The WINTER TEAM has made their way back to the states; Doug and I (Betty ) are still in Nicaragua and continue to bask in all that transpired throughout the week. The team experienced it all while they served; there was sickness, heat, exhaustion, grace, mercy and blessing after blessing as souls were redeemed and restored back to our Lord and Savior. Those who serve in the area churches were encouraged and challenged to persevere in the call on their life as they learn what it means to love their flock well. As we closed out our week and listened to the hearts of our team we saw a theme…. “Surrendered hearts make willing vessels for God’s work to be done!”
We have highlighted a few thoughts. Our prayer is that you to will be blessed as you read through the answers to the question; “What has God taught you about Himself this week?”
Kevin (FOAM)) – “It is not about me…”
Kathy (FOAM) – “No matter what we think or do, God is totally in control!”
Roy (FOAM) – “The world needs less of me and more of Him. The question I ask myself is, ‘What do I do with what the Lord asks me to do? Am I willing to be a willing vessel?’ I realize that not doing His will is sin.”
Anthony (FOAM) – “Our God is Faithful! His work is alive and active. We go from Glory to Glory, Victory to Victory. Despite the fact that I was sick, my time here was sweeter than last time.”
Bob (FOAM) – “I praise God for reminding me that it is not about me or my comfort. The questions I have to ask myself are, ‘Do I have faith to do what the Lord asks me to do? What would I not be willing to do for Him?’”
Janet (FOAM) – “The Lord showed me how BIG he really is…”
Charlie (FOAM) – “God doesn’t need to take a break, even though I do. God wants to be in a relationship with us that is full of passion. The passion that we want with our Lord is the same passion that He has for us!”
Pam (FOAM) – “God lets schedules change… looking at time and the things I do, I have to ask myself, ‘Do I live by faith? Are the things I do, my plans or the Lord’s? What is the Lord’s will for my life?”
Dan (FOAM) – “It’s amazing to fathom how BIG our God is. It is great to be a part of God’s love and experience His big heart. This trip has been humbling… I pray that I will be available for God’s will concerning my life.”
Bertine (CC Panama City,PAN) – “When I look at all the needs here in Nicaragua or any mission field, I ask myself, what can I do to contribute to the never ending needs? Then I ask myself, ‘do I make myself available?’ I realize I need to do everything I can to prepare myself and then wait on God and make myself available for whatever He has for me.”
Caesar (CC Panama City,PAN) –“ I am blessed because God has shown me his love in Nicaragua through each of the Team missionaries from FOAM. Thank you for letting me participate in this work with all of you.”
Mark (CC Cosa Mesa, CA) – “God has taught me about perseverance and the importance of perseverance. The heat bothers me; I had many people praying for me back in the USA. The conference was hot yet God gave me perseverance. He used team mates to bring me cold drinks just at the right time and I made it over the hump.”
Betty (FOAM)–“ I have learned in more ways than one, that ‘Jesus is enough!’”
Doug (FOAM)– “I need to take my hands off of things and let God do. Watching God ‘do’ through each of you, the team members, shows me that God’s love is HUGE!”
Day 11 Click for Pics
The team awoke at 4:00 am for the last time in Nicaragua. We had a long day of sun and fun in San Juan del Sur the day before and now we turned our hearts toward home and the glacial ice shield that awaited us atop Mt. McRoberts. We were somewhat tired and disoriented and seemed to be bouncing around like super balls in a phone booth as we finished packing and then had breakfast together. We began to reflect on all the incredible works the Lord had accomplished though us…it all seems like a dream. He could have accomplished these mighty works without us but He allowed us to be partakers of His Glory as we simply chose to abide in Him.
We bid our Nica family ‘adios’ with strong hugs and headed for the plane in Managua and soon thereafter landed in Atlanta for our connecting flight to Newark. We had a slight delay before boarding due to…you guessed it, snow and ice that was problematic for North Jersey at the time. However, we finally got up into the air and before we knew it arrived kinda on time with warm hearts and cold bodies. We all gathered as one in the McRoberts casa to bid one another ‘farewell’ and Gods speed-for now. We all know deep within us, we’ll be meeting again to hear of the manifold blessings and the power of His might that wreaked havoc on the powers of darkness in Granada and the surrounding community!
Amen y Amen
Today was a day to recharge and fellowship. After our pancake breakfast the group piled in a van and headed west in route to Playa Hermosa where we would spend the day basking in the glory of the Lord in the hot sun and cool Pacific waters.
