“What Does a Normal Day Look Like for You?”

“What Does a Normal Day Look Like for You?”

June 2018

One of questions I seem to get asked the most is, “What does a normal day look for you?” This is honestly a really hard question for me to answer because no one day is like any other. I don’t get up every morning and go to a routine job, and I don’t go out in the village every day and preach the gospel either. I am a person who likes schedules and organization so this can be challenging at times; but, I’m also a person who likes adventure, so it is exciting some days having no idea what the next will look like. This lifestyle has become normal and comfortable for me; it no longer seems strange to sit and wait an hour because someone is late for a meeting, or decide on the spur of the moment to pack and leave to go somewhere for a week. I like to journal and keep an over-the-top daily outline on paper of what I do each day, no rich details, just events, because details that may be interesting to the next person have just become a part of my everyday life.

So, “What does a normal day look like for me?” I pondered again one Sunday evening. How could I answer this question so constantly asked me? Maybe I could keep a more detailed journal for a week and send that as an update. This idea seemed good to me and I decided that once I was back home and more settled into “normal” life I would do just that. “Normal,” I thought to myself again, “What if something else comes up and then it won’t work?” Realizing that if I wait for something “normal” to happen I would never do it because “normal” was more abnormal than the normal abnormalness, I began to write a more detailed journal entry of that very day’s events for those of you who would be interested in hearing what a normal day looks like for me.

This ended up getting really long, but if you would like to read, feel free.

Here is a week of my “normal” life- ENJOY!

DAY ONE (Sunday June 3, 2018)

I love to sleep late on Sunday mornings. This Sunday I happened to be in Puerto Cabezas at Verbo Ministries (It is always a treat to be in Port on a Sunday to attend church services). I had come to Port for several different reasons; the first being that I needed to have some legal documents signed for the ministry, and the second being that there are some children here in the children’s home that are very close to my heart. I had also been asked to run a few errands for some friends in the meantime. I had done most of my errands the day before but had a few left to finish. I had arrived Saturday and had originally planned to stay a week but, because of political unrest, I was advised to head back as soon as possible.

I woke up at 5:30 with no sleep left in me. After a shower (showers here are always cold) I got my Bible, journal, and coffee in a rose cup (I am not a coffee drinker but this morning it seemed like a good idea) and sat on the porch to enjoy a few hours, just God and me.

At 8:00 I had a meeting scheduled at the park with the son of a friend who had sent him some money to buy her a phone. I had given him the money the day before and he hadn’t been able to find the phone his mother wanted. So, at 8:00 I left my quiet morning behind and caught a taxi to the central park where I waited for twenty minutes till Abelardo showed up. He had asked me to show him where he could find the phone his mother wanted so he could buy it and give it to me to take back with me for his mother (It would have been much simpler if I had kept the money and bought the phone myself). He was in no hurry and by the time he got his dealings done it was a few minutes close to time for church. As soon as I could get away I flagged down a taxi and headed back to Verbo. I quickly slipped on a skirt, grabbed my Bible and got to church only five minutes late.

When church let out I found one of my special little boys and bought him a snow cone from the vendor outside. I bought two more and headed over to the children’s home to find one of my special little girls (who isn’t so little anymore) and share a heart-to-heart talk and a snow cone.

After a yummy lunch with Pastor Earl and Damaris I set my mind to the document I still needed signed. After trying for an hour to get ahold of Steve, whose signature I needed, with no avail, I went back to the children’s home to find one of my little men. I had talked to the director of the children’s home and found that my little man wasn’t doing so well. I talked to him for a long time and wiped his tears and fought back my own as I encouraged him to do better in school and behave well. After assuring him that I loved him and believed he would try and do better, I walked to a friend’s house whom I believed could help me get ahold of Steve to sign the document. My friend was busy recording music with another friend but quit his work and had that friend take him on his motor-bike to Steve’s house. After showing his friend where Steve lived he came back and had his friend take me and drop me off there (confusing isn’t it?). When I got to Steve’s house he wasn’t there and his wife had no idea when he would be back, so I talked with her and asked her to please have Steve come by Verbo to sign his name. The guy with the motor-bike had already left and I had never been in this neighborhood before. I had no idea how to get back to Verbo (the guy who had brought me hadn’t followed any path but just weaved in and out between houses to get there) and there were no taxis in this neighborhood, I had to walk out. This made me a little nervous because I wasn’t sure of the path, plus it is really quite dangerous for a loan white girl to be walking in a secluded neighborhood. I followed the path Steve’s wife had pointed out to me and eventually came out to the main road where I could find my way back to Verbo.

