Friday, January 23, 2009

Growing Concerns

In October the house where Mary, Lori, Joy and I live was broken into. They cut through the chain on the back door and took over $7,000 worth of stuff from computers, cameras, tv, DVD player, phones, cash etc. Thankfully we were able to "secure" the back door better and invested in an alarm system that has functioned more or less for the past few months.

They cut through the bars and slid into the house

Today the alarm company called us to say that one of the sensors in the house had been activated. I ran home to find the guard from company outside our gate. I opened the house and we proceeded to check out where the alarm was activated. Everything was fine on that end of the house but as I looked in our rooms it was obvious that someone had gotten in.

The thieves cut the bars on the outside of one of the windows of the house and got in. They were rummaging through things when one of them tripped the alarm system. It appears that they went running. They left things where they were and made their escape. Thankfully they did not get either Lori or Mary's computers which were in the house. They did get my US driver's license and some bank cards but thankfully they are replaceable.

Stop, Drop and RUN!

While we are thankful that our alarm served its purpose this event raises some big questions for us and our safety. The economic situation is becoming more and more difficult and driving people to look for alternative means to supplement their income.
  • Please pray for Mary, Lori and I as we evaluate the situation and our decisions about security.
  • Pray that we would rest peacefully and not live in fear.
  • We would be able to work together with the police to find out who is breaking in and what we can do to prevent it.
  • That we would give all the praise and glory to the Lord even in the midst of trial.
Praises in this situation are:
  • Because we haven't replaced much from the first robbery we didn't have much for them to take.
  • The alarm served its purpose
  • The welder is on his way right now to fix the window where the thieves got in. (This is amazingly fast!!)
  • Once again no one was harmed in the event
  • Also a huge praise that while we were gone over Christmas and for the Sea to Sea tour nothing happened. God has protected us from so much.

Thursday, January 22, 2009

Nicaragua the Melting Pot of Central America?

What do 3 cultures, 3 language and 7 people have in common? Keep reading to find out!

When I was teaching at NCA I had the privilage of getting to know many of the parents of my students. Even as I am now not at NCA regularly parents still stop me and we chat and catch up on their child's progress or to just chat about life. I cherish these friendships and look forward to the times that I get to spend with them.

One friendship in particular has grown deeper through the years. Eun Oak's son was in my second class here in Nicaragua. He is now in 4th grade. Their family is from South Korea and have lived in Nicaragua for 11 years. We meet together for coffee every so often and share what God is doing in our lives. Eun Oak's sister, Kim, is a missionary here serving with the presbyterian church.

Kim is starting up a school in Tipitapa an area about an hour from where I live. She is excited about the project and has asked me to come out as often as I can to help them develop their curiculum and to help her teachers get ready for the new school year. Yesterday, Julie one of our interns and I went out with Kim and Eun Oak to see the school and help out in whatever way we could.

Eun Oak, Kim, Joann, Mary Guiselle, Gladys and me in front of the classrooms

We spent a great bit of time talking with the teachers helping them plan out the schedule for their school day. The school will be starting out with Pre-school level I an II and a Kinder class. The building is built and ready all that is lacking are the doors and the furniture. The teachers were hoping to decorate their classrooms with our help but with no doors yet they'll have to wait.

As we talked with the teachers it was amazing to see their heart to make a difference in the lives of their students and the community. They are eager to do their very best. God has bought this group of ladies together to serve Him. As we shared time together Kim made this comment, "Isn't this amazing to see a group of ladies from 3 different countries, speaking 3 different languages working together to serve one purpose." I agree with her it is amazing. I think it is a little glimpse of what heaven will be like.

All of the gals and Julie our CFCI Intern

Pray for Christian Mission Academy
  • The doors and furniture would be completed before school begins on Feb 3, 2009
  • Passion, creativity and energy for each day
  • Direction in how to develop a program that will leave a lasting impact in the community for Christ
  • The school is still looking for 1 teacher and 1 director who is bilingual

Saturday, January 17, 2009

Sea to Sea Day 9, January 6, 2009

Managua to Gran Pacifica

I awoke today with a sense of uncontainable excitement but also a bittersweet feeling as we finish up this great journey.

