Reflections with Robert Frost

Buenos días one last time from the beautiful city of León! I can’t believe this is the last time I will be writing to y’all from here…(for now anyway). These two years have passed by so quickly! Once again thank you so much to everyone for your kind support in remembering me in prayers, emails, cards, etc! A favorite poem of mine since I memorized it in school has taken on a new meaning for me lately… and without further adieu, 

The Road not Taken {Robert Frost}

Two roads diverged in a yellow woods, and sorry I could not travel both and be one traveler, long I stood up and looked down one as far as I could to where it bent in the undergrowth.     The path looked rather predictable …  smooth… I could see some flowers along the way… there was a bench up ahead to sit on…not many rocks… most of my friends were planning to or had already taken that path…  

Then took the other just as fair and having perhaps the better claim because it was grassy and wanted wear though as for that the passing there had worn them really about the same...      I have never been one to follow others, I would rather do something different, go somewhere I hadn’t heard much about, go against the flow, so I chose the second path. I didn’t recognize others who had traveled in that direction and they seemed to be talking a language I couldn’t understand…but I don’t usually find it difficult to talk to new people and I’ve always wanted to learn another language! the path angled up the hill and here and there it looked a little stony and rugged…but hey! the journey is about putting yourself out of your comfort zone, right?

 And both that morning equally lay in leaves no step had trodden black, so I kept the first for another day yet knowing how way leads on to way I doubted if I should ever come back…       along the first pathway lie events that will not be repeated. time and experiences that will now never be had… 

I shall be telling this with a sigh somewhere ages and ages hence, two roads diverged in a wood and I, I took the one less traveled by and that has made all the difference. The road less traveled that I chose that morning years ago has completely and totally affected me. I am not the same person I was the day I took that first step. This path I am on for now looks like it is veering back towards the beautiful Shenandoah Valley (with a slight detour through a little more of Central America). A fact that leaves me breathless with excitement, but that also leaves my pillow wet with tears many a night. I took the road less traveled by and it truly has made all the difference. I don’t know exactly where this path God has me on will take me from here but I’m excited about His hand which is guiding me! 🙂 

Blessings to you all, 

Deborah Horst 

water balloon volleyball with the youth 💦

Crammed full “bald bus” rides:) 

Having a group from my youth group in the states here was all I expected and more! 😍

To dear Sadie: I’m going to miss you like crazy!!!! Praying all goes well as you carry on the work down here! 😘

Of Sunshine and Talent Shows

Buenas Noches 🙂
Saludos from beautiful, sunny Central America. We are enjoying the hot, dusty dry season currently. As I was walking down the street this afternoon, a gust of wind whipped past, hurling dust particles into any unsuspecting crevice it could find. I overheard two ladies in market today talking, discussing the affects the dust has on lungs this time of year. However, I can’t help but love this time of year! It’s a running joke among my friends how much I love the sun. I always tell them I want to get tan to look as good as them, so they frantically try to shade me to prevent that! 🙂
I have been kept pretty busy lately between group, visitors, and just the day to day life of teaching my 3rd grader, and community work. Some days I want to hit the pause button and truly soak up everything that is happening. The clock of my time here in Leon is ticking along, rapidly.

The neighborhood children loved the face painting done by the girls from the group from Ephrata, PA. I thought Jaqueling did a great job turning me into a dog! We had a whole pack of us. 🙂

One of my recent girls class lessons was on spiritual gifts. We were learning how to view the gift you have, and the way the body of Christ functions as a whole. A verse that stood out to me that I would like to share with y’all is 1 Corinthians 12:19 “But now hath God set the members every one of them in the body, as it hath pleased him.” It was such an encouragement to me to be reminded of the fact that God has placed me in the body of Christ where He pleased! When He created me, He placed within me the personality and resources that I would need to work for His kingdom where He called me. Today my heart was just praising the Lord for where He has placed me, for now; and I want to thank y’all, my support team, for allowing me to come here to Nicaragua. I truly am so blessed. I don’t always feel qualified to be here…so often I don’t feel I measure up to the stereotype “missionaries” fall under…but I just want to claim the quote, “God doesn’t call the equipped.., He equips the called.” (-Rick Yancey) and praise the Lord that He will give me what I need, when I need it!
Today as I was walking down the street, I noticed a guy standing on the sidewalk, conversing with some other guys who were hanging out there. I noticed a hat and three large knives propped against the sidewalk. It was at an intersection that has a stop light (one of the approx. 4 in the city), so I decided to park myself across the street to see what would happen. Sure enough, after about 15 min of waiting, (a street corner is a very entertaining place to people-watch, so I was not bored) he gathers up the knives, rolls his dreadlocks into a bun on the top of his head to put the hat on, and rolls out a unicycle (WHAT?!). He jumps up on the unicycle, and starts going back and forth a little, to stay upright, sticks out his foot, to throw his hat onto, and starts juggling these machetes! I must say, I wouldn’t have had the nerve to walk past like some of the people were doing! When the show ended, I walked over to leave a donation, and he said he was from a little country in South America. Just traveling through, he has been to all the South American countries, and now is going through all of the Central American countries. (I would have liked to look through his passport! So many stamps!!!) I thanked him for the show, and went on my way…maybe that will be my next hobby, juggling on a unicycle….We shall see, I guess:)img_1299

Visitors are such fun! I have decided I would enjoy being a tour guide! Here is a peek at a few I’ve had lately!

