Saturday, August 25, 2012

Life's Injustices and What We Do To Make a Difference

We see injustices every day.   Some of them large and some of them relatively small.   Living life in a third-world country sometimes I think the injustices I see on a daily basis fall more into the large category.   Poverty, homelessness, abuse, lack of basic necessities etc.

Today as I was out on a run enjoying the beautiful scenery here in Matagalpa I came upon  a small, frail woman curled up in a ditch along the road.   At first I didn't know what to think.  Was she alive?  How did she get here?  What happened to her?   As I got down on my knees to see if she was ok my heart just broke for this poor woman.   Lupita had a bulging black eye, a dried bloody nose and a leg that was badly injured. 

As I talked to her and tried to assess her injuries and figure out what had happened she mumbled incoherently at first but with time I started to be able to make out more of what she was saying.   She was from San Ramon, a community 10km from where I found her.  She appeared to be homeless from her matted hair and unkept nature.   Once she decided that she could sit up and clean off some of the dried blood I tried to flag someone down to help us.  I didn't have a cent on me or a cell phone but found a guard at a nearby house who enlightened me with a little of Lupita's story.

He said that she is the loquita (crazy woman) from San Ramon.   She was probably hit by a car last night.   He said, "I heard a car break hard on the road last night.  I went out to see what happened but it was dark and I couldn't see anything."  Maybe it was just a dog he thought.  He said I should call the Red Cross and that they would take care of her.  Meanwhile I continued to try and flag someone down and brainstorm a way to call the Red Cross without a cell phone handy. 

A kid rode by on his bike and I asked him to stop.  He didn't and said that he didn't know this lady.   Shocked by the fact that he didn't stop I thought this is not the Nicaragua I know where people don't stop to help.  Meanwhile buses, cars and motos continued to pass by every so often as I tried to talk to Lupita and gather more information.   How heartbreaking to know that she had been hit by a car and spent the whole night cold and alone lying in this ditch.   God how can this be and give me wisdom to know what to do now I prayed.  At that moment I heard what sounded like an ambulance siren.

One of the passers by must have called the Red Cross and an old fashioned, foreign donated fire truck came rolling around the corner.   Six young men climbed out and immediately identified Lupita.    They called her Lupita Loquita.   They often pick her up and interact with her in San Ramon.   Lupita does not have any family to care for her and this is the second time that she has been hit by a car. They young guys loaded her up and were careful to find her sandals on the side of the road and take her bag of belongings as they headed to the hospital in Matagalpa.

Several things struck me as I reflected on all that had happened on my run.   What types of supports are available to people like Lupita who seem to roam the streets with no one to love on them?  Why is there not a safe place for people like Lupita to be loved and befriended?
What can I do for the Lupita's in my world?  We've all seen those people that dress a little different or are awkward socially.   So I asked myself what is response to these people?   Do I extend a helping hand, a hearty smile or even a friendly conversation?   Sadly, if I am honest with myself my response is one of avoidance and not extending the love of Christ as I should. 
Lastly, I was impacted by the power of words.  Used to build up or to tear down.   Referring to Lupita as the loquita of the town are not words that build her up or help her feel like she is a part of anything that matters.   This makes her situation that much more lonely and isolated.    Do I use words that isolate or do I use words that welcome and give value to the person I am talking with?   I want to be that person.  It is only in God's grace and strength that this is possible.

How about you?   What do you guys think about these types of people?   How can we love and honor them well.

Thursday, August 23, 2012

Documents Submitted

Today was the day!!  Yes, today!   For the last two months I have been collecting documents, making copies, waiting in lines and reading lines and lines of legal Spanish text that I don't really understand in order to submit our request for approval from the Ministry of Education as a private school in Matagalpa.  The process is long and requires many, many copies of every kind of document possible.   

Freddy and Ismara helped me tremendously as we wrote up our official proposal in the perfect flowery Spanish language that the delegado will look for.  I can't thank them enough for all of their support and help.   Our final project and all the supporting documents added up to 69 pages.  Yikes!

Today, Ismara and I met with the local Delegado, Profesor Castro.  He was very friendly and is going to try and give us an answer before the Nicaraguan Independence Celebrations in mid-September.   God has gone before us and I am confident that He will grant us favor before the Ministry of Education.   We had to go back to the office and get something signed and we saw the Delegado taking a copy of our documents to the person in charge of the whole area of Matagalpa.   This was a very good sign.

Continue to pray for the Delegado and all the others who will be revising our project proposal.  Thanks for all of you who have already been praying.

Thursday, August 9, 2012

Missing - Miracle - New Opportunity

As I traveled across the US earlier this year I visited every thrift store in my path in search of books in Spanish for our library at the new school in Matagalpa.   By the time I headed to Nicaragua in April there were 16 boxes of books packed, sealed and headed to Florida to be loaded on a shipping container.    

Now the container has arrived and last week I had the opportunity to take a look at the boxes of books and make sure that everything arrived.   Sadly,  as I looked over the boxes and the inventory lists I discovered that there are 4 boxes that are missing.    Also, two of the boxes that arrived are missing more than half of the books that were originally in the box.    A call has been placed to the freight forwarder to check on the possible location of the 4 missing boxes.    As for the missing boxes and books I have written a letter to the U.S. Postal Services asking them to try and locate all of my missing books.   I am praying for a miracle.    Some of the books that did not arrive are the books that I bought specifically for the new teachers to read at the school.    Please join me in praying for a positive response from the Postal Service.

Just today I learned of a new opportunity to send more books and school supplies to Nicaragua on another container leaving in October.    It is neat to see how even in the midst of lost items God has provided another way to get more than just books to Nicaragua for the new school.    If you are interested in collecting a box or two of Spanish books over the next two months for our school please email me and I will get you all of the information you need to send them our way.    In this container we also have the ability to ship school and office furniture.    This could be an amazing way for us to get quality  equipment in country.   Again if you are interested in helping in this way please email me and I’ll get you the info you need.

I’ve created a wish list on Amazon of books that we’d like for the library.    You can find the wish list  at the Amazon website.   It is titled Spanish Books for NCA Matagalpa.