Several hours later Steve must have gotten a little signal on his phone because he responded to the message I had sent him earlier. He arrived soon after and signed his name on the document and we visited for a while. After he left I decided I had time to read a book that I had brought along (I rarely ever read anymore, though before moving here I loved reading).

Supper at Pastor Earl’s house was nakatamal (food prepared in a large leaf) and lots of entertainment from their adorable 11-month-old grandson. Packing and a few more chapters in my book ended a beautiful Sunday.

DAY TWO (Monday June 4, 2018)

My alarm didn’t go off at 4:10 like it was supposed to. I flew out of bed at 4:49, got dressed and out the door in five minutes. A friend was waiting with his motor-bike to take me to the bus station. I wasn’t the only one late though; the bus itself was late and pulled into the station just as I did. Approximately 40 people already waited impatiently and as soon as the bus came to a stop, a mini stampede occurred. I stood back and watched for a while as everyone tried at once to squeeze through one narrow door. After things calmed down a bit I too stepped onto the already crowded old school bus. Today it was said, only one bus would be making the trip as the other had broken down. I debated climbing up on top with the cargo but decided first to see what the inside held. The aisle was full of people standing and seats occupied, only a few seats remained with backpacks placed on them showing they were reserved. The bus driver (I had been acquainted with him from previous travels) sat quietly on his seat watching as people stuffed their backpacks and bags in the overhead bin and fussed that there wasn’t more room. I greeted the driver and he replied with a friendly “good morning,” then called to a lady sitting only three seats back and asked her to remove the backpack that was beside her and motioned for me to take the seat. An hour passed and the bus filled till it seemed it would pop at the seams. We were packed like sardines on the inside and the top was also loaded with lots of cargo and about twenty-five people. Thankfully Chele is a careful driver and we made the trip from Puerto Cabezas to Waspam safely in five hours.

Upon arrival I jumped off the bus and dashed through the rain to a taxi whose driver was a friend. After he had dropped the other four passengers off, he brought me to our rented house where I left my backpack and then walked up the street to buy minutes for my phone and a few groceries for lunch. I cooked and ate a simple lunch then walked fifteen minutes to the internet café where I had a short meeting with one of the ministry board members. Afterward I slipped away to missionary friends Tom and Nutie’s house to say good-bye before they leave for vacation tomorrow. Tom generously gave me a ride back to my house where I quickly busied myself, withdrawing money at the store next door, paying the house rent, and getting the money I had withdrawn changed from dollars to cordobas because the store I had withdrawn it at only had dollars. I got back to the house and had a random lady ask me to help her with her English homework. I spent fifteen minutes trying to help a total stranger, who knew no English whatsoever, with her English homework (because when you speak Miskito, you are Miskito, and Miskito people always help each other out when they are in trouble). I then talked with a boat guy and “secured” a seat on a boat that would be going upriver in the morning.

I walked back to Tom and Nutie’s house to drop off a package for them to take to Managua for me, because there is no mail service here. Nutie dropped me off back at the house with their four-wheeler where I cooked and ate supper, packed, and curled up by the fan and read a good book, rain pattering on the dark street outside.

DAY THREE (Tuesday June 5, 2018)

This morning my alarm did go off at 4:15 like it was supposed to and I prepared for the day’s journey with final packing, heating leftover rice and beans, frying an egg, carrying water to flush the toilet, and making sure the house was presentable for the next person coming through. At 5:00 I took my bag down to the long dugout boat, then climbed the ninety-six steps back up to the house to bring my backpack. The boat driver was rather slow getting around and we didn’t leave Waspam till 7:00. We had a 40HP motor on the back of the long boat and with about a dozen people and a bunch of cargo we were loaded decently but not excessively. I chose a nice spot to sit on the four-inch board nailed along the edge of the boat. I got to ride next to the boat driver’s sister. She is a sweet lady and I enjoyed visiting with her and playing with her four-year-old son. At 12:00 we had our first rest stop in a little village in Honduras. Only two more hours in the sun (praise God we had no rain) and I was home with my family. But how empty the house felt. My parents and Lizzie and Mary are all in the States at the moment. Chris had gone upriver to visit a pastor and wouldn’t be back till the next morning, and John was out working in the jungle. After sharing a few stories with Camille, Katie, and Eva, I delivered medicine (that someone had sent from Port for their mother) up to the neighbor’s house. A large group was gathered on the porch just chatting about life, politics, crops, and the weather. After visiting with them a while I gave Daviana her meds and returned to my house where I just hung out the rest of the day playing with the neighbor girl’s sweet baby and visiting with those who stopped by the house. Rice and beans were heated for a simple dinner and after we had filled our stomachs, we had a family share time and prayer before we turned in for the night.

