** Please note that my spellcheck is only working in Spanish and I'm too tired to proof this before hitting "post." Ignore any typos or other mistakes!
The last time I was in Nicaragua was in March of 2001. I would have never thought that it would take me ten years to return or that when I did return, I would be returning as an employee of Project H.O.P.E. I was reminded over and over again that God has a plan for everyone.
Most of the day was spent meeting each staff member of Project H.O.P.E. I was able to learn about each person's role in the ministry and how God brought them to PH. Story after story, I was amazed. I'll give you a quick example:
Freddy is a 17 year old who met "PH" when he was 15. His sister was receiving a house through one of PH's building projects. A "gringo" by the name of Chuck took Freddy under his wing. Freddy said that he was amazed at the love Chuck showed him. He was amazed that some one could love him that much. Freddy knew his family loved him...they had to because they were his family. But Chuck, a complete stranger, was showing him unconditional love. Freddy began to work at PH as the librarian. Keep in mind, he was only 15 at the time. He speaks fluent English and is completely self-taught! His main job now is to work with the teams to interpret between the gringos and the Nicas and to work with the children's ministry. Just today he took the exam (and is pretty confident he will pass) to get into the University. Freddy said without PH, he knows that he would have atleast one child by now and living on the streets. My short story doesn't do Freddy justice. He is one special guy!
The second half of my day was spent at the hospital. Jerson, one of the staff has started a hospital ministry. I didn't know what to expect when my dad told me that Jerson would be taking us there. I wish I could have taken pictures because I really don't think I can describe it to you. First, not all hospitals in Nicaragua are like this, but this is the one you would be in if your family didn't have much money...which is most of the population. You know those creepy, run down hospitals you would see in a scary movie? The ones that are probably 60 years old, paint peeling on the walls, old concrete floors? With the exception of it being dark with no lights on, that should help paint the picture. There is only 1 nurse for every 80 patients! You only get visited by the nurse once a day and you only receive one meal in the hospital. If you want to eat more than once, your family will have to bring you food. The IV bags are old, rusty and one of them I saw had so much gooey gunk on it, I'm not really sure what it was. We visited with five patients and their families. I cried two of the five times. And to think that we complain about our hospitals! I mean, I was upset when our insurance changed back to Cox because if we had another baby, I might not get my own room! About 20% of the people in that hospital die because they won't receive proper care. They will only receive medicine if their families are their to pay for it up front.
So, that was my day in a nutshell. I really have so much more to say...so if you want to hear more, catch up with me some time. I'm more than happy to share!