Finding Gold

on Monday, January 18, 2010

Today was a great day. We were meant to start homeschooling, but the kids barely got through one subject before we had another plan. There is a pastor, Arsenio, that we met at the conference. He is so passionate, so hungry, so desperate for more of God and he is filled with generosity to match. He really has the abundance of the kingdom as part of his lifestyle. He wanted to take us out for lunch because his heart is filled with the hope of gleaning as much as he can from us and our experience with Bethel. He showed up at the house with a 4 door sedan. He forgot that we had 3 kids and he really wanted us all to come, so, since seat belt laws are few and far between? ... Ben was on Graeme's lap in the front seat while Bailey sat on Caleb's lap and Bathsheba and I squeezed in next to them. Have you ever heard that joke about how many elephants you can fit into a VW bug? ... lol ... I've lived it :) It doesn't matter how fancy the car is, the practicality of their culture remains the same ... Everyone is always welcome and there is always space for more.

We thought we were going to go to a Burger King or equivalent of a KFC, but we ended up at this really nice place called RostiPollo. Something like Swiss Chalet only more ... how do you say ... mexican? latin? spanish? It was really nice, tasty. I had this drink called cocoa (koh-koh-ah). It is made with milk and ground cocoa beans, tastes like something between chocolate milk and chai ... it was so good. The kids loved it too. We also tried this juice made of carrot juice and mandarin. Very carroty. Not my favourite, but I've never been very fond of carrot juice. It was such a great time as we ate good food and the pastor drilled us with questions and hopes and how do I's, how do we's? It is such an amazing feeling to have someone pulling like that on all that is inside of you. You know, like when someone asks you about how to be a good mom or how to make a particular dish that you've made or how to improve their communication with their spouse? One of those questions that you know you can answer well and in a way you realize you've been waiting for someone to ask. The kids got a little bored when they couldn't get a word in edge wise. Bailey and Ben kept trying. I'm realizing more and more Bailey's need to influence as she would try to interject in our conversations in whatever way she could, either to add to what Daddy said about he would approach discipline or remind us of a time or story where she recalled our conversation being relevant. Caleb was content to sit and eat and hug me once in a while or lay on my shoulder when lunch was over and they just waited for us to finish talking.

Arsenio wanted to know if we needed to go anywhere. He wanted to help us in any way he could. So I asked if he could take me somewhere to buy Gatorade. Both the boys have had the runs and I wanted to keep their electrolytes up. He suggested a place called Price Smart. He said it was just like Costco. And it totally was! It was like walking into a Costco at home only the prices looked way higher because they are priced in cordoba (20 cords to 1 USD). Caleb was all freaked out by it. He said "they've got the same signs as Costco and it even smells like Costco. It was such a treat to go there. We were happy to find some of our "american favourites" like hot dogs, kraft dinner, cheese strings, chewy granola bars and chocolate chips for making cookies. If I was shopping for myself I would have probably picked up more, but pastor Arsenio wanted to buy our groceries and we were so humbled by his generosity. After our shop they wanted to stop at a coffee shop to pick our brains a little longer and there they bought us all a drink. They had an english menu and some familiar drinks. Graeme had a hot pumpkin pie latte and I had a frosty one. They were yummy and Graeme's came with a cute little monkey face in the foam.

We squeezed back into the car and Arsenio and Bathsheba took us home. We got home around 4 and the kids had a hard time settling back into home schooling. It's 8pm, we took a break for dinner and so far Caleb has still not finished his first subject. Ben called for me to come and help him with his math just as I spilled my glass of juice. I told him to hold on and then forgot about him for about 15 minutes. When I finally got to him, I found him sprawled on his top bunk and fast asleep. The bathroom visits today really took a lot of him. Please keep all of us and our health in your prayers. My host, Laida, told me today that it is pretty normal for most americans to get sick like this about a week after they get to Nicaragua. Fever, puking, diarrhea, the whole shabang apparently are normal, relieved to hear it, but truly wish it wasn't the case. I'm especially thankful that I am not battling it myself so that I have the strength to be there for the kids and for Graeme who seems tonight to be counting it all joy to encounter such bathroom trials.

Bailey and Caleb are faithfully and with good attitude continuing with their work tonight, giving me time to blog and Graeme time to work. Bailey has been motivated tonight because she's figured out how to climb the tree in the backyard and found the coolest place to sit and read. It's too dark to read, but she wants to climb it with a flashlight anyway.

