Charis Bible College-Colorado sent a 33 person mission team to Nicaragua in April. The group, led by Bruce and Joyce Ball, had the privilege of being hosted by Andrew's friends, Karen and Darey Jolley, and their ministry, Ambassadors to the Nations. Ambassadors is an international missions ministry, the focus of which is meeting the physical and spiritual needs of the poorest communities in Central and North America through short-term mission projects.
This CBC team ministered primarily to children in Managua, the Granada Islands and on the Island of Ometepe. The students performed skits, street dramas and puppet shows to engage the youth. They also preached, offered prayer, and passed out food, toys and necessities to the community.
While the humanitarian aid and ministry were warmly received, the CBC students could not look past the hurt behind many of the children's eyes. The pain perceived by CBC student, Marie Marsden, overwhelmed her. Marie said she saw sadness in many of the littlest girls and some middle and high school-aged children. "My heart just broke for them. I know that sexual abuse is rampant in Nicaragua. I was told by a team member from Ambassadors to the Nations that one out of every three girls is sexually violated on a regular basis," Marie shared.
The team saw some difficult living situations, particularly for the children. Marie came upon these situations regularly, and began to feel weighed down, so she turned to the Holy Spirit for comfort. In spite of the language barrier between Marie and the Spanish speaking communities, God was not hindered in moving among each and every divine encounter Marie experienced. "Not being able to speak the language, in some ways, made it easier to focus intently on the leading of the Holy Spirit while we were ministering. We saw the Spirit of God touch people’s hearts and lives—moving them to tears. We also saw bondages loosed, and the spirit of joy released in those for whom we prayed. Most enjoyable were the smiles which came from the beautiful children’s faces. Sadly though, we were not able to draw smiles from all the children," said Marie.
Gillian Moore was also touched by her trip to Nicaragua, and her experience solidified her call to the mission field. Through this trip, Gillian was able to see God working all things together for good. Before she left for Central America, the Lord brought people, even some unbelievers, to help her prepare for her journey. People at work found out that Gillian was going on a mission trip, and they offered to provide the supplies she needed for the journey. Gillian said, "They really did help. They gathered crafts and toys, candy, women’s articles, and clothing. They pretty much filled my check-in bag, and we were able to distribute these items all over the place."
Gillian enjoyed the ministry in Nicaragua, the laughing, playing and dancing, and she said it was a rewarding experience. Among those to whom Gillian was able to minister were the two children she sponsors through Ambassadors' Sponsorship Program. "I was able to meet both of my sponsored children in Ometepe, and together with a fellow student, was able to minister to the mother of my one young boy who was in a difficult home situation. I am trusting that this home will continue to grow in the love of the Lord because of this ministry," she said.
Both Marie and Gillian mentioned the simplicity of making a difference in someone's life; it is the willingness to say, "Here I am Lord, send me."
I believe God is calling me to missions in the future, and going to Nicaragua has rekindled a flame that I thought had died out. I believe God wants His children to hear His heart, His love for the nations, and be willing to go. I am saying, "Here I am, Lord—Send me!"