We headed out bright and early Monday morning into the Nicaraguan countryside. It is called the land of lakes and volcanoes, and it is very pretty, but the soil is not so rich because it is lava based, and there are a lot of lava rocks. But people work hard and are very resourceful, and have been living here for a long time, so they know how to farm and thrive. Our first day, in a small village called La Trinidad, we had a steady flow of dogs and pigs and some cats come to the clinic, where we will spay or neuter and deworm and give flea and tick medicine, and walk to nearby farms and see cows and horses, where we will vaccinate and deworm, and castrate horses. It is all relatively calm and quiet until a pig shows up; they are quiet when left alone, but the second they are touched, the game changes, and their soft gentle exterior changes like a light switch, and out comes a noise that is not what old Macdonald claims “an oink-oink here and an oink-oink there” but sounds more like a cross between a 2-stroke engine revving up to 7000RPM’s and fingernails on a chalkboard and you can’t hear anything else until you stop touching the pig and the noise switch turns off. It hurts your ears, and if it wasn’t for the fact that bacon tastes so good, it might not be worth it.
Our meals are simple but very authentic and tasty; rice and beans and fresh ground corn tortilla’s at every meal, and usually chicken, sometimes beef, and always juice, with black coffee for breakfast. We bring large jugs of water because the groundwater would leave us in gastrointestinal distress, but it is lukewarm, but at least we have water.
The first night we gave our personal testimony’s of how we came to believe in Jesus, and everyone told their story. You get to know people in a real way when you know where they’ve been, and how they got to where they are, so we talked for 2 ½ hours and got to know our teammates a lot better and deeper. It was very inspiring and spiritually uplifting, especially hearing Oscar and Tamy’s testimony. They have been thru a lot of difficult things, and they have relied on their faith and trust in God to get them through. They have planted 13 churches and many more home groups, and have made a real difference in many peoples lives. During the riots in Nicaragua earlier this year, when the country essentially shut down for 2 months, they were able to provide assistance to over 100 families for food to get them thru the crisis. Their hope is to connect with people and help them any way they can and invite them to a home group where they can strengthen their relationship with other people and with God. That is where we come in. They will let people know weeks ahead of time when the “veterinarios” are coming, and then they bring us in a big van with all our supplies, and we set up shop in our makeshift ‘MASH” unit, and start working with the people and their animals. Meanwhile, Oscar and Tamy and other pastors will talk with people and try to get to know them. They have been doing this for over 12 years, partnering with Christian Veterinary Missions, so the people trust us now. We don’t charge for any service or supplies and that helps break down the walls that build up between people and the “church”. Most of the people who accept the offer to come to a homegroup, and then to church, have never been involved with a church before. It is a blessing to see the growth in all of their churches, and especially their main home church in Masaya, which now is growing so much they are building a new church which can hold 1200 people, which is very unusual in this country.
It is a blessing to be part of their ministry and make a difference that can give help and hope to the people and bring the joy of Christ into their lives. It is an honor and pleasure to be part of!
Many Blessings from Nicaragua,