There is always something going on in Central Park! If not human activity, at least the birds and Cathedral are always picturesque. 🙂


Thank you all for your continued prayers!!! May the Lord bless your week! – Deborah Horst

Of Warm Climate Ways


Buenas! 🙂

I recently had a discussion with a friend about why Spanish is called a Romance language, and it got my mind rolling. I came up with, and shared with her, my reasoning. It must be because of the terms of endearment that are commonly used. I am called on a regular basis variations of queen, princess, love, beautiful, white girl (which is a compliment, since it is way cooler to be white then to be tan down here), and so on. At first it made me super uncomfortable because I couldn’t understand why people who didn’t know me, taxi drivers, shop keepers, cashiers, etc would be calling me these different, yet flattering, names. I have become pretty accustomed to it now, and rarely think about it when I’m referred to like that. (It also helps that they call everyone else the same things, so I realize its not just me 🙂 So that must be why Spanish would be called a Romance language…because of all the “romantic” nicknames used on a regular basis.
But then I kept thinking…and I decided that it had to be because of all the friendly people who speak Spanish… (yes I am aware that I am only speaking from my tiny exposure to the people here in Nicaragua, and there are many other countries that speak Spanish…but this has been my experience) The other day I was in a different part of then I usually get to, I was in our big 15 passenger, and (thankfully) found a place to park super close to where I needed to be. I finished up my business, and returned to the van, only to realize that in my absence a horse cart had parked parallel with the hood at the front of my van. There was a motorcycle directly in front of me, and some furniture and stuff a little bit behind me…so I wasn’t sure how to get out. I sat there for a little bit with my van running hoping that whoever had the horse would see and come move him. Well that didn’t work, so I rolled my window down and asked some men who were chilling on the other side of the street if they knew whose horse cart it was. They didn’t know, but all began shouting loudly “COWBOYYY, COWBOYYYY”…well the cowboy isn’t showing up…(but with all the racket they were making he must have either been deaf or far far away) I didn’t feel like moving the horse because well, number one, I know nothing about horses, and didn’t want him to freak him and run away; and number two, I didn’t know if that was socially acceptable for me to mess with someone else’s horse. So I decided to take advantage of the fact that my dear van can basically turn on a dime, and try to get out even with the horse there. When the men saw what I was gonna do, a couple came rushing over valiantly to shout directions. With a fair amount of pulling forward and backing up and tuuuuurning and pulling forward and backing up, I managed to finally wiggle that 15 passenger out of there…and all the random strangers from across the street were congratulating me as i drove away. 🙂 Then there was the time I got a nail in tire on my bike and some random fellow had noticed while the bike was parked that its tire had gone down, so he waited there to point it out to me, and then took me to the nearest bike shop to get it fixed. Or the fact that any time you are conversing with someone about directions to some place, or where you can buy this or that thing, or how to do something, everyone that is within hearing distance gathers near to give their advice and opinion. Another thing that I just love is the response I get when asking for a recipe for something. I have never received written down instructions when showing interest in some food. They always just sit down and describe exactly how they made it. (And no two people make any food the same I’m pretty sure)
Or maybe Spanish is called a Romance language because (again, at least in Nicaragua) its all about not placing blame. It is grammatically improper to say “I forgot”, the correct way would be, directly translated, “it forgot me.” Also, when accusing someone, you kinda skirt around the problem, referring to it vaguely and asking how this problem should be taken care of…you don’t (or maybe shouldn’t) directly say, “I know you did this, now fix it.”
But then, I googled why Spanish is a Romance language…and the only reason, having nothing to do with the romantic nicknames, friendly people, or unaccusing ways, is that the language comes from Rome, where Latin was spoken.
So I guess my observations in the difference in Spanish and English probably have more to do with the difference in cold climate/ warm climates then languages. 🙂

On Sunday we were over in the rich part of town, because there is less traffic, and I was trying to help one of my friends learn how to ride a bike. The gated part of this community has a hill, so we went over that way so she could go down it and just focus on balancing instead of balancing and pedaling both. She couldn’t really get the hang of stopping by pulling the brakes…she would just run into things to stop…so she gets close to the bottom of the hill, and sees a bridge, but didn’t want to cross it because of the thought that she might wreck on it. So to stop, she just runs into the curb and kinda falls over. A young guy (approx 20 years old) comes walking up. He comes over and informs us that it is prohibited to fall on a bike here. We said, “whaaaat?” and he says, yes, its prohibited to wreck on a bike here! We kinda looked at him like, you’re crazy…and started to try to ignore him. Then he asks us, “Do y’all know me?” I looked at his face…but it didn’t look familiar, so I respond that no, I don’t know him. “Well have you ever seen the news? Have you heard of Daniel Ortega?” (He has been the president of Nicaragua for 10 years, and was just recently re-elected). Well of course we knew who he was… “I’m him.” The guy informs us…We looked at each other and tried not to bust out laughing…and walked away. He keeps following us, talking some broken English, and trying frantically to think of anything to talk to us about. “Do you study the Bible?” He asks me…I responded that yes, I do, and he informs me that he needs to study the Bible lots since he’s the President and all…We left him…but now always joke about the fact that we met the President of Nicaragua! 🙂

Life in Nicaragua has been going really good! I had a quick trip home last month for my Grandpappy’s funeral. It was definitely an emotional weekend, but I was so thankful for the opportunity to be there!  Thanks for continuing to remember those of us down here in your prayers!

