The next few weeks are so are definitely going to liven up the blog as we have, and will have, plenty of “the interesting stuff” to write about. We have officially started our mission trip schedule for 2015 – first, with a trip that we went on!
We had several friends say to us, “What? Missionaries on a mission trip?”. But yes, that’s what we did. Jamey joined the team of an Engineering Ministries International (eMi) project trip last week and I (Lesley) more or less tagged along as his wife. When we attended their annual conference back in November to learn a thing or two, we heard about the trip and decided we’d like to see what project trips were all about since we would only be one country away. And before we knew it, off we were to Nicaragua!
|Mountains of Nicaragua|
We stayed in the mountains in a place called La Finca, which is close to Matagalpa, and is at a higher elevation than we are used to. It was COLD! I mean, the emails warned us that it could get “cool” but we barely saw the sun that week and we all constantly kept on hoodies, fleeces, and jackets. Thankfully we each had one warm item a piece with us here in Honduras to take with us… but with all the shivering I did, I honestly would have loved to have had more. We stayed in the cabins of a Young Life (or “Vida Joven”) camp where the team was working.
|The La Finca Vida Joven Camp|
Over the course of the week, three separate teams to our group tackled their various projects that we would be doing in order to help out the camp with their upcoming expansions. Jamey was on Team Stormwater, and they were tasked with assessing the water sources on property and giving a report of recommendations for stormwater management, both short and long term. The team of architects creating renderings and designs to help model what the proposed expansions would look like, and the bridge team assessed the bridge need, decided on a bridge type, and designed the bridge needed all in the week we were there. Collectively, we are very proud of the work the whole team accomplished and pray that this will greatly help the Young Life camp, will assist the staff that constantly works so hard there, and will bless the youth that will be attending the camp, and hopefully through the camp coming to know Christ in a more personal way.
|Tour of the camp grounds /project sites|
|Makeshift "central office" set up by the eMi project team|
Now, you also might be wondering what a non-technical spouse might be doing on a trip like this? Well, originally, we (another wife and I) had hoped that we would be able to get to know the people we were doing the project for while the engineers were busy plugging away on their computers in a time crunch. But, as there were no campers on site at the time we were there, we were only able to meet the camp staff and staff that works with their coffee production. So, Alli (the other wife) and I went to work at the most useful place for us that week – to roast coffee! We helped Isa, a woman who works with the coffee, to roast, weigh, package, and grind 300 pounds of coffee. It was awesome and Isa was so kind to us. (Unfortunately, Alli did more roasting than I did, because for a day and a half I was stuck up in the cabin super sick!)
|My coffee roasting buddies, Isa and Alli|
During our time in Nicaragua, there were also a few times where we left the over 120 acres of camp property and got out to see more of Nicaragua, which we absolutely loved. We got to go to Matagalpa, a nearby city, to attend church (which was a wonderful and uplifting service!) and then when out for pizza. The restaurant gave our huge group of the team, local missionaries, and Young Life staff, the top floor and we gulped down the tasty natural juices that were available there. Lesley's favorite: orange carrot juice! It was excellent. On Wednesday night, we had the opportunity to go to a Young Life club in Matagalpa and get some amazing homemade ice cream after. Then, to wrap up the trip, on Friday we had our adventure day.
|Pretty drive to Managua|
|View from the pizza restaurant in Matagalpa|
For that day, we did probably one of the best canopy tours in Nicaragua. Not only was in beautiful, had lots of lines, and was a long course, but it also included the best guides ever. They were making the funniest jokes, earnestly helping us have a great time, and took our cameras to take our pictures for us so we could enjoy the experience. They also encouraged some crazy moves on the zip lines to like "Superman" (head first with another rider holding your feet behind you) and "Freaky Monkey" (upside down with your legs crossed and arms out). It was a blast, which was followed by a visit to the local artisan market, lunch at the pupuseria, and a wrap-up session at our hotel in Managua before everyone flew out the next morning.
|Our friend Jamal doing the "Superman" -- his arms are so long |
that he did hit a few trees along the way!
|Watching the magic at the pupuseria.|
Thank you to everyone who knew about our trip ahead of time and prayed for it and our travel. It was our first time crossing the border by bus, but it went very smoothly -- with the exception of a quick taxi hop to make our bus and Lesley having to hold her bladder for 6 hours with no bathroom! Normal for Latin America :) Thanks to eMi for letting us expats, and another local missionary Brian, join on the team with you all. We loved it!