Courtney and Chloe took a recent trip with us to Nicaragua and shared their experiences.
From Chloe Villareal
The trip I just took to Nicaragua was nothing short of life changing. It was refreshing to embrace another culture, and embrace people I have never met before while praying for them. I got to experience God’s love like I never have before. While I was on the trip a song came on and I was overwhelmed because it is one of the few songs that I can worship God to. It’s the revelation song and the worship leaders, of course, sang it in Spanish. That was one of the most precious moments I can remember in my walk with the Lord. He intercepted my emotions and overwhelmed my heart and soul with his presence. There is a song by Jesus Culture named Obsession that has the lyrics “Sometimes your further than the moon, sometimes your closer than my skin”. God was closer than my skin at that moment. The entire leadership training session was Spirit-filled, but that song was a moment of eternity that God gave me. Those are some, if not the most important moments that I live for; those moments where there is nothing else in the world but His Spirit and one’s self filled with his love. The song ended and I was not finished worshiping and so I went off by myself to continue to worship.
There is a difference between just having head knowledge and understanding concepts in mind, and actually living out the knowledge and wisdom that God has granted someone. Just like there is a difference between knowing the technical steps of driving a car, and actually driving a car with having experience. I was reading in Ecclesiastes last week and one of the concepts that I took home was that life is fleeting. The trip came and went but I savored every last moment as much as I could. It’s a good thing to try to live each day one moment at a time and to try to live for God. Only then is one truly alive. Only then can a real Christian experience life. Life is not to be wasted by following what one thinks they are interested in, or what they think will benefit them in the future. Life is for others. It is good to share resources and love, knowledge, sadness, hardship, whatever is under the sun, and share it for God.
Lose your life just so you can find it. Let go of what you want your purpose to be so that you can find your purpose in Christ. Only then can you truly live. If you are asleep, or blind to what is reality, make a real attempt to wake up. Because what else are you going to do with your life?
From Courtney Hescht
I was asked by my husband to document my mission experience to Nicaragua. How do you summarize such an experience. Let me just start by saying I remember clearly know why I missed abroad missions. I was talking to my friend today and I was trying so hard to help her see my experience through my words and it just fell far short as I knew it would. I gave a vain effort nevertheless.
I think explaining my two favorite moments is possibly the easiest way to help you experience Nicaragua with me. The first experience was my visit to Chureca or the garbage dump of Managua. It is every bit the garbage dump you can imagine that we have all over our city; however, this one has approximately 1,000 inhabitants! Yes, these people live off of the trash of others...homeless. They don't leave to eat or bathe and many are born and live their whole lives there. We met pregnant women and young children; the youngest was a beautiful two-month-old baby named Brandon. The living conditions would shame even the poorest in the states and I was dumbfounded that people could actually survive in those conditions. It’s clearly a case of "only the strong survive"; children walking around naked and bathing in polluted water; homes made of trash, raw sewage running like a creek through their so-called "streets". Many of them had been flooded out after Nicaragua's rainy season; devastation like I have never seen even on TV. We passed out food, clothing, and prayers. The rations last approximately one week and are merely a Band-Aid while the organization plans ways to teach these people how to fish so to speak. I was devastated, humbled, and shamed, but also encouraged that God was there with us. He loves those people and thinks them all significant enough to place it on the hearts of the church to reach out to them. I felt God cheering his people on and encouraging us that everyone matters to him and through Him nothing goes unnoticed or ignored. God answered someone’s prayers in that place through his people and I praise him for that!
Secondly, I fell head-over-heels in love with pastor Quinto's church body. They do so much with so little and always with a beautiful smile on their faces. When Scott was preaching one night it stormed horribly and it was so loud on their tin roof it sounded like hail and Scott was almost screaming to be heard over it. The rain started pouring in on the sides of the building and without being asked about ten people got up and grabbed brooms and began sweeping the water back to keep from getting everyone's feet wet. This was one of many things that they just did without being asked. They took the oscillating fans off of themselves and always put them directed right at us to keep us from suffering heat. We felt like royalty to them but it only shamed me more. On our last night there the Holy Spirit showed up and I thought, "This aspect of God could never be forgotten here!” He was everywhere! I was so encouraged seeing them worship so demonstratively because they rely on God so much for everything. The alter call was a mass exodus and the song playing during that time went on for thirty-five minutes! Among those moved by the Holy Spirit was the worship leader who collapsed in prayer in the middle of the song. Precious people! I couldn't stop looking over the congregation trying to memorize them in worship. I pictured being with them all in heaven and worshiping with them for all of eternity. I miss them already!
I can't wait to go back. I felt God pulling me to tell them how important they are to Him. One thing I wish to do when I return is to lead a seminar focused on God's love for His creation. Please be in prayer for the churches there that the Lord will give them favor and protect them as they continue to reach out to people in the most difficult areas of Nicaragua. Also, please be in prayer for Scott and I as we plan to return to Nicaragua with more education and aid for our brothers and sisters in Nicaragua.
It you would like to join us on a future trip to Nicaragua, Africa or Mexico, please visit our website at www.rfcministries.org and look for the Mission Possible link at the top of the page.