Two weekends ago I(Bethany) had the priveledge of going up to Esteli to work with some of our youth leaders up there. For the past eight months I have been focusing on building relationships with our participants, especially the women. I’ve received countless invitations to stop by and visit various ministries, and so I finally decided to head up and see what all God was doing in between trainings in the cool, mountainous north!
Saturday: I left Leon at 3pm and rode the bus up. I went straight from the bus station to a meeting at Taburnaculo Familiar de Adoracion (Family Worship Tabernacle). The pastors there (Evenor and Lolita Maltez) are very active in the network and the church as a whole is bursting with creative ways to reach the lost. Scott and I are good friends with the pastors’ two children, Ana Carolina and Samuel. The meeting consisted of a visiting speaker sharing biblical principles for finances. This type of financial freedom workshop is very needed in Nicaragua and this one was well done.
The real story Saturday was the night! We hit the sack around 11:30, which is way past my bedtime anyway. About 2am, a Mariachi band started playing at a birthday party across the street. It sounded like they were in the living room! When they finished their set half an hour later, I again settled down to get some rest. About half an hour later I was rudely awakened by the sound of someone beating down the door. “Is the pastor there?!” Pastor Evenor opened the door to a hysterical woman who wanted him to go pray for a demon possessed family member. The rest of the family was able to go back to sleep, but Pastor Evenor was out for another hour and a half. We all groaned when the alarms went off at 6am. You know you’re in Nicaragua when…
Sunday: I visited the arts academy at Taburnaculo Familiar de Adoracion. On the weekends they teach worship dance, piano, guitar, bass, vocals, drums, drawing , painting, sewing, and English to members of other churches. They eventually want to open the classes up to non-believers as an evangelistic tool. I spent the rest of the day hanging out with the Maltez family.
Monday: After hearing the testimony of Pastora Lolita about how our courses are giving her a heart for the poor, I headed out into Esteli. First I visited my friend Reina Ivania, president of the Association of Christian Schools in Nicaragua. She recently lost her father, so I went to eat lunch with her and her mother and see how they were doing. Later, Reina took me to see the first Christian school in Esteli that she helped to found years ago. It was wonderful to see a strong Christian school thriving in the city. Next I went to visit Fatima, one of the leaders in our classes. She recently led a whole group of young street youths to Christ, and we had a wonderful time eating dinner and sharing what God had been teaching us. Finally that night I headed off to visit Keyla, the youth leader of the second largest church in Esteli. God is doing a mighty work in her youth group of about 70-80 and it was a privilege to visit them.
Tuesday: I headed back to Leon early – very tired, but very blessed at all that God is doing through our work and in the lives of the pastors in the north of this country.