DAY FOUR (Wednesday June 6 2018)

In our house we have lots of adult women all involved in ministry; and along with ministry comes lots of house work. To allow each of us to be involved in the ministry that God has called us to, yet carry our share of house work, we divided it out in days. Wednesday is my day to be responsible for the house and the kids.

I got up at 4:30 to spend a little time with the Lord before the busyness of the day began. At five I found my way to the kitchen where I made a breakfast of fried beans, eggs, fried bread, and coffee, for the family and for the two guys John had hired to help him plant corn and plantains. Over breakfast I quickly cooked rice, boiled green wild plantains, and made spaghetti soup for John to take out with him to the jungle for him and the guys for lunch. After breakfast we read 2nd Peter chapter 3 for family devotions both in English and Miskito as the neighbor girl had joined us for breakfast and devotions.

After devotions the house quickly cleared as everyone went about their own business, John to the jungle, Camille to teach school, Eva to do laundry, and Katie to clean the storage room. I busied myself with washing dishes, heating leftovers (we have no refrigeration so this is the way we keep food from spoiling), loaning a friend our scales because they butchered a cow and were selling the meat, buying milk from one of the village boys, sweeping, mopping, and getting our kids (a group of fatherless children that we take care of most days) off to school.

After I had the house all cleaned and the kids sent off to school, I began cutting up and grinding the three pounds of beef that I had bought. A gang of six little boys (ages 6-8) from our neighborhood decided to drop in and hang out for an hour. A reckless bunch they are, but, if in the right mood, they can be quite sweet and fun. It is amazing what speaking positively and expecting children to be good can do to even the most misbehaved ones. “Yes, you can look at the book because you are going to be very careful not to tear it.” They were so careful!  An hour passed with Bible story books, playing fishy, and constant questions before, all of a sudden, they were gone as quickly as they had come.

It was now time to start lunch; we had fresh meat so we would have a treat. Rice, beans, plantain chips, and cubed beef chunks in tomato barbeque sauce. As I chopped, fried, and stirred I had another little fellow, with his slingshot strapped on his head, join me in the kitchen following me everywhere I turned. He had caught a dragon fly and brought it to show me. The little fellow was a nine-year-old boy disowned by both father and mother, left to be raised by his grandmother who scarcely cares for him. He often talks of suicide and death, saying life is too painful to live. As he followed me around telling me of his bird hunting expeditions and the bugs he found, it was easy to hear his cry for love hoping someone would care. I listened to his stories and tried to speak encouragement and love into his life while in my heart whispering a prayer for this poor child.

Chris had come back from Kitaski at 10:00 and joined our little group for lunch. I had cooked enough food for all our kids, expecting them to come for lunch but they didn’t show up till later in the afternoon (this is common, but if we don’t cook enough and they show up five minutes beforehand, it is much worse than having leftovers to deal with).

After I had washed the lunch dishes I set myself to cleaning the crammed little office space that seemed impossible to keep organized. All of a sudden at 4:00, I realized that I had forgotten to make bread dough, and if I wanted to make our special supper of burgers and macaroni salad I would have to bustle. I mixed the bread dough and put the macaroni, eggs, and potatoes on to boil. Chris was working on the non-functioning signal booster attached to the rafters. When disturbed, the rafters, eaten by bugs, cause a layer of wood dust to cover everything in the house, people and things alike. I served our guests ripened bananas, and at their request took photos of their new baby. I chopped onions and then realized I needed to pick more peppers, so I ran down the stairs, breaking half of the rotten bottom step off as I went (with so much rain, moisture, and so many bugs, things just seem to wear out really fast).

Right after dark, after everyone else had gone home, we enjoyed our luxurious dinner of burgers, macaroni salad, and imitation iced tea- which was room temperature (approx. 90 degrees). The boys played guitar and we sang as I washed the dishes and the other girls took turns in the shower. Us girls then sat down and redid the house-keeping schedule for the time while Mom is in the States.

We seemed to have started a tradition of reading missionary biographies every year while my parents are in the States, so Camille pulled out a book “Making Jesus Lord” and read aloud to us as we sprawled out on the floor and the bench. After a chapter, we decided it was late (9:00) and we better leave the rest for another night. We had a short share time of how our day went, what we saw God doing, and shared prayer requests. We then prayed together and each found our beds.

