Wednesday, January 11, 2012

The Run-Down

I feel as though I really haven't had much of a chance to truly give an update on what we've done here in Nicaragua so far. This will also be brief but I am going to try to give you all a picture of what we've done so far and where we've been and what God has been doing.
(This will mostly be written. Maybe I will try to get some pictures up another time. It's hard. Internet isn't so good so they are hard to load)

Week One.
We spent our first days of outreach getting prepared in Denver and doing ministry at Will, Erika, and Kevin's church called Hillside. We painted murals and practiced drama's and bonded as a group. We did a presentation for the church of one of our drama's on sunday. They are largely involved with supporting the boys home we stayed at in Masaya, so it was amazing to get to show them a glimpse of our team. We each have prayer partners within the church who have committed to praying for us while we are on outreach.

We took off to Miami airport on monday December 19th and arrived sometime at about 5 in the morning and had a 4 hour layover. I pulled out my sleeping bag and slept on the floor of the airport. Finally we were on our flight to Managua! Woohoo! All extremely exhausted and all ready to be at our destination!

We got through customs with really not much of any glitches. Praise God! Yvonne got held up and questioned briefly, but overall great. We took 2 vans and piled all of our luggage into them to travel to Masaya! It was quite packed but good. We arrived at the boys home and spent the night there adjusting and resting. We all needed it!

Our first day (december 21st: let's bring it back) We had an orientation to Hosanna (the church we partnered with for our ministry in Masaya). We then took a tour of a prison (I talked about this a bit). We went to the super-market. Here in Nicaragua they are Pali's and Maxi-Pali's. We then had a walking tour of the whole city of Masaya. It's not very big, but it was still a very long walk.

Day 2. Dec 22nd. We did our first day of kids ministry in the poorest neighborhood in Masaya. It was a bit of a dangerous neighborhood and the kids are very prone to stealing so we didn't bring any camera's or anything, but it was good. Our first shot at kids ministry (with MANY MANY more to come). We do puppet shows, fun and lively drama's, drama's with a lesson to be learned, games, songs, dances, and share a testimony to have an impact on the kids. Sometimes we do balloon animals, face paint, and crafts. It is very good. All with translation!! That is what most of our kids times look like. They are fast-paced and a bit exhausting. My good friend Nate and I are in charge or organizing kids times so we've been extremely busy with that. After that we spent the afternoon swimming in a lake that is actually overtop of an active volcano. It's a big crator! How cool is that! So the water was very toasty, but quite safe. It was fun and refreshing since it is so hot and humid here.

Day 3. Dec 23rd. We did another kids program and the church (Hosanna) and kids from that neightborhood came. It was fun. LOTS of kids. 200-300 at most ministry times. They are cute and speak spanish (often way too quickly to understand any of it). That night we went to the Hosanna youth group's Christmas Banquet. The food here is delicious, by the way! And timing is very relaxed. They are not in a hurry any of the time. Things just happen as they happen. But we sang some Christmas songs for them (it is incredible to be surrounded by so many musicians all of the time). Neat to get to know (as much as we could) some of the youth from the church.

Day 4. Christmas Eve. We had worship in the morning then we went to the church to serve lunch and play games and get to know the glue boys that are still living on the street. Many of whom have been in and out of the home a lot. It was neat to get to bless them. They really are kind. Then at night there was a party AT the boys home for the two boys (Cesar and Mariano) and the people who work there. Christmas Eve is there Christmas here so we were saying "Feliz Navidad" a lot! So great to be able to bless them and share Christmas in this family here. I was missing candle-light Christmas Eve services though!

Day 5. Christmas Day! We had the day off to relax (much needed). It was very nice to skype with a couple of people back home. Holidays make me miss it more. Loved hearing some familiar voices. We had supper at a family's home (the Sanchez'). Their daughter is one of our translators and they were kind enough to serve us supper. After we had eaten, they informed us that we had eaten cow tongue! WHOA!! I ate cow tongue. It tasted a little funny, but I just thought it was a different kind of meat. Also, LOTS of fireworks. Mostly ones that would be illegal in North America!

Week 2.
Day 6. Boxing Day. We had another kids program at a conservative church. Girls had to wear skirts and boys had to wear pants and take out earrings. I was in charge, so a bit of pressure, but it went well. I like running things. Then we went to the market in the afternoon. The first market was good (quite tourist friendly) then the second market was HUGE. It was the Nicaraguan market. However, I GOT LOST! This is a long story but one that taught me a lot. One of the glue boys from the street actually ended up finding me and leading me back to the rest of the group. What a savior. His name is Illian. Oh man! Crazy. That was a bit traumatic for me. At night we had a team meeting and talked all about team unity. It was good. Nice for our team to reassess everything and really work towards speaking life to one another.