But first there was a stop we hoped to make on the way. For many months, Doug and Betty have been in prayer about a piece of property just outside of Granada a bit west of Cana Castilla. There is a great need and hunger for sound bible instruction in this part of Central America, where pastors and leaders can be raised up to live and teach the Word of God as enriched, humble and loving servants. If it’s the Lord’s will, this beautiful hillside Christian owned property may be the perfect answer to their prayers. After our (unannounced, but warmly welcomed and somehow expected) visit we continue on route to the pacific coast.
Click for Pics
Our day was full of laughs and conversation resting in the Lord, and was capped with a meal at a local favorite in the coastal town of San Juan del Sur. We arrived back in Granada late evening in time to have a sweet time of prayer and thanksgiving for what a Blessed time and opportunity the Lord has provided each one of us on this trip. On any mission trip it is the hope and prayer of the group to have the Lord do a great work through the team in our willingness and desire to serve Him. And if the work He has done ‘in’ each of our hearts during this time is any testament to what He accomplished ‘through’ us, it is without question that the Lord delivered His mighty plan. He always does. Amen.
God’s grace abounds in spite of ourselves and the major shortcomings that characterize humanity. We are victorious in the completeness of Christ. This pretty much summed up our devotions for the morning. The team then split up into 4 groups and attended Sunday services at Torre Fuerte, El Puente, Cana Castilla, and Iglesia Immanuel (Francisco’s home church). We were literal ambassador’s for Christ.
Click for Pics
We regrouped at the casa where Lindsay brought in her traditional kickin’ chicken. This consisted of whole smoked/bbq chicken with fried and roasted plantains that created a festival of flavor on our taste buds. (The team is obviously somewhat delusional at this point) .
As evening drew near, Bertine returned with two new members from Calvary Chapel Managua who were immediately welcomed into the fold. We then headed off to El Fortin for the evening Church service. The taxi from our house to Fortin was not for the faint of heart- it seemed that every turn disaster and peril awaited us with open arms. With the expertise of our van driver we arrived unscathed. Bertine led the service with his usual tender, loving, sweet spirit that stirred the members into a deeper love for their Savior. This was all translated with one of our new team members from Managua and Lindsay who has picked up the language like a champ.
At the conclusion of the service the team slipped back out to head home. Resident cowboy, Doug “longhorn” McRoberts began herding a wild team of horses that challenged our every advance. Doug prevailed and the team found its way back to Granada.
The night concluded with an impromptu Super bowl Party and fellowship with the pastors/speakers and local missionaries. Game over.
Our Daily Tsunami of Grace:
God’s grace allows every believer to unleash the divine on an unsuspecting world; words of grace may fail where acts of grace prevail
Day 8 “Bible Conference Day 2” Click for Pics
We started the day with a morning of fellowship and devotions with the team and visiting Pastors /speakers Mark Presley David Bryant, Bertin, Caesar. David Eason. The Spirit was mightily manifested in the devotional time and carried us on wings into the conference.
The theme of the conference was servant leadership and living by example as we are progressively being conformed into his image (El BAMO).
A few key moments of grace from the conference were from Mark, who spoke against receiving glory from men and the importance of receiving glory from the Lord. This he learned from his wife when he boasted about taking care of the kids. Her simple reply was “So what, I do that every day”. Another moment was Bertin sharing on how important it is to not manipulate God’s word, by glorifying the messenger through pontification, oratory manipulation and chest pounding, rather than speaking the word plainly and sweetly and allowing the Holy Spirit to minister to the hearts who hear it.
This teaching pierced the heart of the local leadership to their core. Resulting in the importance of living out the servant leader role, and by feeding and tending to the needs of their flocks and specifically living this out in their daily walk.
In spite of all the encouragement we have received and all the relationships that have been built, we can’t help but recognize that we will soon be departing but that Lord has an amazing plan in store for each of us. During the teams debriefing, we couldn’t help but be amazed by the fruit the Lord provided through the preserving leadership of Doug and Betty.
Our Daily Tsunami of Grace: Living recklessly in the freedom that we have already obtained through His victory on the cross when He declared ‘It is finished’ – by a new a living way
Day 7 Click for Pics
The day began steeped in grace as we delved into the daily devotions and we were saturated in Christ’s righteousness. This was followed up with a sweet time of prayer for God’s leading over the Bible conference. As we walked toward the conference doubts started to enter our minds whether anyone would even show up other than us. As we approached the Church we were quickly reminded that even when we are faithless- He is faithful. We were greeted with familiar faces and some new ones and the Iglesia was abuzz with what God was about to unleash on the expectant bible students. Pastors and leaders were unified with one heart and mind with their message on the humility of servant leadership. The visitors were amazed that all the work and preparation was there to minister to their hearts, they knew this was something big.
