Back from Nicaragua and here's a bullety post to kind of hit some snapshots of the week. I will most more in-depth stuff as it processes, but for now here's some highlights:
* Jesus me ve, Jesus me conoce, Jesus me quiere, Jesus me ama
* There are no words for how much beauty I saw in a place of such squalor. I can't wait to upload pictures. Too bad my stupid computer is being a jerk.
* We laughed so hard that my sides still hurt from it all. I don't think I've laughed so much in my entire life. Such an explosion of joy and happiness in the midst of a sad and broken world. There was healing in that.
* One little girl captured my heart. I only got a few hours with her before she was taken to the police station to testify against the men who had held her for the next few days. All I have of her are a few snapshots, and a letter written in haste to me before she left. Praying to God that she knows remembers that she is seen, known, wanted and loved.
* Agape Love has no language barrier.
* Oscar & Vilma are family. I may never remove the bracelet Vilma gave me.
* Reading books, hearing others tell of it, and thinking you "know" stuff will never make you fully understand something - you have to experience it for yourself.
* Visiting the Volcano at Masaya left me pondering at the fact that something so infinitely destructive can be so awe-inspiring beautiful. There is something beautifully redemptive about that.
* Nothing bonds people quicker than uncomfortable circumstances.
* Also, those same kinds of circumstances show the kind of person you really are. We immediately were thrown into rooms with no a/c (not planned) & later rode around in an open bed truck in monsoon like rain. We laughed & ate up the experience like it was fresh water. We had far more fun than was possible for other people in the world. I'm thankful for a group that was jovial even in discomfort.
* Tonight, driving home from a brief dinner with some team members and looking at pictures, I felt like the light might have returned to my eyes. Can't wait to see Betsy to see if she agrees. I hope so. :)
* We ate so much food. Goodness gracious. Meat fests!
* Fellowship. Community. Unity. Love. Hope.
* The five men on this trip proved my heart wrong. They loved us, protected us, guarded us, treated us like treasures, broke with us, served us and shared hearts with us appropriately. They proved me wrong & gave me hope. And they told me that what happened to me was very wrong. They defended me. Nothing more healing than knowing Godly men want to defend you. Thank God for my newest brothers.
* Unexpected friends are the best.
* We visited three brothels & prayed over the women there. Man, oh man. This hasn't even really fully hit me yet.
* One of my new friends - He IS Jim Halpert. I want him to be my best friend in the world. The source of my hilarium (our new word) and laughter. I miss his laugh already. Brilliant wit.
* Men with gentle hearts, humble spirits and strength of character - such tremendous gifts for women who have been hurt and children that have been damaged.
* Laughter is universal and healing...so are tears.
* It was good to cry and not be crying because of the reasons I cried when I left.
* I love to see God work. I love to see young believers see God move - it helps my faith be increased as I watch them watch with wide-eyed wonder at what God does. My prayer is for God to continue to increase my faith, to continue to grow me with the same wide-eyed wonder at his hand.
*...more to come....