From Camp to Nicaragua
Hard to believe it’s already been almost 4 months since we said goodbye to our last group of campers! My role this summer at camp was a ton of fun! I wore a lot of different hats throughout the summer moving from being the building guy to camp director to speaker. However my main role was camp builder guy. I am careful not to use the term maintenance man because I usually go around breaking things and Jacob comes behind me and fixes them, so maintenance is definitely not what I do. This summer I had a lot of fun building our giant slide and a few other fun things. Spent many many days along with other great help to put together one of our newest and funnest features not only to be enjoyed by campers but the 30 thousand odd people who visit us during corn maze.
Many of my fondest memories from this summer were when I would put down the tool belt and join the campers at supper or jump in to play a game with them….Sometimes the directors just needed a little help getting everyone wet you know? Well, I’m that guy! One particular night I walked into the dining hall while Nekaelly was leading a mean game of Pictionary YFBC style and I was greeted with hugs and cheers as the campers with special needs were so excited to see me! There’s no feeling quite like the genuine love of another human being…who just looks at you and says “you’re awesome”. If you have never experienced the pure joy of working with adults with special needs, then put down this letter and sign up to be a counsellor next summer. It will probably be the best week of your life! If nothing else it will give you the biggest self esteem boost! Ok so back to the update part… Camp was amazing, Corn Maze was a blast and I am back south where I belong for the winter!
Nicaragua is much the same as how we left it in June. Very hot and endless amounts of need. I was so pleasantly surprised to find that my teachers had done such an amazing job of the kids class while I was gone. Every day they help 15-20 kids with their homework, then they play learning games, and overall they mentor and love on these kids. We have a small house that I started renting last year for the YFBC interns and we have kept it as a space for alternative learning. We have a small stove where we can make things like popcorn, hot chocolate and we have a garden in the back where the kids have planted tomatoes, cucumbers and they prune the fruit trees and water the plants every Friday. Its a great little space where the kids can spread out a little but and very soon we will be welcoming this years team of Interns to come and experience Nica life in a genuine Nica house! Let me tell you a bit about our Interns from Last year.
Last January we welcomed 4 interns here to Nicaragua and they each got to experience the joys and frustrations that come with doing missions. Most mission trips are filled with building, handing out things and in general they are well planned, busy and you rarely experience the mundane. The advantage of the Interns joining us here in Nicaragua for 5 weeks is that we get to introduce them to what its truly like to just live here. Many days the interns would go to their assigned class and no one would show up, or they would come 1 hour and a half late…..welcome to Nicaragua! They learnt to take the bus to town to buy their groceries, or buy their groceries in the open market. They laughed together with our youth, they ate with their hands and they joined in all of our classes rubbing shoulders with the kids and youth of the community and got a true glimpse into their lives.
In my opinion one of the best and worse aspects to their trip was their house, when I say they stayed in a genuine Nica house its hard for me to describe….Basically its all concrete, no kitchen sink, no windows, no central air, no screens, its just 4 walls and a roof. And some critters. They adapted like champs, often having guests in their house and dealing with some pretty extreme heat. So we are looking forward to this years group of Interns and impact that Nicaragua can be on them and the people connected with the Youth Farm Bible Camp. It has been an incredible blessing to bring our ministry here in Nicaragua under the wings of YFBC and an even greater blessing to share that with the Interns
Moving forward we have been expanding our youth program to reach out to the teenagers in a deeper way. We are putting the carpentry class on hold for a bit and in the interim doing bible studies 2 times a week in an attempt to guide these youth into a journey of authentic faith. The biggest obstacle of reaching people in Nicaragua is religion. Deep roots of religion take over the image of following God and its hard for people to separate the two but we are working hard to change that. We do plan to do practical skills classes again soon but probably focussing on smaller intimate group learning rather than an open class for everyone to come. And things like nail esthetic stuff and cooking and mechanics are some of the skills we are leaning towards. I am currently looking for the right people to put into place to see some of these things come to place and Trust that God’s plans are bigger and better than mine. Thank you for your support not only to me and my family but to the amazing people who are all too often forgot about by the world.