We saddled our bikes this morning at 4:30 am in order to get through Managua before the busy traffic started. With our lights on and support vehicles ready to go we set out for our final day of biking. The teachers from NCA prepared an amazing breakfast for the bikers at the school. We were treated like royalty with fresh strawberries, yogurt, granola, fruit, Blueberry muffins and so much more. We all felt so full when we left be it all tasted sooooo good.

Today we were all smiles and really tried to relish every bit of of final ride together. We stopped and chatted at one of the rest stops for at least 45 min. Not because we needed a break but because we were having so much fun. People heading out to the beach stopped and chatted with us. As we continued on it was so encouraging to see so many people headed out to Gran Pacifica to celebrate with us.

We gathered together at the entrance to Gran Pacifica so we could all ride in together. It gave me goose bumps to see everyone all together grinning from ear to ear at all that we had lived and experienced together for the past 9 days. There was a huge reception for us at the beach as we dipped our front tires in the Pacific Ocean completing our journey. John led us in a word of thanks to and then we sang Alabare. Most of us knew the chorus pretty well but when it came to the verses we all kind of faded out. It was pretty funny. :0) I'll post a video soon.

Food and fellowship was shared with so many today. Thank you to all who helped us finish strong. What a joy it was to celebrate with you. A special thanks to our support crew who made each day possible with lots of water, gatorade and buns. We love you guys.

Dave, Kevin, April and Rachel

In a day and age where there aren't that many things undiscovered or undone. Electricity has been invented, man has been to the moon, peanut butter was made and is enjoyed the world over etc. We have had a unique opportunity to see a growing, developing, beautiful country from Sea to Sea for the first time in history from the seat of a bicycle. I am still trying to wrap my mind around it. The most beautiful thing of all though that it was done with a heart to reach out and bless Nicaraguan who have suffered and lost more than we can imagine through Hurricane Felix.

Thursday, January 15, 2009

Sea to Sea Day 8, January 5, 2009

Boaco to Managua

I can't believe this day has come. The days have passed so quickly. Today we made it to Managua. We are so close to the end that it seems unreal.

The closer we get to Managua the more traffic we saw on the road. One thing I love about being in Nicaragua is that it is a small country. When I'm out and about in Managua rarely do I go anywhere that I don't see someone I know. With each kilometer bringing us closer to Managua the terrain not only became more familiar but we also saw a few familiar faces as well. One family from the missionary community drove by and recognized us and honked and cheered us on. Another missionary doctor stopped and chatted with us for a while sharing that he was hoping to see us on his way out today.

Once again we traveled in 2 large groups trying to stay together. There was one long stretch of flat road and the front crew was cruising. The guys were so excited to be going so fast. I was in my highest gears and peddling as fast as I could and my bike could not stay up with them. My bike only has 5 gears where the average bike as 7-9 gears. Soon enough we came upon some hills that slowed us all down again and I had some great conversations with some of the other riders. About 20 kilometers outside of Managua we all gathered as one group as we headed out onto the super busy Pan American Highway. Our route had us on this highway for 5 kilometers before we took an old side rode that shot out out right on the outskirts of Managua. It was a breath-taking experience to look back and see the whole team cycling together. We've come so far and not any one of us without the help of the other. We've come this far as a TEAM.

When we arrived at the hotel for the day we were welcomed with big banners, flags and the AMC staff cheering us on. No one was expecting this so it was an amazing surprise. I felt a huge smile come over my face that didn't fade the rest of the day. Several local news stations came out later to interview us and to video some of us riding around the parking lot. They missed the first entrance so the tried to re-create it. :-)

Tonight we chowed down on yummy green salad and some tasty veggies. Gallo pinto is the meal of champions but I do love my veggies. Devotions tonight was a thoughtful reflection on Thankfulness followed by some hysterical laughter. John had us get into groups and write songs and do commercials for some of the products that became hits during the trip. Pro Max Energy bars were a hit on many levels. Bag Balm or Bum Butter as it was affectionately called was a real bum-saver. We took some video so when it is released I'll share it with you. If you really want to hear more though just ask and if I can stop laughing long enough to get the stories out I'll share them.

