I will fight for your dreams.

Friday, June 3rd, 2011.

For I know the plans I have for you,” declares the LORD, “plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future.



(I wrote this blog over an intense month of highs and lows. I have tried to piece together these emotional explosions of my heart. Here it is..)

I cannot put into words the emotions that were turning inside of me as I left the states. Excitement, expectancy, sadness, nervousness but above all these things a completely broken heart.Add ImageAs we drove into the village, I knew that we were going to be passing Anthony’s house. As soon as I spotted his beautiful teal, concrete little home with the wooden barbwire fence it hit me like a wave that he was not here. His presence had been zapped from my life in a single moment, my heart. Though I thought I had been able to accept this in the states, I had not. It hit me like a wave, all my emotions started surfacing. In that moment it was like I heard it for the first time all over again….
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Last summer I took my second trip back to Nicaragua, this time around it was for a few months. One of my first days there I was sitting in the main house attempting to write my blog and this beautiful, long haired boy walked up to me with the biggest brightest smile you could ever imagine! This wasn’t the first time I had met Anthony, we had gotten to know each other on my previous trip, and immediately became close. One because Anthony was fairly good at understanding English and because he said we were meant to be friends because we were both crazy, haha so true. Anthony sat down on the floor beside me….


Anthony and Me

My Journal, July 15th 2010
“Yesterday I spent most of my time talking with Anthony (as much as I could considering I don’t speak much Spanish) We talked about School and why he didn’t go, as most boys his age he didn’t like to go and the fact he needs to make money so working instead seemed like a better option. I told him how smart he was. I have always thought this since the first time we met last January. Anthony has the gift to dream, and is driven to accomplish in his own way, its just who he is. He is someone if he puts his mind to it he can do anything. But, he does need an education. The conversation went on with me naming different things I felt he could do with his life, hoping to inspire him. He sat their looking like all my words were just bouncing right off of him. Then he looked up at me and asked me a question “crees en mi?” but I couldn’t understand so I asked Yahaira. She said “He asked if you believe in Him”. I was stunned at the fact that in that moment I was being filled with belief over his life over his dreams over his heart. Filled with excitement for him and the purpose that the Lord had created him for! Of Jesus! I look at him and said “Si, YO CREO EN TI!!”. Lord I have never believed so strongly in all my life, in your dreams for your Children. How can I awaken these kids to the excitement in which you feel for each of their passions and how you desire them to run in that! In a place where its seemingly impossible, FATHER! Teach me to get through to Anthony. To break him free from lies. I choose to always believe in him, and who you alone created him to be!”
From that point on, my passion only grew to see this kids awakened to the adventure and excitement that their lives held and the purpose they were created to walk in! It started with Anthony but from that point on it became my mission to find out what made them come a live, what that spark was in them and pray blessing and direction over it. Jovanny and Anthony were the two that I poured most of my heart and my time into to and stayed committed to even after I was back in the states. Anthony wanted to be a translator and Jovanny a dancer!


Me, Andres, Anthony, Jovanny and Brianna

Anthony called me once a week or more since the day I left. If I didn’t answer, I normally got a message screaming….”CREO EN TI!” We continued to talk about his heart and his dreams and what we needed to do to move in that direction. It was beautiful to be able to hear him grow and mature and how the things that once bothered him or consumed him didn’t matter anymore, he was falling in love with Jesus. Anthony wanted to be a translator for the base, it was happening. He was so gifted in speaking English. I told him if he committed to finishing High School I would support him and do everything I could to see him accomplish this dream! Anthony started going back to High School and he had a new love for it. He also began taking English classes. He was learning how to walk in the fullness that the Lord had created him for!


Sunday, April 17th was the last time I talked with Anthony. It was a silly conversation about music but it was so good just to hear him and be apart of the simple things he loved. And just to hear his joyful self once more.

The following Tuesday, as most of you probably know, Anthony went home to be with Jesus. A group of our youth went to the beach for holy week, the week before Easter. That morning, 8 of them got into the ocean and were caught by a rip tide. All but Anthony were pulled out by surrounding people, other youth or thrown onto the beach by the waves. Emerson, Anthony’s best friend was caught in the tide as well and grabbed on to Anthony’s hair but was unable to save him in the process of trying to save himself. Anthony got pulled farther out and eventually he was gone.