The team would not be held back as we continued to minister at both Lindsay’s Bible study and Vive Le Luz. While at Vive Le Luz, Kevin shared the promise of God’s love and the eternal security found in it, this was followed with Daniel giving his encouraging testimony that highlighted God’s faithfulness during a time in his life when he lived in blatant unbelief. During this time Pam, Janet and Kathy flooded Lindsay’s house with a seismic wave full of God’s unfailing love with the retelling of Noah.
When we came back to the casa we were surprised by Amy Gallagher, Julio, Narley and their kids stopping by. This led us to share our personal testimonies of what God has wrought in our day’s experience. For the most part the team is finally healthy from an illness of pandemic proportions.
Our Daily Tsunami of Grace:
When we traffic in the realm of right and wrong we can easily become critical and judgmental toward one another. We conveniently forget that living and showing a kind, loving and humble spirit prevails and wins the day.
Day 6 Click for Pics
We are joined today by Pastor Mark Presely from Calvary Chapel Costa Mesa. Pastor Bert Almazan, and Pastor Ceasar from Panama who arrived for the pastor’s conference.
Half the team with Bert and Caesar went to Pantanel where Janet did another rendering of Noah’s Ark to 30 rowdy fun loving kids . Ceasr then brought the Gospel to these children and to over a dozen young adults. The kids were attentive to the lifesaving words dripping from Caesars lips.
During this time as the other half of the team was desperately attempting to recover from the Pandemic virus, continued to prepare for the upcoming Bible conference. God’s grace prevailed as those of us who were ill bonded through our daily devotions and how God can use an illness for His glory.
Our Daily Tsunami of Grace:
As believers we are not to be caught up with the attempt to achieve acceptance from God as we are already accepted in the Beloved- either in failure or success. With this truth we now have the freedom to rest in Him to complete that good work which He began in us through grace.
Day 5 Click for Pics
The day started with the majority of the team suffering for Christ in the form of a stomach virus that is borderline Pandemic. But as Satan intended to thwart Gods’ work, the rest of team was strengthened by the Lord’s promises and revelation and were persevered to deliver the Gospel of God’s grace and love to the people of Granada. We headed off to El Puente, for a bible study where Charles taught on the evidence of Christ’s identity on being both God and man from John 1. The team then headed off to El Fortin, where we joined pastor Manfredo and his wife Connie and daughter veronica assisting in the feeding program while Janet, while sick as a dog, lead the children’s ministry to over 25 children.
With over half the crew down, all of our plans were being rearranged and Roy had to think quickly to come up with a lesson to share with the Vive La Luz (Live the Light) crew that were coming over for a bible study. Proverbs 3:5-6 kept reverberating through his mind, but as he prayed the Lord showed him Luke 15 (the Prodigal son). The meeting was designed to be an interactive message with the Holy Spirit guiding the fellowship. When the love of God starting showing through the message wall of guilt and shame crumbled down. At the end of the message an invitation was giving to return and continue to have closer walk with God, and 2 of the men who we bathed in prayer prior and during this trip came. This brought exceeding joy to the team to see how God answered prayer and remains so faithful.
We then attended the Vive La Luz program and joined in praise and worship while Bob gave his testimony.
Day 4 Click for Pics
At 6am the team awoke bright eyed and bushy tailed and ready for action. After ascending into the highest realm of the heavenlies during our morning devotions, we were shaken to the inner core, as the earthquake of truth descended upon us. This left us spiritually charged allowing us to endure the powers of darkness that were set against us during our proclamation of the Gospel within the Caña Castilla community. After breakfast most of the team headed off to the spiritual battle field known as Caña Castilla, while Roy and Roberto set off to visit a prison where they encouraged a friend and fellow believer with some hard core grace truths. Doug and Betty were once again trying to align the conference speakers into one coherent schedule with the ever changing logistics of housing; flight schedules and other stuff. The good news is they no longer trust in themselves to accomplish this task but in prayer and miracles to get the job done to everyone’s likes.