Visitors are SO much fun!!!! 🙂


As always, the children have me wrapped around their little fingers:) Esp. this little munchkin!:)

I’m always thankful for the opportunity to travel a little and see different parts of Nicaragua! The falls are Cascadas Blancas in Matagalpa, and the beach is Poneloya, Leon.img_0036

Finishing up second grade with Gloria called for a celebratory trip to the zoo, and then McDonalds afterwards for lunch:)img_0062

If you notice, the front of this cathedral is pure, new white, while the side looks very different…rather old. The city is repainting it (amidst the protests of the people). They would prefer for it to stay original and antique.



Of Baking Bread :)

Buenas! Puedo contarles una historia? Okay, maybe I should switch to English. 🙂

I was given the opportunity this week, to accompany a friend to her baking class to learn to make some of the delicious Nicaraguan bread. When she called and asked if I wanted to go along, I jumped at the chance, and after switching my school duties from morning to afternoon, agreed to go with her. We rode on the back of a pickup truck over to a different part of the city; one I’m not really familiar with. When we arrived about half the class was there, and part of the instructors, but not the head chef. After waiting for about 45 min, (while the rest of the class trickled in, and Yolanda sweetly cleaned the whole room) the instructor shows up, to the hoots and hollers of everyone asking why he was late…which he gave some kind of excuse for… then we started making bread. Mountain loads of bread! After scrubbing the wooden table a second time, we poured about 12 pounds of flour into a big pile in the center of the table.


It was so fascinating to see how differently they make bread compared to how my mom taught me. We made a big hole in the middle of the flour to add the salt and sugar, and then added the dry yeast in little holes we dug all around the outside. I found it so interesting that down here we do not need to dissolve the yeast before adding it to the flour, the humidity and heat activate it once we add the cool water. Our instructor told us that up in the northern parts of Nicaragua, and in the mountains where it is cooler, they have to add warm water; but because of the temperature here we just add cool water straight from the faucet! We had to mix the dough carefully to make sure that the yeast part didn’t mix with the part that had the salt and sugar until it was all moistened. After mixing it into a dry, crumbly mixture, we kept adding water until it was the desired consistency. It was actually really nice to do it this way instead of adding the water first and then the flour, because then your hands do not get as sticky. 🙂 We split the dough into about 8 different parts, and all stood around the table, taking turns kneading it. When we had mixed it sufficiently, we put it through a roller machine thing.


It was like two giant rolling pins that turned when you cranked it…this was to get all the air bubbles out of it, and mix it more. After putting it through that probably 30 or 40 times, we spread out around all the tables, and started shaping the bread. Some we did into triangle shapes with a bit of a cheese/sugar/cinnamon mixture in the center (Pan Pico). We also did one that looks like your regular dinner roll but with a dot of a flour/sugar/shortening/vanilla mixture on top (Pan de Cemitas). The last one we did was with the same filling as the pan pico, but we rolled it up into a somewhat U shape (Pan Cacho).


We put them on big trays and slid them into the (not turned on) oven to rise.


We sat around chatting until they had risen sufficiently, then sprinkled some more of the pan pico filling on top of some of them, and started to bake them. Well we tried to start to bake them…the discovery was made that the tank of gas was empty, so there was talk of having to run get it filled, but thankfully another discovery showed that there was a full tank behind some chairs. (Praise the Lord)   If we had thought it hot in there with about 15 people and only two fans…we were soon to realize it had actually been a pleasant 90*. Because now, it was a not-so-pleasant (this is just a guesstimate) 100+*. With that oven cranked on high, it was about unbearable. I was very thankful for my bottle of water. 🙂 When they were done baking, we dumped them out on a big wooden table in front of a fan to cool them down.

We had a canine visitor who was very piteously staring through the window (see above photos) until he was finally tossed a roll, after which he was very happy. 🙂 Everyone commenced to pulled plastic baggies out of their purses to collect their spoils, which we gringas were unprepared for, but a dear lady gave us an extra one she had. 🙂


We caught a bus home, and our lesson was finished 🙂 I have been enjoying bread with my coffee these mornings.

Bread is a sustainer of life. When the Israelites were wandering in the desert, God provided manna for them, and that was all they needed. There are many different kinds of bread. You might favor a sweet bread from here in Nicaragua, or a crusty roll from Germany, perhaps a sandwich made with pita bread from Israel, or even a delicious homemade oatmeal roll made in the Shenandoah Valley. But the one Bread we all have a common need for is not going to be found in a Panaderia. He is the sustainer of spiritual life just like bread sustains our physical lives. Being able to bake the most exotic bread in all the world will do us no good if we are not partaking of the Bread of Life that is right at our fingertips! And to top it off, when we come to that Bread, and believe on Him, we will never hunger nor thirst again! 🙂 So I hope each of you dip into that unendless supply today!
Blessings to you -Deborah


My adventures recently took me into the emergency room with a friend and her sick daughter where I was granted the opportunity to sit in a chair along the hall in front of this elevator (for lack of waiting rooms, chairs line the hallways). As I sat there, I observed that the elevator is run by a guy who sits on a little stool in front of a fan, and he pushes the button to take people to the correct floor. So the next time you are feeling bored with your job…please remember the guy whose only job is to push the elevator buttons…:)


The beauty of the ocean never fails to amaze me! I praise the Lord that I live close enough to visit it rather frequently! 🙂

