“Does anyone have a light,” the bowman called back to the passengers on the boat? I pulled my small flashlight out of my pocket hopeing it might help; already well after dark and the river low due to the few months of no rain (known as the dry season) traveling was dangerous. I whispered a short prayer asking God’s protection, as we headed toward the small hand dug canal for the dugout boats to pass through.
Three hours after the sun had set we finally reached Esperanza; our destination.
It had been a long day; I had gotten on the bus at 4:45 am in Puerto Cabezas and made it to Waspan by 10:00 with plans of spending the night there and finding a ride up river in the morning, getting off at Esperanza for a conference, and there meet with Chris who’s plans had been to already be there waiting for me. But when I got off the bus there was a boat leaving for Esperanza right then; so with no breakfast and no lunch I got on the boat for the trip up river.
I managed to dig my backpack out from underneath all the luggage and asked someone to take me to the Baptist Church (where Chris would be waiting for me). As I came in sight of the small church my heart fell; no lights, no genorator, no music, which ultimatly meant no Chris. I made my way closer to the church now seeing a candle lit inside. I slipped in the back door setting my backpack on the dirt floor and finding a seat on one of the peices of bamboo set up for benches.
After a short service beans were heated, coffe boiled, and by 11:00 with a full stomach I laid down to rest.
I sent word to Chris the next morning that I had arrived; despite my own urge to just go home I felt God had brought me here for a reason.
Chris, Marcos and Karen arrived that afternoon with our generator, speakers, a few micrphones, and musical intruments.
As we determined to share a few rays of light in Esperanza we conected with another servent of the Lord. Pastor Jonicio who had recently been able to take a few ministry trips out to the mountains where the Spanish live. Jonicio had heard of us and our plans to come to Esperanza and shared the news with his newly made spanish friends. The Spanish upon hearing this begged Jonicio to have us also come out and share more about Jesus with them as well. When Chris and I heard this we immediately felt the Lord was calling us to go share with these people who were so hungry for God’s word.
As news spread around the village that we had made plans to go to the Spanish in the mountains, the people became quite upset. “You are crazy, you’ll get killed, those Spanish are horrible people, ileagles living on the Miskitu reservation and they don’t count a human life worth anything, this is sure to be a trap, they will just lead you out there and have every single one of you killed,” the people of Esperanza exclaimed desperatly. But God had spoken to our hearts and we knew we needed to go.
When Dad and the rest of the family came we excitedly shared the news with them, and all felt led to go. The village leaders and the leaders of the Catholic church called a meeting hoping to stop us from going, but like Peter who asked the Jewish leaders, we asked them which was more important to obey; them or God?
Monday morning with two pack mules for the equipment, our family, and a few beleivers from KrinKrin and Esperanza set out for the mountains each with our feet for transportation and our backpacks on our backs.
As I walked through the deep jungle I felt the peace of God surround me, with the huge trees towering high above me, and vines of all shapes and sizes twisted from tree to tree. We climbed mountains, stopping only for a short breath at the top, and drinking out of the small creeks at the bottom. After five hours of walking we made it to a small Spanish farm on top of a hill where they were expecting us and served us with a hardy meal.
Unlike the predictions we were not killed or mistreated, rather excepted with open arms by a people hungry to learn more about the gospel of Jesus Christ.
During the evenings, services were held in the small bamboo home with thatch roof; nights in hemocks and split bamboo were our beds.
After three days of services we made the treck back home. We were all happy to be home but there was no rest. The Catholic church here in KrinKrin was having a conference that weekend and as part of the community we pitched in to help.
By Monday we all colaspsed, exausted an tired. But oppertunities to share the gospel were still plentiful; after three days of rest Chris and I got on a small dugout canoe with all the equipment to go minister at another conference in SangSang; seven hours up river with the small dugout canoe.
“What is wrong,” I asked bending over Chris’s bed? Chris had gotten sick the first night and spent his days in bed leaving me feeling terribly alone. “God I’m tired, I feel so alone, God Chris is so sick, and God I’m not even getting to spend time with Mom and Dad their last few days before they go to the States for two month,” I wiped the tears from my eyes. As I cried out to God I was reminded of the verse where Jesus said, “Foxes have dens and birds have nests, but the son of man has no place to lay his head.” But here some kind people had opened their home and given me a bed to sleep on, what was I doing complaining? God is the one who gives me strength, and with so many praying for me surely the work I was doing would not be in vain.
By the time we came back from yet another conference in Santa Isabel, a few weeks later where we had walked a day and a half to get there, I was drained physically and spiritually.
The day after I came home I became very sick, God blessed me with a whole week in bed to pray and to be filled up again by his word. Not saying that the sickness was fun or easy but God knew I needed time with him.
Chris is sick again? Since the time in SangSang when Chris had gotten so sick it seemed this was a common question. The evening before we had gone to Santa Isabel Chris became really sick again leaving Katie and I to go alone with the other beleivers from KrinKrin; and now yet again as we prepared to go to Klìsnak he was sick again.
After some problems had acurred and the Drama group had fallen apart when we came back from Santa Isabel I had decided there was no point in me going to another conference. But as I had shared my thoughts with God he had shown me very clearly that he wanted me to go to Klìsnak; but now what could I do?
“God what do you want to teach me”, I prayed realizing Chris would yet again not be able to go to the conference. “None of my sisters plan to go and Marcos won’t even be going because he plans to go down river and I know that Dad won’t aprove of me going by myself”. But as he is so faithful in doing, God whispered into my heart, “trust me my daughter”.
Only minutes later Marcos came by the house having decided he would go ahead and go to Klìsnak; and asked me if I planned to go as well. Needless to say God worked it out to where I was able to go.
Soon after we arived in Klìsnak a group of children gathered around me checking out this strange white girl; giving a perfect opportunity to share with them bible stories. The next morning when Marcos had to leave on a quick notice I thought for a moment that I had been left alone, but then had to remember that I will never be alone, because God is always with me.
God moved powerfully in the next few days not only in the lives of the people of Klìsnak, but also in my life.
He wants so much more of my life then I share with him now. He longs to use me in ways that I can not imagine. He wants a closness that I withhold from him. He wants to take me further. Regardless if I’m close to my family or in a place where I don’t know one person I need to proclaim his word to all that will listen. God wants so much more! How much am I willing to give?
For those of you stuggling with sharing faith, don’t feel alone. I know the feeling; the feeling of mustering up every bit of courage you have to share about God, only to have it come out sounding all awkward and out of place.
You wonder why it is so hard to share if you know how much God loves you and you want everyone else to know about it as well. So why should it be so hard?
Even after almost three years of being on the mission feild I still struggle wth these same issues. But I want to encourage those of you out there struggling with this; never stop trying! It does get better as you practice more.
Four years ago I had a hard time even going and saying hi to a stranger, much less start a conversation, and for sure not wittnessing to anyone. So when I reflect back on this I praise God for how far he has brought me. And I pray he will continue to stretch me untill sharing about his love is all I know.
Thank you to everyone who prays for us and the work we are doing, and also to those of you who give so generously. May God bless you richly!
Until next time, Sarah Lee