It has been two weeks since we returned from Oregon and it has been FULL, but in the best way possible.
We returned to Nicaragua a day after a team from Denver, Colorado, arrived. Valor is a Christian high school who has been coming down here to Nicaragua for the past ten years or so, and we love working alongside them. A truly special aspect of this year’s team was that there were quite a few ‘returners’ so as soon as we arrived at the Buzbee’s Quinta (where the teams stay) we were greeted by a line of high school (and a few college) aged students we had met last year, and I got to hug each one of them! It was like a reunion of sweet friends.
During their trip they worked on some work projects at RR and put on a VBS for the kids out near the Ranch, but the most memorable moments for me happened later in their trip.
For most teams who come to work with us in Managua, their trip isn’t complete without a morning spent in prayer at Miss Ruby’s house. Located near the old Managua city dump, and in a pretty rough neighborhood, Miss Ruby’s house was dedicated long ago as a house of prayer, with the upstairs being completely set apart for it. The leaders of the Valor team had been ‘preparing’ their students all week-long during their team times in the evening. Having conversations about faith, God, the Holy Spirit, and other aspects of our Christian walk. We were even told that the evening the team had discussed the gifts of the Spirit there were many students who stuck around after to ask more questions and talk through different things they were curious about.
As we began our prayer time I shared a picture the Lord had given me on the ride to the prayer house about a cemetery, and how there were people in that room who felt just like that. That they were dead, despite the way their lives looked on the outside, it was like each day they had to return to this place of emptiness. I shared with them from Ezekiel 37 where Ezekiel was led out to a valley filled with dry bones and the Lord prompted him to prophesy to the bones that they would live. I prayed that over the room and we began to individually pray for students. As I prayed for one of the girls I felt tears falling on my shoulder, and heard the sobs of a young man from the team. When we were finished praying for the girl, I turned to the young man and told him we would like to pray for him. And then I did something I hardly ever do. I asked him this simple question: “Do you know Jesus?”
He about tackled me with the giant hug he gave me! I began to speak the truth of how the Lord sees him and the love of Jesus over him, and prayed over him. As we stepped back I asked him if he wanted Jesus in his life. He nodded emphatically and I just said, “Awesome! Let’s pray.” And then I led him in probably the most ‘unofficial’ faith prayer of all time, but as he repeated the words with tears streaming down his cheeks, it didn’t matter. This young man met his savior in that moment, and no fumbling attempt on my part was going to change it. We cheered. We cried. We clapped and rejoiced and high-fived each other. Because he met Jesus. The thing his heart had been longing for, had been prepared for, had come. And that is worth rejoicing. Every. Single. Time.
The next evening, alongside another young man who gave his life to Jesus at the prayer house and eleven other young adults who wanted to publicly declare their commitment to the Lord, our friend was baptized. As his leader proclaimed that his old life was dead and he was a new creation, tears rolled down my cheeks. I hope I never tire of witnessing the miraculous. Of stepping into those thin spaces where Heaven feels tangible and it feels like all of creation is boldly proclaiming, “Your will be done, Your kingdom come.”
Please continue in prayer for us as we host more teams this summer. Also, please pray for all of us who pray with our visitors. Often the prayer days come under significant attack and we have to fight to even arrive at the house.