A Moment of Truth

I was sitting in a chair holding a piece of paper watching a mother speak to her daughter. Smiling from ear to ear, I felt a joy deep down inside starting to form. It was a moment I had been waiting for, more than that, praying for, and that others had been praying for too.

For four years we had prayed for this and it was finally here.

Getting Caught Up

I don’t really know where to start. The month of May has been filled with so many ups and downs that it is hard to know what to share first, or even how I will ever be able to share all of it.

There is so much that has happened in Nicaragua, from our first ever family reunion where the supported families were able to finally meet each other in a joyous dinner, to seeing Harby writhing in agony over the pain from his cancer and not being able to do anything to help him, to getting to see the Leon school 99% complete after three years of planning and waiting.

In other words, it has been a moving, soul-stirring month.

I am actually in Nicaragua right now, continuing to experience everything that is going on. By the time this is published I will be on my 22nd day in country (just during the month of May!). So you can imagine how much I have seen and done.

In fact, just now, as I sat here writing this, I took a short break to make a list of all the stories that I wanted to share and filled up a page in less than 5 minutes! And I could easily go on listing things to share! But, I have to start somewhere so I will start with a story that is very near and dear to my heart.

Setting the Stage

There are few people in this world that I love more deeply than Guiselle, one of the little girls in our single mother program. I met her when she was only 6 years old in 2010, and from that moment on she has continuously stolen my heart.

When we met, her situation was critical. She lived in the house in the picture to the right, which was made up of broken pieces of wood, metal and plastic other people had thrown away.

Her house was literally other people’s trash.

She and her little sister, Lupita, were well below the average weight of children their age and often became sick due to the poor living conditions. Neither of the girls were in school, and both were well behind in all school subjects.

Before the girls were born, their mother struggled to make ends meet. As a result, she fell victim to hard-hearted men, forced to perform illicit acts in return for the “right” to work a shift at her job, eventually becoming caught up in prostitution.

The girls were a product of their mother’s profession. Even after they were born she would bring business home, kicking the girls out into the street while she worked. Other times she would leave the girls locked up in their home all alone for days with no food or even water while she looked for work.

Praying for Change

When I met Guiselle and Lupita I could see the impact of their situation all over their little faces. The picture to the right is from that day. Even today, if I close my eyes I can clearly see the sadness in their eyes, how heavy Guiselle’s heart felt, and how the weight of the world was already crashing down upon this little 6 year old girl.

We enrolled them in the food support program, started working with their family, and started trying to love them as Christ loves us. We have been doing that for 4 years now, and over that time Guiselle and I have formed a special bond.

For me, what started as an instinctual reaction to hard situation has transformed into paternalistic feelings for this little girl I want so desperately to know the Lord and to have a better life. As a result, I look forward to every trip and the opportunity to see her, speak truth into her, and make sure her little heart is doing ok.

The past four years have been a blessing for their family. The Lord has been gracious to draw all three to himself. The mother now knows Christ and lives a transformed life. Guiselle and Lupita love Jesus, are both in school, and are strong, independent little girls who have a zest for life, riddles, and painting the fingernails of anyone and everyone that comes to visit Nicaragua with us (even the guys!! Ha).

Finishing the Story

So there I was. It was hot. The sun was on my face and the stove top in front of me was radiating even more heat. But I didn’t care. In fact, there was nowhere else I would have rather been.

You see, little Guiselle was sitting in the chair next to me and her mother was sitting in a chair across from me. In my hands was more than just an ordinary piece of paper. It was Guiselle’s latest report card.

Less than 3 years ago Guiselle was struggling to catch up to the kids her age, fighting to even pass each class. But now? Now she was one of the smartest kids in the room. And as I sat there admiring the fact that she was making ALL A’s (WAHOOO!!!), a Kingdom moment was beginning to unfold.

“I am so proud of you, Guiselle!” I told her while still looking at her report card. I then put it down and looked her directly in her eyes and told her, “You are so smart, so strong, and so capable of doing so many things. I am so proud of your grades, how hard you have worked, and how far you have come!”

Her mother chimed in, “I am so proud of her too. She is doing so well in school this year. It makes me so proud and happy.”

Guiselle looked down, smiling, her cheeks red from blushing. This was perhaps the first time I had ever heard her mother brag on her, and I could see the impact. So I decided to egg it on a bit to see if I could get her to do it more. The end result was so special.

Speaking to her mother I said, “Did you know your daughter is THE SMARTEST little girl I know?!”

Her mother caught on and replied with a 5 minute monologue about all the ways her daughter was smart, good-hearted, kind, strong, and a million other positive attributes.

I watched as Guiselle eventually raised her head and looked her mother in the eyes. Her mother shifted her gaze from me to her daughter, continuing her speech. I could see the emotion on both of their faces as each of them stepped into the moment.

Her mother was letting love reign and speaking truth into her daughter, and her daughter had the courage to be vulnerable and accept the truth being spoken.

It was one of the most beautiful scenes I have ever witnessed in Nicaragua. And it is the reason we are here working.

The Point of it All

Our goal is not be the only ones that speak Gospel truth into these kids for the rest of their lives. We also want their parent’s to come to know Christ, to be transformed by his love, and to take up their rightful place in their home as the primary giver of love that points their children to the cross.

I see that with Guiselle and her mother, I see that with Ruth and her mother, and I see the first fruits of that in many others.

This conversation, though it might seem small to an outsider, was only possible after years of heart transformation by the Lord. After Walter and Johana poured out love upon the mother, showing her the path of the Lord, and helping her along the way. After all our teams came down and showed these little girls that God’s love, Jesus’ promises, and every joy and hope we share is theirs to have as well. And after so many of you have loved them enough to pray for them without even knowing them.

That is literally the point of the gospel. To not just save souls, but to transform lives.

God is big. He is active. And He is at work here in our families.

More to come soon!

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