Mission Day One in Nicaragua

Editor’s note: Our mission team has arrived in Nicaragua! We are excited to share their stories via St. John’s member Diane Butikofer, who is blogging from the mission trip. To see more of the blog, visit https://sharingnicaragua.wordpress.com.  To learn more about St. John’s Nicaragua mission team, please visit our NICARAGUA PAGE.

Our team is ready to go!  I wonder what God has in store for us this trip?  The schedule we thought we would follow has already undergone several major changes and we know more will come.  I think sometimes God just wants to get us here and then puts roadblocks and detours in our path to remind us that He’s the one to plan our direction.  So that’s OK and we’ll continue to re-write the schedule these next two weeks.

First item on today’s agenda was to begin separating, weighing, bagging and assembling the food packages that we will distribute to 160 families. While several came by taxi (common transportation here – cheap and easily available), most of us walked to the feeding center where the work was to take place.  Especially for our two new team members, it was a chance to see and experience a little of the culture close-up.  The photos below (click to enlarge) were taken on that walk – all typical scenes of Leon.

One thing that has remained the same year after year is our commitment to help feed the poor.  This includes the youth feeding center that St. John’s began five years ago and continues to fund every year. The impact on the children whose lives have been changed though daily nourishment of body and soul is priceless.

We have also distributed food packs to impoverished families each year.  So today it was our task to transform the hundreds of pounds of rice, beans, corn meal, oil, oats, soup base, powdered milk, coffee, sugar, salt and sardines that we purchased yesterday into 160 individual food bags.  It took many hours of work in some very hot weather, but the task was completed by afternoon.  As the temperature approached the predicted 101 degrees we headed back to the hotel.

Later in our talk before devotions, after many shared “highs” of the day, one team member recalled a sobering memory of the morning.  Walking to the youth center we had seen a wooden wagon filled with stinky garbage parked along the side of the street.  A man was leaning over the edge so far that his feet barely touched the ground in an effort to find something to eat – a grim reality of life for many in Nicaragua.  We thanked God for allowing us to be His hands and feet here and doing what we can to help, even a few.

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