Earlier this year I took a team of supporters with me to Managua, Nicaragua to minister to the children in Sandy’s program and to touch the lives of the female missionaries at a retreat.
• Peggy McWhorter (my best friend from childhood)
• Lillian Muratore (helped conduct the North Bible Studies)
• Kathy Burney (attends Wednesday Bible Study, Lakewood Church, and conducts Weight Watcher Meetings for the church ladies.)
• Marilyn Vrana (attends Wednesday Bible Study and a talented interior designer)
• Charlotte O’Hearn (pastor with her husband Tomball Cowboy Church, she helped keep me focused)
• Amber Adams (attends Wednesday Bible Study, full of spiritual insight and a hard worker)
• Ira McManus (the mother of Linda Hartson’s pastor and a powerful woman of prayer)
• Linda Hartson (my dear friend who does psychotherapy)
• Nell Lamury (pastor’s wife in Louisiana with a brilliant children’s ministry)
We arrived in Managua on Wednesday. Our flights were all together except for Marilyn whose plane was delayed by three hours. We settled into the hotel and waited for her. Everyone was excited about the next few days.
The next morning after breakfast we gathered to have prayer together. Lillian began reading from the daily devotion; it started with something like “On my first mission trip, …” and then spoke directly to us! After reading the devotion we each prayed over the day. We then departed for the feeding program.
The program we visited was in the city dump. It is impossible to describe the living conditions there, however, right in the middle of despair Sandy’s team has built a walled area with a school for the children. Each morning they are given breakfast and then they are given a very important too to escape their environment…education!
About a mile from the school is a second walled area with a pavilion and tables.This is where 200 – 250 children are fed daily. Some of the ladies could not contain their emotions as they viewed the beautiful faces of these children. With nothing, living in a dump, they still had a smile on their face. Nell had put together a magic trick for them and after assisting with the distribution of food we drove away, overwhelmed by what we had seen.
Sandy has seven or eight such feeding programs. Other groups also have feeding programs and they are making a difference.
Someone made the comment that the saddest part was the likelihood that most of these children would remain in the dump all their lives, never realizing that there was a life beyond poverty. However, we met two examples of what the gospel can do in a life. The minister who now conducts the feeding program in the dump and several other locations was born just outside the dump and his family was a part of the “dump society.” He now is helping rescue other young men and women from this fate.
The second example is a young man who was along to help us communicate. He was a part of one of the feeding programs, but Sandy took special interest in him and one of the families visiting invited him to come and live in America for a couple of years and attend school. He now speaks perfect English (with a southern accent) and is helping other young men and women escape a life of poverty.
CHANGE A CHILD AND EVENTUALLY YOU CAN CHANGE A NATION!!
We headed for the resort.
Along the way we stopped to inspect the orphanage being built by Sandy. The compound is outside Managua for safety reasons. They have completed two guest houses for visiting teams; a kitchen/dining room building, and are about 80% finished with the first orphanage building which will house infants.
Sandy plans to build two such buildings. It will take another $20, 000 to finish the first and then they will begin building the second.
The compound also has cows, horses, and pigs. They raise their own food and food for the animals and they have three good wells for water.
We arrived at the resort just before noon and checked into our rooms. It was another world compared to what we had seen the day before.
Friday night I spoke on Faith to believe God…the theme of the conference was “Believing God.” We gave out many door prizes and had wonderful worship. At 9:00 p.m. there was an “after-service” where Nell shared methods of ministering to children.
Peggy spoke and touched hearts with a powerful message on Believing God about Your Importance to Him. After this meeting several medical missionaries asked Peggy and me to come to their room after lunch to talk about ministering to people in the gift of healing. They really had never experience this type of ministry and were curious. We were delighted to go. They asked questions and we answered from the Word, our hearts, and our experiences. Then they asked if we would lay our hands on them and ask God to impart the gift of healing to them. We did this and then prayed for one of the ladies who had a back problem which ALWAYS kept her from sleeping well. (The next morning she came to our breakfast table beaming…I slept well…God has healed me!)
After lunch Marilyn, Kathy, Amber and Lillian got busy setting the meeting room up for the style show. I was amazed when I walked in that afternoon. I felt like I was standing in a boutique in Texas! They had taken all the clothing and accessories everyone had brought and put them together. They had outfits…lots of jewelry…shoes…it was beautiful!
Kathy spoke prior to Nell about health and nutrition. Everyone had questions and really enjoyed her ministry.
Nell showed everyone how to minister with magic and then revealed her secrets. I was so glad I attended this session. I had asked her to tell me her secrets before, but she said if she did she would have to kill me!!! Soooo, I can’t tell you how she does it, but if you go on our next trip, the ladies there might.
After supper we returned to the meeting room for the style show. At nine we were all in place, each of us modeled our outfits. I asked each lady to describe her outfit and greet the ladies. It was great fun! Everyone laughed and had a wonderful time and 10 non-model “golden girls” did their stuff!
After the modeling we drew names. As their name was drawn they were allowed to visit the boutique and select anything they wanted! There were enough gifts for me to draw each name twice and some three times.
For me, it was a double blessing: 1. watching the ladies of God receive new beautiful things rather than old unwanted clothing. 2. watching my ladies give and assist.
At the last service there was a special “Spirit of Worship.” We watched as the Holy Spirit moved over the crowd. Linda Hartson brought the final message on how God takes the dreams you thought were dead and brings them back to life! At the close of her message we sand the song God had impressed on me as the theme of the conference: “Come unto Me” and again we allowed God to minister his love to us.
Ira McManus gave a word of the Lord:
“I feel like the Lord is saying that I have brought you to this place to be refreshed, restored, and super-charged by the Holy Spirit. For you are anointed and appointed for task that lies ahead.
At this place, this weekend, you have cried, you have laughed, you have received and you have given out.
But know this, I am equipping you to go forth in the visions and dreams that I have given to you to fulfill. You will go forth with a mighty unction of my Spirit knowing that you will be able to accomplish all that I have called you to do. For you will know and say that I can do all things through Christ who strengthens and equips me. Philippians 4:13”
I don’t believe we will know until eternity all that was accomplished on this trip. But here are a few observations:
• My ladies caught a vision of the work in Nicaragua
• We brought encouragement, hope and laughter to many discouraged women
• Several women were healed
• My ladies gave personal ministry to many
• We grew personally in our relationships with God and each other
• We embraced more fully the blessings we walk in as American Believers
• We began to see how we fit into the body of Christ.