Mission Trip to Nicaragua 2017

I remember the conversation just like it was yesterday. It came on the heels of Deborah’s announcement that she was called- and accepted- at Leon, Nicaragua for 2 years. And Kendra, full of good intentions made a promise:

“I know how everybody says they are coming to visit while you are gone,but then life happens, and schedules stay full, and the opportunity never presents itself. I will bring a group down.”

We batted it back in forth for a long time, and finally with less than 4 weeks until D-Day (Deb’s departure, way to wait until the 11.5 hour, KH) our group arrived on the wings of a snow white dove. [our flight got cancelled because of last week’s snow storm. Shout out to Golden Rule travel who not only got us wonderfully priced tickets, but worked tirelessly getting the new tickets secured]

We had a wonderful time. As I sort back through my 1000+ pics- it’s hard to know what all to include. So anyhow- here are a few of my favorites. I’m missing some of the major highlights, but if you want to know more- just ask the nearest member of our gang πŸ˜‰

To Team Nica- Bless you for everything- for putting up with a rookie group leader, for willingly and enthusiastically embracing whatever was put in front of you. I loved everybody exclaiming over everything.

And to the Olive Branch Team- thank you does seem inadequate- thank you thank you thank you for everything you did to make this a one of a kind experience.

Nicaragua is a truly beautiful part of God’s creation.

Praising God who arranges life so that even my smallest dreams become reality,


Bonus Pics:



The guys put a roof over a kitchen in this neighborhood. This family has a daughter who is deaf, blind, and mute. She cries when nobody is touching her. Heartbreaking



At the other site, they built a new house for Maria. When they took the metal off, the entire structure collapsed. Here they are moving the bed back in before they finish the last wall.


Maria explaining to Deb how God answered her prayer that morn- She was thinking how nice it would be for Deb to see her new house- and soon here came Deborah and company. πŸ™‚


We gave out Baby Bundles in the local free hospital. There were 4 or 5 new mothers per room. It was so much fun to hand deliver a bundle and exclaiming over the new arrival. Precious little people.


And we shopped a bit πŸ˜‰


And we embraced the culture in various ways πŸ˜‰



Children’s Church is always a highlight. Different ones of the group brought crafts and it was all hands on deck until the  evening was over πŸ™‚ There were a few hectic moments- but we made it. We also taught the song “Bind us Together ” with the motions. For those of us whose Spanish is less than fluent, it was a stretch- but they seemed to understand what we were singing. A video of that is here  The language barrier is never ending and so frustrating- but I love that God is not limited by language. We as Christians are one body, under one God, and that is why we sing πŸ™‚



Ah the Pacific πŸ™‚


We had the option of Red fish for supper. We stopped by the restaurant before sunset to warn them that our huge group was arriving and they took us back to a cooler to look at the catch and make sure it was ok. It wasn’t just ok. It was the most delicious fish ever. I wonder if leaving the head on and eyeballs in made it better-lol


And on the way home- we stopped and Deborah pointed out the Southern Cross. This constellation is only visible in the Southern Hemisphere. It was a gorgeous night and the stars were bright and it was awesome. It’s also #21 on the #30for30




Another highlight was the several hour trip to Esteli to visit Sarah and Delmar. Sarah led us up the mountain to an overlook. It was so much fun to see them again! Blessings to y’all as you are faithful where you are called!






See the little white boards on the trail on the side of the volcano? Those guys are with us πŸ™‚



Volcano Boarders, also with us πŸ˜‰


Nica culture from Deb’s window. This picture reminds me of a form of a “where’s Waldo” picture



Our early morning alarm clock every day… “Who let the dog out?”




And just like that, the week was over and it was time to sail off towards the next adventure. And  so, with a full heart, I do just that. Thank you Jesus, for allowing us this privilege.

And bless all the home folks who covered for us in our absence. Maybe next time will be your turn πŸ™‚





Pointers from the Pond Progress – told by the Site Manager

The sun had hardly begun to peak over the Blue Ridge Mountains and smile down on Windy Hollow before Detriot was up making his rounds. Today was different. Well at least it was going to be. Nothing different yet.

  •  Complete surveillance of the entire property-βœ”οΈ
  • Cat nap in the upside down crate until breakfast time βœ”οΈ
  • Same insanely irritating ability of the mindless assistant (the chocolate lab-Rolo) to decide to exit the “bedroom” (a.k.a doghouse or upside down crate) at the same instant as the Head of Ranch Security and squeeze his sides into the door frame- annoyingly βœ”οΈ

 ” I can feel it in my bones-something is going to happen today. ” Detriot said as he picked up his favorite stick of wood out of the corner of the yard and carried it about 3 laps around the outside of house in the building anticipation. Rolo wasn’t into wood gathering, but not to be left out, she tucked her tail and ran with reckless abandon around the yard to celebrate too-whatever this event could be.

Then the dogs busied themselves as they prepared to wait.

The neighbor drove across his field-the dogs set up a volley of alarms, but he stayed on his side of the fence and after awhile disappeared all together. Nope, that wasn’t it.

Someone rode a bike up the road. More warning barks that were virtually ignored. Still not it.

Then it happened-unloaded at the end of the lane was the biggest yellow truck ever. The truck lumbered slowly along turning its head from side to side. A much lesser dog would have fled the scene and beat a hasty retreat to the bedroom as the smaller of the two suggested. But the Head of Security stood unwaveringly, watching the Beast move up the lane. He stalked emotionlessly across the field to where the Beast stopped and after circling it a few times, he broke the silence “Very good” he barked “welcome to Turleytown, I’ll be your job supervisor, we expect you to report to duty immediately ”

And the great Haul truck did just that. 

She effortlessly made the trip between the pond and the field emptying the pond of silt that had found its way to the pond floor years before. 

The Supervisor was all business-He and His Assistant kept a close eye on the project; kept the work area free from muskrats, mice and lots of other varmits; and occasionally jumped in with the trackhoe operator to give a few pointers.

It was from the vantage point of the trackhoe cab that Detroit saw it all real clear: The Farmer’s Daughter decided to brave the snow squalls and come take pictures of the pond progress. So she donned her father’s oversized barnboots and trudged across the road to the job site. Now, bear in mind, the pond had the water level lowered all winter, so some of the surface had crusted over and dried out. The story goes that someone (who shall remain nameless) discovered that the crust doesn’t hold much weight and sank in well past their knees. The Daughter knew this, and thought about it as she headed towards the excavator, but in an effort to save some time, she cut across the pond. The Supervisor and his workers watched with unbelieving eyes as her boots sank nearly out of sight. She’d work and work to get one boot free only to have it sink in with the next step forward. It apparently was the most comical sight ever as she wrestled first one boot and then the other from the miry clay, and finally gave up on walking and crawled acrossed the mud floor with her father’s boots in hand. (Thankfully there is no photo documentation of this event)

This story took the long route home to bring out several lessons: Extend grace- she knew she had made the wrong decision as soon as her boot started to sink, and the last thing she wanted to hear as she slunk towards shore was “what were you thinking?!” or “I told you so…” (The ear to ear grin on the face of every operator spoke volumes enough). Learn from others mistakes- no one is exempt from gravity-especially on a pond floor. And always, ALWAYS keep the ability to join others in laughing at your own mistakes.


 Detroit Snappenbarker Mendoza (Supervisor)  and the muddy mess shivering on the pond bank, KH