Of Zika and Other Random Cosas

Good evening! I am currently relaxing in my hammock, listening to the rain! It was very warm today, and I am super thankful for the rain, because it has beat the heat like nothing else will! 🙂 Let me fill you in on what I’ve been up to lately. 🙂
The other Friday morning, I woke up with a headache. Not a super unusual occurrence, I don’t know why, but I get headaches fairly regularly, so I took some ibuprofen and didn’t think much about it. But a few hours later, when it had not abated at all, possibly even worsened, I was a little annoyed. I took a short nap, hoping that would help, but when I woke up, it was no better. Saturday morning I woke up, same story. We have a girls class on Saturday afternoons, and it was my turn to teach that, so I prayed that I would be able to focus through the pain. I didn’t stay for the project afterwards, but I at least made it through the class, (which I was very thankful for). By Sunday morning, I was concerned. There is no reason to having a headache that stretches into three days. I was wearing my glasses, drinking lots of water, taking pain meds, what more is there to do for a headache? As I was getting ready for church, I suddenly realized I had a red rash over my entire stomach. Then is when it clicked in my head that this could very possibly be the Zika virus… It is a mosquito born virus that has been making its rounds down here (it is similar to chikungunya), and mosquito bites are not at all unusual for me. The good thing about it was, I did not have to worry about passing it to people through physical contact, so that was a relief! I had been planning to start teaching school again on the next day, but the rash itched, and the headache lingered, so I laid in my hammock drinking smoothies and inspecting my rash most of Monday…:) Praise the Lord, I think I am mostly over that, and it is not something I hope to have the opportunity to experience again! I believe once you get it once, the chances of contacting it again are pretty low…
So, as I mentioned before, I have started school again. This time with just one student. Gloria Miller, second grade…It is going good for the most part…pretty low key…but if anyone has suggestions of something active to do with a 7-year-old for break time…(preferably that is fun for both teacher and student, lol), I’m open to any ideas! 🙂

I enjoyed a brief visit to the states the end of June/first of July. It was great to see family and friends again! (and pets:)) I am so thankful for the blessing of technology to be able to stay in contact with my family and with Nate, but there’s just nothing like being in person!:)

We took a staff trip to Granada, where we enjoyed a boat ride among the islands, spent some time in the park, and later climbed the volcano Mombacho.It is always fun to get out of our city and see other places! 🙂

Have you ever wondered what your socks would look like if you ran down a volcano sock-footed instead of in shoes? It actually felt pretty good, that is, when it didn’t tickle like crazy! But the socks were rather ruined by the bottom… also…taking a feet selfie sounds a lot easier than it is 😉


Ball game with the youth group out in Malpaisillo the other evening, when about half the team has gloves, and you’re using a baseball…it makes for an interesting time! 🙂


The rain hasn’t been daily, but it has come regularly enough that its starting to turn green! Every time I go visit Dona Maria, I cannot help exclaiming over the view from her house! She has two garrobos who live in the railroad tiles to the bottom left of this picture, I tried to get them in the picture, but they were feeling shy 🙂


The Hervideros of San Jacinto Volcano. If it weren’t for these vents to let the hot air/mud bubble out…would the volcano erupt?


Another kitten has made its arrival at our house…will this one decide to stay with us? So far, so good 🙂 His name is Moroncito Mentiroso (M&M), and he is rather enjoyable to have around (from a cat hater… yet animal lover…..I’m very torn, in that cats have always annoyed me…but this guy is really sweet…and hey…when you have basically no contact with animals…even a feline is better than nothing, right?) And incidentally, he is sitting in my lap as I write this…so I must be careful…don’t want to offend the poor lil fellow. 😉

I celebrated my birthday in July … the next day was Jennifer Miller’s and Philip Miller’s birthdays, so we had one big party with the entire church. I managed to be (ahem) “allowed” to celebrate in the pure Nica way….baby powder gets smeared into the hair; then an egg smashed on the head; then, if you’re super lucky, like I was, and have 7 children who are about beside themselves with excitement over how much fun this is, you get even more baby powder smeared on top! I was glad the party was very close to home, so I could just run upstairs and shower immediately before I got too miserable! lol


I thank the Lord for this dear lady, and the godly influence she is to me! She definitely keeps things around here exciting! 🙂


If any of you are near the Pacific Ocean in the future…keep your eyes open for a note-in-a-bottle! 🙂

Thank you so much for your continued prayers, I have been dealing with a few health issues lately, but I praise God in that today was somewhat better….  We also are looking at being a little short on our staff in the coming months…so if any of y’all have been feeling the call to go on missions, or know someone who has, there are openings with Olive Branch here in Leon for single people, and for a couple. Have a blessed day! ~Deborah


The legend of the Sand Dollar

There’s a pretty little legend
That I would like to tell
Of the birth and death of Jesus
Found in this lowly shell.

If you examine closely,
You’ll see that you find here
Four nail holes and a fifth one
Made by a Roman’s spear.

On one side the Easter lily,
Its center is the star
That appeared unto the shepherds
And led them from afar.

The Christmas poinsettia,
Etched on the other side
Reminds us of His birthday,
Our happy Christmastide.

Now break the center open,
And here you will release
The five white doves awaiting
To spread Good will and peace.

This simple little symbol,
Christ left for you and me
To help us spread His Gospel
Through all eternity.

A funeral {In Pictures}

Hello from rainy, green Nicaragua. The start of this rainy season is making last year’s look like it did not even drizzle! It rains at least every week, if not every day. I love it! 🙂
Life down here has been great! We have been rather short-staffed lately with the changeover of staff, and one family on furlough this month; but the new family arrived this week, and are starting Spanish school on Monday! My routine has been different lately, which is fun! Since all the families were away, I am not in school, so I have been finding different things to keep myself occupied.
Yesterday morning I received a phone call with the news that the nephew of a man who comes to church had died. The lady was seven months pregnant, when her blood pressure spiked, and they had to do an emergency C-section to save her life. The child’s lungs were not developed enough, and he died two days later. We walked down to their home where the vela was being held, and there was the precious little guy; wrapped in a snow white blanket.


