Wednesday - Saying goodbye

It's amazing that we were only in the village for three days, because the connections among our people went deep.  On this last day men, women, and children were hugging, high-fiving, laughing, and simply enjoying the feeling of community despite our language barrier.
Even the kids started to smile when we took pictures!

And then, it came time to say goodbye, and several of the kids that were smiling, began to look a little sad.
 We gathered in the school house for one last "ceremony" together to say goodbye. 
They decorated the white board for us to thank us for our visit.
They sang us a song of farewell, and sang Kyra Martino Happy Birthday (she turns 15 on Friday).
They presented each of us with a special gift.
...calling each of us by name one at a time so that one of the children from La Bendicion could give us our gift and a hug.
And then they lined the street so that we could walk out in a line to shake every person's hand and say goodbye (no picture of this …

Wednesday - Baseball and Afternoon Fun

The sport of baseball is very popular here in Nicaragua.  
Unfortunately, this village doesn't have the space (like Tierra Nueva) for a big baseball field.  So we brought wiffle bats and balls to use in their smaller open field.  
 Kai was able to get in some pitching!
Oleg is coming in for a big score on this play!
The men and boys played three games (three innings each game)...
...while the ladies watched and cheered the men on. 
 The last game of the day was the most fun of all.  It was a game of boys against the girls.
...and the girls were fighting pretty hard to win this one!
It was wonderful to see the whole village join in on the fun - many playing in the game while others spent lots of time laughing and cheering.
Lots of other activities were also happening while the baseball games were being played.... like limbo.
... or simple hand clapping games
Or even jumping rope
We also had some crafting and coloring going on in the school house for those who needed a break from t…

Wednesday - Harvesting Beans & Lunch

We arrived in the village this morning - our last day here at La Bendicion. 
Kids came running to greet us as we stepped off the bus.  What a joy it is to see the connections that we have made with the people in such a short time.
After the morning message and festivities, we headed out to the fields to harvest beans.
These are the red beans that we saw drying out in the sun yesterday. 
We would pull the entire plant out of the ground, and once we had a good bunch of plants, we would leave them in piles to be gathered later.  
We worked our best, but the villagers seemed to chuckle a little at our methods and lack of experience.  This "working in the fields" was just to give us a feeling for what their way of life is like.
One of the struggles today was that we discovered "ormigas" - little black ants - the hard way.  They reside in the ground among these plants, so several of us got them in our shoes, and some ants went up our pant legs and they bite! It made wor…

Tuesday - Family Pictures, Bibles, and FUN!

During last year's visit to La Bendicion, Edwin, the village board president expressed a desire to have his own bible.  What a joy it was to see his hope fulfilled this year!  This was made possible by a young couple from New Community Church, who is getting married this spring.  They donated the funds for us to purchase the bibles that we gave to the families today. 
 We bundled a Spanish bible (for adults) together with a Spanish version of the Jesus Storybook Bible (for the kids/students) for each family.  
Aron was able to talk to each family, shake the hand of the parents and present them with their bibles.  
In the room where the crafts were happening (more on that below), there was a man who immediately sat down and began to read his bible.  He sat and read for a long time while all the activities buzzed around him.  Watching him read intently was a beautiful affirmation to the gift that God's word is to all of us, and one more thing that we can sometimes take for gran…