DAY FIVE (Thursday June 7, 2018)

At 4:45 this morning when I woke up, the first light of dawn gave a beautiful glow to the wet world outside. As I stood on the top of the steps and brushed my teeth I could hear the distant roar of yauhuk (a water fall miles away on the Waspuk river) and knew that the little river must be flooded. After a refreshing cold shower, I walked out through the drizzling rain to unlock the gates that kept out vandals during the night. Personal devotions, breakfast, family devotions, and my day was well under way. After spending half an hour standing out under a tree trying to catch just enough signal to send a small message to my parents, I decided it was time to put my attention to my little 5×8 office space that needed some organizing. I picked up my computer to put it away in its place but decided it was more important to finish some work I had left undone. So, I set my computer back on the messy desk and worked till lunch to finish my project. After a yummy lunch of squash and tomato soup with rice, (squash and tomatoes given by one of our neighbors as a gift) I put my computer away and began the tedious job of organizing the small office space. I finished the job by 4:00 with a great feeling of accomplishment.

The evening before we had decided to pick one specific person each day to pray for. Camille was the person of the day, so, having finished my work I grabbed my journal and looked for a quiet place in the children’s home to spend some time in prayer. About an hour later I came back to the house where Marcos had just come back from visiting one of the small local churches in Klisnak. We all leaned in with anticipation trying to hear the events of Marcos’ day over the pounding rain on the tin roof that kept us dry.

Eva heated some beans and set bread down for dinner, then popped some popcorn for us to snack on the rest of the evening. Another hour of story-time, a time of sharing of what each of us had seen God do during the day’s events, prayer, good-night hugs, and then we all snuggled in under our blankets with the rain still coming down.

DAY SIX (Friday June 8, 2018)

4:30 seemed to roll around way too quickly and another day began with personal devotions, breakfast at 6:00, and family devotions. The two large tubs of laundry that had hung on the porch all day the day before needed to be rehung again this morning. I scanned the gray sky looking for any little glimpse of sunshine but found none; instead it looked quite promising for rain. “Forget about rain,” I thought to myself, grabbing a bed sheet and hanging it on the line, “We need dry laundry.” I knew full well that I would probably have to take down and rehang all the laundry under cover about the time I had it all hung. Washing laundry on a washboard or on a rock in the river can actually be quite enjoyable, but taking it in and hanging it back up 4-6 times a day, or hanging it for three to four days in a row because of rain is sometimes a trying job for me. Dry season (February-April) is my favorite time of year, this being one of the many reasons; but this isn’t dry season so the battle of drying laundry is just a part of everyday life. Thankfully today even though the sun never showed its face once, the majority of the laundry was dry enough (if used within the week) to fold and put away by the time the rain started at lunch. The rest of the laundry I hung under the porch for the remainder of the day, then we would try again tomorrow.

Besides hanging and taking in laundry, I spent the rest of my day working on accounting for the ministry. This is a big job, but one the government requires and someone has to do. It seems every time we think we have figured out everything the government requires, we find out more restrictions and requirements. I think ministry would be so much more fun if there were no such thing as legal paperwork, but this too, has to be done if we want to minister here, so I spent all day in the office doing just that.

Outside my office window is a tall rose-apple (pera) tree full of bright red ripe rose-apples. I enjoyed watching all day as the village children came and asked for permission, then picked and enjoyed its juicy ripe fruit. My heart felt so full! So much has been accomplished in the five and a half years we’ve been here. There is such a thing as RIPE fruit, and the kids all love it. Permission is asked rather than constant stealing, and though it would seem easier at times to just let the children have free range to the trees, it has been a huge opportunity to teach respect (for both rules and fruit trees). As harsh and cruel as it seems to the children when we don’t permit picking the fruit when it is still tiny and green, there is so much joy in their eyes when they get to bite into a juicy ripe fruit instead.

On one occasion I had stepped out of the office into the main room to get some fresh air when I was given an opportunity to get lots of it! The neighbor’s pig had somehow found its way inside the fence and was out under the rose-apple tree digging up our yard. Eva and I decided if we chased it, it would slip out a hole, then we could close the hole up. The silly pig wouldn’t be chased but just stood there unafraid, until we started throwing sticks at it (we never actually hit it, but they all know what sticks are). The thing must have forgotten how it had come in because it just ran in circles when we chased it. By the time we gave up on the pig finding its own way out, it had gained a healthy fear of us and we couldn’t just catch it. We chased it till we had it cornered, then Eva jumped on top of it as it tried to make its escape. Eva took the back legs and I the front and we pitched him out the gate (no harm was done to the pig).

After a dinner of rice and beans, fried squash, and tortillas, prepared by Camille, we decided instead of story-time tonight we would watch a new movie that Mary had brought six months earlier. We all enjoyed the inspiring true story of “MULLY,” then talked late into the night (10:00).

