Wow what a week. We have seen miraculous things, and built amazing friendships. From Migdonio walking (without pain and crutches for the first time in more than a year), to spending time in the beautiful old city of Grenada, to experiencing the magnitude of this earth at the Masaya Volcano yesterday, this week has burned memories deep into my heart.

Group one is heading back to the US today. They will be missed. We grew close and experienced miracles together. But as I start this week with the second group, collage students and young adults from Northway Oakland, I am excited because I know that this trip is still early on in its stages. There is still much to see, people to meet, and stories to hear. I pray that as the days move on, that we grow as friends, but also as brothers and sisters, a body of believers experiencing Gods plan for a country, a city, and a little village built on a dump.

As this week moves forward, I’ll be posting less images, not because I dont want to share them with you, but because I need time to process what is really happening, in order for me to tell the best story possible, I need to be focused on the task at hand; listening to my heart. That being said, the images I post I believe will help you see the things that are happening, help tell a full story.

That being said, I am going to post a number of images now from the past week, and our trip to the volcano yesterday (including one of the dance party on the bus- the girls heard Shakira and bodies started moving).

After we were finished playing with the children from La Chureca we headed to a girls home where some of the students sponsor girls.

As I mentioned earlier, we spent an afternoon in Grenada, and I shot some photos of the beautiful city square, and an amazing church. Grenada used to be the capital, but after years of fighting with Leon, they decided to make Nicaragua the capital to avoid more bloodshed.

On Sunday we headed to Masaya Volcano to see one of the most amazing sights I have ever seen. Masaya is an active Volcano and it erupted as recently as last year.

Yep, today we are heading to the beach for 24 hours to debrief with group one, and relax so that we can finish out the trip energized.

Yesterday was a little bit different for us. Instead of going to La Chureca, we brought more than 60 kids from La Chureca to us, to spend some time playing soccer and doing crafts at a beautiful sports complex up in the Mountains. I’ll edit and post photos from that later, but last night when we got home I was just to physically exhausted to even try to stay up late. In fact, our whole group was in bed by 9:30 last night. Crazy!

Doug (the group leader), Kara (the translator) and myself will be here for another week working with a second group from Northway Oakland, and I cant wait to see what God has in store for us over the remainder of the trip. So far this has just been a taste, and I am so excited to get more of it. The exhausting days are nothing compared to the work that the people of La Chureca do every day.

I promise to post more pictures soon, most likely tonight, but I need to go get ready for an exploration of old world Nicaragua.

Adios

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After more than a year of walking on crutches, he began to take small baby steps, free of pain, with out crutches!

Before I tell that story though, look at the view from where we are staying!

Migdonio was sitting on the side of the road talking to his brother when we walked up and said hello. For some reason, our simple “Hola” turned into a two hour conversation filled with prayer and healing.

He had come from Grenada 10 years ago with his brother. They began tending cattle making between 60-70 Cordoba (currency- aprox 21=$1) but when they heard that on a bad day they could make 100 Cordoba working in the dumps at La Chureca, collecting recyclables, the draw was just to much, and they ended in the dump working.

It was during that time that Migdonio became an alcoholic, moving from one place to another, sleeping where ever he could. MOst likely passing out and not caring where.

More than a year ago Migdonio was working in the dumps when one of the trucks hit him. Dislocating his shoulder, and hip. After visiting the hospital, and not understanding what they were going to do, he left, in pain and without a real hope of recovery.

Yesterday, after more than an hour and a half of intense prayer, and encouragement, Migdonio stood up on his own, free of pain, and began taking little steps, like a child learning to walk, he made little steps into the waiting arms of encouragement, without the use of crutches.

A miracle happened! Any doubt of what I believed before, was put to rest. I saw a man walk of his own accord, with the peace of God propelling him forward.

For more on this amazing moment, visit the group blog Mission 2 Nicaragua.

Enjoy some photos.

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  • Migdonio, sits talking to missionary Daniel Bain, in the La Chureca trash dump in Managua Nicaragua. Migdonio was hit by a garbage truck in 2009, and hasnt worked since.
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Wow, its Wednesday already. The days fly by as we spend time in La Chureca (the city dump) and spend time as a group, worshiping, praying, and seeking God, and his purpose of this trip. As the days move on, the intensity of what we see continues to build.

Yesterday, on a path in La Chureca, Moises (Moist with an es) stopped our friend and guide Daniel and asked him to pray for him. Moises has been addicted to glue for years, and he was high when we saw him yesterday. His desire to let go of the burden of addiction was evident by his stopping us and asking for prayer, but we also know that addiction is a hard burden to let go of. As we prayed for him, he dropped to his knees, and began to weep: asking God to help him.

The story of Moises is not an uncommon one. Addiction grips La Chureca, where its residents find any way they can to numb the pain that they feel, the children are left desperately wanting to be shown love and affection. They run up and hug you, clinging to you in hopes that you will touch them, giving them a second to feel the love that they so seriously need. We met children as young as 11 years old, already addicted to glue. Their eyes, just dark holes in the sockets, nearly void of life, numbed to the world that they live in.

Some people would argue that that is the only way to go through life when hope barely seems to exist. I argue that with love, and the peace that experiencing love produces, a stronger drug than anything they could ever afford, is produced. As proof, we went to the local school and fed the kids during lunch. We played with them, sang with them, and saw joy in their eyes from love, and affection freely given. Regardless of the conditions that they have to go back to, for a while they were  totally free to be kids.

We also visited a girls home that Daniel and Jessenia started this year. We had a craft time, talked, played, and then they put on a performance for us. This home is important because the girls and one boy (Elias) are all from La Chureca. Their parents want to see them have a different life, and have allowed them to come to a place away from drugs and violence. A place where they can learn and grow as children.

As we ate and settled in for the night, we prayed as a group, and began to experience Gods presence like most of us had never felt before. Im still trying to work through what I was witness to, but you can check out our group Blog Mission 2 Nicaragua for Pastor Dougs thoughts. All I can say is I have never been in the presence of something so powerful, so clearly other-worldly.

On that note, its time for breakfast now, and Im really hungry. Enjoy some photos from the trip.

Check out some of our group blogs.

Mark:
http://leavingthemabetterplace.blogspot.com

Group: Aka Pastor Doug
http://mission2nicaragua.wordpress.com

More to come later today or tomorrow.

For the photographer minded out there. the majority of the photos are shot with a Nikon D2h in its 4megapixel glory with a Sigma 70-200 2.8. The rest are with a Nikon D700 with a Nikon 20-35 2.8. I’ll also have some film and Polaroids coming thanks to a SX-70 and the Impossible Project.

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It’s 7am and I can’t believe I’m awake. But with the sounds of the country side it was hard to stay awake. Roosters don’t really care that I just arrived last night and need my beauty sleep.

We were greeted by our hosts the Buzzbies and warned to search our beds and shoes for tarantulas and scorpions just to be safe. Really made me appreciate Africa more.

So after our introduction and some time in prayer, we headed to bed which brings me to our current point in time.

Check out this view. I’m in love.

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