Now we are in the home stretch. 1 day remains.
Well it is off to bed. We start out at 4:30 am tomorrow so we better get our beauty rest.

Wednesday, January 14, 2009

Sea to Sea Day 7, January 4, 2009

Matiguas to Boaco

Today was our first full day on pavement. Wow we were able to cover a lot more ground in less time. Although I have to admit that I like the challenge of being on the rougher roads.

We started out in 3 groups today being more intentional about staying together on the busier highways. Thankfully most of the buses and trucks have been really respectful. We turned off in this cute little town called Muy Muy which translates as very, very. The names of the towns that we have been through have been so fun to read and even more fun to say. :-) Mulukukú, Wanawana, Saraway, Talasna, Kukalya just to name a few.


Anyway back to Muy Muy. While we pulled off on the side of the road and were filling up on water and a few snacks there was an elderly Nicaraguan gentelman who came and stood beside the group. I didn't notice him at first but Luis did. Luis who has a kind heart of service towards others without saying a word went and made this man a sandwich. As Luis handed him the sandwich he turned and walked away. It all happened so fast and I don't think many around the rest stop even noticed but Luis was sensitive to see the need of this man and cheerfully give. Luis was a part of the national cycling team a few years ago here and was so excited to be a part of this adventure. He and I would "race" each other to the rest stops and see who finished first at the end of the day. Being a bike mechanic he was also very willing to help anyone with an ailing bike. With a joyful smile and lots of excitement he stopped in to join a church's worship service as we were biking through today.

Some of the views today were absolutely amazing as we came down and into Boaco. I feel so rich to be able to take experience the nature and beauty of Nicaragua in this way. Though we went 76 kilometers today we rolled into Boaco around 2 in the afternoon. Our earliest finish yet. It was refreshing to be able to rest and relax a little in the afternoon sun and cool breeze. How appropriate for the Lord's day.

John led us in worship and then we shared the Lord's supper together. When in Nicaragua things always call for a little improvising. We used tortillas and gatorade. It was a special time of sharing. We ended 'church' with our theme song for the trip. My friends may you grow in grace. That song gets me every time!

Afterwards Carolina one of the gals who works with Acción Medica Cristiana shared with us about the project that the money we raised went to fund. The money was used to buy seed for a large number of families and communities along the Coco River. The project is to not only provide seed to replant but to help the people store seed from each crop for the upcoming planting season by storing it in a community seed bank. The communities have harvested thier first crop of rice and soon will harvest thier first crop of beans since the hurricane. AMC is also extending the project in order to teach the farmers how to plant some different types of crops that will help provide more variety of income for their families. The people in this region do not use much in terms of money but trade their rice or beans for oil, soap or other necessary items. It is so encouraging to hear how the money has already been invested and making a difference.

Tuesday, January 13, 2009

Sea to Sea Day 6, January 3, 2009

Mulukukú to Matiguas

Today we all collected at one of the hotels we were staying at for breakfast and then we started out on our way. Today we were told was going to be the hardest day with two big climbs but we were also going to lay our wheels on some paved roads for the first time since starting our ride.

We started out with lots of energy after a slower paced day the day before. We weren't more than 10 km down the road when we saw a trucks front end sticking up in the air where it shouldn't be.
As we got closer we asked the young man who was resting in a hammock hung underneath the truck what had happened. A few days earlier the ground had given way while the truck was passing another vehicle and it fell into a big hole. The truck had been loaded with sacks of rice that they had already pulled out to send on to Siuna. This young guy was left to watch over the truck until a larger truck could pull it out in a few days.

We traveled a little further on to a little village and Wim had stopped to adjust something on his bike and saw a scuffle unfold as a bus was pulling through town. There was a man waiting for the bus and as the assistant on the bus saw him he jumped off the bus and proceeded to punch him and yell at him. The assistant then got back on the bus and left the poor man on the side of the road without a ride to town. Wim said it was a strange sight to see. Well we hope that he eventually made it to town without any further problems.

