What a day we had at our usual weekly outreach to El Zapote, we brought a celebration to the community. Each week, our church - Nueva Restauracion, along with our neighbors who are associated with a local ministry and ourselves go to the community to teach the Word and just love on everyone we can. This trip, we were blessed to be joined by another ministry who brought clowns. We all joined up at the church; meeting time was supposed to be at 8AM. I don't think we will ever get used to Nicaragua time, it was 9:30 before we left for the community. I am starting to ask the question when someone gives us a time: "Is that Nica time?" If they say yes, I now know I can add another hour minimum on to the stated time. It's taken us 4 years to get this figured out.
Let's get back to El Zapote: We arrived with lots of fanfare, horns blowing, calling out to everyone we passed and children running to greet us. We had a day of fun with games, pinatas, candy, toys and painted faces for the children. The women needed pampering; we cut and colored hair and painted nails. We prepared lunch for everyone.
As is typical in this country, the men are rarely involved in family activities, let alone anything to do with church. There was one man that sat a safe distance away from the community center and someone presented him with a balloon which he placed around his neck. We saw older teen boys also watching from a distance, but would not get involved.
In time, we hope this will change. As a ministry, our focus is all about these older teens and drawing them out.
It was a fun day, fun for the kids, fun for the women and fun for us. Every time we reach out to the village we walk away blessed to have spent time with them. They teach us a lot about "community". They are a very small village, they rely on and help each other. There are a lot of old "traditions" handed down through generations that need to be changed. This country is a mix of Indian, Spanish, Catholic and Witchcraft. We don't change them by telling them what is wrong (not at first), we befriend them and let our example influence them to wanting something "more". To want THE truth and THE life. Jesus spent more time eating and hanging with the people than he did condemning them. We are growing to love the people in El Zapote, not because that is what we are commanded to do but because they have captured our hearts.
Merry Christmas El Zapote and Happy New Year! We look forward to many years of celebrations together.
This video captures the day and says more than I could ever say in words.