DAY SEVEN (Saturday June 9, 2018)

My mom usually takes Saturday forenoons in the house, but with her being in the States I had agreed to take the job. Camille made breakfast but then left to go do her laundry and the house was mine. I had just finished washing dishes, putting the house in order, and sweeping under the house (our house is built on stilts), when Marcos came back from Kitaski (this is a village about an hour upriver from KrinKrin by boat) where he had been in an all-day meeting the day before. We quickly gathered around to hear how God had intervened against the strong opposition that had been building and had come to a head against the work there. How exciting it was to hear all that God had done in this important meeting- favor from government leaders, church leaders, and the people of Kitaski, while those trying so hard to bring the work of God to a halt there were not able to. We could finally move forward freely with the work that God had called us to do in Kitaski.

Saturday afternoons are one of my favorite times of the whole week. It is a time I try to set aside for just me and God. Around 2:00 I grabbed my Bible, journal, pens, and earbuds and headed out to the unoccupied children’s home for a quiet place to study, meditate, and pray. 5:30 rolled around really quickly and I left my place of prayer feeling refreshed and filled to the brim with God’s presence.

Chris had gone to visit a friend so we had no story-time this evening. We sat around and laughed and talked till Chris came back at 9:00 then decided it was time for bed. Despite our decision to go to bed on time, our conversations took us on into the night and at 9:30 we still found ourselves talking about God’s goodness and love. Finally, at 10:00 we dispersed and went to bed.

DAY EIGHT (Sunday June 10, 2018)

At 5:00 I woke up with the sound of Chris and Marcos moving around preparing to go visit Klisank (a village a little way down the Coco river and up a smaller river) where they had a meeting scheduled to deal with some church conflicts there. I got up and closed the wooded shutters in our bedroom, trying to block all the light I could, then climbed back into bed and slept till 8:00. After a long shower, I unlocked the gates and fixed myself a cup of coffee (coffee must be a Sunday thing).

Katie carried her computer and a CD (from Camille’s home church) out to the children’s home where we gathered to listen to a message from her pastor on “The Pleasure of God’s Presence.” After the message we shared experiences and exhortations with one another before dispersing.

After a yummy lunch of chili and cornbread with five from our family, ten village children, and a neighbor couple, we all just hung around for a while talking with those who stopped by to visit. After several hours I left Katie with a house full of children and neighbors, and found Camille to share a heart-to-heart talk. I feel so grateful to be able to have family and friends who love me and listen to my dreams and disappointments, also sharing bits of wisdom and encouragement.

A large village meeting took place this afternoon about the possibility of changing the leaders, and I decided to sit in and see what would come out of the ordeal. A lot of arguing and yelling took place and nothing was accomplished, as usual.

Chris’ meeting in Klisnak had gone well, and he came home just as the village meeting ended, so I went up to the river bank to meet him. He had brought a young couple with him who would be spending the night at our house then walking back to their village in the morning. I quickly cooked a meal of beans and rice and served it with cheese that we had bought the day before from some Spanish farmers.

Story-time was different tonight as the young man talked for hours about his childhood experiences living deep in the jungles sometimes alone for a month at a time while his father left to see after business. He spoke of encounters with tigers, thieves, wild hogs, murders on the run, and hunters who found him lost deep in the woods after dark. He spoke of carrying a hundred-pound bag through the mud at the age of ten, and being beaten by his step-father when he stumbled and fell under the weight. What hardness these experiences had created in this young man; he spoke of them with such a lightness as though they were fond childhood memories. To him they were just normal life.

Our eyelids finally became heavy and our storyteller realized it was time for bed. We spread out two foam mats in the main room for the couple to sleep on, and we each found our own beds after a short time of prayer.

Conclusion:

And so goes another “normal” week in my life living along a river in the rainforest of Nicaragua with an indigenous people group called the “Miskito People.” I hope this has been helpful in answering the questions of what a normal day looks like for me. I hope you have enjoyed!

Note: When I read this to my siblings, their comment was, “Wow, life is so interesting when it’s written down as a story!”

God bless each of you as you go about your normal life activities. I challenge you to take at least a week to look for blessings and interesting things that God is doing in your life that you may just take for granted. I bet there are more than you realize!

