Today has been a long and relaxing Sunday (through Wednesday), and I’m happy to take advantage of this spare time to recap my internship thus far in León. It’s hard to know where to begin and what details to include or leave out. The most important point that I want to express, regardless of talking points and bright details, is that God is alive and at work in Nicaragua and that I have enjoyed my time here as the intern working with my new friends.
At anytime of the week, I am likely to be found in one of the following activities: helping or spending time with the kids at the feeding centers, conversing and practicing English with the advanced English students, or planning, preparing, and executing a youth ministry activity.
Helping out in the feeding centers has been really enjoyable and is one of my favorite activities that I am able to be apart of with the ministry. I must confess that this is the part of the internship that feels the most like work. This may be due to the fact that this activity often starts early in the morning or that I participate in the feeding centers more times throughout the week than the other activities. But this sentiment of having to ‘work’ is quite weak and always goes away once I am present in the feeding centers with the children and cooks. Simply talking, laughing, and learning about the lives of those I interact with is what I do. But in addition, I help pray, tell short Bible stories, and serve the food. Being with the children and cooks is definitely my favorite part of the feeding centers. To help emphasize my favorite aspect of the feeding centers, the other week I accompanied one of the kids down the block to the store. We had to buy bread that would go alongside the day’s meal. We talked and I asked him a lot of questions. His name is Bryson. He’s nine years old. He is good at math and speaking English. And one day he wants to become the President of Nicaragua. Now, every time I see him, I always call him Presidente Bryson and ask him what he is doing in preparation for his Presidency.
Another large portion of my time is spent helping out with the English classes. In order to maximize efficiency, Aaron and I often split up the English class into two sections: beginner level and the advanced level. Because Aaron is more experienced in actually teaching English, he teaches the beginner section while I remain with the advanced students. We often read passages of the Bible, read other short books provided by the ministry, or we sit in a circle conversing and asking each other questions in English. I have never had any experience like this working with youth and adults teaching English. And this experience that I am having has surprised me greatly in how much I am enjoying working with the English classes. Beyond the curriculum and the fundamentals of the class, I very much like getting to know the students. Two weeks ago we had the opportunity to practice our English with foreigners and tourists in the city center. Besides being a successful outing with regards to the English practice, it was a fun excursion that allowed the students and I to learn more about each other and to build friendships.
Finally, events and activities produced by the youth ministry fill up the rest of the calendar here in León. We have had many events already, and the Internship is hardly half-way completed! We have executed two sports activities so far, where we played soccer, ate ice cream, and received reflections from speakers or from our sports commentator (Pastor Yader). The youth ministry has also put on two movie events in two different communities so far. In these movie events, we have screened a movie that teaches the powerful story of the resurrection of Christ from the perspective of a Roman soldier. For the first screening, we played the movie in a community called Tomas Borge. I bring this up because at this movie event, the community really gathered together to enjoy the movie. We set up amplifier speakers on the side of the road, set up the movie screen across the street, and placed the chairs along the road in front of the screen. To gather more community members the youth, in teams of three, walked through the roads and trails of the neighborhood to invite more viewers to the event. In addition, we recently had Bible trivia competition and a Talent Show in which all the youth groups of Twelve Churches participated. I am sparing details for these last two events mentioned, but I think these events are very important. Being a united event, in which all the youth is involved, is essential to maintaining a strong and cohesive relationship between them. Competing in difficult Bible trivia and enjoying and exhibiting songs and dances were, I think, very good activities for celebrating God and the unity we should share through Him.
I am very busy here. But due to the wonderful people that I am working with and the fact that all these activities ultimately bring glory to God, I wouldn’t have it any other way. My goal of this internship was to have, at least, some positive impact during my time in Nicaragua. God willing, I think I’m working my way towards the goal. I also would like to thank everyone involved that has made this internship possible. I am having a very special experience here. I have never been anywhere like León, and I know I will never have another opportunity like this one. So thank you to the Twelve Churches board and administration, Killearn United Methodist Church, and anyone else that has supported this ministry.