We were told that finding his body was most likely impossible but that Thursday after hours of searching his body was found on the beach of a near by island. His Daddy found him. Anthony’s father was someone who was never around for his song but Anthony always believed he was going to come through for him…


It was been a month now since Anthony’s death. I came here two weeks after he was killed, praise Jesus and his merciful timing. The World race team that was here through it all were able to stay an extra month which brought me so much comfort. I thought the Lord had allowed me to stay in the states so that I would come here to be able to comfort having been spared from being here during the actual incident. However, I was a complete mess when I got here and the youth have been so encouraging through all of this, their incredible.


Anthony’s Mother

I have spent most of my time with Anthony’s Mom and Family. The second day I was here Lisa and I went to her house. I walked in the door and that’s about as far as I got before I was completely melting down on his mother. I sat in the floor and laid my head on her lap. I cried so deeply, I felt like I couldn’t breathe…I have never felt so much emotion in all my life. Since then the tears come in waves. Sometimes I go there and we laugh and talk about Anthony, Other days I lay in bed with her as she cries on his clothes or we just sit in silence…Everyone says I need to grieve and I need to process. I have no idea what that looks like or how to even comfort a woman that lost her son…but I am just going to keep doing what I am doing because I want to. I need her and maybe she needs me too. My friend Chris from the World Race team was reading to me from Job about when he lost his family, they just sat with him for 7 days and said nothing…healing is such a personal thing and I am trying to release myself from my own expectations of what this is going to look like. Just to know that it is ok to grieve and to cry but to remember its ok to choose Joy…Because it is my strength.

So here I am in this day, finally writing. Before now, I could not even begin to put into words what I felt. I’ve just been trying to get my head above water so that I can see things a little more from the Lord prospective. And what I have realized lately is that in the midst of brokenness there is so much beauty to unfold. Anthony is the closest person I have ever lost, so this feeling is so new to me. In the middle of all of the crying out before the Lord….Its so incredible in which we are able to receive during brokenness. More so then any other times in our lives. We all have this big gaping hole in our hearts right now and we are aching for it be filled. I feel like we are all just laying all over the ground here before the Lord, and he is pouring and mending. Most of the ones who are hurting are being drawn into the realization that the Lord can fill those wounds, and they are hungry for it. Others are in the middle of a tug a war fight within their hearts. Hungry, but letting the lies and guilt take over their minds. Pray that the Lord will give us wisdom in how to pull those children into his heart…
__
I have reached my one month mark, its been such a slow process getting settled here…but so good. We are all moving like snail it seems…just soaking in what surrounds us. Taking time before making any sudden moves. Just soaking and healing.

But, its time for me to get started :)

Before I left the states, my friend Andrew asked me what my top three goals were in coming here. I thought for a second and then numbered them off.
1. The Dance Ministry
2. The Sponsor a Student program
3. I believe what I said was “ Finding out the passions of the youth and do what I can to see those dream become reality in their lives”."Creo en ti"

The Third one I stated, the Lord has been amplifying in my heart since I arrived in Nicaragua. I like to call it “Creo en Ti”. Over the past few months I have come to realization that this is such a huge part of my calling in life. To believe in people in what makes them come alive. The last 6 years I have spent in Boone the Lord has been surrounding me with people who are incredible in music, art, singing, dance etc…This atmosphere has been filling me with passion for all sorts of things. No, I am not great at any specific one and so I wondered what direction I should go…. Now, I feel like the Lord has just been equipping me to be able to jump on the same page with peoples hearts and what they love. He has kind of made me into this “jack of all trades”, to be able to support people and run after their passion with them.

Anthony is who the Lord use to awaken this in my heart with his one simple question, “Crees en mi?”. Now he is gone, but I know with all of my heart that this was planted so deeply in my heart and is only going to continue to grow. So here I go Jesus, I don’t know what I am doing or what this is going to look like but I trust you and believe in you..I choose to get behind your children and push them into who you created them to be. To protect and nurture their passions! I choose to fight for your dreams for their lives!

Photo taken by Brianna on our trip to the Beach

I love and miss you my sweet brother, Anthony. Thank you for who you were, thank you for your life and the way that you lived it. Thank you for your smile, crazyness and your Joy. I miss you. Creo en Ti amor.


Salsa

I’m sitting back at “home” listening to salsa music on pandora because I miss Nicaragua.  I’ve put off blogging for so long because I’ve been scared to put words to what the Lord has been doing or to try to see what it is that He did in me, in those kids. Why is forward motion scary sometimes?  Or maybe it is moving on that I’m afraid of.  I’ve been saying goodbyes my whole life, and leaving Nicaragua was no different.  I cried, the kids cried. I believe the Lord did so much more than I know or will ever know through me there and through the people in my life.  My thoughts are so jumbled right now… bear with me as i sort.  

