Basilica of the Ascension
View from top of Cathedral on Leon
Miles C chillin in a hammock
The new house
Until we meet again Mt Sinai
Wednesday July 10, 2013
Erin led us in an inspirational prayer before breakfast. Our menu today was a scrumptious banana french toast, rice, watermelon, and Nica pineapple. Our spirits were crushed when we found out we could not hike Cerro Negro Volcano, due to the recent seismic activity. But God had another plan for Team Lynnhaven. We mounted up and headed off to downtown Leon. We got a tour of the historic timeline wall of Nicaragua history. Our awesome interpreters gave us a great talk and descriptions of the wall. We walked across the street and entered the Basilica of the Ascension. It’s one of the oldest churches in Central America. We broke off into small tour groups. Half of us were able to go up the small, old, and narrow staircase leading to the roof. We had a panoramic view of Leon and surrounding volcanoes. The views were breathtaking. We had some firsts, Michael M did the holy wobble, and it was a bucket list item. Meredith was concerned about the strength of the domed part of the roof. As she was telling us her concerns, another tour guide took his group across the roof that she was concerned about. So we followed. After the roof top tour we survived the decline to the Catacombs and Crypt of the Basilica. The lower level is now used for storage, office space and does have a crypt. The most recent burial was in 2009. There used to be a tunnel system that connected all the surrounding catholic churches.
After the tour we had to refuel, and Eskimo was the answer. The first Eskimo ice cream shop was closed and we had to find another one. We had our interpreter tell us that the next one was two blocks away and a hike ensued. While on this trek, a man walked up to Billy W from behind and grabbed his backpack. Wrong guy to mess with, he wheeled around and confronted the suspect only to realize it was PABLO, our previous intepreter from three years ago. Hugs and kisses from all the previous team members followed. He stayed with us, at the Eskimo, until we boarded the bus back to EA.
After a delicious lunch of sloppy joe’s on a bed of rice, salad and fruit we rested briefly for our final visits to our friends at VBS and work sites. The first team to departed for Mt Sinai. We were just amazed that in three days the house was finished. The walls were up, roof on, and inside and out was painted. The floor was poured and the family will be moving in by Friday. We helped with the final painting and the other part of the work party distributed toothbrushes. The big parachute came out and they played games of duck, duck, goose and run under the chute. The icing on the cake for us was having a prayer for the new house. This included the whole team, workers, children, and all families of the community. We had close to 40 people there and we made a huge circle. Prayer was led by Pastor Enrique and it was a very moving experience. Before the prayer, the owner of the house ran into his present house and grabbed his Sunday best shirt and ran back out to join us. He was smiling and putting the tails of his shirt into his pants. He stood with me during the prayer and afterwards he shook my hand vigorously and when he let go I embraced him in a long hug and wished him “good luck and to keep with God”. It was a moment I will never forget. Our goodbyes were tearful and just hard to do, the children didn’t want us to leave, the community wanted us to stay and chat longer. But Rojer blew the horn of our little mule and we had to leave back for EA. Our Brothers and Sisters of Mt. Sinai have shown us love and wear God on their sleeves every day. There hospitality is unmatched and I am truly humbled by their faith. We will see you again.
The next group went to VBS with the school children here at El Ayudante. When we arrived, we were greeted with many smiling faces which we recognized as the kids from Sunday’s swimming party. Another spectacular performance of Noah’s ark was presented. We had a lot of leftover VBS supplies and gave them all to the children. Stickers, books, and sports equipment. The teachers were so thankful and appreciative. We had time to play jump rope and baseball. Then the rains came and the group retreated to the school. To the children’s surprise, they were treated to a great array of donated shoes, thanks to the efforts of Ethan Grogan, the kids were giddy and screaming at the sight. Erin had a special connection with one of the children named Dina, whom she met on Sunday at the pool party. Dina has a bubbly and wonderful personality and is always smiling. They became instant amigas. Erin couldn’t help but notice she shared the same personality as her good friend Becca Parcells. Becca loved spreading the word of God to all people. Erin coincidentally had a T-Shirt that was worn for Becca during a Cake Off fundraiser. The shirt had a team name of Becca’s Bakers and Erin’s name was on the back and pink was the color. Erin gave the shirt to Dina and she smiled ear to ear and gave her a huge hug and kiss. The other group took their sponsored kids shopping to purchase necessary item for their kids. It was a wonderful afternoon for the sponsored kids to meet their sponsors and have some one-on-one time together, a true blessing. We had another successful work day at the Wall and the foundation is being laid and it will soon be finished. The team had Ira, Billy, and Chuck working the wall and “short burst” was theme of the day. They quietly say that they slowed down the Nica crew but a good time was had by all.
The evening came too quickly, and all the team members got back to EA for dinner. But before we ate, our interpreters had to leave for the day. There were many tearful moments and picture-taking with these great folks. They work so hard for us as translators and we have a lot of time to get to know them personally. Great relationships build fast with these folks and it’s hard to say goodbye. Dinner was a beef stir fry over rice, macaroni salad and the usual fruit. But then things got interesting, we had been trying all week to have our Nica staff of Vanessa and Joe join us in a Volleyball game. Tonight was the night and our players broke off into teams that included Vanessa and Joe. It was the best of three games and it led to great laughs, skinned knees and a lot of sweat. It was worth the wait as all of us on and off the court enjoyed the spectacular hard play.
We then went into Devo mode and our story tonight was from Acts:16:16-34 – Paul and Silas in jail. It was another great example of when you do God’s work he always has your back. The story led to a lot of great discussion and points about the story. We finished with two great songs. First was a request to sing once again, If I were Jesus by Toby Keith. The final song, was Lord, I lift your name on high, played by our very talented and gifted Reid Wolfe, on her Ukulele.
Its been a bittersweet day because we have been looking forward to having a turn at devotions but it’s the last day at EA. We have felt the love of Lynnhaven, El Ayudante, and Mt. Sinai throughout the week and can’t wait to share the love on Sunday with you all.
Ryan Y, Miles C, Erin W, Ira C, and Brian F