2015 - Nicaragua Trip

Heavy Hearts


Our hearts are very heavy this morning as we are about ready to leave.... 

We have been welcomed with love from the moment we arrived and it hasn't ceased since. It has really shown us a little taste of heaven and what it will be like when we are reunited with our friends that we have made here. The goodbyes were so very hard, but we know that when we meet again it will be so very sweet. 

This week we had the honor to put on a VBS for over 350 kiddos at 4 different schools throughout the communities. All of which heard the message of salvation. Of those 350, 32 have accepted Christ as their savior!! There is no greater feeling than to know that what we have done here has left an eternal impact. 

Would you join us in prayer for all the kids who have accepted Christ and for all those you have not yet decided, that they would also come to know him as their savior. 

Yes our hearts are so very heavy because we have to leave this place and the people that we love, but at the same time our hearts are so full of joy for all the things that God has done here in Nicaragua. 

Please pray for us as we make the transition home, and that what we have learned here would not be forgotten or overshadowed by the craziness of life! That we stay focused on what really matters, showing Gods love and making him known to all! 

We are off and on our way home! Adios Nicaragua, until next time! 



Fun and farewells

Today we came down the mountain into Managua for a day of fun with our Nica friends! Along with the fun we had we also had to say our final goodbyes. 😭 💔

We invited our Nica friends to come to the hotel with us for lunch and a few hours of swimming. Then we went shopping and to the Managua port (it's like the Milwaukee lakefront) to enjoy the lake scenery and some ice cream! Although this seems like a pretty basic day in our lives, it was a really special experience for the Nicas! We ended our night with pizza at Papa Johns for dinner!


Then it came time to say adiós to many people we care so much about! God has really bonded this team together and saying goodbye is just no fun.  

We are emotionally drained tonight, on top of just being completely exhausted! Please pray we get good rest tonight for our travel home!  

Our flight takes off around 2pm tomorrow, your prayers are greatly appreciated as we travel tomorrow! We will update when we can.  

Final Day in La Esmeralda

Pastor Rob made the phone call tonight. Here are the highlights from our conversation.

The final VBS was a smaller crowd of children. Because of the rain the last couple of days, the children were not able to get to school due to a flooded river. A total of 32 children received Christ  this week. What a joy!

The team hiked to the waterfall and encountered some bees along the way. One person was stung and had a reaction, but the doctor was on it and he's doing fine. The waterfall a beautiful spot tucked back in the jungle. I'm sure there will be pictures to follow in the next couple of days.

Because of work schedules, the church has their highest attended service on Thursday evening. The team performed a drama, Kerri sang a solo and Pastor Rob preached with Pastor Denis doing the translating. Once the service was over, it was time to say their good byes to the children and adults they have met this week. It is always amazing how quickly the bonds are formed that change our lives forever. Saying goodbye is always hard!

Tomorrow they pack everything up and depart early for the long drive down the mountain and back to Managua. The Nicaragua team is traveling with them for one last day together. They will enjoy an activity tomorrow afternoon to have some fun together, have a special dinner and share what God is doing in each of them as a result of this experience.

Thank you for following their journey. Please pray for safety as they begin their journey home and for God to continue the work He is doing in each team and all those they had the opportunity to touch this week.


So much to say, so little time!

Let's just jump in and get started!

VBS: Kerri

As we are Nicaragua this week we are putting on VBS events in and around the community.  This is what our VBS look like: 

  • We sing some songs led by both U.S. and our Nica team members
  • We tell the story of David and Goliath (Luke plays Goliath and we get a kiddo to play David)
  • A Nica shares the salvation message (if any of the kids are interested in hearing more our Nica member talk with them for a bit)
  • We play game (relays, duck duck goose, etc)
  • We do crafts (decorating a foldable frisbee) 
  • We get to spoil them a bit with a sweet treat!  

One of my favorite things about VBS is to work side by side with the Nicas. God has helped us all overcome language and cultural differences while we do His work in La Esmeralda and the surrounding communities.  

