Friday – Day 8 – 8/15/08
Today was our official recreation day and Adrian organized a very full day of various activities and sights. Our first activity was the zip lines at the volcanic crater. Not all went on it, but those who did had an amazing ride high in the trees through the forest. Personally I wasn't going to do it, but in the end I did and it was simply awesome. It's sort of like an experience that one would do as part of an “Outward Bound” training or special forces. There's something about trusting your life on a 1/2” cable, a pulley and some carabiners that reinforces one's ability to trust in something outside of yourself. The lesson was not missed.
From the zip lines, we headed back to the Masaya market for some additonal shopping. It was good to have some more time there. We then headed for a restaurant overlooking a water filled meteor crater. This particular district is known for their plants and it was quite colorful driving up there. We ate a fabulous meal ($9 including drink and tip) and then spent some time shopping at the little market.
Then it was time to head for Grenada, one of the oldest towns in Nicaragua. In fact Grenada and Leon vied for which city would be the capital. When they couldn't decide, a new city midway between the two was chosen: Managua. At Grenada, we boarded two tourist type power boats and took an hour long boat ride on Lake Managua which included a stop to feed the monkeys at Monkey Island (which was fun) We also had a monkey which boarded the boat and moved among us. While coming back on the boat, we noted a storm forming and no sooner than we were in the vans than the fury of the rain storm hit. It wasn't as hard yesterday's storm, but was still impressive. One of the vans made an espresso stand stop to get some of the best Nicaraguan coffee, and those people were not disappointed. The other van was also reminded of the mortality of life when a dog ran out in front of the van and was killed.
We had planned to go to the volcano, but simply ran out of time and the weather conditions were poor. So we saved that for another time and headed for the mall to see what a Nicaraguan mall was like and to have dinner at the food court and see a major grocery store. The mall was very much like an American mall, but considerably smaller than, say, Southcenter in Tukwila. It was very clean and neat and several made purchases there. The food court had a number of American style fast food options (Burger King and Subway) and there were a number of other choices including Chinese, seafood, Mexican, and a number of others. While eating, there was a couple from ABWE there who were waiting to go to the airport to pick up a ministry team for their group. Also another missionary couple came by that Cheryl knew and that couple had just returned from furlough. Their missionary activity is to provide correspondence courses to the local people and correct them.
Leaving the shopping mall we headed to the mission compound. In the van I was riding in the discussion was a bit subdued as I think we all (Adrian included) were coming to the realization that our week was done. At camp, we assembled as a team and covered a few housekeeping details about our departure and shared what the week meant to us personally. I'll leave that section for a later blog so that we can process for each of us the events of the week. It is worth sharing that one of our teen members threw out the challenge for who wanted to do this again next year!! A number of the team responded affirmatively.
As I am sitting here tonight in the main mission house dining room writing this blog tonight I had a very visual illustration of the seriousness of the conditions that we are working in. The front gate guard walked by me and we greeted each other. He was packing at least a 38 special or 44 magnum revolver in his belt and was willing to lay down his life for us. Let us remember the One who laid down His life for us. May we serve Him!