Chippawa Presbyterian Church – August 2017
In August of 2017, a small team of 11 people left Chippawa Presbyterian Church in Niagara Falls, Ontario and headed down to build a church for Pastor Ernan Silva. Each team member carried two hockey bags full of items to be used and distributed to the people of Nicaragua. The church was built in a very quiet area in La Concepcion. It was two weeks of hot temperatures, heavy lifting, and a lot of love put into every job. The building was finished from the ground up to the roof by the time the team left. It was amazing each day to see how much could be accomplished by the members of the team and our team of Nicaraguan workers. It was exciting to hold church services infront of the structure each Sunday morning and think, wow look what we are making!
During the first week, we hosted a Kids Program for the local children around the building site. Each afternoon the kids were greeted by members of our team along with our translator for the program, Jonathan. A different craft was given along with singing, games, bible stories, and a whole lot of laughter and hugs. Both the leaders and the kids truly enjoyed their time together each afternoon. A very kind man across the street let us use his front porch every afternoon. He was a carpenter who would be sawing wood and working hard, but then you would see him sweeping up every speck of sawdust and move wood out of the way so we could host the children’s program every afternoon. Amazing!!!
In February of 2017 we suddenly lost a member of our team to a horrible car accident. Jessica Edwards, only 24 years old, had a passion for the kids of Nicaragua and was looking forward to joining the team and members of her family on our Mission Trip. Due to a drunk driver, Jessica lost her life and the team was devastated. Her family quickly came up with the idea to honour Jessica by building a kids park in Nicaragua in her memory. Fundraising started right away along with the fundraising for the building project. It was amazing to see the outpouring of love for Jessica and for the park to become a reality. And what a beautiful park it is. Canada Park is situated in the middle of Ticuantepe between a church, a school, and a small neighbourhood. On the wall is a mural which is an actual painting of Jessica playing with kids. It is a beautiful tribute to a very beautiful young lady and the children in the area will have such a great place to play and just have fun.
Throughout the two weeks the team also had other activities planned. A trip to Remar Orphanage one evening where the team played games with the kids, and we hosted a dinner for them. A trip to the Children’s Cancer Hospital where the team went to offer pray and love to each child and family they met. A trip to visit Fuego en el Altar that Chippawa built back in 2014 and a time to visit with our friends from that build. We hosted a market for the members of the church in La Concepcion. Tables were set up with all of the donations we brought with us. Each family was allowed to come through and pick 10 items of clothing, shoes, accessories, along with hygiene items, and a big bag of food. It was exciting to see them pick items they needed specifically for their family. There was a visit to Los Cedros where Chippawa had been twice to build a school. Bags of school supplies were dropped off along with the support for the teachers salaries. We can’t forget the beauty that we saw around Nicaragua as we went to the local market, the volcano, the beach. These were times of rest for the team, and to see God’s beautiful work He has done in this country. Two weeks in Nicaragua goes by very quickly and it is always sad to see our time come to an end, but we can each sit and be so thankful for the building we created, the friendships rekindled and the lives we have touched during our time there. We look forward to when we can return and build for someone else and continue to share God’s love.