It really is hard to describe the beauty of Nicaragua.  It is a rugged beauty, but it always impresses me.  I haven’t mentioned this yet, but Santa Matilde is in the shadow of the highest volcano in Nicaragua, San Cristobal.  It is active and smoke rises from it all day.  Incredibly majestic.  So between the volcano and the omelet Antonia fixed that morning, Justin and I were inspired.

Julio was back with us again for the whole day.  That did two things for me.  First it gave me an opportunity to finally spend some time with him and hear his story.  Secondly, it allowed us to talk through transitioning him out and a new liaison in.

Our first stop was the rice processing plant about a mile down the road in Chichigalpa.  Pastor Walter wanted to process some rice and use it for two things.  First, to sell some and buy packages of oil.  Secondly, to bag up some and give to those from the church who worked in the rice fields.

On mission trips you have to bring your most flexible self and today was no exception.  The machinery to process the rice was not working.  So what should have been 30 minutes, turned into three hours.  The rice is dried with the husk on it and must be removed before it can be used and this isn’t something you would want to do by hand.

So in addition to learning about rice, I was able to hear Julio’s testimony.  He was abandoned by his mom after his father died and grew up in an orphanage.  But time after time, God put the right person in his life to not only meet his physical needs but also his spiritual needs.

While they were fixing the machinery, Julio and I were also able to walk through his responsibilities as our liaison.  This was very helpful to me as our church will begin to work with a new liaison.  So as was the pattern for the whole week, God worked everything for good.

When the machine started running again, we were able to process our ten 50lbs bags of rice.  Let’s just say the machine was not up to OSHA standards and was actually a little scary to even stand beside.  But it was fun to pour the rice in and watch it come out ready to eat on the other side.

We loaded our rice back in the truck and rode in the back to Santa Matilde.  When we arrived, it was past lunch time.  Once again we were able to share our lunch with everyone who was around.

That afternoon I was able to meet with Linda Gable and Jim Bob “Diego” Norman.  Diego serves fulltime with New Song and is from Boone.  He oversees all our financial details on the Nicaragua side.  Barbara Coop, fresh to the New Song team, was also there.

I brought a list of questions so that I could obtain a clear picture of what was happening on the administrative side of our ministry.  Those few hours we spent talking through what has happened in the past and planning for the future were invaluable.  I truly believe that time spent will reap benefits for our ministry for years to come.  And in the short term, Barbara will be our temporary liaison as Charlie will be coming to the US for the month.

The last thing we did that afternoon was to bag up the newly processed rice into ten pound bags.  We then put the rice and the newly bought oil into a larger bag to distribute to the 35 families who helped with the church’s rice harvest.  It was a powerful time as Justin handed out most of the bags.  To see the gratitude of those families receiving rice and oil was humbling.

Antonia was quickly becoming my favorite person as she cooked for us again.  And the evening wrapped up as usual.  Talking, reading, praying and just sitting enjoying the silence.  Justin and I have some great memories that always accompany mission trips.  It was a pleasure to serve along side him.

One more day to go in Santa Matilde…

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