Locals aide Nicaraguans to build church and minister to children

Published 9:11 am Wednesday, July 16, 2014

Whitesand Baptist Church sponsored a team of twelve people to help in church construction and provide a Bible school near Masaya, Nicaragua in an area where none had been before.

From Whitesand Harry Carter, Wesley and Wes Daughdrill, Bro. Charles and Shirley Burnham, Sherry and David Lee, Lavern Aycock, Stephenie Hayman, Mary Lou Garner and Deloris Smith and George Barren of Huntsville, AL made up the team.

Shirley Burnham / The Prentiss Headlight

Shirley Burnham / The Prentiss Headlight

In a country where earthquakes are common and tropical termites destroy wood structures quickly construction is done with deep concrete foundations and cinderblocks or concrete slab walls. The process is slow and tedious and done without the aid of heavy equipment and is impeded by tropical downpours.

To prepare for the church’s foundation David Lee, JDC heavy equipment operator, estimated that before the team arrived local volunteers with one wheel barrel and 5-gallon buckets moved more than 21 dump-truck loads of soil.

While the men worked on the church building in a nearby vacant lot the ladies held Bible school incorporating fun games and activities for the local children. At times torrential rains halted progress on both projects.

After a day of labor each evening found the team visiting churches in Diriamba and Deloris. Bro. Burnham brought words of encouragement to the struggling congregations. He also preached in the Deloris town park and held a pastors’ conference in Masaya. Wes and Wesley Daughdrill spoke at a youth meeting. Because of the language barrier all speaking and conversation was done through interpreters.

Meticulous hand washing and sanitizing was observed by the group and no one dared drink the water. Extra precautions had to be observed to stave off pesky microbes that prey on foreigners making them ill and thankfully no team member succumbed to Montezuma’s Revenge.

The group did spend a day in tourist mode visiting an open air market where they saw how local produce and meat is sold, a popular tourist spot the Apoyo Lagoon of Catarina and Nicaragua’s active volcano of Masaya and, of course, a shopping center.

In addition, the group visited the Baptist Medical Dental International’s home for mothers and babies and the Pastors’ Bible Institute both of which some of the team had helped construct in past trips to the country. Both facilities are in full use now, which is greatly satisfying to those who spent hours on the construction and painting of the buildings.

One of the highlights of the trip was up treacherous roads to the medical clinic in the remote village of El Kinal. Several of the men worked on the building in 2013 and it was constructed totally from funds raised by Whitesand Baptist Church. The clinic is now operational and manned by medical personnel on a regular basis making a real difference in health care of people in the area.

The mission team carried gifts of love from many who could not make the trip. Several Whitesand ladies provided snacks for the team and men’s ties were donated for Nicaraguan pastors. Rebecca Griffith, United Methodist Church of Magee women and Geronimo Baptist Church, Geronimo, OK women contributed T-shirt and pillowcase dresses for girls and T-shirts for boys.

“We want to build a relationship with Dr. Rodolfo Rodriguez, medical doctor and pastor of the church in progress. We want to get to know the people and do what we can to meet their needs. God has blessed us so much we need to share what we have with others and He has shown us this is the place to do that.”

Josiel Diaz and his family, members of the SEND Ministry with a state side base in Magee, MS, made arrangements for lodging, provided interpreters, prepared food for the group as well as provided valuable insights into specific needs of the local people.

“Many of the team members have already expressed a desire to return to the area,” states Bro. Charles Burnham. “These people get into your heart.”

Shirley Burnham / The Prentiss Headlight

Shirley Burnham / The Prentiss Headlight

Shirley Burnham / The Prentiss Headlight

Shirley Burnham / The Prentiss Headlight

Shirley Burnham / The Prentiss Headlight

Shirley Burnham / The Prentiss Headlight

Shirley Burnham / The Prentiss Headlight

Shirley Burnham / The Prentiss Headlight