We finished painting the inside of the new school in the Palos Negros barrio in Rivas…we painted the tin roof, and we painted the wrought iron window and door guards. We cleaned up the floors of all the spilled paint, and left a special gift to the congregation that worships there to help them paint the outside…now it’s time to kick it and relax, right? Not with this group. Finishing a day early doesn’t mean they have an extra day to relax and hit the beach, they asked me, “What else can we do while we are here?” Such great attitudes, such great young people.

Freddy and I asked our hotel owner, Onedia, and her nephew, Eddy if they knew of a family near the hotel that could use some help. Onedia immediately told us of an older woman and her two daughters living on a plot with a dry well and two shacks that serve as their living quarters. We went out to check it out and to visit with the family. When we told them what we wanted to do, the woman asked us, “What is this going to cost me?” She didn’t think anyone would want to help her for nothing. We explained that our gift to her was to help repair her home because Christ compels us to love our neighbor. She was very appreciative and told us that we could do anything we wanted. We noticed that most of the walls in their shack were termite-eaten and were not providing any protection from the elements. So we decided to replace that rotted wood with cement board, which is impervious to termites and water; the main cause of damage to homes in this part of Nicaragua.

As we got back to the hotel to discuss our plans, Onedia came up to Freddy and told him that she was very impressed with our team. She is Catholic, and was very moved by our devotionals, singing, politeness, and friendliness that had been shown to her and Eddy. Eddy loves hanging out with us, and has become one of our group. Onedia wanted to do something nice for us, and told us that she would make a special Nicaraguan snack for us for our workday at the neighbor’s home.

I think this is what mission trips are for; cross-cultural opportunities to share our faith, show our love, and make new friends. This group from New Mexico State University is really showing what the love of Christ is.

Maybe you will want to join us next year as we have already made plans to build a house for a family here!