Yesterday morning our team went to Iglesia Alfarera to minister to children. This church is one of over 50 that Iglesia Luz Y Vida has planted in Nicaragua in the last 19 years. It's set in a small barrio (neighborhood) off of the main road in La Bascula - a few kilometers from Corinto.
Because most of the people here either walk, ride a bicycle, or a horse and cart, it's important to plant churches in neighborhoods within within distance. As we arrived at the church, there were about 20 kids there and Pastor Marvin was using a loud sound system to call the kids from the neighborhood to come to the church for caramelo (candy) and a piñata (piñata).
We loaded that piñata with pounds of candy and brought extra to hand out at the end. We also brought pan (bread) and bebida (drink) to hand out for snacks.
We all interacted with the kids and then Mala and Lindsey had the opportunity to lead the children in a few games and share the gospel with them before the payoff of the piñata. It was important that we give the kids a chance to taste and see God's goodness before they tasted the sweet caramelos.
It was hard to tell how many of the 60 kids raised their hand for salvation, but it was a majority...and even some parents got in on the prayer!
After games and the gospel, the kids got to take their turns beating the piñata (which happened to look a bit like one of us gringos). I was fully expecting a donkey or parrot, but the piñata we used was a person - a cartoon like person, but a person nonetheless. Hopefully we're not sending the message that if you beat someone with a stick, they'll spew candy all over you. If you're nodding your head in agreement, you watched too much Tom and Jerry when you were a kid.
After the ministry to children, we had lunch and a few minutes to rest before we headed back to the same barrio to go door to door and invite people to the service at church in the evening.
Mala, John and I went with Pastor Luis and 2 local church members while Cindia, Lindsey and Georgette went with 2 local church members and Ariel (Pastor Luis's son - who incidentally can sing better than The Little Mermaid). We walked door to door and offered to pray for people. The group we went with didn't speak a word of English. And we had no translator. I actually got a minor in Spanish in college, but I had to admit that I'm a bit rusty. Thankfully, a lot of my vocabulary came rushing back to me as Pastor Luis would describe someone's ailment to me before he asked us to pray for each person.
We prayed for people's health, families, businesses and more. One woman had some issues with her bones (huesos) and pain in her wrists (muñecas). We also later found out that she had been vomiting blood for the past 44 years. I stepped out and prayed for her in Spanish using one of our miracle scripts that we had translated before we came (Thanks, Arleen). After we prayed, I told her to move her wrists and asked if she could see a difference. She began wildly moving her wrists in circles and said all the pain in her wrists and stomach was gone!
Both of our teams shared the love of God with the people in the barrio and had numerous miracles as we prayed for them.
One lady had injured her hip and wasn't able to lift her leg because of it. When we prayed for her, she immediately lifted her leg and gave glory to God. She came to the service that night, testifying that God had healed her! (Her picture is below. She is the lady on the right.)
Everyone we met today had the chance to taste and see that God is good. I pray that you'll seize the opportunities that come your way, too. Even if you don't have a piñata, you can still offer to pray.
P.S. Please pray for the piñata.