Follow ETBU in Nicaragua
Day 10 Blog
ETBU Assistant Coach
Tuesday, May 16, 2017
Tuesday began much like many other days during our trip here, with an early morning breakfast at 6:30 AM, and preparation to leave our location and head back out into the communities of Nicaragua at 7:15 AM.
The first of our destinations today, came at a local public school here in Managua, called Colegio Publico Santo Domingo. Upon arrival, we were greeted by a local police officer who works with many of the local schools and the youth of this community. He gave us a brief introduction and overview of the high school and what the kids in this community face on a daily basis. In addition to the officer, we were also welcomed by the school’s principal, Mrs. Lopez. Her words were very powerful, and immediately caught our attention as she spoke of the violence, poverty, and need for our encouragement to these young people. During this introduction, she also mentioned how she was a woman of faith and a Christian just like us. She believed that her prayers had been answered because God had sent us, His Angels, to help them at the right time.
Our team, then split into five small groups and had the opportunity to visit each of the classrooms. While visiting, each of our guys individually spoke of the struggles and issues they have faced in life, but the importance of education, dedication, respect for authority, respect for each other, and how their faith has helped them through those times and created the joy and success they now enjoy. Throughout the duration of our trip, we have had many opportunities to speak with younger students, and fellowship through games and other activities. However, I truly believe that this morning our guys learned something new from this group of students.
After a brief trip back to the hotel for lunch and a short break, we were back on the road to our final destination of our trip, Casa Alianza, which is a school, or center, for kids between the ages of 13 – 17 years old who have been placed or brought here due to extreme cases in the home-life, lack thereof, or extra-curricular activities they were involved in. Upon arrival, we were given instruction not to take anything in with us besides a water bottle; cell phones, cameras, etc., were not allowed inside. We were then greeted warmly by a couple of the organization’s administrators, and taken to a small room where they gave us an overview of their mission and the types of cases they work with day in and day out. We were informed that many of these children were taken out of the streets or their homes where they were involved in sexual assault, drugs, or violence, placed by the court system, or even young ladies who had dealt with abuse and rape or human trafficking. Many of these kids had no hope, no family support, and no direction in life other than the wrong one. The focus of Casa Alianza was to help these kids not only get an education, but to learn how and when given the opportunity to hopefully go back out into the world with a chance to survive, a chance for success, and chance to get away from the struggles they once faced.
Before meeting and getting to engage with some of the kids who lived there, we were also given a tour of the facilities which personally opened my eyes and heart to things I had only heard stories of over the years. Once we were given a better idea of what we were going to encounter with these young men and women, we had the opportunity to spend about 2 hours with them during their designated “activity time.” Many of our guys participated as the schools coach or “trainer” took them through the daily stretches and warm-up routine, and then even got to lead them in a few of our own stretching routines. From there we had time to fellowship, and enjoy and afternoon full of basketball, volleyball, and, of course, futbol. After the games were finished, everyone came together in a large circle as our guys shared different testimonies and stories of encouragement for these young people as they move forward. There were even a few of the school's residents, kids, who spoke up and thanked us for what we did today, and that they were really glad we came and gave them joy and excitement to their lives.
The experience at Casa Alianza really affected our guys this afternoon, as it did for the coaching staff, and myself personally. I think that from this experience we took away how important our decisions are each and every day. It was a great time for us to not only learn from these kids, but also share and try to teach them that no one is perfect, and that we all have troubles, some tougher than others, but no matter what our past was, we must understand that there are people around us who care for us and that we have the ability to make the choice for what our future holds. It will not always be easy and it will not always be fun, but with heart and dedication, we can create a better future for ourselves.
To close our day, we finished with a time for devotion, a time for prayer, a powerful testimony from one of the Ignite Ministry leaders, and a time for reflection on what we have all seen and experienced this week. After hearing the feelings and hearts of so many of our young men tonight, I can truly go home saying that this trip and this experience was more than we ever could have imagined. I know that it has changed me for the better, and firmly believe that our team, our family, has grown not only closer together, but closer to the Lord, and I look forward to all the great works that God has in store for these young men as they come back home and continue to share the Gospel, and what wonderful things we can accomplish.
From our entire program, I want to thank all of our family and friends whose support made this trip a reality. I would like to thank Ignite Ministries and Judy Fox for the wonderful experience and the time she devotes to continuously giving young men and women the opportunity to go out and give back to these communities in need.
Furthermore, I would also like to thank our University family, the staff, and administration for all that you have done to strive to provide our students with the opportunity to not only hear the Word, but to walk in the Word, and experience the Word first-hand. This week has truly been a blessing and I know I speak for the rest of the team by saying I cannot wait for another chance to serve again.
Acts 20:35 – In every way I’ve shown you that by laboring like this. It is necessary to help the weak and to keep in mind the words of the Lord Jesus, for He said, “It is more blessed to give than to receive.”
ETBU Alumni 2011