Sunday, July 12, 2009

Little Gifts and Big Blessings

Written by Bruce

During the week before our team left America for Nicaragua, Jennifer and Charlotte took a trip to North Carolina with Angela and Stephanie. Having a week home to myself, I took the opportunity to paint our small, pine, dining room table.

Jennifer knew I wanted to paint it, but I surprised her by giving it a little something extra. I painted the table a bright white, and with black lettering around the top of the table, I wrote out the words:

"The fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faith, gentleness, self-control"


I later told her that I had considered trying to paint a fruit tree, or some similarly-themed art, in the center of the table, but I had decided I simply don't have that level of artistic abilities.

Well, today our team attended the morning service at Alfa y Omega church. At the end of the service, Pastor Juan Baptista called each adult member of the team up and presented us each with a unique gift.

The gift given to Jennifer was a napkin holder in the image of fruit (and veggies). I told the pastor how providential that gift seemed since we'll now have fruit to place in the center of our Fruit of the Spirit table.

napkin holder

In addition, I have been concerned about whether I and others on this trip will continue, once we return to the normalcy of our lives, to have the same heart for people we are feeling here.

Anyone who works with youth knows how they so often return from camp on an emotional high that doesn't last. And many people feel moved when they see or hear of the desperate needs around the world. But few of us continue to care once those images are out of our minds.

This was actually a discussion in one of our team's recent morning devotions. We all know that we need God to actually change our hearts. And we also need to pray that God changes our hearts.

Now Jennifer, Charlotte, our soon-to-be-born little girl, and myself will have a daily reminder of God's people in Nicaragua.

Every day we will be able to think of the Baptist church in Nagarote that doesn't have air conditioning, a family life center, an education wing, an organ, stained-glass (or even glass) windows, or cushioned pews, and yet worships the same God as us now and forever.

It is my hope that my family will pray for this church in Nagarote, similar churches around the world, and the lost people those churches are sharing the gospel with on a daily basis.

And because all of us on this mission have sat around and talked about how this experience has given us a new perspective on what really matters in the world, it is my hope that this daily reminder will help me resist the temptation to waste my life on meaningless things, and instead invest my life in the one thing that matters: Gloria Dios!

P.S. The gift to me was a key holder with a map of Nicaragua, and it says, "Nicaragua tierra de lagos y volcanes" (Nicaragua land of lakes and volcanoes). I told Pastor Juan that gift was also perfect since I'm a science teacher who teaches about lakes and volcanoes.

Nicaragua map


  1. Hi all, we spent the class time in Life group looking at the site and talking to the kids about how it is hard to get the true expirence of a mission trip by looking at pics. and souvenirs that are brought back from a trip. Even the heart felt compassion that will be shown for the people that will be left in Nagarote by the folks on the trip... it is just hard to know what you are feeling without being there. Bill Anderson was in Tim's class doing a presentation of his recent trip to Africa and Tim ask Bill at the end what is the most help people here could do for them and he said to pack your bags and go with him to Africa.
    Once you go to a foreign country and see the kids and adults living in these houses that most of us wouldn't put our lawn mower in then you have a different perspective and it changes your life and like Bruce said once you get back and the Mountain top expirence is over and the days, weeks, months go by you will forget about the way things were in Nagarote, Africa, Honduras or where ever unless you make a commitment to pray and stay connected to those people. I look forward to hearing your groups report and pray this is just the beginning of foreign mission work out of our church.
    Later, Freddie

  2. Dear Bro. (Nephew) Rick: Is there anyone we could send money to who could purchase good Biblical study books for the Pastors and Teachers after you're gone? If so, I will ask our church for donations. If you could, please set this up before you leave and give me the address when you get back. We both know how important sound, doctrinal study material is to the ministry and it breaks my heart they don't have a good supply. I'd love to help! Love to all, Dr. (Aunt) Darlene Anderson


Thank you for reading about our Mission: Nagarote adventure. Please leave a comment here so the team knows you are thinking about and praying for them.