Wow!! That was the first thing that came out of my mouth as we drove away from the airport when we first arrived, when I first saw the church we were going to be working on, and when I took my first step up to the top of the scaffolding on the second floor. There are a few things in my blog that I would like to share about my experience down here in Nicaragua.

First I would like to share about learning experience from God. I have always believed that with Christ you can do anything. However, I have never been put into a situation where this really stuck out to me. For anyone that does not know, I am terrified of heights! So when I saw how high up we would be working I thought I would not be doing it and would stay on the ground and do what I could from down there. To my surprise, I got up on the scaffolding and was able to do everything without trouble. But the one day we had to pour concrete in the one corner. To be able to pour the concrete we had to build wooden forms and secure them to the walls so the cement would form where we wanted it. Sounds easy enough, right? The only thing was to do this I had to hold on to the wooden forms as they were being put on. It wasn’t that heavy but the fact that I was doing this hanging on to it with one hand and my other hand holding onto the scaffolding while I leaned over the side of the church roughly 40 feat in the air made it seem worse. To add to it I was in a very uncomfortable position so my muscles were cramping, oh and we had to do it twice. While fighting through all of this I took a moment to pray and ask God for help, as I was doing so Philippians 4:13 came to my head: “I can do all things through Christ my Lord who gives me strength.” Another wow moment for me and I really proved to me that I can do anything through Christ our Lord.

The other experience I would like to share about is my time down here with my buddy Sergio! Sergio was one local down here in charge of building the walls. He is a specialist on mortar, brick laying, concrete laying, and I’m sure many more things! The two of us had an instant connection. From the very first work day we clicked. I was right up there with him helping him work along. From early on the guys on the trip teased me because I would say I am Sergio’s translator. He would say something in Spanish and I would tell the guys what he would need. Turns out I wasn’t a very good one because I would say he needs a hammer, and then they would get him one and he would shake his head and point at a piece of wood. I got much better though by the end of the time Sergio was here. I finally remembered his name after a few days and it seemed mine was the only one he remembered. We would all come to the church and you would hear hola, hola, hola, Mattaeo!!! All the guys would be willing to help and he would look around until he found me. I learned a little Spanish and I said to him, “ Mattaeo et Sergio amigo” which roughly means were friends and he responded back, “ Sergio et Mattaeo amigo.” So that was a pretty cool experience for me! We very quickly started getting closer. The one day after lunch we sat down together and wrote together in my journal. We wrote out our full names for each other and our age. Then I asked about his family and he said he has two kids and a wife. Then he asked me if I have an esposa, which means wife and I explained to him that I have a girlfriend not a wife and that it is Amanda. Then he wrote a note for me in Spanish and I wrote a note for him in English. We both have those letters and said that we won’t forget about each other. He was supposed to leave on Monday the 7th because we had finished the building but we did not want him to leave. So we found one more job for him to do. We were going to build a wheel chair ramp for the church so he was going to stay until Thursday the 10th. However we finished the ramp in one day so he was done on Tuesday. But he said he would stay till Wednesday the 9th so he could come to service and say good bye to us. After service on Tuesday the 8th the guys decided to pray for Sergio before he was off. We just thanked God for Sergio and the work he has done here. He thanked us for praying for him and said that he would never have imagined having a bond like this, this fast with people from another country. We all hugged him and he was tearing up. It was sad to know that our brother Sergio would be leaving soon. As we were leaving that night I said to him “Mattaeo amo Sergio” which means Mattaeo loves Sergio. He responded with “Sergio amo Mattaeo.” Then we both closed our fists and tapped our hearts. This is a little tough to reflect on for me because I was expecting to see him once more on Wednesday the 9th but unfortunately I have not been feeling that great so I was unable to go to the church and say good bye to my brother. The one thing that keeps a smile on my face is what Sergio said, “Hopefully we will see each other again, either here again or one day in Heaven.” I have faith that one day again I will see my brother Sergio!

Hope all is well back at home and just want to let everyone know we are doing amazing here and are very close to finishing the church with just a few little things left to do.

See you all soon, God Bless