Your sister in Christ, Sarah Lee

Categories: Miskitu Indian Mission, Nicaragua | Leave a comment

The Importance of the OPPORTUNITY

As Christmas draws near and the much welcomed north winds blow off the river cooling everything down a bit I sit here in my tiny office space entering paperwork into the computer. The past two and a half month I’ve let stacks of receipts and papers pile up while I traveled here, there and everywhere, but now the end of the year is nearly here and ministry paperwork has to be finished in time to present it to the Nicaraguan government. I reflect back over the last several weeks as I take a small break from my work to type up a few words to send to friends and family back in the USA.
Three weeks ago I traveled back by bus from Managua the capital city to inquire of requirements of the Nicaraguan government for the ministry; Upon my return from Managua to Waspam my dad and I began talking of the upcoming largest-annual conference held by the local Moravian churches along the river. “So they still want us to come even after all the false reports that the pastor from upriver sent to the leaders?” I asked my Dad. “Yes, and they even gave us and hour two days in a row to present a drama (skit) and for me to preach,” Dad replied looking up from the paper he held in his hand. “What is the subject that they will be covering those five days?” I asked trying to figure out which drama would be best to present. “They picked a strange one this time,” my dad said laughing and scratching his head a little, “it’s Where Was Satan Born?” That’s a really strange subject to cover in a large conference,” I replied but with a thought beginning to birth into my mind. “We could make our own drama of Satan being thrown out of heaven and devising a plan of how he could deceive people and show it the first day.” “Yeah, maybe,” Dad responded seeming unsure of where I was going with this. “The second day we could follow through with an example of Satan deceiving a girl with different things like sexual immorality, addictions, fashion, etc.” I continued. “We could even add a preacher into the mix that tries to help her and ties her into the church but her heart won’t be ready to surrender her sin.” Dad chimed in catching the vision. “In the end Jesus will come in and explain to her how she can truly have victory over her chains of sin that bind her, and she’ll surrender her life to him and He’ll set her free,” I said finishing the drama that had played through my mind. “But there is one problem,” I said coming to the realization that we only had a week left before the conference; “to make the drama be really affective we’ll need to record the music and the words so that the people will be drawn into what they are seeing. Maybe if that were all Chris, John and I did this next week we could get the recording done but we wouldn’t have time to practice.” “But it would be so powerful, surely you can do it; God will help you,” Dad stated with a tone in his voice that said the decision made.
Upon returning to KrinKrin the next day, Chris, John and I spent four full days in the studio room from early morning till late at night, finishing the recordings in time to practice for two days.

Drama presentation on the second day

Mom sewed our costumes and a week later we headed back down river where nearly a thousand people had gathered to attend the conference. After much prayer we stepped onto the stage to present a visual of the gospel before many who have never understood the grace of God poured out for their lives. Though the place was very chaotic with so many people who have never been taught to sit quietly, when we set foot on that stage all eyes seemed glued, and when Dad began to teach the congregation became silent and listened intently. Nothing other than the Spirit of God could have caused so many attentive hearts and minds. We left praising God for the work he had done through us before such a large crowd.

After visiting a new missionary family located about an hour from Waspam I returned home again.
This weekend Chris, Lizzie, Marcos, a native pastor Jesse and his wife Jorianani who are staying in KrinKrin for pastor training, and I got the opportunity to go up a creek off of the main river to a small congregation to hold church service with them Saturday evening and Sunday morning. With only several dozen people we worshiped our Good Father. Sunday morning about an hour after church was supposed to have started I stood on the bank of the creek letting the cool air blow across my face and enjoyed the beauty of nature as the first members made their way toward the church house. My thoughts roamed back to the weekend before when I had stood before nearly a thousand and now I would join a few dozen, yet what gratitude overflowed from the hearts of this small congregation that we would be mindful enough of them to visit them in the mist of land conflict between them and Spanish settlers. Upon our arrival at 4:00 Saturday afternoon we had been served a large plate of rice, spaghetti and cassava (a luxurious meal for them) prepared by one of the members, followed by another large meal of rice, fish, cooked banana, and cassava at 6:00pm prepared by the young pastor’s wife. For breakfast Sunday morning after the pastors wife had fed us each a large meal another member of the church brought us each another large plate of food, still yet another member sent several plates of food and wabul (a drink made of cooked bananas), as well as some prepared turtle meat. Needless to say we were unable to eat all that was set before us. The members of that small church had shown their gratitude in the best way they knew how.

Extra food after we ate breakfast

I left that afternoon with a bunch of ripe bananas in my hand rejoicing for this small opportunity to pour into the lives of these people. God in His ever faithful way had once again spoken to me, this time through a small group of grateful people. I am not to look at the size or the greatness of the opportunity to judge its importance, but rather to accept every opportunity that He gives me and make the most of it. So today I ask myself, whether doing paperwork, visiting with a friend, smiling at a child, or on a stage in front of a thousand people, AM I MAKING THE MOST OF EVERY OPPERTUNITTY THAT GOD HAS GIVEN ME? Make the most of every opportunity because the days are evil. Eph 5:16
Today, are you making the most of every opportunity that God is giving you?

