As I headed to the airport that Wednesday night, August 8th, I had a song playing over and over in my head. I decided to download it on iTunes before I got settled into my seat for the redeye flight to Miami. For a few hours I listened on repeat to "Sweetly Broken" by Jeremy Riddle. The chorus of that song ("At the cross you beckon me. You draw me gently to my knees and I am lost for words, so lost in love. I'm sweetly broken. wholly surrendered.") explains my trip to Nicaragua if I were to put it into words.
While in Nicaragua, we held an Impact Seminar for the youth as well as for the pastors and leaders the following day. What really touched my life was the hunger for God I saw in Managua. The youth that attended the seminar were so hungry for anything that could strengthen and intensify the relationship they have with Christ. We worshipped and taught for about 4 hours, I believe, in a concrete building with a tin roof. To say it was hot is an understatement, but seeing that their environment didn't distract them at all kept me going. As I taught on the subject of purpose and how God can take those that are least deserving and use them in such big ways, I remembered why I have such a heart for the older generation of youth, the ones that we say "should know better". They are human just as we are and have their own problems and daily struggles. They need Christ and guidance just as all of us do but are often overlooked. It touched my heart to get to share a week of my life with them, to teach and share what God has done in my life.
I was also able to worship and receive the Word of God in a couple of churches there in Managua. On Saturday night, we worshiped in a church that had half a roof and half a concrete floor. The uncovered part was packed dirt that turned to mud as it rained. Nicaragua is in their rainy season now as I write. The stage and speakers were small but the presence of God was SO BIG! I honestly don't think I have ever seen or felt the presence and hunger for God as I did in Managua. The people don't need big speakers, big stages or big buildings; they just want more of Christ and more of His Word. I watched a blind husband and wife praise God until they literally collapsed from exhaustion. It was extremely humbling because they use what they have to worship God without hinderance. As Americans when something is missing we allow it to effect the way we serve; that was far from the case there. They didn't allow the small things, that we call "necessities", to effect their relationship with God and it shows.
God opened my eyes to another culture, another nation, and other forms of ministry that NEED help. I'm so thankful for the opportunity to have ministered in Nicaragua and it has me fired up and refueled to keep ministering to the nations that God calls me to! This is a life decision I have made, not to wait for people to come to me about Christ but rather bring Him to them. I plan to continue doing just that with my future wife, Amanda. Thank you all for your continued support and prayers, they allow me to be filled and serve the nations as God has commanded I do.