On Tuesday 18 kids came to know the Lord!!!  Can we all just give God a huge shout out of praise?  He is the only way any of this is possible and He deserves all the glory for it!  

There is a song called 'Let the Heavens Open' it says:

Let the heavens open
Let your kingdom move
All our faith and hope in
Our Great God
— Let the Heavens Open, Kari Jobe

To me, that is what this week is all about. God's kingdom in Nicaragua, moving lives toward Him!  The most important part to me is the faith, trust, and hope in our Great God.  

This week is all about knowing Christ and making Him known! #YourKingdomCome #OurGreatGod

Field day: Luke

On Monday we invited the kids and teens from the community to participate in field day with us.  We played fútbol (soccer), baseball and a variety of other games.  It was fun to compete with the Nicas, although we never knew who was on our team!  

One of my favorite things to do is play with the kids, so the day was right up my alley.  It was cool to see Fox River and Nicas play together as one team.  The day was just another reminder of that. I am excited to continue to get to know the Nicas and hang out with the kiddos!  

- Hasta luego, Luka palooka

Community Outreach (Hygiene Packs): Melody

Yesterday and today we went out into the communities and had the opportunity to bless many families with hygiene packs. These packs consist of toothbrushes and paste, soap, combs, sewing kits, washcloths, etc.

It was very cool to be able to put a touch of love on the communities. After giving the packets we also took the time to pray over the household and the families. This was such an awesome experience to be a part of.  I think today was mainly to bless the people of Nicaragua, but at the same time it was a huge blessing to me as well.

Even though I can only somewhat understand what the Nicas are saying, I know that we have the same God that hears all of our prayers no matter what language we may speak.  It's overwhelming to know how big the God we serve is!  His is moving in my life and over here in Nicaragua.

Thank you for your prayers, I am excited for what God has planned for us next.  And if it's anything like today, it's going to be an adventure!  

-Adios! Melody

Team Bonding: Caleb

After a delicious meal of rice, beans, and other food for dinner our teams spend time sharing our stories of how God has been working in our lives! Sharing our stories is more than getting to know other people, our stories show God as a multicultural God who works in all places of the world and in all languages. He works uniquely in each person and it is good to hear and understand.

After "my stories" we teach games like spoons, Pieter Pieter pow pow, etc. to our partners and have a lot of fun (unless you are competitive, as the Nicas are really good at all games new and old). #BreakingDownLanguageBarriers #All4Hi

Rain and Mud: Abbey

We have had a really great week weather-wise. Yet we still experience some of the other! Today has been our first rainy day out in the community and we have quite the story to share about it.

When it rains here, it rains hard, which means the mountain roads get quite muddy and slick. Today on our way to the community, we would be spending our afternoon in we met one of 'those' spots in the road where our bus just didn't want to get through by itself. Yes! We pushed the bus up and out of a sticky situation!  #AdventuresInNicaragua 

Tomorrow is our last day on the mountain!  Pray we leave a lasting impact in the last school we visit and in the community we have spent out week in!

Your prayers are being felt! Gracias!!!

Spoons and Pop Rocks

Caleb made the daily phone call on Tuesday evening. Here are some of the highlights from his call:

  • During field day, Luke scored one of the 2 goals in the soccer match. That's a pretty big accomplishment in a country where soccer rules!
  • Monday evening, our team taught the Nica team how to play spoons.
  • The Nica team had their first experience with Pop Rocks from America. (I hope there are pictures to come from that experience!)
  • VBS Tuesday ended up being at a different school than they planned. It worked out fine, because this school required some hiking with their equipment and it was a beautiful, clear day for hiking. Many children asked to speak with someone about salvation after the Bible story.
  • Tuesday afternoon they distributed hygiene packs to homes. This outreach is physically taxing because they have to hike up and down the mountain to get to these homes. It is a great opportunity for our team to have personal interactions with people in the community. While in the homes they used the wrist bands that say "Faith, Hope, Love" in Spanish and tracts to share the gospel. They were warmly received and had the opportunity to pray with each family. 

