Sunday, May 15, 2011

Our First Day in Nicaragua with Mision Cristiana

We arrived blurry-eyed in the hotel lobby at 3:30 in the morning to begin our journey to a new country. Now we are in our room in Nicaragua listening to the birds chattering and the rain drumming on the tin roof punctuated by an occasional thud of a mango falling from an overhanging tree. A gecko skitters across the wall above the window. Our missionaries, Timothy and Laura Jean and our global partners, Sonja, Rolando and Enrique met us at the airport and loaded us into the van that would take us through the honking horns over the busy brick streets of Managua. Palm trees towered overhead and the air was thick with humidity and exhaust. By the time we turned into the tree-lined neighborhood that is home to Mision Cristiana, we were sticky with sweat. As we parked, a horse-drawn cart, an SUV and a man pushing an ice cream truck passed by. Once inside, breakfast was served on the patio: plantains, French toast and fried fresh cheese. Around the table, we got acquainted with Jose Adan Varga. Where I am the Regional Minister in Montana, Jose is the Regional Minister (Presbyter) in the Northeast Zone of Nicaragua. Where it took me an hour and a half by plane to travel to Managua; it took Jose two days to get to our meeting. Where I travel among the churches I serve by Subaru; Jose uses the public bus. Where I use the remote to open the garage door and drive right in when I get home; Jose walks an hour to get to his house after the bus drops him off.
Yet Jose and I hold in common a love of scripture and a heart for strengthening the church. As he talked about the new dairy cow project designed to address issues of malnutrition in his Zone, I thought about our efforts in Montana to raise money for the Foods Resource Bank through our own cow project. As the other pastors in the delegation talked about making seeds available to 250 families, I thought about our Montana congregations who serve meals each week to those who are hungry. As they shared about how they had been intimidated and imprisoned by the US-backed military guerrillas known as the Contras during the 1980s, I took some small comfort remembering being part of church demonstrations in Seattle designed to get the US government to change its policies in Nicaragua. Even though Jose and I live in two difference places, our lives are bound together by a common humanity, a common history, a common church, a common faith in Jesus Christ. At the end of the day, we joined hands and prayed that we might continue to grow in our awareness of the unity that we share.

Ruth Fletcher

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