I just returned from spending 11 days in Nicaragua leading a team of 4 high school girls and God did incredible things! The 4 girls were from different states and we all met for the first time here at ABWE for a little training and then flew out together the next day. The goal of this trip was to expose the girls to various ministries while giving them opportunities to serve…and that is definitely what we did! We didn’t slow down but the girls had such great attitudes! The entire time I did not hear one complaint and they jumped right in getting involved! Life can be tough in Nicaragua and so we knew people were praying for us each day!
The first couple of days we helped another American team with a VBS and began building shelves for our big project. The VBS was great and the 5 of us girls really got to use the little Spanish we knew to talk with the kids and have fun with them. In the afternoon’s we would head back to where we were staying at the Center (like a camp) and began cutting, measuring, drilling, and sweating over shelves! For being a bunch of little girls we sure know how to use power tools!
Throughout the week we were involved in a variety of ministries from helping with artwork for the Nicaragua Christian Academy, visiting a blacksmith’s shop ministry, helping with a church ladies Bible study, to learning about ministry to the upper class, and helping with AWANA. It was great for us to see how God can use anything as ministry and the girls really saw that you can do anything as a missionary.
Most of the week was spent at the House of Hope. This is a place for ex-prostitutes to get off the streets and make changes in their life. They can live at this center for up to 3 years and are taught the Bible and how to make money in different ways. Their main source of income is to make greeting cards and one morning we were able to watch as the women made hundreds of cards. We helped by holding their babies so they could work faster and make more money. The sweet little girl I held just cried the whole time…she had a runny nose and a fever so I felt so bad for her. Her mom felt bad but was so thankful I could hold her while she worked.
Our biggest ministry at the House of Hope was to the girl’s dorm. We called it our “Extreme Home Makeover” project! The girls dorm houses girls ages 9-15 who were involved in prostitution as well. Most of the girls were sold into prostitution by their mom or dad’s and their stories just broke my heart. Some of the girls were sold to an Auto Hotel where cars just pull into a slot to spend the night in their car. A big curtain is pulled across the door to the garage and these little girls were brought to the cars for the men to abuse. Other girls were sold to pimps, older men, etc. One little girl was sold to a pimp by her mother for only $7.50…even thinking about that just brings me to tears.
So our job last week was to spend time with the girls and makeover their dorm! As you can see from the “before” picture, the walls were so dirty and the girls used to write on them just to add some color to the wall. Their sheets were dirty and old and they had no place to put their clothes, shoes, schoolbooks, etc. So, we brought fun sheets from the states and purchased paint when we got there. The first day we painted the foundation colors and the 2nd and 3rd day were spent painting huge butterflies and flowers all over the walls! I went around and used a projector to trace pictures then the girls and I painted in bright colors all over the place! It was a great experience because while we were painting we got to hear from their dorm mom, Brittany, a 23-year-old girl from California, about their stories. We also got to spend time just talking with the girls and many of them helped us paint flowers the 3rd day! Although our Spanish was little, we were able to build relationships and love on them as much as we could.
Saturday morning we paired off with the girls and helped them read through their Bible study before meeting together as a group. One of the little girls, Sujey, and I sat down and memorized her verse and read through the story. When we finished one of the ABWE missionaries, Shelly, came over with a brand new Bible and had Sujey sign it. Shelly said that Sujey and her were talking 2 weeks ago about Jesus dying for us and Sujey just started crying. It became real to her and she understood why Christ died for us. That day Sujey accepted Christ and this day she was getting her first Bible! I could have burst into sobs watching her sign her Bible and show it to me. Her face lit up and she was so excited! I was just thanking God for Sujey and for bringing her to the House of Hope so she could hear for the first time that there is a God who loves her!
On Saturday the girls went to another building after the Bible study and we surprised them by making up their beds with the new sheets and setting up the shelf’s we built! When they came in they were so excited to see it all completed! We helped the girls organize their things on the shelves and gave out more hugs that I could imagine! It was incredible to know that they girls have suffered so much abuse, are living away from home, but that the Lord allowed us to bring some joy into their lives.
It was such a blessing to play a part in these 4 girls lives and to minister alongside them. It was awesome to see how God is working in Nicaragua and how much He needs workers to tell people about His love. Please continue to pray for the missionaries who live and work there every day, praying for the girls in the House of Hope that they would receive Christ and live normal lives, pray for the poor and the wealthy that they would come to know Christ.