We are excited about meeting with Arsenio again on Wednesday. He wants to show us around his church and his city. He is hoping to convince us to move into a house he has available in his city. He would make sure we have internet and give it to us free of rent. He's been trying really hard to talk us into coming and we are confident that the Lord wants us to be there in Dariamba for at least a portion of our time here. We are praying about the timing, but we know God has something for us to do here in Pastor Ricardo's home and in his church too so we want to be Spirit lead. We don't just want to just do a good thing, we want to do a God thing. Our time is limited and precious. Unless God wants us to stay longer.

Graeme did not get to preach at church yesterday morning as we had first hoped. He was bumped for another Canadian guy who was in town for only a few days. They knew Graeme would be in town for a while so he gracefully bowed out and gave this other guy an opportunity to speak. The night before, while I was praying and seeking the Lord for our time here, he put 1 Corinthians 2:4 on my heart. It is a passage where Paul speaks of the fact that when he first came to the Corinthians, he did not come with words of persuasion, but the Holy Spirit and demonstrations of power. I shared this with Graeme and he was considering how it might fit into his message either in the morning service or at the revival street meetings in the evening. With no opportunity in the morning he knew even more that he had to open the door at the evening service for the Spirit to move in power. He opened his Bible to speak and realized at that moment before the congregation that his notes were not in his Bible. He was totally freaked out and remembered the scripture I had shared with him. He knew that it was no coincidence that he forgot his notes. So he just took the time to call on and wait for the Holy Spirit, he started to activate people who were in attendance that had just been at the conference we did and the pastors sons who had accompanied him to the meeting. The Spirit came in power and many people were healed. A woman with one side of her face completely swollen was completely healed. Another woman with pain so bad in her knees that it was difficult to stand, stood up, walked a few steps and lit up as she realized her pain was gone. The pastor's son, who was also praying for her, lit up as much as she did when he realized that this was for real and his prayers made a difference. As healings took place, more people felt the confidence to go out and start praying for the people in the street who were curiously looking into the meeting tent. Our friend Rosario was there and gave powerful testimonies and encouragement in spanish. Graeme said it was an amazing time. I was sad that I missed it, but also thankful for a good night for the kids and I.

The kids and I had spent the afternoon and evening at the Villa de Esperanza. Graeme was there at the beginning to help celebrate two of the Villa girl's birthdays. I was so thankful to arrive at the right time so that Ben got a chance to swing at the pinata and all the kids got to have some cake and watch the birthday girls "kiss" the cake(a Nicaraguan tradition). It was a lot of fun, totally light hearted. They were kind of tired of meetings and church after the week we had and were miserable at church in the morning. The music, dancing and laughter of the party was just what they needed.

After the party, Graeme left for the street meeting and we stayed (partly to be close to el bano) at the Villa to meet one last time with the Bethel team before they left for California. It was an awesome time of testimony and prayer and Bailey really had opportunity to connect with some of the older girls at the Villa. In case you haven't read elsewhere yet. The Villa is a ministry that rescues young girls from their life of poverty and violence and desperation at the local dump. They give them a hope and a future by introducing them to a life in Christ and giving them a home. They host Christians teams and visitors to increase revenue to the ministry. We had been there several times, but this was the first night that Bailey really connected with the girls. They asked us when we were leaving if we would be back to visit even though the Bethel team was leaving. We assured them we would and they were said they were happy because they liked playing with Bailey. That made her feel really good. God is so faithful. He knows exactly what we need and at just the right time. It was a tough day and Bailey needed to know that there was someone in this place besides her family that cared she was here in Nica. She told us yesterday that when she grows up that she would like to come back to Nica on her own and volunteer at the Villa for a while. I totally believe she will do it too and she'll be amazing and totally rock some little girls and make them feel the love. That's what she was born for.

Well, once again. We've got a long one. Cuz God is just that awesome and I can't stop talking about it. I love my Daddy and He loves me. This is our first day without the team and I can see that God has given us total favour and influence. I am confident of this one thing for our time in Nica ........ It's gonna be sooooooo good!



Mark Peterson said...

I love the no seat belts thing!

Just had dinner with the Georges, good to hear that the conference went so well. You guys are a huge part of that. Love you, miss you.

The Petersons

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