Our journey is drawing to a close. While everyone would have liked to spend more time with the students from Centro de Fe, it was good to spend time together as a team. The experiences of preparing for this trip, having the preparation become reality in deep and genuine relationships, and feeling the pain when relationships need to come to an end, at least in person, have developed in us a deeper appreciation for what genuine relationships are about. Each person on the team has grown and the truth that God intended us to be in relationship has become clearer in each of us. It has given me great pleasure to see this transformation take place, and to be part of it with such an amazing group of students. But more on that a bit later. You want to know what we did today, so here goes.
After breakfast, Lester and Peter arrived to take us out for a day of activity and to experience more of Nicaraguan culture and beauty. It was good to have Peter join us for a full day. In past trips, we saw more of him and I was glad this group would get to know him a bit. Our first stop was at a local potter in San Marcos . This is a family business run by a mother and her sons, one of whom demonstrated the process by which this pottery is made. We were all amazed at how quickly he was able to create a vase on a foot powered wheel. He then explained the 21 day process of drying, applying pigments, firing the pottery before it is brought upstairs to the shop. Some beautiful pieces were purchased. Susan also tried her hand at throwing a pot on the wheel.
We then went ziplining. The crew that assisted us through the course were so helpful and cheerful as we all did typical rides, got to experience being superchicas, superchicos and one superpapa. Gliding upside down also added to the variety and excitement of the experience. Through it all, our safety was always obviously the top priority.
Then it was on to lunch in Granada on the corner of the market in the town center. Think Nicaraguan A&W, though I think the chicken has Chubby beat. Fortunately, it was fast as we all wanted to get on the boat for a tour of some of the 365 islands on Lago Nicaragua. Besides seeing the vacation homes of some of the richest in Nicaragua, we enjoyed visiting the monkeys on their own special island. Egrets gliding above the water and vultures soaring high overhead added to the beauty.
Then we returned to the center market, had some good coffee, bought a few more locally made items, and wandered around taking in the sights. However, we didn’t take too much time here because we were off to one of Nicaragua’s most famous natural wonders.
Volcano Masaya is an active volcano with a parking lot right on the rim. The smoke rising out of the crater makes it difficult to see very far down, though we did see down to the second rim. The other side of the parking lot offers a great view of the plain Managua and the lake, plus the northern tip of Lago Nicaragua.
That completed a busy day except for a small taste of home as we went to Pizza Hut for supper. We returned to the Nehemiah center to do some packing and wrap up activities. We will get to see most of the students at church tomorrow so we are looking forward to that.
I want to end with a short personal reflection. I realize again how much I enjoy spending time with high school students. They certainly keep me young with their energy and good natured teasing (I can’t count how many times I have heard “classic Roy” in response to a picture or a memory). What I love more is their sincerity, thoughtfulness and unreserved expression of feelings. Trips like this make me realize God is so clearly at work in the lives of these young people and give me hope. It is so gratifying to see them internalize the importance of the focus on relationship in this trip, especially as we once again heard of examples where helping hurts when it simply involves throwing money at the perceived need. In the context of developing relationships, I have grown to love each one of these students. God be praised.