Well, the soreness has kicked in already.
Today we continued much of the work we started yesterday, including continuing up the walls on the first house and digging out trenches for the second house.
I appreciate my broken Spanish so much. It’s amazing how well one can communicate with four semesters of Spanish classes in college. Other than being able to talk to small children and name animals in a coloring book and ask their name and ages, I have been able to have conversations about Jesus with a Presbyterian pastor (who leads the congregation that includes both people whose houses we are making). At that I was completely astounded. We discussed (I guess that’s what you’d call it) about the difference between Protestants and Catholics in the area. It was nice to make small talk about Mary and Joseph and Jesus. There was talk about reverence toward Mary and he said Nosotros adoramos Jesus solamente (we worship Jesus alone). That is such a basic statement about Christian doctrine, bur for some reason, coming from a tattered, unshaven pastor with a shovel in his hand who cared enough to talk to a stranger about His Savior, it seemed like the most profound statement I’ve ever heard. I had such a giant smile, and continue to now at the thought of it. I am so thankful right now.
Other conversations happened during the day as well. One of the workers wanted to know the English word for shade and would repeat it and chuckle during the work day. Another worker, Juan, asked me all kinds of questions about the USA. He first asked what state I was from, how many people live in the US, if there is land or just concrete. Then he asked if I loved Jesus. In small talk, this man who doesn’t know me from Adam, who could just ignore me, brought up Christ to me while we were working together. How amazing is that. That is what bold is. He knew we couldn’t fully communicate, but he knew that if I could understand something from him that it would be about Jesus. The conversation led to talks about other things in the United States like racism and how Nicaraguans view each other as equals despite poverty and skin color. I could come here a hundred times and still be amazed at what I can learn from the people here.
Sorry to be long, but one more thing really struck me today. Before I left, my photography boss at Marshall asked me to turn in my photo equipment and I told him I would have to do it that day because I was leaving the country. I have built a good relationship with this man and when I told him what I would be doing he said, “I’m really proud of you.” This struck me for some reason. First of all, I guess I only really expect those words from my mother and father so I was touched that he would consider me in such a way and was honored. Then, I thought, don’t be proud of me…when I go to Nicaragua it isn’t to add some spiritual notch on my belt or so I can use it as some sort of resume item in Christendom, I go there because it is my joy. I love every minute of being here, from lifting 100 lb blocks all morning to worshipping in the churches here to kicking a soccer ball with an orphan. This place is responsible for so much joy in my life, and people should not be proud of me for coming here because it’s hard or some accomplishment, but rather I would hope people can just share in my joy and know that God is good, not because of what I specifically am doing, but because Jesus Christ died on the cross for my sins and in doing so provided a way for me to show a little bit of His love to others. That is an honor, not an accomplishment.
God, thank you for allowing me to share broken pieces of a foreign language with a people who can sometimes seem so distant because of a different vocabular. Thank you for allowing me to see your glory while I’m here, and thank you for dying on the cross for me, for loving me and for allowing me to give that love to others.
Te amo y hasta pronto,