I pray each of you have a blessed Christmas.

Sarah Lee

 

Large Moravian conference

 

Church services at small village

Categories: Lee Family, Miskitu Indian Mission, Nicaragua | Leave a comment

Bible Class for the Hungry

Dear loved ones,

I pray that you all are doing well, and that you are living in obedience to God and in the shaddow of His grace. We had a very interesting and exciting week this past week. We had 65 people here all last week, giving them about 6 hours of classes each day. The classes were on God’s law, repentance, surrendering our life to God, and salvation by the Holy Spirit.

The people where from the little Baptist Churches that we are leading now. Since there are only a couple of pastors, and those don’t understand many of the principles of God’s word, we decided to bring them all here and teach them. Later after we have had time to train some pastors we will be sending them out to the churches to teach the people, but for now this is the better option.

The teachings were pretty intense, but the people listened well. And God was faithful to have His Spirit here at work teaching the people and giving them understanding of what they heard. The principles and teachings of God are so contrary to the culture where they grew up in. And most of traditional Christianity that is here hasn’t separated those two out. They have just mixed Christianity with the culture making one big awful stew, where many pastors are also the village witch doctor.

There were times when there was great discontent and even anger that rose up when they heard the teachings, to which I would at times just have to lift up the Bible and remind them that I’m reading out of the Bible and not something that I am just making up. Amazingly almost all of them stuck out the 25 hours of classes, plus discussion time, plus a total of several hours of preaching during church services in the evenings.

Many of them were seriously wanting to know the will of God, and were very grateful to be able to receive these teachings. All of them heard and understood things about God that they had never understood before. We gave everyone of them a new Bible in there own language and encouraged them to read them daily. For the ones who couldn’t read, we encourage them to have a family member that could read to do so every day. We gave them a paper with scripture references on many different things in life, to help them find answers to their questions. It was an amazing opportunity to be able to pour the truth of God into these precious people.

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I would like to share the story of one individual who came to the classes. As Chris was bringing the people with our big boat, he was just ready to push out from this one village when a young man came running down the bank and jumped into the boat. Chris told him that these classes are only for the members of the Baptist churches, because of space restrictions. Chris tried and tried to get him to get off, but he just hunker down and refused to get off, so Chris finally gave up and brought him anyway.

He went through all the classes and listened intently. But the real story didn’t come out until he went forward after the preaching on Sunday morning and wanted to give his life to Jesus and follow him. After asking him a few questions, this is what he told us.

“On Tuesday morning I was laying in my hammock on my porch sleeping. I saw a man in a white robe walk up to me and got ahold of the rope of my hammock. He shook my hammock and said, ‘Get up and go to the river and get on the boat that’s leaving.’ I was sleepy and didn’t pay much attention, but nestled back down to go to sleep again.”

“He shook my hammock this time more vigorously and said, ‘Get up and go to the river now, the people are leaving.’ I sat up in my hammock and I asked him, ‘Where are they going?’ ‘They are going to KrinKrin to receive Bible classs there’ the man said, and then disappeared.”

“I woke up out of my sleep with a jerk and scrambled out of my hammock. I looked toward the river and there was a big line of people heading that way. I tried to get to my senses to figure out what was really going on, but realized that they were actually leaving. So I grabbed a couple of shirts and a pair of pants and stuck them in to a bag and took off running for the river. I got there just as they were pushing out, but I still jumped onto the boat and came.”

“On the way I got really scared, so that I was shaking. Because I knew how bad of a man I was, and that I did not honor God with any part of my life. So the idea of going to Bible classes really frightened me, because I didn’t know what God was going to do with me.”

“In the classes I listen to God’s laws, and that by breaking just one law was enough to send me to hell. I always knew that God was an angry God, because that’s what everybody told me. But then I heard that God had pity on the people, and for the first time ever I realized that Jesus came to the earth to pay for the price of my sins, and that he did it because he loved me. I still had trouble accepting the fact that God was a loving God, until that night when I saw the Passion Of Christ movie. When I saw how they beat Jesus, and that he did not hit back once, even though he had the power to destroy them all, I knew that His love was real.”

Our God really is an amazing God, and he can do whatever He wants to do! Last month we married a young couple in one of the villages, who realized that living in sin severs God’s blessings and protection. That too was an amazing time where God’s Spirit took His words from truth and penetrated the hearts of many who were there.