The entire team was experiencing spiritual warfare while ministering in their areas of ministry. Doug and Betty could not get to Caña Castilla due to an unrelenting “honey do” list for Doug as written by Doug, resulting in the inability to meet us at Caña Castilla. The lot then fell on Charlie who with a quiet confidence in the Lord began to unleash a torrent of biblical truth on the congregation. The end result appeared to be a new found understanding of the exceedingly great and precious promises of life given to each and every follower of Christ. This excited the members to live out the spiritual exploits already won for us by Christ. Roy and Roberto reunited with the team after hours of ministry outreach. The rest of us who were at Caña Castilla were suffering from dehydration, sunburn and somewhat light-headedness after hours of house to house visitation.
But the warfare did not hold us back in the least. We were undaunted as we brought the love of Christ to family after family. Sharing the Gospel to those who never heard of God’s salvation, and bringing encouragement to the saints who were suffering, and hope to the hopeless. This was followed up with sharing the salvation of God to the Niño’s in the retelling of Noah’s ark and the promises to mankind.
Granada is full of hype and the ultimate expectation of soon becoming national baseball champions. Some of us went to the Nica World Series where the Granada Oriental’s are in a death fight to win the last two games of the series in order to be crowned Champions of Nicaragua. We’ll provide updates as they come to us. Please pray for some of the team members who have fallen victim to illness as the weather is just a little too hot for us who are still accustomed to the frozen Arctic tundra that we’ll all be soon dealing with upon our return.
Our Daily Tsunami of Grace:
To go about our everyday lives allowing our feelings, emotions and senses to guide us is a certain recipe for disaster. We are told not to live by sight, rather by Faith. We simply believe and live out what we already are in Christ through Faith and watch His manifold blessings begin to blossom daily.
Day 3 Click for Pics
The day began at the first sounds of the cock crowing and the dogs barking (again). This was followed by a time of devotions with members of Vive La Luz,(Torre Forte’s addiction program) as the grace of God was unleashed in the midst of the fellowship. After breakfast we went to visit those who were a part of the Vive La Luz program but have stopped coming for various reasons. The team lovingly encouraged and showed them the value and worth of God’s unconditional love.
During this time the other team members were tirelessly preparing for the upcoming Bible conference being held later this week at El Puente. The team reunited for lunch and preparation for the upcoming ministry outreaches scheduled for the week. We then headed out to the Bodegas for a children’s outreach. Pam led the children’s program with the telling of Noah’s ark and the grace and promises of God. While Dan, Anthony, and Kevin acted out the scenes using balloon animals created by the gifted hands of Kathy. This was followed up with a time of crafts that inspired and excited the kids.
After being reenergized with dinner we headed off to Calvary Chapel Torre Forte where we had a Vive La Luz service. We were overjoyed by the immediate fruit of our labor from earlier this morning with the attendance of two Vive La Luz prodigals returning after our visitation. The service was led by Roy and he taught on God’s unrelenting love toward stalking down fallen believers so as to reconcile them back into His fellowship. This was followed up with a highly impactful testimony by Janet that stirred the hearts of all those who heard it “Our Daily Tsunami of Grace” Faith in His cross is the vehicle to our senses for the perception and apprehension into the heavenly realm and all the blessings thereof.
Day 2 Click for Pics
Luckily the team was gently awakened by the natural sounds of barking dogs and roosters crowing. We then met for breakfast and morning devotions. We proceeded to rendezvous with our Nica family at El Puente for a great time of worship and fellowship. Darryl spoke of God’s divine nature of His deity presented to mankind as the Word incarnate.
After church the team split up into different ministry outlets. Roy and Roberto proceeded to visit men from Viva La Luz ministry (addictions ministry) to encourage them in God’s grace. While Lindsay took the rest of the team to the market to get supplies for the week. After refueling with pulled chicken sandwiches the team headed off to Calvary Chapel Torre Forte, and were greeted with warm embraces from our Nica family.
The team invited the young adults to the hacienda for some ice cream goodness. We bonded over games and prayer for the upcoming Bible conference.
Hasta luego amigos
The team slipped out the side door and away from the cold, harsh, frozen, Arctic tundra and quickly found ourselves in the warm tropical paradise that some of us are beginning to call home about this time of year. Once again Pastor Douglas and his anxiously awaiting crew greeted us with open arms. We then proceeded to construct a great pyramid of Egypt made of bricks of luggage atop the van worthy of a closer inspection from the local authorities. With luggage in tow we arrived at our casa away from casa, and began to finalize the schedu…zzzzzzzzzz Click for Pics