Today the team will travel to another nearby community for a VBS in the school and distribution of hygiene packs in the surrounding area. They are staying healthy and have had great weather. 

Please continue to pray for them specifically today:

  • Health, safety & energy
  • Continued good weather
  • To finish strong these last 2 intensive days of ministry
  • For the gospel to be openly received in the hearts of the children and families they will touch

Thank you for taking this journey along side of this mighty David team!


Thoughts from the team

Hola, from Nicaragua!  We see our stateside bloggers have been keeping you updated, we had a few hours today to spare so we could get a post in from us!  

We had a few teams member write about the different things we have done so far.

Saturday's women's event: Leigh

On Saturday we had the privilege of loving on the women of La Esmeralda.  Although most of us could not speak Spanish, we made a connection with them beyond language.  They proudly wore the bracelet they created that morning and went away knowing they were loved by God and some new friends from Fox River!

Making bracelets  

Saturday's Teen Night: DawN

It was truly incredible to be together and see the Nica teen leaders come together to bring the teens f the community in for worship.  My favorite part was praying together as we shared our burdens and left them at the cross.  We might not always understand what each other are saying, but we do understand the power of prayer!

Sunday's Church Service: Kaylee


Sunday, instead of attending 'adult service', I got to assist in children's service.  We got to sing, play games, memorize verses, and have a story time.  Not being able to fully comprehend the story due to language let me sit amidst the children.  They taught me more on child like faith than anyone ever could.  If you were ever skeptical if they actually "get" salvation - they do.  The hunger they have for learning and the joy they have singing to Him is not replaceable.

Devotional time: Pastor Rob

Though language is a barrier for most of us, the strong desire to understand our Nica friends has brought about a strong bond in our team.  Each day we not only do ministry together, we also minister to each other.  We do that by serving each other, opening God's Word together, and sharing stories of God's working.  It is a daily reminder of how big our God is.  The God who works in us in the United States is also working in the hearts of the Nicaraguan people and obviously beyond these two countries as well.  Different cultures, different languages, different lives but the same Lord, Jesus Christ we serve.

As you can see we have a God so big that he can wipe away our language barrier that many of us face here and is able to work in our lives as well as through our lives!

Monday VBS: Abbey

We had our first VBS today and had almost 100 kids come out and join us for a morning full of Jesus!  We will share more about this as the week goes on! 

We we are all back on the healthy train, feeling so much better!  Thanks for praying! 

We are having so much fun with our Nica friends!

Saturday: Women's Outreach & Teen Night

SATURDAY: The women's outreach event was held on Saturday morning at the church. Last year there were many men and children that came to the event because they were curious. This year it truly was a women's event. They made a craft and had a challenge. The women had a great time!

The men on our team entertained the children during the event. As the storm from the previous night subsided the sun came out and it was a beautiful day for their outside activities. I hear one of the team members is sporting a pretty good sunburn from the unexpected appearance of the sun.

Some of the ladies on our team have enjoyed jumping in the kitchen and helping with the meals. One of the Nica ladies gave them a lesson on how to make home made tortillas. There was much laughter as our American ladies gave it a try.

In Nicaragua, the high school students work during the week and go to school on Saturday and Sunday. Saturday evening is their normal time to gather to grow in their faith together as teens. The Fox River team joined with the Nicaragua leaders to plan an evening of challenge for all. The combined teams did a skit picturing the burdens we carry. Caleb gave a challenge and they divided into groups to discuss what burdens we carry and how to leave them at the cross. There were about 50 in attendance and it was a great evening of camaraderie and challenge for everyone.

It is not unusual for team members to experience some digestion issues during the trip. We are grateful to have much experience in preventing and treating this problem along with having a doctor right there in the clinic to help when needed. Please pray for continued health and safety as they serve God with our partners in Nicaragua!