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I praise God for allowing us to be a part of His work here with the Miskito people. I also want to thank each and everyone of you who is a part of our team by your prayers and support. God is using you to accomplish His will here, to set free a tribe that has been suppressed by Satan’s lies for too long. Please do continue to pray for the work here, because like always where there are victories won for God’s Kingdom, there is huge opposition from Satan and his clan. The struggles and the threats are real, but so is our God. We love y’all! Eli for all the Lees

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Creek Crossing Adventures

Some sisters go shopping, others will go out to lunch together to get that fun sister time into their schedule. But when living as missionaries in the jungle you have to just squeeze those times in every chance you get.

This day would be one of those days; I could sense it was going to be delightful. I had an errand to run two villages up river and my two oldest sisters, Mary and Eva had decided to join and make it a sister outing. I was excited to say the least. Trudging through the mud and braving the creek wouldn’t be so bad if it could be considered a sister outing.

After walking over half an hour through the jungle and past the first village we got to the creek. Thankfully that day the water was low and someone had placed a bamboo over it so that you could hopefully balance your way across the twenty-four-foot span without taking a swim. Don’t get me wrong, I love swimming, and after walking through the mud for thirty minutes it can actually be refreshing. But the nut so fun part is then having to walk in heavy wet jeans the rest of the way. Thankfully we all made it across the bamboo safely with only one of us taking a dive.

Twenty more minutes of mud and we arrived at our destination. The business we had come to see after was taken care of rather quickly; so after buying each of us a little snack, I took my sisters to see the newest development in the community. Sitting down on the new bridge to eat our snacks under the cool shade of the nearby mango tree, I shared with my sisters the story of the bridge we now sat on. The sidewalks had been there but the bridge had been missing; and so for years everyone passing through had to get off the sidewalk and go through the mud hole across sticks and logs they had put in place, to get to the next section of sidewalk. It was a huge inconvenience, especially at harvest time as the heavy bags of rice and beans were all carried this way. But a few months earlier the ministry had donated enough gas and nails to build a bridge. The community pitched in and each family sold a few pounds of beans to pay someone with a chainsaw to cut the lumber, then coming together for a community workday they had erected this sturdy much needed bridge. They had put their time and effort in and it had been worth it: They constantly thanked us hardily making sure we knew that they appreciated the help that had been provided through the ministry.  Our conversation soon drifted to other aspects of ministry and what God had been teaching us each individually, but all to soon the sun began rotating its way westward, breaking up our conversation and encouraging us to make the trek back home. We took it slow, playing around at and taking photos at the huge tree where the path went right underneath and between the roots, but eventually we found ourselves again at the little creek hoping to make it across the little bamboo without going in. Someone had moved the little makeshift bridge to a little different place causing it to be at a slant. Not taking note of this I accepted the pole cut by our friend Makin who had caught up with us on the trail, and attempted my crossing. The bamboo being at a slant I took only a few steps before plunging into the water. “No big deal,” I thought to myself, “I’ll just have to walk home in soggy clothes.” Our friend Makin cut another pole ensuring that the rest wouldn’t join me and all made it across without incident. I swam to the other side, but as I got out of the water I realized I was missing something: When plunging into the water “with little grace” my half sized machete had been flung out of its sheath on my side. Makin joined in the search, but half an hour later after finding nothing I told him we should give up and go home. Not willing to give up yet Makin made one last dive into the water and came up with a big smile on his face and my machete in his hand. “How did you manage to find it?” I asked him. “There was still one place I hadn’t looked,” he said handing the machete to me. I thanked him numerous times and he assured me it wasn’t any trouble. “What would we do without our friend Makin?” I asked Eva with a wink as we watched the old man walk off. In our first encounter with this strange man we had nicknamed him Angel Man; since that day many things had changed, but our friend never quit his many acts of kindness toward us.

A few months later I found myself again at this location wanting to cross the creek, but this time I didn’t have to worry that I would fall into the creek. The two communities had joined together and put a large log across the creek spanning from one bank to the other. Excited I assumed this bridge would surely last as it was high above the water and wouldn’t be washed away by the rising of the creek. Katie and Derlin and Namahka-Pilhpilia bridge

But my hopes were dashed as only a week later the bridge had been washed away when the water had risen, and I had to swim across the creek with my heavy jeans and boots.

The two communities had tried their best, but their efforts had failed. The sick and elderly once again wouldn’t be able to cross to get to the closest clinic. The wheels in my head began turning: Something could be done. Both villages had shown interest in making the situation better and would surely be willing to put their time into building a bridge if materials could be supplied. So after much thought we are considering building a 120 feet cement and cable bridge that wouldn’t wash away when the creek rises. If anyone is interested in helping fund supplies for this bridge you can contact us for more information.

In Christ, Sarah Lee

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