We were served soup and pop, and then just sat around conversing a little…waiting. The mom got home from the hospital while we were there; and I thought my heart was gonna break. She walked in, leaned down and kissed her small son, and then just clung to her man and cried…Such heartbreaking sobs…I cannot imagine the pain she is going through right now. After she had said her final goodbyes, the dad took the dear little child up in his arms, covered him with a small white sheet, and carried him out to the waiting truck. A bunch of fireworks were set off as we made our way outside (short note from a gringa who is unaccustomed to this practice: not quite the sounds that make you feel good at a funeral).


The usual custom would be for all the guests to walk behind the truck carrying the coffin to the graveyard; but this family had hired a bus to haul us, so we all piled in, and went to the graveyard.


At the grave, the family and close friends gathered around for one last peek into the small coffin. img_4387

The little fellow was buried with a little pack of clothing, a small white teddy bear, and his blanket. Jason Althouse read some verses talking about how important children are to our Lord, and the importance of making sure we are ready to go Home to our Father, so we can be spend eternity with Him and our loved ones who have gone on before. As the men began filling the grave, we gathered around and sang songs about heaven.

I lift this family up in prayer right now as they are going through this rough time. It definitely was a reminder to me to be ready every day; because we have no guarantee of tomorrow!
Yesterday evening we had a youth night which included volleyball, grilled hamburgers, foursquare, and, of course, dutch blitz. 🙂
I am looking forward to being home in about three weeks for my cousins wedding! I am rather excited about that!
Once again, thank you so much for your prayer support, and also thanks for sending mail! It is always a day-brightener when I get cards in the mail!
God bless y’all!

Bonus pics:


We had a glow stick-lit dinner with some of our girls class girls. 🙂


We had an opportunity to go to a Mothers Day celebration with some of the girls from church whose moms were working. I thought these little ones in the Traditional clothing were too cute!


Its always a nice surprise when the pics children take on my phone turn out kinda clear! [even if it isn’t centered] 😉


Dear Father,
Today I saw something that broke my heart. Genessa and I were riding in a bike taxi over in the rich part of town when six people ran across the road in front of us. It appeared as if four of the people were chasing two of them. As we got closer, the two men were on the ground, with the four others around them; kicking, hitting, slamming their heads onto the sidewalk. Our driver slowed down and shouted, “Que paso aqui?” “Ladrones” came the reply. Robbers. Why this was happening in the middle of the morning, I don’t know. As we continued on our way, my mind began to wonder. Who were those men? Where are their moms? Their dads? Did they ever go to Sunday School as little boys? If someone would have taken an interest in them when they were young, and taken the time to teach them right from wrong, would they have found themselves there on the hot sidewalk in the sun this morning? As I glanced back over my shoulder for one last look as we went on, I caught the younger man’s eyes; and there I saw a lost little boy, and my heart breaks for him. He was young, maybe in his late teens/lower twenties. What was Your plan for him, Lord? Whose heart did you tap on to go minister to him when he was in his young, formative years? Did they go and try? If not, why? Were they too wrapped up in their own stuff, to take a tiny little bit of time and go be Your hands and feet? To show Your love to the broken hearted little boy who just wanted to be accepted and loved by someone?
Today something else happened. A little girl lied to me. The easy way out would have been to just pretend I did not notice. To let her go home with the stolen thing. It was really trivial…I did not feel like even starting to try to get it back, and really, I never would have noticed that it was gone….But I thought of that man laying there face-down and shamed on the sidewalk, and his lost little boy eyes….and I knew that allowing her to go home, and take one step farther from learning the importance of telling the truth, would just not work! So I stopped her from leaving, and tried to explain the seriousness of lying, of deceit. She was very upset that I was making such a huge deal out of a little tiny thing… She returned the stolen item, and left…still pretty upset with me. I can only pray, dear Lord, that You can maybe use that to help instill in her the importance of honesty.
I do not know what I am doing… I have only a very limited vocabulary in Spanish,…I honestly do not know much about children (literally, no experience),… I do not know how to deal with people who steal,… But, Lord, I am willing to try. I will bumble my way through situations using the words I do know, (and those You supply me with), and I will try to make a difference in one child’s life. And, Father, I ask that you use me. Direct my paths so that I can show one person how Your love has changed me, and how You can change them as well! Lord, if I can help one person to grow up and serve You, then it is totally worth it!

  Is it a bus? Is it a truck? …. It’s Super-Bus-Truck!!! Or something… 🙂 img_3483I’m so glad I get to live with her! 🙂 We have so much fun! Definite highlight of last week was getting to see Stephanie and Kristi!

Bits and Pieces :)