There were several flat tires today and a couple of problems with people's chains. As we were making the big climb up out of Rio Blanco today Brian's chain broke. Nestor was super fast to jump off his bike and get it fixed. Both he and Brian made got right back on their bikes and pushed it through to the top beating most of the rest of us who had resorted to walking. They were amazing. A few of the others decided to grab on to a Pepsi truck that was slowly going up the hill. The guys on the truck were happy to give them a pull and even gave them a 3 liter bottle of Pepsi.
From Sea to Sea 2009

Here we are coming into Rio Blanco after one climb

As you can very well imagine we came across all kinds of animals along our route. Pigs, chickens, cows, horses, bulls and dogs. Today one of the riders had a close call with a dog. He toppled from his bike and had a light concussion and a sore shoulder. Thankfully after riding in the truck the remainder of the day and some good rest he was able to ride again the next day. What a trooper.

With all the uphill climbs we had there were some really nice downhill rides too. We climbed from 110 meters above sea level 340 by days end. On one of the downhills I clocked in at 56k an hour. What a difference it makes to ride on pavement. But oh don't go to fast you might hit a pothole and send yourself flailing through the air.

From Sea to Sea 2009
Today has been our longest day yet. We started at 7 am and some of the last riders were coming in as the sun was setting. Here is a pic of the beautiful sunset the support crew took as they followed the last group in. Dave joined up with use today as well. We are happy to see his smiling face and it is clear that he is glad to be with the team as well.

Tonight's devotion was about community. John compared community to the hub of a bicycle and how at first glance we don't see all the individual parts that go into making the wheel. Each one of us is a spoke connected to each other through the through the hub which is Jesus Christ. Working together, encouraging one another and positive attitudes go a long way in bringing all the pieces together to function well and properly. John shared this quote with the group and it really got me thinking. "Every rider has to trust every other rider not to do something stupid, unpredictable or dangerous. Every rider has to give up some portion of his or her autonomy for the collective safety of the bunch." Matt Seaton. As we head out tomorrow on busier roads we have to stick together as a team.

Monday, January 12, 2009

Sea to sea Day 5 January 2, 2009

Siuna to Mulukukú

Each day there were two people who stayed behind to bring up the rear called sweepers. The support vehicles knew they had reached the last bikers when they saw the smiling faces of the sweepers. Aimee and I volunteered to be sweepers today. We figured it would be a nice break after adding a few extra K to our trip the day before. :-) I was thankful for the slower start today too as my stomach was not ready to down the gallo pinto and eggs that was served for breakfast. Thankfully a little pepto resolved the issue.

We took a team shot right before we left the hotel today because a newspaper reporter wanted it for an article that he was writing about us. We all look a little sleepy yet.

The hotel where we stayed was up at top of a ridge on the edge of town so as we started out we rode all the way through the sleep town of Siuna. We didn't make it out of town before we had a flat to fix. Thankfully Luis, Nestor and Wim were pro's and had Wim's tire changed in no time. Being at the back of the pack allowed me to visit with some of the other riders that I hadn't seen much. It also allowed me to soak in a little bit more of the scenery.

At one point we stopped to work on someone's bike. While the others worked on the bike I struck up a conversations with some kids that were standing on their front porch. At first they were really shy and were just giggling at us. We must have looked pretty funny wearing spandex shorts, helmets and matching jersey's. The longer we stood there the closer the children came to the road. There were 5 siblings and they were all taking turns holding their youngest sister. They told me what grades they were going to be in the upcoming school year and also educated me about what goes into the smaller old fashioned milk jugs on the side of the road. The children told me that is what they collect the yellow liquid that is left over after they have used all the rest of the milk to make cheese. They then feed this liquid to the pigs.


Chepe was our protector the whole day. I am not sure that he totally understood that he didn't have to be at the back all day. I tried to explain it to him in my poor Spanish but I am not sure I was clear. I don't think he wanted Aimee or I to be at the back by ourselves and was such a servant to all. He would listen to our bikes as we went along and then when we stopped would make and adjustment here or there. There was always a smile on his face and a friendly Pablo taking a ride on his handle bars. Pablo came from the CRWRC offices. One from Canada and one from the US. They traveled every bit of the journey with us. I hope that Pablo learned a thing or two from Chepe. He is such a humble servant to all he calls friend.


