[By Brooke Hess]

Today is Friday the 20th and we are almost done with the first full week in Nicaragua. It feels like we have been here a long time, because we have fit so much in, and have had a full schedule every day.

We had a free morning this morning. It was good to have some alone time and get some reading done, but we were all looking forward to the candy celebration in the afternoon with the kids in Monte Horeb! We left the hotel around 1:30 and headed for the village. As the kids saw the truck pull in they came running with smiles on their faces. All 23 of us piled out of the truck on to their soccer field, which is just a dirt triangular field with sticks in the ground for their goals. We spent awhile getting set up as more kids continued to show up and started to cling to us. We got the piñata hung while the kids waited in suspense. We gathered together and spilt into 3 groups for different activity stations which we had planned out beforehand.

The first station was a gospel bracelet activity. The kids strung 5 different colored beads on string, with each color representing a different part of the gospel story. The second station was our made up version of duck, duck, goose in Spanish. We came up with pollo, pollo, gallo (chicken, chicken, rooster). The third station was the game where you tie a balloon to your ankle and you try to pop others balloons and see who can last the longest without their balloon being popped. The kids enjoyed it all, and I think the parents enjoyed watching them have fun. It made us happy to see the huge smiles on their faces.

Next, we did our drama for them. They loved it and asked us to do another one! We sang a song, and Hannah K. did a little devotion and explained the drama. All the while the kids waited so patiently for the candy surprise. Then the moment they were all waiting for…. the PIÑATA!!! They all gathered around in a circle around the piñata with the smallest ones hitting first. 15-20 kids hit the piñata and it burst open with tons of candy falling out. The kids charged and the candy vanished! But that wasn’t all! We had another pinata for the older kids to hit. It didn’t take them long until the candy was gone. After the piñatas were done some kids and people from our team started to play soccer together. Then way to soon it was over! The kids told us goodbye and asked when we were coming again.

The scramble for candy!

We got back to the hotel and had dinner. Then we had a time of sweet praise and thanks to our God up on the balcony, as a thunderstorm was going on around us. It’s been amazing to be here in Nicaragua. The people here are so kind and welcoming! It has been a joy to be working with the church. The church is doing so much good for the different communities. The gospel is going out, and we get the privilege to be a part of that. We have seen God work mightily throughout this trip, and it has really strengthened our faith.

Thank you all for your prayers! Miss you all! Much love, Brooke

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