Dear friend,
Buenas noches!
Hope this finds you doing well, life keeps on rolling down here in warm, sunny Nicaragua. The other night I had a dream that involved a monstrous dust storm (not too foreign of a thought right now) followed by an amazing thunder storm (too luxurious to even dream about right now). This afternoon we felt a few sprinkles of rain, and the dark, stormy clouds overhead gave me great hope, but alas, the wind picked up and blew the clouds right on past within a few minutes.
Second grade is steadily rolling past…my sweet students got the brainstorm to have me over for a picnic today! I felt like the guest of honor to walk down to Gloria’s house and be greeted by a welcoming committee sitting in chairs on the sidewalk awaiting my arrival! I was escorted around to the back yard, where a table was set up with ham sandwiches; toppings to add if so desired; carrots and dip; and chips. After dessert (lemon cake and Oreo cookies); we put on a play for Gloria’s family. Gloria had dug a “well” in preparation for it, so we acted out the story of Jesus and the Samaritan woman at the well. After a few games of Red Rover, and making animals out of balloons, we called it an afternoon and headed our separate ways. I was such a sweet gesture on the girls part, (and also on their mothers’ as well). I am privileged to do life with these people!img_2998
We had the opportunity to go to a lake last week. It is located in the crater of a volcano. I have heard many things about “Asososca” but this was my first time to actually go! Getting there is quite the adventure in itself…make sure you are in a four-wheel drive! We bumped along with Sarah as our fearless driver and arrived safely! Then there is a little cow path that leads down, down into the lake. img_2871There were some cows using the path at the same time we were…which was more traumatic for some of us then for others 😉 I wont mention any names…*ahem* img_2873The water was blue and very comfortable! In the shade of the tree that we could climb to jump from it was a little cooler; but out in the sun it really could have not been better! img_2888We went all the way to the top to a little lookout when it was getting closer to sunset from where we could see both directions…gorgeous view (even if the little lookout tower-thing felt a little sketchy).img_2909img_2906
Last night was our monthly evening of fellowship with the church. Jason graciously invited us out to his farm where we enjoyed playing a little softball (with the help of some onlooking cows). We had roasted hot dogs and hamburgers, finished off with roasted marshmallows! I did not sit super close to the fire, but a campfire is relaxing even in approx 90* weather! 🙂  (Seeing Jason’s dog was something I definitely did not complain about!) 🙂

This coming week is our revival meetings here at the church, so I’m excited to see what God is going to teach us! This week is also “holy week” (the week before Easter). But regretfully, it is about the least holy week of the year. There is terribly much partying and drinking…A few extra prayers for our safety would be appreciated! Both spiritual and physical. We have been hearing warnings of people planning to break into our house…so we are sleeping with one eye open these days! Praise the Lord, He has not given us a spirit of fear, but of power, and of love, and of a sound mind. (2 Tim. 1:7)
Thank you, once again for remembering our little church here in Leon, Nicaragua! God has great plans and I am so excited to see Him working in this city!
Blessings, Deborah

Lifting those Arms {guest author}

There are things about being the bossy oldest sister that are not too glamorous, but some things I do take very seriously. I feel like it is very much my job to hound my little sister about updating her blog. I listen to her enthusiastic stories and try to encourage her “write about it” I listen to her busy life and try to nag her “write about it” and finally today, she turned the tables on me and reminded me “you promised you would blog for me when you came to visit, but you didn’t.” And so,here goes, a combination article from two sisters one in VA and and one NicaLast weekend at the OBMM annual meeting, I became reacquainted with the story “Two men, One mission” In summary, two brothers grew up in the beautiful Michigan farmland. Both married, and by about 1912, the one couple felt called to Africa. The other couple felt called to stay home and sacrifice to support their family on the foreign field. The only stipulation was that no one knew. So for years, everyone watched the thriving mission in Africa, and speculated what could be wrong with the brother at home- why his buildings were in ill repair, why he didn’t fertilize his crops (I won’t comment on how much more $$ growing crops at maximum potential makes you) and basically misjudging the brother at home. Eventually, a lion took the life of the African brother but many lives were touched because both families sacrificed.

Romans 10:14-15 How then, can they call on the one they have not believed in? And how can they believe in one of whom they have not heard? And  how can they hear without someone preaching to them? And how can anyone preach unless they are sent? As it is written: How beautiful are the feet of those who bring good news!

Sometimes it’s easy for me to think “Well, I’m not on the foreign field, what I’m doing is so insignificant” But these verses make me aware of how important it is to be the life line from the home front. Are you sent or are you a sender?

There was a fight between the  Amalekites and Israel once upon a time, but before they even showed up, Moses had a battle plan in place “tomorrow I will stand on the hill with the staff of God in my hands” and we are familiar with the story- while his hands were raised, Israel won, but once his weary arms sagged to his sides, the Amalekites would gain ground. So two men came along beside him and held his arms in the air and Israel won.

So how is the best way to hold someone’s arms in the air? There have been so many creative ways that people have been an encouragement:

Communication: Email, cards, snap chats, boxes, whatever- which of us doesn’t appreciate random words of affirmation? Sometimes I’m guilty of assuming our missionaries on the foreign field are so busy and encouraged by the Lord, that they don’t need to hear from me.( I think this might be a false teaching 🙂 The Holy Spirit is the Great Encourager, but that doesn’t let the rest of us off the hook!)

Along with that- craft ideas and supplies: Children’s Church  and kids clubs happen quite regularly. And more than that is the frequent visit of children just stopping by to get away from their home situation. Different times, a complete craft idea will show up, or a stamping set including paper, ink stamps and colored pencils. This takes the work out of researching that next project 🙂

The children adore coloring in the “adult” coloring book I have, and they all fight over the good color pencils we were generously gifted. We recieved face-paint, which was a success!