As we arrived into town after a 74km ride the group was housed in two different hotels because there wasn't room for all of us at one. Our daily routine when we arrived at "home" for the night was to wash laundry and take advantage of us much sun as possible in order to try and get things to dry somewhat before the next day. Some days the dirty clothes were sent ahead and washed in the river in hopes that they would dry. Usually we were left either wearing wet clothes to start out the day or packing some damp clothes. This night in Mulukukú there was quite a stack of laundry that was dripping wet brought up from the river at about 7:30pm We stung up lines and had clothes hanging everywhere. It was quite a funny sight to see.

In our tiny room was filled with laundry drying. I brought in my bike to help act as a drying rack. Someone had tied up a line previously but it had broken so we repaired it and had mostly dry clothes by the time we rolled out the next day. Praise the Lord for dry, clean clothes.


Sunday, January 11, 2009

Sea to Sea Day 4, January 1, 2009

Rosita to Siuna
The new year started out with fresh faces and exciting energy. As we pulled out of the hotel and onto the road a group of 7 of us made a wrong turn. We made it 10 kilometers down the road before we realized we were headed towards Bonanza which was not on our map. We had to turn around and go back to our starting point. The support crew had quickly realized too that we were missing and had been looking for us. The look on Rachel's face when we finally caught up with her was one of relief. We all laughed about the blunder and tried to hurry to catch up to the rest of the group that was 2 hours ahead of us.

By the first checkpoint we had already clocked 50 K and I was starting to feel really tired. The devotional from the night before about failure kept going through my mind. Apart from the Lord we can do nothing. He is our strength! I began to pray and a song came to my mind. Here are a few lines of the song that carried me through that afternoon.
The name of the Lord is a strong tower
the righteous run into it and they are saved
Honestly that was the only part of the song that I remembered but it pushed me through until we caught up with the rest of the group at the last check point of the day. As we arrived in Siuna the "lost sheep" as we had been dubbed had put in 96K. Aimee and I decided that we would ride around town until we reached 100k. It was the first time in my life that I had biked that far and I didn't know if I would get that close to 100 again so we went for it.

The little hotel where we stayed that night had never seen a group as big as us so they were moving beds and making all kinds of adjustments to accommodate us. The hallway to Mary, Aimee and my room was really narrow and it took the poor workers over an hour to try and get the bed through the hallway, past the doorway and into our room. They finally resorted to taking the bed apart in order to get it in. We were so thankful for their kind hospitality.

During dinner that night Jane Ann had gone back to her room to use the washroom and discovered a man had climbed in through the bathroom window was in their room. He was startled by her coming back and walked right out the door without stealing a thing. The police were called and the hotel tried to cover up the bathroom window so that no one else could get in. We saw the hand of God protecting not only us during this trip but also our stuff. He could have easily stolen lots but the Lord graciously kept that from happening.

Friday, January 9, 2009

Sea to Sea Day 3, December 31, 2008

Nazaret Uno to Rosita
After the melodious accomponyment to our sleeping at the AMC center we all awoke before the sun to eat, pack up and ready our bikes for the days journey to Rosita.

The road into the center was very muddy and when I watched the box truck skid down the hill the day before I asked myself how we were going to get that thing back onto the highway. Kevin, leader of the support crew told us at breakfast that the bikers could not head out until we had gotten all 3 vehicles (2 of which were 4x4) up the hill and back on the main road. Thankfully we had lots on the team from farms and they had been talking and come up with a plan.

In fine form and as an INCREDIBLE display of God's faithfulness in 2008 the guys pushed and shoved and heaved and hollered but God pulled the vehicles onto the highway. With cheers and praise to God we started out on our 2nd full day of biking. Pictures soon to come of this event.

It is hard to see in the picture but the road was very rough. We would look for a less bumpy line along the either edge of the road. The support crew was such an encouragement to us each step of the way.
Here are April and Rachel giving us instructions on the next leg of our journey

From Sea to Sea 2009

These guys take re-fueling seriously!