As you know from reading this blog, the Lord spoke a lot through us being there to support the dreams of the youth.  We were able to talk to so many and call out the purpose that the Lord has placed in them and just be there to encourage and pray over them as they begin to walk in that purpose.  As all this was going on with telling the kids that they have purpose, the Lord was speaking sweetly to me that I too was included in that.  Through working with a ministry that is so involved in the community and daily lives of a people, I have seen that this is the type of missions I would love to be involved in.  I was raised as a missionary kid, and for this reason I adapt easily to many cultures, and I love being overseas more than in the US sometimes.  As I was preparing to leave Nica I was sad and afraid that missions might not be something I am actually called to. I wasn’t listening to what the Lord was speaking over my life.  So I took a walk with Him on the beach and told him all my fears and concerns of never coming back to a mission with so much freedom and relationships with the people, and how I really want to do missions, but I’m afraid if He has something different.  And when I got done, He said “I didn’t make you a mission baby for no reason.”  I freaked out and cried, cause that really spoke straight to my heart and all my fears of my purpose in Him were gone!  So that is probably the biggest thing that the Lord did in me, showed me how to move along side Him in a mission and really see lives transformed through relationships and love. And that that time was training for the rest of my life!

The thing that is so hard about leaving is that I got really attached to the youth there, and to the things going on in their lives.  There was a different love that the Lord poured into me for those kids, and I did fall in love, with them, and their families.  I learned a different way to love, it is so pure and so accepting!  Coming back here, I’ve been carrying a sadness.  Sad to leave, sad for the lives that are still hurting, sad to not be comforting them.  And this sadness has begun to touch my relationships here.  I haven’t been leaning on the Lord daily for His abundance of love as I did in Nica, and my relationships with my family haven’t been as full as I know they are meant to be.  I spent time giving the concerns I have for the youth to the Lord, and now I’m really trying to focus on building relationships of love here with my family. I know this is why I’ve come back early before the team, and I know that my experience and love that I learned so much about is going to overflow into my relationships with my family!  

The team has less than a week, so be praying for them and their time finishing up. If you want to see some pics go to harvestequippers.net and click on Nicaragua 2010.   Thank you all my readers..  This is my last real entry. 

~Brianna


Deeper.

Quick recap:  Whit, Meg and I have moved to the New Song base here in Candalaria.  We left a wonderful house and couple in Leon to be closer to the action and avoid the long transit from Leon. 

I really love being out here, it allows us to wake up in the morning and be on the land, seeking the Lord together, HERE. Where we are called to minister.  Also, we never have to skip out on a meeting or service or time of ministry because our house is literally 10 steps from the church building. I am loving the freedom that this time here with just Whit and Meg has given us. The Lord gave me no plan, except that I was going to be focused on relationships.  And believe me, that has been my focus.  It isn’t always easy, though, forming deep friendships with youth a lot younger and still very young in their faith, and with so many hurts in their lives that need healing from the Father.  A lot of the difficulty comes from not being able to fully communicate myself to those I want to, as well as wanting so much to pray with them and see the healing that I know they desire and need.  

Someone who is very special to me here is Conni.  I love that I can actually say that, because it is a testimony of the Lord’s faithfulness.  Before I came here, us girls were prayed for and I got a word that I was going to connect with a girl named Conni.  And I did!  It is a friendship that is taking time, just be in prayer for her, and her relationship with her mom.  

Looking forward:  our team arrives in 3ish days!  And we are all super excited to see them!  Pray for safe travels.  

~Brianna


despertar sueños

awaken dreams.

I am so excited to write! (and sorry it’s been a bit, I have been w/o internet..kinda)

Well…The Lord has a stirred up a new joy inside of me! I know I have said it before, but this time I really might just explode.

I will explain, The Lord is awakening dreams here in Nicaragua!
Not just in me but in the hearts of the youth.
Lets just say I have spent a lot of my life helping others chase after their dreams, which is not a bad thing. But I used it has a way to tuck away my own dreams, I didn’t just tuck them I away, I pretty much buried them…

Ever since I set foot here in Candelaria, the Lord has given me so much excitement and joy for his children here. Ask Brianna or meg, its kinda ridiculous. There are a specific few that I have really been overwhelmingly in love with. The Lord has continuously spoken to me about their lives and the plans they have for them. I have invested much of my time here with these kids, encouraging and supporting them in their dreams and just believing in them. Sometimes it is hard here to get the people to step out and say their dreams, because they don’t believe in themselves and once they have said their dreams they feel as though they have set themselves up for automatic failure. The Lord is destroying that lie right now, he is shaking lose dreams in Nicaragua!

and inside of me.

