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Mission of Hope

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Daily Journal: Thursday, February 23, 2012 (Early Edition)

By Bonnie Black
You have found that many stories whirl around in my head that I think I have told you, but I did not! Such was the story last night about the young boy who picked up a discard juice box at Niño. Want to know the rest?

Megan observed him then pick up the crushed box and dirt-caked straw and sip from it. It was her first experience seeing a hungry child try to get something to drink. Because we can only afford Pre-K through Grade 2 in our “Children Feeding Children” program (enrollments have grown substantially in the school over the past few years) here was a young boy who was not being guaranteed one nutritious meal a day. We certainly appreciate each and every one of you who contribute to this Mission program and pray that one day we can resume providing food to all elementary students in the school we serve.

At this morning’s meeting we learned a new word, a medical term, and your traveler will tell you about it….many of us were in stitches as we shared its use this morning. Anyhow, more seriously, we talked about the cyclical effect of being good stewards of our environment regarding use of resources both here in Nica as well as at home. Many people will be out and about today so were reminded about sunscreen application and hydration.

Kate spoke to all about the data collection sheets that need to be done by each outbound team. She is responsible to assure that each group that has been off-site brings back completed forms that will allow our Grant Seeking Committee to have the data potential funders look at when considering our applications. As a matter of fact, if you think you would like to be involved in the Grant Seeking Committee or any of our committees, please visit our website to get a better idea of our 4 Pillars of Service and contact anyone on our Leadership Team to find out more….we always need help back home to allow us to do what we do for the poor down here.

“Where one is, we all are,” said Sister Debbie who told us that is the Dominican Sister philosophy, too. It is necessary that we represent all of you in our daily tasks and thoughts here in Nicaragua. She also reminded everyone to share their photos at the end of the day and stories in the evening meeting so all may have every experience as well.

Sandy had our closing prayer for this morning’s meeting and chose to share a ‘CPR Prayer’ asking us to contemplate it as we listened. She told us that when she was younger, her priest had asked her to pray for 30 days without ceasing; she then reflected on why she should stop after 30 days and the priest told her that’s the point-the realization after 30 days it becomes part of our lives.

Her prayer this morning asked God to allow us to be available to be used and guided in what we say and do. “To the one who is lonely, be a friend; for those with heavy burdens, help us to meet their needs. Lord, we do not want fame or fortunate…guide us to be what You want us to be.” We then concluded with the Lord’s Prayer.

On to our second full day! Things began pretty much on time and crews began to move out: off to Chinandega were Sister Debbie, Sister Clare, Connie T. This is the newest location where Sister Ligia is now serving – in addition to Diriamba and Masaya. Her focus here is a mother/child hospital and we had many infant items and supplies to bring. This is an all-day assignment, so they won’t be doing much else….two hours in each direction!

A group headed out to the Pajarito Azul Farm in Jinotepe (about an hour away) to put up gutters and do other work under the grant we have: Allen, James, Diane, Paul R., Connie M., Nick, Brandon and Sara. They will also be building a 50-foot section of a block wall, so I hope they’ve eaten their Wheaties for lunch!

The Rice & Beans leader from Monte Verde this morning arrived about 15 early and as soon as Oscar got back with the van from taking the Pajarito Azul crew (Brody, Priscilla, Clare, Joy L., Sr. Cathy and Sally) he brought everyone out: Anna K., Mary Ellen, Haley, Paul W. and Kate).

Another all-day crew is our Kitchen Crew: Bev, Joan, Andrew, Corinne and Megan. Our BBB team is Paul O., Paul W., Aislyn and Victoria.

The big hold-up, though, was the Home Shelter Crew which was to have been led by Inocencio. After a phone call, he told us he had to work at Niño, so wouldn’t be here. Making a long story short, Paul O. jumped in as the Chief and the large group of workers (17) and our crew (6) headed out to a closeby home site. Returning from lunch, they noted only 1 of the 2 homes were built and we needed to tweak the system for the afternoon. Mauricio contacted Manuel who works on our rocket stove project and he was available for the afternoon crew…but that didn’t occur until almost 2pm. So, as they say, best laid plans! Rather than our intended 5 shelters today, we will most likely only have 2-3 done…stay tuned for more info in the Evening Edition.

Henry, our inimitable paint crew leader, had an ever-changing crew painting the borders around the interior breezeway and along the one side of the house that wasn’t done on the last large mission. His assigned crew was Amanda, Emily and Nicole, but Bev let some of the Kitchen Crew get a paintbrush in their hands when there was ‘down time’ this morning. The exterior painting was completed this morning – what a crew! But, that didn’t let the assigned crew for this afternoon off of the hook….they enriched the Carton Sorting crew and others ;~)

Sandy and Sarah jumped into preparing the gifts in numeric order for our Sunday afternoon with our sponsored children. They accomplished everything this morning and left all in good order – to be reviewed by Connie once she returns from the farm.

We had a team sorting the new notebooks and sharpening the 2 new pencils for each of our sponsored students – just about 550 sets. The toughest part is the pencil sharpening as we burned up the little battery-operated sharpener and returned to the manual sharpeners we used to use in times gone by. We’ll think of something a bit better – maybe bring down some of the sharpeners we could attach to the wall in Home Depot so that it could go faster and not need batteries! The only thing our afternoon team needed to do was prepare 100 pencils and that project was completed.

Meanwhile, I brought Aislyn, Nicole and Vicky with me as we walked the dirty laundry and cleaning supplies over to Victoria’s home…only to find that we were short the detergent! So, that necessitated a quick drive to the store with Bev where she and I also picked up the fruit and wheat bread we are using well. When we returned from the store, Victoria walked back to Victoria’s with Priscilla and Anna K.

I will be following up with details on this afternoon later tonight, until then, hasta pronto!

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