Day 7. Dec 27th. Mats and I led worship that day. It was good. Took some time to focus on the meaning of Christ coming down to earth and how it is really why were are here and that it is what empowers us to be doing the ministry we are doing. Then we took time to pray for the things we have already seen in Nicaragua. The people, the ministries, everything. We spent the afternoon downtown and some did worship, some did prayer walks (i did) and some played soccer.

Day 8. Dec 28th. We had some more kids ministry. I love holding kids and playing with them and making them smile. It's the best. It was an outside church and it was HOT and sunny and hard to do puppets on the gross ground. But it was good. In the afternoon we went to the old city of Granada (very VERY tourist friendly) for a bit and visited Lake Nicaragua (about as big as lake michigan, and poop infested).

Day 9. Dec 29th. We did ministry at an old folks home. We had a piniata with them which was great and got to serve them by talking with them, praying for them, and taking care of basic needs like cutting nails and serving lunch. It was neat to go from lots of young to more elderly. They are so eager to share about their lives. It is fascinating to hear. We spent the afternoon up on a mountain called Catalina and getting to look down on the big volcano lake that we swam in. The view was beautiful! God is such an awe-inspiring creator. We had worship and I ran another kids ministry meeting because....

Day 10. Dec 30th. ...was MEGA kids ministry day. We ran 2 programs in one day. Both at very nice, conservative churches. Ninos Ninos Ninos!!. It was good though, but exhausting. At night, the lady who runs the boys home along with many other of the ladies took all the girls to Managua for a girls night out. GNO! It was great. They bought us iced cream and we got a bit of culture shock at going to a mall. Looked just like America. But capitols do tend to be more americanized. It was good, but I was tired that day.

Day 11. New years eve. We spent it at MOUNT DOOM! Just kidding, but we did go to visit Volcano Masaya! And I made more Lord of the Rings references than anyone could count. It was a cool experience. We actually got to LOOK INTO the volcano! At night we went to the church for our first Spanish Church Service. It was neat to spend the countdown praising God. Bringing the new year in shouting praises to His name. Powerful. I missed home though a lot that night.

Day 12. New years day! HELLO 2012! We had another day off and most people went into Managua to go shopping and to go see a movie. I stayed at the boys home. I like the concept of taking a day of rest to truly rest and not filling it with stuff. We had packing to do as well. It was a good choice to relax though. I got to skype Cody. :) Which is always an extremely happy thing. We went to the Sanchez' again on a return invite. It was good. We had a time of prayer with all of our new friends and Masaya family and got to bless them and thank them and have them bless us and thank us. We will miss them dearly. I hope to maybe come back.

Week 3.
Day 13. Jan 2nd. We said goodbye to Masaya early in the morning. It was hard but good. Saying goodbye to the boys at the home wasn't easy, but we got to speak life over them and thank them from the bottom of our hearts. We took 2 buses to Diriumba and where we currently are at the ywam base. It has so much more space than the boys home did. No longer living in such close quarters. We were all very excited to see the space. We spent the morning sleeping a lot because we had to leave so early from Masaya. We then had a tour of the town briefly. It has a different flavor than Masaya did. You could tell it wasn't as big of a place. Then we had a team meeting telling us a bit about what our time here would look like.

Day 14. Jan 3rd. We had a prep morning and we went over some of the drama's we hadn't practiced in weeks and weeks. One of which is very creepy and is called Marionettes and another one which I am the  main character called Facade. I love acting. I miss it sometimes. Then we had a kids meeting to prepare for a 2 day VBS that we did. Lots of prep to do for that because we had kids for 2 days so it looked a bit different. That night we went into the town and into a park and did some Evangelism ministry! I got to speak with a man who is an alcoholic and our dramas and testimonies had to do exactly with that. A man who was a criminal also gave his life over to Christ (along with his knife [rhyme]) It was very cool. I got to pray for the alcoholic man and for 2 girls.

Day 15. Jan 4th. VBS CRAZE! It was good. Lots of cute kids from our neighborhood just around the base. It is neat because the kids who came to the vbs are the same ones we get to see when we walk down the street. There is a lot more freedom to explore the town here in Diriumba. I was a bit sick in the afternoon with mega cold-symptoms. So I rested. Other people went into the neighborhood and into homes to talk to people.

