A missions team from Zanesville UB (Zanesville, Ind.) returned from a trip to Nicaragua last Friday, June 27. Tom Datema, the senior pastor, sent this report.
“An eye-opening experience” was the term I heard most from the three other adults and four teenage boys we took to Nicaragua to work at the Emmanuel church just outside Masaya. We went to construct a wall around the church which will also partially serve as a couple of walls for a parsonage or classrooms in the future. Due to a missed flight in Fort Lauderdale, it was a short trip, but well worth it.
It was hard work and left us with a lot of aching muscles. Apparently they don’t believe in using normal-sized blocks down there, so we built the wall with large blocks that weighed in at nearly 100 pounds each. There was a lot of concrete and mortar to mix, too, but working together with our Nicaraguan friends we saw the wall go up with amazing speed.
The Nicaraguan people were warm and welcoming. Everywhere we turned we ran into beautiful smiles and friendly handshakes. They patiently endured our feeble attempts at Spanish and helped us out with whatever we needed. There is nothing like having someone offer you a bowl of the sweetest pineapple you’ve ever tasted right in the middle of a hard day’s work.
Jeff Dice and his family were fantastic hosts. I’ve been on several mission trips now and I have to say that this was the most stress-free experience I’ve ever had. Jeff took care of all the details, which allowed us to truly enjoy our experience and focus on the Nicaraguans we were working with. The accommodations he arranged were excellent and we felt right at home even though we arrived in the middle of the night.
Jeff also arranged for us to go on a canopy tour. When we went to pay, the staff said they would give us a 35% discount because Jeff has been such a good customer for them. Apparently a lot of people in Nicaragua like Jeff.
Jeff’s planning also made it possible to make the most of our time as everything was ready to go when we got there. It seemed like we were laying block just 15 minutes after we arrived on site. Kudos to the Brown Corners Church for making it possible for the Dices to be in Nicaragua this summer.
This was our second trip to Nicaragua in the last two years, and we will probably go again in another year or two. It is great to be able to minister to the people there, but the biggest impact is on our own lives. God worked in the hearts of both the teens and adults, and it changed our perspective of this great big world. We know we are blessed and with that blessing comes great responsibility.