Thanksgiving week in Nicaragua was the most memorable and life changing weeks of my life. I have lived outside of the US for almost three years and never in my life was I so broken over the poverty, loneliness, and hurt that the people in Nicaragua have. I went a day before the team came down because there were some political things going on and it wasn't safe for American's to be out. However, the team flew in on that day and we had to pick them up. Everything was fine and then we turned onto a rode that was filled with convoys of tractors, trucks, and buses that were flying the communist party flags and Venezuelan flags. Many of the men and boys had shirts and bandanas wrapped around their faces and they had machetes and mortars. It was quite disturbing. We had to quickly put up our windows and sit down and try to get off the street. One of the Nicaraguan's turned to me and said, "Es como Venezuela" which means "It's like Venezuela." The whole week was super emotional for me but I think the first day got me the hardest. We went to a children's hospital and while majority of the team did a program for the kids that could leave their rooms a few of us were brought through every part of the hospital by a social worker. We went to the area of the little babies, in which most of them were abused, the burn unit, dengue wards, contagious diseases, ect. We went up and down the halls and into every room praying for those kids. It was so amazing that in a communist country, in a hospital with social medicine, and a social worker with us we were able to do what we did. One little boy broke my heart. His name is Enrique and he was laying on a cot in the hallway by himself and his arm was in a cast. He had some white stuff smeared around his mouth and we thought he had convulsions or something. As we stopped to talk to him it turns out he is a street kid. He works as a clown on the streets in a really bad part of town. Someone was chasing him and he fell and broke his arm. My heart truly broke for this kid. As we sat there and prayed for him you could literally see the peace of God fall upon him in a way he had never experienced.
The next day we worked in a orphanage for mentally and physically handicapped children and that was so much fun but also very sad. Every single one of those children had been abandoned either by their parents or just left on the streets. The whole week we went to half way houses and orphanages. The most impacting thing, however, was the dump. Never have I ever seen something so sad before. A huge dump that people and children actually live in. There are houses and even a school in there. It is very dangerous and the story of Slumdog Millionaire is basically the same type of thing that happens in this dump. Kids are used to beg, prostitution, ect. Something really cool happened in the dump. Some of the team was praying for a little boy who was deaf and could not hear without his hearing aid and didn't talk. After they prayed they started talking to him and he talked. So they took off the hearing aid and he could hear and talk clearly. The whole family was there crying and he accepted Jesus in his heart. If we didn't go on Thanksgiving day that little boy might have not been healed or accepted Christ. I can truly say my life has been changed.