Since I have been here the Lord has used these youth to stir up my passions!!! Ones I didn’t even know I had—which I will write more about later ☺

Just pray with me that Meg, Brianna and I will hear clearly the ways in which we can support dreams! Spiritually, physically practically.

Dreams:
Jovanny: An incredible dancer-He wants to attend school in Managua for dance. Let me tell you, he’s already changing Canderlaria with this gift. He teaches classes three times a week.

Anthony: He wants to be a translator. Anthony can really do anything he sets his mind too, I just love him.

Ariel: He wants to be a dentist! He’s got the smile for it. We are going to try to get him started helping in the clinic while he finishes highschool ☺

Each of these kids wants to use their passions to help the village.

These are just a few of the spoken dreams I have heard since I have been here—The ones that I am committing to supporting for the long run…and helping find other supporters.
I will write more later, Meg and I are heading into Leon (I am living in Candelaria now) to help Linda with the website, brochures etc. and Brianna is going to the University with Tommy and Julio to discuss getting a campus ministry started there!

Yo creo en ti!!!!!!!!!!

-Whitney

P.S I am completely healthy, thanks for all who prayed it was just a 48 hour fever and stomach bug, a really bad stomach bug. But I am healthy and eating!


pixie bangs.

pixie bangs.


riots, a trip to the hospital, and a party.

Disclaimer:  We are COMPLETELY SAFE!

ok…

Wow what a day we had yesterday! So just as a little background info on the situation that is going down in the village/city of Candelaria and Chichigalpa:

Sometime early wednesday morning there was a shootout between some area gangs and the POLICIA.  well the Police ended up killing atleast one gang member. Which then enraged the people of the community so the families and friends and other gang members were enraged so the all began gathering outside the police station, which we witnessed while making a run to the grocery store, and to the bakery. Well apparently the tempers continued to grow and pretty soon an all out riot began in the streets of Chichigalpa (which is the main city that newsong base neighbors) 

meanwhile….

on the Newsong Base Andres and I were playing with the wiggle stick (at-least thats what i call it, it’s one of those skateboard type things but instead of having 4 wheels it only has 2 and you wiggle your feet back and forth to make it go….you know what I’m talking about) well like I said Andres and I were playing with it (and I must say I’m getting pretty good!)  But in a split second while Andres was taking his turn on it he hit a groove in the cement which then catapulted him off of the wiggle stick and straight onto the ground. In an effort to catch himself he naturally put his hands down only to have his right wrist and elbow break under him.  OOOOUCK!  I was standing there watching the whole thing and realized pretty quickly that he was not OK. So we took him the hospital in the nearby city of Chinendega to the emergency room. 

back to the riot situation…

as we were leaving Chichigalpa to go the hosptial the riots were really breaking loose.  We had to go a completely different route to avoid all of the crazy people in the street. We did get close enough to the fires in the streets and the plumes of tear gas rising amongst the hoards of people.  Turns out about the same time some guys in the mobs of people were getting in a fight and one guy was shoot in the back and two other guys were hurt (but I’m not exactly sure where.) I only know this part because as we were sitting in the emergency room in Chinendega the ambulance carrying those men came and they wheeled them past me on stretchers. 

Ok back to the hosptial… 

turns out Andres broke his elbow and wrist on his right arm. He is doing great and in good spirits to have his entire right arm in cast nearly to his shoulder. 

OH yeah and I mentioned something about a party!…

After all of the was over we still had a party!  Yesterday was Kenia’s 19th Birthday…so we helped throw a party for her complete with masquerade mask, cakes, and dancing! Lots of DANCING!  It was a great way to cap of what was a pretty hectic and crazy day.

So I filled you in on all of that, to say this:

please be in prayer for the situation in Chichigalpa and also for sweet Andres. 

It was a pretty epic day…hopefully we will have many more epic days, ,just not anymore quite like this one!

safe and sound, 

Meg


BIRTHDAYS!!!