Clothes: Sewing Circle and different ladies from our home area have carried the torch to send children’s outfits to Nicaragua. Children’s Church is well represented with the labor of love from these ladies.img_2613

Funds:  People have been so generous with Deb. She has a stash of money “just waiting” for the right time. While nothing is gained by handing out random money- in fact a lot is hindered- there are dire needs. The girl that cleans the church there lost her father several  years ago, and because her mother is of poor health, she (at 14) is responsible to provide for herself. Recently the nose piece fell off her glasses and she is worrying how she will find the $179 to replace them… God provides.img_2706

Most importantly- Prayer: I cannot tell you how important the prayer support behind a mission is! I was blessed again the other night with how amazing God is! His timing is perfect! We had went into Managua for the afternoon, and were getting home a little later then usual, around 11:30. The reality that the last time I got home at this hour, a robber awaited me,made me extra nervous. However this time I was not alone, Genessa was with me! We got home and there was a man sitting on his motorcycle waiting in the street right in front of the house. Gen was a little apprehensive about getting out of the truck with him right there, but we had to put the truck in the courtyard and get ourselves inside! I pulled up and shone my lights around to ensure there was no one else waiting in the shadows behind the stairs, and backed up to try to decide what we should do. I mean, you can’t just tell someone in the street, “Hey, I’m not comfortable with you watching me pull into my garage, can you please leave?” As we were there thinking about what would be the safest thing to do, Nathan Miller pulled around the corner in the other mission vehicle! Their family had been away as well, and they were returning at the exact same time as we did! (If that’s not the hand of God, I don’t know what is!) When Gen got out to open the gates, the man got off his bike and came over and asked to talk to her. She didn’t really respond, and as we pulled in, we shut the doors ASAP, and let Nathan go out to talk to him. He had some story about wanting translation work, but we had to wonder why he would be waiting for us to get home at 11:30 to ask for work? We are praising the Lord it ended the way it did, God obviously had everything planned out perfectly! Thank you once again for praying for our safety, I do not want to live in fear. Our God can protect me, and it is a breach of trust if I place my security in people, or things. So please pray that I can rest in Him, and not let myself give into feelings of fear! “For God has not given us a spirit of fear, but of power, love, and a sound mind”

‘I want my friends to pray for me,

To hold me up on wings of faith

That I may walk the narrow way,

Kept by our Father’s glorious grace

…I need the prayers of those I love’

-James D Vaughanimg_2091

Bless you, for ministering. There are so many opportunities to come beside someone and  “Encourage each other daily, while it is still ‘today’ .”  Deborah and her beautiful Nicaragua are not the only outlet for that. There are brave souls fighting the good fight all over the world. There are people being faithful at home- what do I know about the local Kids Club? Or when was the last time somebody volunteered to help with our prison ministry?

May we all be ready to work- where ever He’s placed us.  But most of all- Please pray. The battle belongs to the Lord!

Blessings to you, Kendra and Deborah

Burglarized and Blessed

Buenas! It has been awhile since I blogged, but I finally have something I would like to share with y’all! Part of my family came to visit me over Christmas, while Genessa was in the states visiting her family. I enjoyed SO much having them around! Genessa was delayed a week in coming back down, so I regretfully said goodbye to the last of my family, and came home to (attempt) to live by myself for a few days.

The next day found me sitting around the house after school, bored out of my mind, so I walked down to Maritza Lopez, a different section of the where some of my friends live. I visited one of my friends for awhile, and as I was walking home, some of the children that are in my class in childrens church stopped me and I sat on the sidewalk and conversed with them for a little. The one little boy asked if he could come over to my house that afternoon to play. I told him that it did not suit me, and when he asked why not, (without thinking) I told him because I was going to be going out to Malpaisillo for the evening. The children were all asking about when Genessa would be getting home, and were all with big eyes asking if I was staying alone while she was gone. I assured them that I was not scared of living alone for just a few days; and went on my way. The evening in Malp was very enjoyable, and I was tired as we came home. Richard offered to come back with me to put the truck away, and make sure that noone had broken into my house while I was gone, but (since that would have meant that he would then need to walk over a mile home) I said I was sure that would not be neccessary, and, after promising to message them as soon as I got home, I left. I had forgotten to leave any lights on in the house, and the street was extra dark. It was about 10:30, so there were not many people around (that I could see). So I was ready to get the truck parked, and get inside. As I got out to open the gate to pull the truck in, I grabbed my phone; in case I would need to make a quick call for help, but all was well, so I pulled the truck in. I gathered up my stuff, hopped out of the truck, locking it as I got out, and walked back to shut the gate behind the truck. As I came around towards the back, I’m pretty sure my heart flat-lined, because I could see the outline of a person on the other side of the truck bed. My first thought was that it would be a neighborhood drunk who has bothered me before, but it suddenly registered that the man had a black mask covering his whole face, and I realized that this was a robbery! I just froze up and stared at him. (My mouth was hanging open so far he must have seen my tonsils.) “Give me your cell phone” came the gruff command. I just sat there in shock and disbelief. This could not be happening! San Carlos is a safe part of the city…isn’t it? “Give me your cell phone!” He sounded a little annoyed this time. Then I noticed that his one hand was down beside his leg with something in it…my first thought was a gun, but I am guessing it was just a little stick, or something else that was supposed to scare me…(It got the job done!) I cannot remember if he had to ask me for my phone 3 times or if I handed it over after the second demand, but nontheless, he got possession of my phone. I backed up closer to the wall and sill stood there just staring at him, speechless, until he told me to go past him and go into the house. At that point, I found my tongue and said that no way was I going into a building with him! He repeated the question, and I started to inch away, preparing to run down the road to Nathan and Angie Miller’s house if he decided to force me inside. He sighed in exasperation at this stupid gringa, and removed his mask and walked away. I was so numb from shock and fear that I just stood there with the gate hanging open for a little while. I was nervous to go inside, because, if he had snuck in as I drove the truck in, how many of his friends were waiting in the shadows on farther in? I finally squeaked out, “Is there anyone in here?”….then realized that English would do no good…(not that they would exactly announce their lying in wait if there was anyone) But it made me feel (somewhat) better, hearing my own voice helped if nothing else. So I continued calling out in my trembling Spanish as I walked up the steps to go into the house. Once I got inside, although I had forgotten to leave any lights on, the alarm was still set, so I had the relief of knowing that there was not (and had not been) anyone inside. But now here I was, stuck without a phone to call or message to let anyone know what happened. My shaky legs got me upstairs and I dug my laptop out to send Richards a message. By the time it got booted up, and connected to internet, Richards had figured out that something was wrong. He tried to call my phone, and someone picked up, but did not say anything. When he tried to call again, it had been shut off. He hopped on his motorcycle and, calling Nathan, came over. I cannot tell y’all the relief of hearing the English words “Hey, Deb, are you home?” coming from the street as I lay on my bed trying to absorb what had just happened. I stuck my head out the window and communicated with them what had just happened. There was not much to do that evening, it was late enough that we talked a little while, they both very generously offered that I could come and stay with their families for the night if I was too scared to stay alone; and they left. [Incert short commertial of advertisement for the wonders of the Apple brand of cell phone!] I have an iPhone, and they have this really cool feature called “find my iphone” and it is set up for situations like this. I was able to go on through my Apple account and set it so that when my phone connected to the internet, it would lock up and put a message on the home screen. I wrote that it was a stolen phone, and could they please return it to the Mennonites who live in San Carlos.

