Hey all! Thank you all so much for your prayers and support. Liesl and I are getting ready to go back to Nicaragua this summer (July 2 – 16). This trip will be quite different from all the prior ones: rather than bringing a team of young people, we will be going with our parents and little sisters for the first time. We are really excited for our family to meet all of the kids at the orphanage, Pastor Earl, and the Verbo Church.
The emphasis of this trip is also a little different. Rather than teaching music, leading Bible studies, etc. the main focus of our time this summer will be allowing our family to get to know the kids who have blessed us so much and whom we love so much. This means that, aside from a few trips out to visit the jail and feeding center, we will spend most of our time at the orphanage just talking, praying, singing, reading, working and playing with the kids. In addition, our parents will be giving a series of talks in the Church during the second week we are there.
We would really appreciate your prayers for the trip! Please pray that God would center and focus our heart on Christ and that the Gospel would shine forth clearly in both our actions and our words; that Christ would be made much of. Here are a few specific requests:
Dad and Mom
Raising a Whole Child Conference
Our parents will be giving a series of four talks on the Gospel in parenting and family. In these talks, they hope to apply the Gospel to the way parents raise their children and the way children see their parents. Many of the people who will be listening come from shattered families. Please pray that God would give Dad and Mom an extra measure of wisdom as they seek to share the healing rain of God’s grace to broken parents and children. Our parents have shared this bible study in many different settings over the years, but they have never addressed an audience and culture that they did not know. Pray that God (the only One who is intimately acquainted with all the particular needs of these people) would take our parents’ words and use them to encourage, exhort, grow and bless both parents and children. Pray that Pastor Earl would be able to translate clearly from English to Spanish.
We will be bringing down a handful of books to offer as material for parents in discipling their children. Right now there are not many books available in that community at all. We hope to get a very, very small “library” up and running so that the books will be available to more people. Pray that, Lord willing, the library system will work well so that as many people as possible can have access to the books. Pray that the books would enrich lives.
Relating to the kids
Pray that (between our translating, Dad’s limited Spanish, and the kids’ limited English) the language barrier would not inhibit Mom or Dad’s communication of the Gospel in daily
Elsie and Elaina
Please pray for Elsie and Elaina (who are both nine) to be able to build real relationships with kids and to share Christ’s love with them. They are excited to meet the kids and try out the Spanish they have worked on over the past year. They plan on sharing Bible verses and songs in Spanish as well as reading and playing games. Pray for safety from harm and sickness (especially mosquitos).
Planning for next year, communicating clearly
[Liesl writing] I hope to spend January-June next year in Nicaragua. Lord willing, I would like sit down with Pastor Earl while we are there this summer to present him with a proposal for next year. Please pray that God’s will would be done. Pray that Pastor and I would be able to communicate clearly and make wise plans.
Investing in kids
Please pray that God would open up opportunities for me to share Christ with the girls and children at the orphanage. Pray for boldness and gentleness. Many see Christianity as a list of rules. Please pray that these young people would meet the God of all grace and find rest for their souls. Flordina is still staying at the orphanage and attending the local university. She is feeling somewhat burned out and discouraged as she faces difficult studies and constant temptations at the secular university. Pray that God would renew her strength and that she would find refuge in Him.
I would really appreciate prayer for my time with the guys down there, to continue to invest in the relationships that have been formed as well and getting to know the new kids. I really would love to see the guys growing in their love for and dependence on Christ.
While I’m there I’ll be talking to Pastor Earl about the possibility of coming down for at least a year after I graduate (May 2014). I would love prayer for clear communication and direction on those plans.
And finally, Raphael is in Jinotepe (about an hour from Managua). Right now he is living alone without any family or friends. He has been in and out of work and is just trying to meet basic needs. Please pray for him to grow in his faith and that God would provide for his physical needs as well (shelter, food, safety). I may fly back to Managua early to try to see him. Pray that God works it out!