One of our teammates described our work before we left the states. Labor of our hearts as we experience our first day in this glorious land of our God. Hearts are touched today as we have labored beside the Nicaraguan people to improve their homes and their churches.

But our morning was rich in preparation as Nancy reminded us that we were to be the reflection of God in our work. She brought a mirror and challenged us to not look at ourselves so much, but to be a light that shines for God’s glory. How do we do that? We demonstrate mercy and forgiveness to the poor, the needy, and the marginalized. We sing “This Little Light of Mine” and I think as I sing, “Oh, God, my light is so very little. I pray that the spark can ignite as i work this week.”

And so we divided ourselves into two groups and headed out into the countryside to work alongside the poor, the needy, and the marginalized. We took our little lights and began the task of painting part of a church, and a new home for the pastor and his wife of a second church. Interesting, Charlotte said they put the roof on the parsonage last year. This year they will get to move in. This year one family will no longer have their bed and hot plate in the back of the church. This year a young mother can have a place to call home. A place where the baby can take a nap. A place where a table can be set and maybe a picture hung. This year will be better.

It’s amazing how much work 18 women can get done. From 9 in the morning until 3, we painted walls, beams, trim, doors, baseboards (ouch!) and anything else that called for turquoise or white, a standard color for churches in the country. 

Did we make their life better?  Maybe. I sat by a missionary on the plane coming down and he said it’s really not so much about the work we do, but the friendships that are formed and the mindset we bring home with us. I like to think I made a new friend today in this lovely pastor’s wife. I like to think that the one-on-one conversation we had through our translator will be remembered long after the paint has dried.

I wish I could do more.