{Fast forward one day} The next evening, I was Skyping with a friend when I got a notification that my phone had been connected to the internet. It gave me the location on it, and I could see that it was just a couple streets down, where I had been the afternoon before. I called Richard, all excited, and told him I had a location on my phone if he had any interest in searching out some robbers at that point in time. He said he would call Floppy because he was not sure if he was up to chasing them down alone, and he would call me back. Meanwhile, I am still skyping with my friend, and I hear a horn blowing out on the street. Down here in Nicaragua they use the horn more then the breaks on a vehicle, so it was not something unusual to hear, but it kept on and on blowing so I finally decided maybe I should go stick my head out the window and see what was going on. I walked over to the window carrying my computer, still talking to Laura, and as I started to ask the guy on the bike outside what he wanted, Richard called me back. So I am skyping, talking to an antsy guy on a motorcyle on the street, and talking on the phone…Who ever said I cannot multitask? lol. Anyway the guy was acting all funny and saying he wanted me to come down and talk to him (I live on the second story). I said I was not interested in that, that I would be happy to talk to him from right where I was…but he was all nervous and talking in riddles and stuff. When he mentioned a cell phone that he had with him, my ears perked up…I can understand straight Spanish (for the most part), but when they start getting all vague and stuff, I get completely lost. (Not to mention the fact that I had English coming in one ear…) I told him that Richard was on his way, and that he would be happy to talk to him. The guy was about as nervous as a cat, and kept getting off and on his bike and fiddling with the key, preparing to take off…so I would frantically try to think of questions to ask to try to stall him. He refused to tell me his name, and acted all fishy when I asked any questions about the phone. He was muttering that he did not want the police getting involved, and I was quick to assure him that I was only talking to Richard on the phone, and not to the cops. He finally could not stand it any longer, and drove away saying “I will be back.” As I watched him drive away, my heart sank, as I was sure he was not going to be returning…and there went my chance of getting my phone back! Richard showed up just moments later, and he did not know what to do, so we decided to just wait it out a little while, hoping he would show back up! He did come back, and boy was I glad to have Richard there to figure out a deal with him! He had my phone (missing the case), and said that he “didn’t know it was stolen” until he connected it to the internet and it locked up. He apparantly has a little cell phone store, and some guy sold him this phone. When he looked through my pictures and videos (and randomly deleted about 300 pictures???), he knew whose it was… It became useless to him (except to sell for parts) when it locked up, so he decided to return it. He claimed he had paid 1400 cordobas for it, so Richard advised me to give him some money as a thank you for returning it. I paid 600 cord, (approximately $20) and had my phone back…none the worse for the wear! (It still had all the pictures on it after I recovered those he had deleted, which I feel is a miracle in itself.) I came back upstairs with the biggest grin on my face!

So I tell y’all this story, not to make myself sound brave or impressive (trust me, I was scared out of my mind), not to try to worry anyone; but to proclaim the awesomeness of a God who cares enough to take care of the little details like a phone. My sisters said they were just praying like crazy that I would get it back somehow, and God came through! I have definitely learned a lesson or two through this situation…my mind has been rolling ever since…of all the possible things I could have done differently. I surely hope it does not happen again, but I do think the next time I would be able to react differently (aka not freeze up speechless). Andrea said that they had had an uneasy feeling about me going home alone, and she had breathed a prayer for me… she is sure he saw angels standing around me… So I am just so thankful for how it turned out! God is all-powerful, and He protected me!

My sister was with some of her friends when I called her right after it happened, and they shared two quotes with her that I really appreciated, so I am going to leave you with them.
“We don’t go because it is safe, we go because we are called.” and “The safest place to be is in the center of God’s will.” Thank you so much for your support and prayers for me as I live down here!
Blessings on your week!
— Deborah

There is nothing in the world quite like family…And I am blessed with the very best! Thanks so much for coming to see me!

img_1531We climbed the volcano Cerro Negro, and my sock monkey came along! 🙂

img_1539DSC_1152img_1820Teaching Kerry the art of drinking pop out of a bag! 🙂img_1533DSC_0126My little buddy Peter! img_1819Yolanda and I made a gingerbread house at the Christmas Day party!