A Parent Vision Trip (PVT) is when parents of World Racers go to the field for a week to be with their kids in another country. They get to do ministry with their sons and daughters. It is a life changing trip. I am fortunate enough with my job, to go along on these trips as a facilitator and see the amazing places around the world where God is working.
This week I am in Nicaragua…
The hibiscus open their faces to the sun. Morning glories, sprawl across the ground calling me to a path leading to time with God, just after dawn. Rows of plantain trees quiver in the breeze, their frons flapping, making a distinctly different sound than the trees at home. The birds also sing different songs than my neighbors in the States. In the distance, the volcano Mombacho towers over the landscape. My eyes to lift to the peak in order to determine if it is smoke I see, or clouds playing tricks. There is not a rain cloud in sight, as it is the dry season. The ground is parched, and the wind blows up dust which creates puffs wafting across the fields. As the day wears on, the sun will broil the grass and any exposed flesh, with its direct rays in close proximity to the earth. In the glorious shade, the wonderful breeze dries sweat…as long as it is blowing. The secret of this land is to walk in the cool of the morning, with circulating air kissing my face. It welcomes me to the beauty of this country.
Her people are as welcoming as the breeze. Our translator and guide work with this community regularly enough that they no longer have to go ask to pray for people, because the people come to them. They invite us into their homes, which have dirt floors, and are held together with very little. Animals roam free, and the dirt streets have rivulets of sewage and laundry water swirling through them. As we walk, we are invited in to pray over the inhabitants. A woman in a wheelchair needs prayer for her daughter. Her five-month-old granddaughter lies in a nearby hammock, curious at our white faces. We stop in the streets all along the way to pray for those we meet. We pray for a man whose wife and son both recently had appendectomies, and he is caring for his other children while they recover. Another man approaches our translator, in tears, saying he does not feel well. We pray for healing of his body and his downcast spirit, and then we receive the gift of a smile in return.
We continue down the streets and we intersect with people all along the way. One woman, a cancer survivor like me, is about to go for her one year check-up. I pray that the fear of reoccurrence does not flood her mind, because I know that fear all too well. I pray for continued celebration of health and that her testimony would shine the light of God to those around her. She admits we are the first she has told of her miracle. We swap treatment stories, and I share what an inspiration she can be to others around her. I pray for her to pass the one year, five year, and ten year marks. We share a hug that transcends language barriers. Our team takes turns praying, as it seems that God is directing us to homes where we have commonalities.
In maybe the most beautiful moment of the day, we pray over a woman’s feet. A mother of twelve children, and grandmother of at least five that we could see, she welcomes us into her home. Her cough is noticeable, and we pray for her lungs, but her request is for the pain in her feet. She makes tortillas for a living and she stands all day. As she points to where her pain is, three moms in our group recognize the description as plantar fasciitis. We have all had it. We sit her in a chair and we gather around her feet. We remove her shoes, and begin to pray. As we pray, we rub her feet and stretch them. We speak healing and cry tears of compassion. One mom kneels down and kisses the woman’s feet. No translation is needed. It is a God moment. Moving. Tender. Hugs all around. Her feet are feeling better, from the prayer or from the massage we cannot tell, but the smile shows us she is sincere in her assessment of her pain. She offers to make us tortillas, and we agree to purchase from her tomorrow.
The Nicaraguan people invite us into their hearts as well as their homes. One elderly woman in a wheelchair invites us in. She is used to having prayer teams come to her home. She offers us chairs, and we ask how we can pray for her, she says, “I do not know of anything to pray for. God has given me so many blessings.” We all stand, pretty stunned, in this dirt floor home, with holes in the walls, and chickens running around the floors, as this woman, bound to a wheelchair, shows us what contentment looks like and shines a spotlight on our own lack of understanding. It is a gut moment, when we realize we are not here for these people, they are here for us.