At one point Aimee and I stopped to look at our Terrain guide and a man and his daughter approached us. He gave us a good idea of how far it was to our next stop and told us a little bit about what he did for work. As we chatted we learned that it was his daughter's birthday. We pulled out a granola bar and wished her a Happy Birthday. While riding away I couldn't help but feel that they were sad. Just going through life struggling to make it to the next day. I pray that God will bring others along their path to share more of God's light and love to them.

There were several falls, bumps and scrapes during the day. I am so thankful for God's protection. One of the riders was crossing a wooden bridge when his tire got stuck and sent him flying over the edge of the bridge down 8 feet and into some shallow water with his bike trailing behind him. Thankfully, he was not seriously injured and was able to saddle his bike for the remainder of the trip. Your prayers were felt each day as we saw potential for so many things to go wrong but that didn't.

From Sea to Sea 2009

We celebrated New Year's Eve with Canadian Smarties, Nicaraguan fireworks and none other than a giant piñata. We had a small talent show that night as well as we all took turns on body contortions around a broom stick as we tried to imitate Aimee and her famous Bootie and the broomstick talent. As the clock struck 12 I was sound asleep in my bed and didn't hear a single firework or sound until my alarm sounded at 5:15am in 2009.

Thursday, January 8, 2009

Day 2, December 30, 2008

Puerto Cabezas to Nazaret Uno
The day started off early. Some of the guys were still missing parts for their bikes so Rod had rigged a seat post with PVC pipe and duct tape so that he could ride until the box truck caught up with us with the luggage that would come in that morning. Creativity! It is such a great thing.

The road was muddy and bumpy. We were pretty well covered by the time we got to the first check point. The support crew wanted us to travel in groups of two at least so naturally Aimee and I started out the day together.

From Sea to Sea 2009

As we headed inland we could see the incredible damage caused by hurricane Felix in 2007. Even now over a year later you could see snapped of trees and very little vegetation. Acción Medica Cristiana one of the sponsoring ministries has been very involved in this area. As we passed through the little villages you could see many of the houses on stilts that still had plastic sheeting for the roof. USAID and the European Union had also helped in this area with clean water and housing after the hurricane.

A man on a moto stopped to chat with us while we had stopped for water. He asked us where we were going and when we told him Managua he was shocked. "Wow, that is a long trip." he said. He also told us about the possibility of a small strike in one of the towns ahead. We were thankful for the warning. The villagers had blocked the road and were not allowing vehicles to pass because they wanted to collect a kind of "tax" from the buses and transport vehicles to use to help their community. They told it would be at least 3 hours until we could pass through. Thankfully some of the Nicaraguans in our group talked with the people in charge and they peacefully decided to let us through.

We boarded a little ferry in the town of Wawa Boom and crossed the river. It was a really fun experience to see 24 bikers, a bus, truck, cars, ambulance, a couple of motorcycles and a lot of people all on the ferry.

From Sea to Sea 2009

That night we all stayed in the training center for Accíon Medica Cristiana (AMC). They site is used as a training facility for teaching farmers different methods of farming. It is in the middle of 20 hectars of land. The latrine was recently dug as the first group of bikers arrived on site. Aimee and I were the first ones to cristen it. The shower was a couple of wooden boards with black plastic sheeting wrapped around 4 poles. You had to stay low while you were showering because the plastic didn't go that high. Some people opted for a bath in the little stream nearby. After the muddy day many of us washed our bikes in the river. When I was almost done washing my bike off someone pointed out that I was standing next to a dead bird that was near the edge of the water. Hmmm well nobody got sick from bathing with a dead bird so I guess we're all alright.
Here is a picture of the AMC building where we stayed.

The people from AMC and 3 surrounding communities prepared a special cultural night for us. We had a very special dinner of lamb, rice and beans and Coca-Cola. Each community had a typical dance that they performed for us and then even let us join in on some at the end. Everyone was a good sport and had a great time dancing and fellowshiping. The people were so warm and friendly as we tried to communicate with them. The majority of our visitors that night spoke Miskito and only a little bit of Spanish.