Day 16. Jan 5th. VBS day 2. It went much more smoothly than the first day because we worked out some kinks. It was good though. We played protect the president for all of you Kadesh-ers who will appreciate that! The Nica kids love it! It was amazing to get to have some follow up. We did more evangelism in a nearby town called Jinotepe. We did facade and it was good. I got to pray for a lady's back and she told me that her pain was gone. Cool! Praise God.

Day 17, Jan 6th. I woke up really early and got to watch the sunrise and cook breakfast Nicaraguan style. We went out in the morning and picked up garbage. It was neat. Reminded me of Alexis Tindall. She would have loved it. Throwing your garbage is such a habit for people here because they don't really have public garbage systems at all. It was good to bless the neighborhood in that simple way. Then the teenagers from the neighborhood came over and the guys played soccer and the girls played name games (which they loved) and a cool version of rock paper scissors. In the afternoon we went to a hospital in Jinotepe and got to pray for people and play them music and just talk with them. Encourage them. We had worship and reflection time then.

Day 18. Jan 7th. We had a day at the beach!! The pacific ocean! and most people got a sunburn but I did not! However, my feet hurt from walking on boiling sand!! I love swimming in the ocean and jumping in waves. It was sweet. We got back and I cut my hair (or trimmed it, really, because it was getting a little out of control). The rest of the night we had to rest and relax. I didn't feel to relaxed though. It's been hard not having internet at all in Diriumba until this day. But I got to talk to my dad. That was good. God gave me the grace to be here even when I miss home a bit. I can't wait to be back there, but I am still fully here. That may not make sense, but it's good.

Day 19. Jan 8th. We went to 2 churches this day. One early in the morning at which I got to share my testimony and we did some worship (some spanish some english) and ran kids program. And then afternoon off (got to talk to my mom and to Cody). Then another church at night that we walked to here in Diriumba. We did some worship and 2 drama's and Bri's testimony. Churches here are LOUD!! SO LOUD! But good! The sermon was essentially just a dance party. What better way to praise the Lord. Dancin' like David danced!

Day 20. Jan 9th. It is a dream of the ywam base here to see a bible in every home in Nicaragua. We got to be part of that as we went out and distributed bibles to houses in a poor neighborhood in Diriumba. We got to pray for people and tell them about God. What a blessing it was as they all desired to have the Word of the Lord in their homes. Then we had a team meeting in the afternoon and got a chance to reflect on outreach so far and share our thoughts and celebrate what God has done so far! Woohoo!

Day 21. Jan 10th. We spent the day blessing the ywam base. We stained 3 cabins. We sanded and stained picnic tables, we weeded, we cleaned and we mowed their VERY big lawn. It was good.

And that brings us to today. It is our last day in Nicaragua. We are packing, cleaning, and have mid-outreach defbrief meetings with the leaders. Mine is in 20 minutes! Perfect timing!

God is doing great things. I will update again when/if I can. I love you all. Be praying for my health. I'm not feeling too well and we have an 8 hour bus ride to Honduras starting at 2 in the morning leaving from here, then to Managua THEN loooong time down to Honduras. We also have a lot of ministry in the schools there. You can be praying for that.

Lots of love, God bless.


<3 Gillian K Walker

Tuesday, December 27, 2011

When words fail, love speaks

Musical Chairs with the glue boys on Christmas Eve 
Lindy, Simona. and I on Christmas Eve!
God-Time in Nicaragua. :) 
Mariano and Cesar (the two boys at the home)
My little friend Louis! What a cutie! 
Performing one of our drama's to Coldplay's Fix you!
Cute Nica kidlets!!
A beautiful old church and a beautiful sunset in downtown Masaya. God, you are so beautiful! 
Me and my saving friend Illian (more to this story later)
explosive fireworks on Christmas Day-Night
The Nicaraguan Market!
More later. Just some pictures for now. Love you all lots!

<3 GKW

Saturday, December 24, 2011

Safe, Sound, and Submissive

Hello one and all,
I am sorry that I really haven't had a chance to update until now! I have not been in in access to internet for more than a couple of minutes and it is usually not on a computer, it is usually on a mobile device. We have been BUSY here in Masaya, Nicaragua! That's where I am, by the way! If you don't already know about this, look at my previous blog posts.

