church floor will be laid.

Using a "volcano" technique, we mix the cement alongside Nicaraguans.

Using a “volcano” technique, we mix the cement alongside Nicaraguans.

Alma Hernandez wheels a bucket of cement.

Alma Hernandez wheels a bucket of cement.

Larry Groenenboom and Pastor Sergio's son team up to smooth the floor.

Larry Groenenboom and Pastor Sergio’s son team up to smooth the floor.

Their work complete, they take time for an admiration stance.

Their work complete, they take time for an admiration stance.

We dig and divide some of the flowers on the church grounds. Two Nicaraguan boys help.

We dig and divide some of the flowers on the church grounds. Two Nicaraguan boys help.

The plans wilt in the 90+ temperatures. Perhaps during the cooler evening they will perk up.

The plans wilt in the 90+ temperatures. Perhaps during the cooler evening they will perk up.

Our work done, we shower and walk to Central Park for ice cream cones (Eskimo brand). Walking back, we stop for a funeral procession. The hearse leads. People follow on foot and by car.

Our work done, we shower and walk to Central Park for ice cream cones (Eskimo brand). Walking back, we stop for a funeral procession. The hearse leads. People follow on foot.

In the evening we join the Pella Christian Students at a combined youth service for the five churches with whom Friends of Chinandega has a relationship.

In the evening we join the Pella Christian Students at a combined youth service for the five churches with whom Friends of Chinandega has a relationship.

Friday we cook, paint, and worship

Joan Zylstra paints a classrom at the Nazarene church.

We were welcomed to the Nazarene church, as in other churches, with warm hugs.

We were welcomed to the Nazarene church, as in other churches, with warm hugs.

Joan Zylstra paints a classrom at the Nazarene church.

Joan Zylstra paints a classrom at the Nazarene church.

Iliana welcomed team members to her home to learn about Nicaraguan cooking and help prepare lunch.

Iliana welcomed team members to her home to learn about Nicaraguan cooking and help prepare lunch.

Among the Nicaraguan vegetables we prepared and ate were chilotes, miniature ears of corn.

Among the Nicaraguan vegetables we prepared and ate were chilotes, miniature ears of corn.

The carrots were gigantic. Chaiotes are a vegetable in the avacodo family, with a much smaller seed.

The carrots were gigantic. Chaiotes are a vegetable in the avacodo family, with a much smaller seed.

Nazarene church served a home-cooked meal on cloth-covered tables, graciously carried on foot about three blocks from a home to the church.

Nazarene church served a home-cooked meal on cloth-covered tables, graciously carried on foot about three blocks from a home to the church.

During an afternoon work break, some team members learned about wedding and funeral practices in Chinandega. (Weddings include a complete worship services, and a wake occurs in the homes. Then friends and family walk to the church for a service.

During an afternoon work break, some team members learned about wedding and funeral practices in Chinandega. (Weddings include a complete worship services, and a wake occurs in the homes. Then friends and family walk to the church for a service.

At evening worship in Manantial church,, Joan Zylstra shared her testimony, we sang about our unity in Christ, and Pastor Ryan preached with Alma Hernandez translating.

At evening worship in Manantial church,, Joan Zylstra shared her testimony, we sang about our unity in Christ, and Pastor Ryan preached with Alma Hernandez translating.

Even more about Thursday…

Photos just became available of Thursday jewelry-making at Iglesia de Dios (Church of God). To avoid confusing readers,we’re posting these before we post Friday’s news. (By the way, there are 80-150 page views of this blog per day. We’re grateful)

Branden, one of the Pella Christian High Students in Nicaragua on Winterim dropped in for awhile to assist children with jewelry making.

Branden, one of the Pella Christian High Students in Nicaragua on Winterim dropped in for awhile to assist children with jewelry making.

Pastor Ryan Faber helps apply stickers to a children's craft project.

Pastor Ryan Faber helps apply stickers to a children’s craft project.

A student proudly wears a wooden cross from the Faith Church toy ministry and a necklace he has just made.

A student proudly wears a wooden cross from the Faith Church toy ministry and a necklace he has just made.

Looking Back on Thursday

Naschly, a child sponsored by a member of the Friends of Chinandega team, holds the binder that contains her records from the time she started in the program five years ago.

Naschly, a child sponsored by a member of the Friends of Chinandega team, holds the binder that contains her records from the time she started in the program five years ago.

We didn’t take photos during worship, but this evening we worshipped at Iglesia de Dios (Church of God).  We participated through singing a song, providing a testimony, and presenting them with a picture that represents our relationship. Pastor Ryan preached a sermon based on the Matthew 8 parable of the two servants. Alma Hernandez translated.

Following worship we spent time with the church pastor and his family, sang together with them and prayed for their church and their family.

Leyly receives the gifts from her Compassion sponsors in the US, delivered by members of the Friends of Chinandega team. There are forty children in the Iglesia de Dios program who do not yet have sponsors. We'll be glad to tell you how to become a sponsor when we return to the US.

Leyly receives the gifts from her Compassion sponsors in the US, delivered by members of the Friends of Chinandega team. There are forty children in the Iglesia de Dios program who do not yet have sponsors. We’ll be glad to tell you how to become a sponsor when we return to the US.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Kathy Groenenboom holds one of the craft projects the Friends of Chinandega team helped children make at Iglesia de Dios (Church of God) today.

Kathy Groenenboom holds one of the craft projects the Friends of Chinandega team helped children make at Iglesia de Dios (Church of God) today.

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