As we laid down to sleep that night we snuggled up close to our neighbors to try and make room for everyone to sleep. We were all pretty tired after biking 67 kilometers in the warm nica sun. Soon after we laid down there was a nice rumble that began to fill the center as one of the guys began to snore. At one point another guy woke up the snoring sleeper and asked, "hey, how do you say 'you're snoring' in Spanish?" He answered and then rolled right over and went back to sleep. Thankfully we all got enough sleep to get through the next days journey.

More to come!

C 2 C stories and more

Here Aimee, Mary and I are at the Pacific Coast just after dipping our front tires in the ocean

While we officially finished the Sea to Sea Nicaragua Tour on Tuesday, January 6th I still feel like it is all so surreal. 24 bikers made it all the way from the Atlantic Coast to the Pacific Coast. As a testimony to God's grace, protection and just all around Greatness I will attempt to tell you about some of the things that transpired during our journey. Since we did not have internet access during the journey I am going to add a little to the blog in portions. I don't have many photos yet but as I get them I'll add them on too.

Day 1 December 29, 2008 Managua to Puerto Cabezas

While this didn't happen on day 1 it is part of what happened and what God did through us and many others before the bikers even mounted their saddles. Dave Stienstra and members the support crew were driving vehicles and supplies out to the Atlantic Coast on Sunday. On the way the front tire of Dave's motorcycle blew out and sent him sailing over his bike. Initially they thought he disloacated his shoulder. The group was 1/2 hour on a really bumpy road from medical care. That night Rachel, April and Chepe took great care of Dave as they brought him to the hospital in Siuna where they took x-rays and discovered he tore all 4 ligaments in his shoulder and would require surgery. Thankfully flights has just started back up to Managua from Siuna the week before so he returned to Managua for surgery.

As the bikers heard the news of Dave's accident and then later of Chepe's accident requiring stitches we gathered together to pray. We laid the trip once again at the feet of our Lord Jesus and asked for His protection, wisdom and strength.

Ok Now really on to day 1! We loaded a bus and headed to Managua airport for a flight to Puerto Cabezas. We all made it on one flight which they had originally told us it would be 3. As we jetted down the runway we said good-bye to the Pacific and to our luggage. None of our bags made it onto the flight. Some were sent later that afternoon and others didn't arrive until the next morning. Once we were at Port we went to the Verbo guesthouse where the bikes had been unloaded. With some important pieces to bikes still in the luggage back in Managua we had to think creatively in order to get the bikes rideable at 3 for their dip in the Atlantic Ocean.

Nestor and Luis two Nicaraguan guys that are also bike mechanics came up to me and said, "Carey your bike has some serious problems and it is not safe to ride it." At first I didn't know what to think but we took a closer look and with further explanation I understood why. Luis had brought 2 bikes along on the trip in hope that he could sell the 2nd one along the way or that it could be used as an extra. The bike was the exact same make and model as mine. Luis offered to sell me the parts I needed from his 2nd bike. The guys had the new parts on and things lubed and ready to go in no time flat. I enjoyed watching them and learning from them too. I thank God for providing the parts I didn't even know I needed at the perfect time.

With bikes as assembled as they could be we jumped on them and headed to the Sea to give our tires a dip. It was a beautiful, balmy afternoon great for picture taking. Just a few short minutes after we were done with pics some storm clouds blew over and it started to rain. He even controls the weather. :-) Here is the only pic I have so far. It is of all the people who live in Nicaragua that were on the tour.

From Sea to Sea 2009

That evening a team member Kenneth Brown arranged for us to go to a English speaking Moravian Church service. It was an absolutely amazing time. We worshiped together in English. As the service was finishing we (the C 2 C team) sang this song:

My friends may you grow in grace
And in the knowledge of our Lord and Savior
My friends may you grow in grace
and in the knowledge of Jesus Christ
To God be the Glory
Now and forever
Now and foever Amen

As we sang this song my eyes filled with tears as I thought towards that glorious day in heaven when people from all over the world will worship together in one voice. It still gives me goose bumps to think about it.

From Sea to Sea 2009

At the end of the day we celebrated Aimee's Birthday! She was a good sport about all the singing and worked hard to give all of her cake away so she wouldn't have to eat much. :-)

Ok so you'll have to check in tomorrow to read about our first full day of biking. :-)