God is good. We got down here in travel with barely any glitches. We only had one hold up and that was temporary and easily sorted out. Our luggage all arrive, and with us too! So, I am on a team of 23 people. 3 leaders: Will and Erika Strickland and Kevin Looper. They have done a great job at leading a very varied team. Alliteration? Yes.

We are staying at a boys home home for previous street kids. Mariano, our contact and translator is super great and we felt welcomed right off the bat. They have been SO incredible at hosting us. Attending to our every whim, actually! For example, we had an incident with a scorpion at which Jayeon (my lovely south korean cutie) does not have a good impression of. Nubia (noovia= Mariano's mother and the main worker here at the house) came into our room and shook out all of our bedding and clothing to make sure there were no more scorpions for us! So gracious and so kind. They have cooked all of our delicious meals and cleaned and been so amazing. For example, this is some of the delicious food I get to eat!

Anyways, we have spent our last many days having a lot of fun, and loving on a lot of people. Our first night we simply spent relaxing at the boys home. After a red-eye flight and long layovers and no sleep in the airport, we were all very exhausted. I love it here though. It really does remind me of my time in Belize in Feb 2010 with Project Serve and Youth For Christ. Being here makes me miss my little best friend Lindy (but there is a girl Lindy on my team as well, so I guess that void is filled at least in name! She is a sweetie) I really do love it here already and it hasn't even been a whole week. What a great thing to have God just softening my heart towards and entire country. He really does set our hearts on the right things at the right times.

After we did that, our first day was spent simply touring around Masaya. We went to an old prison/castle where prisoners of war were kept. Nicaragua has been a very war-torn country and has only really been peaceful over the last couple of years. So we visited that,. It was weird to be in the exact same place where so many people had been tortured. So this (below) is a picture of the view from there. Pretty. Also, there is a volcano in the background. COOOOL, hey? Ps: they, in america, would say "coooooool, huh?" Blegh. When it rains, it rains acid rain because of the volcano. We also took a walk through the streets of Masaya.
We have spent time with the boys at the home. We have also done a couple of kids ministry days. I am the one in charge of kids ministry along with my buddy Nate. We do little fun skits, puppets, games, share testimonies with them, and simply love on them with God's love the best we can without knowing their language. I am already picking up Spanish. There are a few people on our team who are helping us to learn more quickly.
Pretty sunset view across a lake on our Masaya walk
We have worked with lots of ninyos (kids). And it is a lot of fun. I love to hug kids. I have realized that my favourite thing is taking a child who is in tears and making them have a broad smile on their face! Best feeling in the world. SO nice to be able to share Christ with these kids, even without words!!
Volcano Swimming
We also swam in volcano water! So it was nice and hot water. Lots of fun bonding with our team and spending time just loving each other. The work that we have done is rather exhausting.
God is teaching us all a lot about what it means to be humble and to serve others through the strength we can get from Him, not from ourselves. We are open and willing to do whatever He wills from us! God have your way with our team.
worship on outreach
If you are a "talking to God" type, or even if you are not, please pray that we would have safe travels, no bugs, no sickness, and just a crazy amount of energy to be able to pour our all into all of the ministries we are invested into.
Anyways, I will write more on our adventures later. Feliz Navidad (MERRY CHRISTMAS) to all of you back home or anyone following. I love you all a lot. We are having a great time. God is great.
Cheers. I love you all. I miss youz (well, most of you)
Just joking around. God bless you all in this Christmas Season. I am excited to spend next Christmas with you, or so I hope.

Adios! Hasta Luego!


Monday, November 28, 2011

home for the holidays

I just had an amazing visit here back in Saskatoon! I had the chance to unexpectedly come back home for American Thanksgiving. It has been such a blessing to be around familiar places, people, and things! I haven't ever truly lived outside of Canada for more than a few weeks, so I haven't really experienced missing my country. I can no longer say that. Even though I was only home for a few days, I got to throw a great surprise birthday party for my dear Cody (he was completely shocked), have great visits with friends, be with my family, relax, set up some Christmas decorations, and participate in the first advent supper!
I am excited, however, to head back to Denver. There are sweet things ahead in our program! On December 17th, we are headed out on our outreach to Honduras and Nicaragua! How amazing!! We affectionately like to call our team the Nicaduras team. Since I am in Nicaragua for Christmas. I had Christmas in November. Oh home sweet home! Here are a couple of pictures from my visit:
I will try to keep updating this blog. I apologize for my lack of diligence in keeping it up to date. Especially when I am on my mission, I will try to do better!