As I mentioned at the end of the last post, Tuesday and Wednesday were different from the other days of the Westside team’s trip. Tuesday was for prayer, and Wednesday was for relaxing at the beach and eating pizza together. And while that may not seem like much, trust me when I say those two days were JUST as important and life-changing as any of the other days the team spent here in Nicaragua.
Landon and I have had an incredible summer praying for people at Miss Ruby’s house. Some people we had had conversations with prior, and some we literally introduced ourselves to as we asked their name and if we could pray with them. [Praying for people we don’t know has had us on a beautiful faith journey, but again, that is for another post.] But as we heard who was coming on the Westside team and began thinking through their time here, we also began petitioning the Lord on their behalf. We began praying for our 11 friends back in May, asking the Lord to prepare their hearts and minds, and ours as well. And last Tuesday, we were not disappointed, as the Lord met us in that little house in the one of the worst neighborhoods in Managua.
Prayer is a deeply personal thing, so I will not share specifics here. They are not mine to share, but are for the recipients to tell of when or how they’d like. I will say, though, that specific prayers reached the deep parts of people, parts they didn’t even know needed healing, and God administered His great love to those places. People received words of affirmation in the gifts they have, and encouragement to continue in boldness demonstrating the Lord’s love to those in their lives. People also were reminded of how the Lord never left them or forgot them, even in the midst of their pain. Our friend Marisol (who is a Nicaraguan woman who does not speak or understand English) prayed with each person as well, many times confirming in Spanish what had already been prayed in English. (Brinson translates for Marisol when we pray with her.) It was a powerful time, and we all left feeling physically tired (4.5 hours of prayer will do that) but so encouraged and rejuvenated emotionally and spiritually.
After a quick stop at Pops on the way home, we returned to the Buzbees, and in an awesome demonstration of care and love, Jeff and Kelsey made mandatory quiet time. It may sound funny, but often times teams rush out of prayer on to the next thing on the schedule, whether serving more or some other outing. It isn’t bad to do that, but often it seems to rush on from something that was (most likely) very impactful. So for the team to receive not only free time, but a mandated two hours of rest (from conversation, work and each other) was a great gift. Many of us took naps. Others reflected on the things the Lord had spoken through the time at the prayer house. It was so good. And then we came back together for dinner and “forced family fun,” an awesome time of some sort of game, lots of jokes and laughter. We so appreciate Jeff and Kelsey’s hearts for fun as well as service.
Wednesday was the team’s rest and outing day. If I’m remembering correctly, there was a unanimous decision to go to the beach for the day, and then return to the Buzbees for (what is becoming a tradition) pizza party. We made it out to Costa Azul by about 9:45am and everyone but Jeff (bad toe injury: another story) were in the water within about twenty minutes. The waves weren’t super good, but a couple of people tried surfing anyway. It was an awesome time of good conversations, fun in the ocean and good food.
Jeff (our friend who led the team) owns a pizza restaurant in Albany, Oregon, (PizzAmore: go try it, its delicious!) so last year began the tradition of rather than a team dinner out at a restaurant we have a pizza party at the Buzbee’s house with all the Buzbees and the Farringtons. Jeff throws pizza dough in the air, there is a lot of garlic consumed, and everyone eats a glorious amount of pizza. It is perfect, really. And again, great conversations are had, as we shared the meal together.
We rode to the airport with the team the next morning, and though we kept it together pretty well while we were with them, we both cried on the way home. It was such a special time, and we are so excited for the things the Lord will continue to do in the lives of such dear friends of ours.