I’ve been in Nicaragua for almost 2 weeks now, but it feels like months.  Honestly, the way the kids here are able to welcome and actually love the new people that come in to help with the mission, it amazes me.  I am so full of love for the youth!  Yesturday was such a special day for one of the youth in particular (and for Meg, Whit and I.) We brought Rosita into Leon to try on the dress we bought her for her Quinceanera, which is this coming Saturday.  (and for those of you unfamiliar with Latin culture, the Quinceanera is a 15th birthday party, but for the young woman it is the biggest celebration ever.  It is almost bigger than her wedding.  Similar to a “sweet sixteen”  But bigger. Much Bigger.)  So because of the importance of this particular age in the culture here, Meg, Whit and I are making a BIG deal about it too!  So we bought her a dress, and were able to have her come get it fitted.  In the store she saw a dress that was even a better fit and required no alteration,  so we just asked for favor on us as we haggled over the price.  And Praise God!  We got the dress for half what they were asking, and it is PERFECT!  (pictures to come, after the party!)   I can’t explain what it made me feel to be able to provide a dress for a 14, almost 15 year-old-girl, who had no idea if she would even have a dress for this quinceanera.  I was so so happy!  The Lord has been so faithful in providing beyond what we could have imagined, so that we are able to make a big deal about a birthday.  Their Daddy just likes showing how much He loves them! So Birthday parties have been a big deal right now!  

On a personal note:  I am doing so good, I’m in love with the people here, and falling more in love with my Jesus.  I’m so thankful that I could come and live here this summer.  Also, I know that the Lord is stirring up things inside me, even though I can’t fully see what is happening, I feel my gifts beginning to surface, I’m learning to walk in who I was created to be.  So thank you to all my financial and prayer supporters, please just continue to pray against the attacks that the enemy has.  Attacks against my joy or energy.  And also for opportunities to go deeper with some of the youth, to get to the heart of the issues in their lives so that they might let Jesus come in and heal those hurts, and ULTIMATELY to know God more!

Love,

Brianna


First vid from nica. a special thanks to all the people who made this possible: 

The Stringers/Willinghams: for letting us stay at their beautiful lake oasis

Whitney’s Aunt Kris: for making bangin dip/trout and letting us enjoy her awesome deck!

Stephen: For being the best stand-in dad, three girls could ever want(when going to a third world country)

That one church from GA: for telling us that we were not only at the wrong gate but also the wrong concourse as our flight was boarding, much thanks. 

Yadier, diego, and kenia: for picking us up in the weeee hours of the morning. 

And a continued thanks to:

Sandra and Preston, for letting us stay in their grandios casa in nica. 

And to all of our supporters, you made it happen. 

Love,

Meg, Whit and Bri


Key lime pie!

First off, I love our home with sandra and Preston here in Leon, its beautiful! Its just good to have a place that feels so much like home :) such a blessing!

Since we have been here so much has happened. Meg, Brianna and I go out to Candelaria every day with Tommy and Linda and spend the day there with the kids. Linda has got a lot of stuff going on here already, so it was good the Lord told us not to plan anything, cause we have just jumped on board with all the incredible stuff thats currently going on. Lindas got Me and Meg working on PR and advertising for the new stuff at the base, including the clinic! which now is open and running for the public with Doctors! -Yesterday Brianna and I saw a little boy with a large abscess on his chest and smaller ones in other places, we took him to the clinic and the doctor checked him out and sent him home with some medicine :) 

The dance ministry is thriving! the first day I got to the base I just sat with tears in my eyes as they showed me all the dances they had choreographed since I have been gone (which I am in the process of learning) There are so many! Ashley birthed this ministry, but Jovanny and new christian and incredible dancer on the base is in-charge of it now and it blows my mind how great he is with zero training(his only training was learning from the television).  Last night we had diegos birthday, Jovanny got me up to dance with him…I loved it and Tommy got it all on video…

For all of you that don’t know Rosa, the portal from heaven into this town dwells in her house. All of her prayers and faithfulness to the Lord, I whole heartedly believe is the reason the Newsong base came to this village. She is a 49 year old women with 8 children. Yesterday, meg and Bri and I went to spend time with her at her house. She asks us everytime we are there where Darrell is( she missed you darrell!) anyways, just recently her husband has lost his job and they are struggling a lot, but still her faith in God is stronger then ever. Just keep her and her family in your prayers. 

oh yea!-we made Caroline Elys keylime pie recipe yesterday to surprise diego..even though we had to crush tweak and few a of the ingredients it was incredible! 

Well I must go— we are going to be heading out to the base soon. 

I am trying to keep up on consistently blogging, but when I get back from the base I always fall asleep….

I’ll blog again soon, promise. 

Love you guys

Whit