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Wednesday, 1 June 2011

last night here in Nicaragua

It's hard to believe that we're heading home tomorrow already and we'll be home with our families again by midnight tomorrow. At the same time, I had to say goodbye to Angie and Stephanie at Hosanna Sur, two beautiful energetic girls that made my time at the school so much fun. When we left, they hung on to us and called out "No ca vas", "Don't go!". If I could have taken them home, I would have. It has been both wonderful and challenging as we have seen  things that will stay with us for a long time, hopefully even for a lifetime. My prayer is that this has changed us, making us more caring and compassionate, but also more aware of the world we're in and of God's presence in our lives. The girls do want to save some of the important events and experiences for sharing with you personally at home, but I'll also let them share one last time on this blog as well.
-Jake

Today was a pretty perfect last day. We finally got to play the long awaited soccer game with the grade 11 boys. They are AMAZING. I played for about 20 minutes but the boys, Annelies and Tessa went on for over an hour. By the end of the day we had so many little inside jokes with them. It was hard to say goodbye to them. Even though some of them were 2 years younger than us they are just like the boys back home. We got pictures with them and their facebook account names so hopefully we can keep in contact. Later in the afternoon we went to the orphanage. That was probably my favorite experience yet. It was a perfect positive way to end our trip. The orphanage housed infants to 7 years old. I obviously spent most of the time with the beautiful babies. Mom and Dad, I want a baby brother....his name is Abraham, he's 2 months old and he told me he wants to be a Toufexis...make it happen. I can't wait to share pictures of this amazing orphanage with you all. God has really blessed that place. Today made me realize how much i'll miss Nicaragua.
Love Lea
p.s Can't wait to see my family and everyone else at the airport tomorrow!

Mom and dad, I am bringing home a baby sister (Mayling) and husband (Humberto.) Thanks for understanding!
Love you
-Tessa

Today turned out much better then I expected. Since I have a cold and didn't feel well today, I thought the day would long and excruciating, but thankfully it was the opposite. In the morning we went to Hosanna Sur to help with our final feeding program there as well as hang out with the grade 11 students. At the end we taught them some english and took a bunch of pictures with them and it was a lot of fun! After lunch we went to the orphanage and Annelies and I were able to go as well even though we have colds, since some of the children there were sick already. Though we didn't get to hold any of the babies, we were grateful we were able to go and see what an amazing place it truly was. The orphanage was definitely the most incredible part of the trip. The people there were so amazing, and it was great to see what kind hearts they all had. The children there were adorable and some of their stories were heartbreaking. The orphanage was well managed and well kept, and was a place where joy and happiness was seen in each of the children's faces. The compound also had housing units where teams and families could stay while they visited to help out and do work for the orphanage. It it absolutely completely and positively in my future plans to return to Nicaragua to go to that orphanage and hopefully next time I won't be sick, that way I'll be able to hold little babies too!
- Katherine
P.s. I can't wait to go home, flush some toilet paper, take a hot shower, eat something that has not had bugs land on it and last but not least, sleep without worrying about bugs and/or geckos crawling up my nose while I sleep. Love you Mommy and can't wait to see you!

Today was a great way to finish this Nicaraguan adventure. We finally got to play soccer with the grade 11 boys and were really able to bond with them during the game even though we had no idea what one another were saying. Tessa and I played for what felt like three hours and turns out I did something to my foot during the game but only realized when I washed my feet in the shower this afternoon and saw that my foot was blue :S. It was kind of sad saying bye to all the grade 11 students after the game but we got tons of pictures with them and hopefully we will be able to somehow stay in contact with them through facebook. This afternoon was torturous for me. I had been wanting to go to an orphanage this whole trip and three days before we go I caught  a stupid cold ( thanks a bunch Terrance). Being in the infant room and being unable to hold any of the babies was awful. The orphanage itself was gorgeous though and the kids are way better off there. All of the children there aren't actually parentless. They are there because of neglect, abuse and abodonment. A lot of the tiny little babies that were there were simply left at the hospital after their mothers had given birth to them. Another three siblings were taken from their family situation because their grandfather was also their father. It was great to see that those kids were taken out of that awful situation and were now with people that cared for them.I would love to come back to that orphanage next year and actually be able to help and hold the children there. I have been so faithful with sunscreen throughout this whole trip on my pale dutch skin and for some reason today I forgot to put some on. I have the most horendous sunburn and I'm not looking forward to the nasty peeling that will be happening a few days from now. Even though this trip was an amazing experience and|I am so grateful to have had this oportunity, after ten days I am so ready to get back to my nice warm bed, my air conditioned house, my cold water that I can drink straight from the tap without worrying about toilet issues, my clean and bat free bathroom,my gecko free room, my family, friends and puppy, and lastly my nice WARM shower!! See ya soon pops, T, Dareck and Katie!
P.s One thing that I will miss so much is the gorgeous way that spanish people pronounce my name!
- Annelies

Today was an amazing way to finish our trip in Nicaragua. Bonding with the grade 11's was really nice and being able to show some of my soccer skills definitely created some type of connection between some of the boys and I. Unfortunately I went to bed feeling very sick yesterday and felt horrible today during the day so I didn't play soccer for too long. My 'feeling sick' had nothing to do with a cold or something contagious so I was able to hold my futur son at the orphanage. Kids as young as a few weeks old were part of this orphanage and I kept whispering, "you're all too young to be here, without a family" but the longer I was holding this child, the more I was able to reflect on the fact that all of these children are so much better off in this loving, caring and amazing placement. After experiencing the orphanage this afternoon, I realised that it's definitely something that I could see myself helping out with later on for a few years. We met two particular girls who work at the orphanage who we really were able to connect with simply because they were both not Nicaraguans! One was from michigan and the other from Wisconsin. One came on a ten day trip just like us, came back and married the translator that was designated to her group. She is now living right behind the orphanage and will probably live in Nicaragua the rest of her life. The other girl came as an intern for three months and has now been here for a year.
This experience has been amazing, heart warming and has made me grow a lot.
I am very excited to be back home tomorrow though.
see you soon,
Anya

Wow, I can't believe we will be heading home tomorrow. What an experience. It was such a pleasure for me to serve with these young ladies. They are all amazing in their own way. Parents you should be very proud. I will continue to pray for them all as they make life decisions and figure out where God will lead them.
I am a little concerned about going through Customs tomorrow..... Customs officer: "Anything to declare?" Me: "Yes, some cashews, some coffee, a hammock and a 2 month old baby boy named Nathaniel." Don't worry honey, I checked his feet and they were huge. I suspect he may make a great running back :)
I sign off with mixed emotions. I say goodbye to beautiful Nicaragua (even though there is much poverty, it is beautiful because God is doing some amazing things here), the humidity, the cold showers, the not so great bathroom situations and the quarter size bug I found on the inside of my towel (which I was wearing at the time!). I say hello to my family, my puppy, my bed, my warm shower, my toilet that flushes and tap water.
Please pray for traveling mercies and that we don't have any issues with our bowels (there I said it) on the way home. Most of us have been a little too regular for the last few days :(
Thanks for all of your support and prayers.
Love, Caroline

As you can see, today was a special day that has helped us all reflect more deeply on the total 10 days. God did something special today and we are looking forward to reflecting more when we're back home again and allow everything to settle more deeply into our hearts. Thank you for all your prayers
-Jake