It just struck me today that it has been just over 3 months since I got back from Nicaragua. Some days it feels like I never went. I look through my photos as I edit them, and sometimes I find myself wondering if any of it actually happened. Because, fool that I am, I failed to record the details, to journal everything down, while it was still fresh in my mind.
Now I’ve forgotten names, forgotten entire events. A lot of the things I remember, I only recall because I have the photos to remind me (thank God for that, right?).
Sounds kinda melodramatic, huh? It hasn’t even been a year yet, and I’m already talking about this trip like it happened decades ago. It’s funny how my mind works – I can remember the minutest details of some stupid conversation my brother and I had when we were three, playing on the living room floor, but I quickly forget the most impacting events in my life.
But anyway, enough about that. It’s been a long time in coming, but here is Day 3 of my experience in Nicaragua, shadowing Alvaro Ramirez and telling the story of his children’s ministry, his mission to keep them off the streets and away from the influence of alcohol and drugs. The ultimate goal: to raise a generation of Christ-followers who will impact their communities for Christ.
Children have a powerful way of changing families. It was evident to us through all of our stories that we worked on. So many of us returned to the editing room with incredible tales of how young children brought entire families to Christ. There was even one story of how an entire church was built by children taking what they heard back to their home, spreading it, ministering to their own parents. Young children have not experienced the powerful grip of alcohol that many of the adults in the slums of Nicaragua have; they are easier to impact, more willing to hear and change.
And that is precisely why Alvaro and many of the other missionaries we met there are so focused on children’s ministry. By impacting the younger generations, they can have a greater, more lasting impact in the community.
I spent my third day with Alvaro and another storyteller, Hannah, at an after-school program Alvaro ran with two of his friends (back to what I said earlier, I failed to remember their names, which does not cease to irk me). They combined Awana-like sports games with Bible lessons, engaging the kids both mentally and physically. Having the opportunity to walk around, observing the Ramirez’s and the others pouring their hearts into these kids was incredible – their love for the kids was so genuine and pure.
Before going to the school, Hannah and I interviewed Alvaro and Erica for the final video project I would be putting together (more on that later). That in and of itself was quite the adventure… If you know anything about videography and filming on-site interviews, you know that sometimes it can be difficult to find a quiet enough place with the right lighting and acoustics.
Needless to say, we didn’t find one. But we made do, and by God’s grace the segments of the interview I would use later weren’t too ‘contaminated’ by vehicles roaring by or birds screeching in the trees overhead. Is it perfect? Nope. But is anything, really?
Anyway, we stopped at Alvaro’s house to scope out the scene and decide if it was good interviewing material. It wasn’t – we were surrounded by trees filled with those screeching birds – but I did have the opportunity to meet one of Erica’s ESL (English as a Second Language) students. She was one of those children who was brought to Christ through the Ramirez’s ministry, and in turn brought her family to Christ. She is a good friend – and still a student – of the Ramirez family.