News from La Esmeralda

While the team is on the mountain serving in La Esmeralda and the surrounding area, they will not have internet to blog or send pictures. Cell phone coverage can be difficult, but we always attempt to have one brief phone call per day with updates on how the team is doing. I, Denise, will be receiving those updates and posting here as they come in.

Friday the team made the trip up the mountain on the winding dirt road to La Esmeralda. That bus ride becomes a challenge for those with motion sickness. Some rode in the truck with Donna Woodson, one of our missionaries to Nicaragua. All in all, they did pretty well and arrived in good shape.

They stay in a house near the clinic called the Marena House. It is a vacant house that is leased by the government. Donna Woodson, makes the arrangement with the government for us to use it for the week and it works out great.

The house has a central meeting area with separate rooms for the team to split into bunk house type rooms for boys and girls. There are very basic bathroom facilities that help them get through the week.  Each year the church folks do some work on the house to make sure it is ready for the team. They also haul in bunk beds and mattresses for them to sleep on.

Their meals are cooked in the kitchen at the clinic and served under the pavilion on the picnic tables that the 2012 construction team built.

After arriving in La Esmeralda and meeting their Nicaragua team partners that will host them and be their translators, they have to unload everything from the bus and haul it up the hill to the Marena House or to the clinic if it belongs there.

La Esmeralda is in a cloud forest which means it is a rainy, wet environment. That can cause problems with the dirt road and hauling things around once they arrive. The weather was good for the trip up the mountain and unloading the supplies and suitcases. That is always a huge blessing!

Friday evening they spent time getting to know the Nicaragua team and preparing for the next day's events. That night there was a lot of rain. The storm, combined with the first night in the new environment, made for a difficult night's sleep for some.

There are many adventures ahead for this team. Thank you for following their journey through this blog and carrying them with your prayers!

Buenos Días!

We are excited to get going this morning!!  After a great night sleep, our last hot showers for the week, and a wonderful breakfast at Selva Negra!  

A quick story we would like to share with you... 

As you can see, we are a small team.  

Ps. Caleb is in the house... 

Ps. Caleb is in the house... 

Before we had left, Denise sent a couple of us leaders a last minute information email. In this email, she was thanking us for putting time into this team and all the planning that we had done.  At the end of the email she said something that blew me away and it did the same to the rest of the team as I have shared. She called us the David team (referring to David and Goliath)!  

Little did she know, we had chosen this story to share with all of kids at our VBS days, none of us had given it a second thought.  She went on to say that she knows that even though we are small we can face all the Giants with God on our side!  As a small team we will face those Giants, but we are excited to let God lead us through!  God is crazy good at showing us that we can do anything with him on our side, even when we are totally oblivious to the obvious things right it front of us!

We have arrived!!

We had our ups and downs of travel today, but we have made it to Selva Negra for the night!

We have definitely seen the path God has prepared for us and have felt your prayers throughout our travel. 

We had a couple overweight scares at checking this morning but were able to shuffle things a bit and slide by (Leigh's two checked bags weighed in at 99.5lbs out of the possible 100lbs)!  We had to make a quick dash through the Miami airport to make our connecting flight (our first flight landed 30 minutes late)!  Then we arrived at the Managua airport with two suitcases missing and had several of our bags checked at customs... We were able to track the missing cases down and make it through with all of our stuff!!! 

We we had the opportunity while waiting for the bags to arrive to go and visit the Managua church and some of our friends!  We had the chance to meet a missions team from Iawo while at the church, we worked together to load up some rice to take up the mountain with us for their feeding center.  It's cool to be able to work alongside so many others for the same goal, sharing the Love of Jesus!


Tonight we are completely exhausted, ready for a shower, and a bed to get a good night sleep in. We will finish our treck up the mountain to La Esmeralda in the morning!  Please be praying for our motion sickness team members as this will be the most difficult part of the trip for them!  

#Davidteam #Nica2015