Perseverance and Growth in Nicaragua

Even there your hand shall lead me, and your right hand shall hold me. (Psalm 137:10)

Enjoy this final post of a series of reports from Nicaragua by Daniel Bridges

Wednesday, 7/13/16: Growing in discipleship 

The discipleship group this day was very difficult. Something about losing the Holy Spirit through sin was brought up during group. I started to feel the weight of legalism here in Nicaragua, and it made me feel down for a while.

Then, I realized that all I am called to do is share who Jesus is and try to give them the resources to grow. It’s not up to me to change their minds about things. The Lord is in control of their hearts and not me.

After this difficult time, it was very helpful to be able to go see Ice Age with the group at the local movie theater! It was a lot of fun, and I ate a lot of popcorn.

Thursday, 7/14/16: Perseverance

After a relaxing morning, we headed off for El Trianon. There we sang songs, got to know the message, and gave a message to some of the youth.

After this we played soccer with kids in a field nearby. It was a good day, and even though I wasn’t very confident that the message I gave was good, my teammates were very encouraging!

Friday, 7/15/16: Growing in the Word

We spent the day at the Mission Center, and had our discipleship group. It was much better than the last meeting, and I was able to share Romans 7:15.

I do not understand what I do. For what I want to do, I do not do. But what I hate, I do. (Romans 7:15)

and also John 14:16, which reminds us that the holy spirit will never leave.

And I will ask the Father, and he will give you another Helper, to be with you forever, (John 14:16)

They seemed to understand and agree with me, and we all said we have struggled with knowing we are saved because of sin, but then we all understood that we could not go anywhere away from God as we looked at Psalm 139. It was a great encouraging meeting.

Where shall I go from your Spirit? Or where shall I flee from your presence?

If I ascend to heaven, you are there! If I make my bed in Sheol, you are there!

If I take the wings of the morning and dwell in the uttermost parts of the sea,

Even there your hand shall lead me, and your right hand shall hold me. (Psalm 139:7-10)

Later that night we ate ice cream with the group.

Saturday, 7/16/16: Out and about

This day was the Word Race free day and we planned a bunch of fun stuff to do with them!

Cerro Negro volcano

Cerro Negro Volcano

We started off the morning hiking the Cerro Negro Volcano. It is astounding every time you get to the top and see all of God’s glory on display, and I definitely wouldn’t mind returning for a 5th time in the coming years.

After leaving the volcano, we went to Leon to eat lunch at Hollywood Pizza, and then headed to the Parque Acuatico en Telica (Water Park in Telica). It was a blast to swim and slide with many of my friends from the US and Nicaragua.

Thelma and I would sneak up on each other in the pool and pull each other underwater. I think I won, because she screamed at one point “Esta historia continuará!” which means this will continue later, it is not over.

This day was a very relaxing and fun day, but we all were exhausted.

Sunday, 7/17/16: Sunday School with the kids

In the morning Lauren Parham, Lauren Wagoner (my fellow intern), and Ron and I went to Dr. Michael’s church.

Lauren, Lauren, and I did a Sunday School activity with the kids. It was a great morning and on the way back we stopped for iced coffee at central plaza!

Monday, 7/18/16: Goodbye to good friends

It was very sad to say goodbye to all our friends on the World Race team. They will for sure be missed.

Then, we were supposed to have discipleship group, but it stormed so no one was able to come.

During this time although, I was able to have a great conversation with Carlos. Later that night we went to a surprise birthday party for Tony’s sister Lenin. I kept going from Tony’s house to Carely’s house to hang out with her and her little sister Ayleen (who is just as crazy as Carely was when she was younger). It was a tough day, but the night went a lot better than the morning.

Tuesday, 7/19/16: Time off from a busy week

Today was the anniversary of the Sandinista revolution, so we stayed inside all day.

Buses loaded with people inside and on top are all making their way to Managua for a huge celebration. It’s always dangerous to travel on revolution day because of the traffic and drunk people, so we had a “snow day” at the Mission Center.

Later in the afternoon we went back to Bethel while the traffic was less, and said our goodbyes.

That night we watched Home Alone 2 for our “snow day”. Halfway through, our discipleship groups surprised us with Fresca, Oreos, encouraging words, and song. It was a great last day.

Wednesday, 7/20/16: Off to Managua

We set off for Managua at noon. After eating quesillos (corn tortillas with cheese, onions, and cream) I felt pretty sick in the bus, but I survived.

We stopped by the hospital and visited with Ixcel. Then, Ron, Lauren, and I went to the hotel.

Thursday, 7/21/16: Going home

My flight left Managua around 8 am, and I arrived in Atlanta around 1:30 pm.

Little did I know what lay ahead of me. I planed to leave for the beach with my brother Nathan at 6 pm when I landed in Asheville. So, timing was very important. But my flight was delayed and then cancelled. The next flight was cancelled as well.

While waiting in the help desk line, I heard a man and woman speaking with someone about renting a car to Asheville. I asked, “Are you all going to Asheville?”

“Yes,” and they had 4 seats open if anyone wanted to come. After some thought I joined the group, and traveled home with Steve and Sally.

By God’s grace we made it, and I went to the beach early the next morning with Nathan, returning yesterday the 24th.

Final thoughts

Reflecting on this whole experience, I see God’s hand in all of it.

I see God’s true sovereignty in all of life, and His provisions for my life. I look back and smile because I know that God was with me every step of the way, even if I didn’t acknowledge Him right then!

Daniel Bridges in Nicaragua, 2016

Daniel Bridges in Nicaragua, 2016

Thank you church and friends for all your prayers this summer. This trip was truly unforgettable — a profound spiritual and physical journey for me.

I am confident that the work I did was not in vain, and that God will use the words I spoke and the  verses I shared with my discipleship guys to begin a transformation in their spiritual lives.


Daniel Bridges

North Carolina State University

Earlier posts in this series include…

Daniel Bridges: Live Fully for Him

Daniel Bridges: Time to Share God’s Message

I Prayed for My Heart and Read His Word

Daniel Bridges: Labor Not in Vain





Meeting Earthly Needs of Our Sisters

Do not neglect to do good and to share what you have, for such sacrifices are pleasing to God. (Hebrews 13:16)



Writing in his book, The Practice of Godliness, Jerry Bridges reminds us, “There are tremendous needs in the world today, and we Christians ought to be involved in meeting those needs.”

The apostle John made it clear.

If anyone has material possessions and sees his brother in need, but has no pity on him, how can the love of God be in him. (1 John 3:17)

Mr. Bridges continues, “We should give to our church and to the work of missions, but we should not overlook the fact that the most well-known passage in the Bible on giving… has to do with giving to the poor.”

For you know the grace of our Lord Jesus Christ, that though he was rich, yet for your sake he became poor, so that you through his poverty might become rich. (2 Corinthians 8:9)

Seemingly small gestures can have an enormous effect. Before leaving for Bethel, Nicaragua on July 2nd, Doug Van Wirt, made a detour to get medicine for a young lady named Ixcell who is a patient in a Managua hospital. The medicine she requires isn’t available in Nicaragua.

Mindful of the departure time, the extra time to get the medicine was a little unsettling for Doug, but the flight was uneventful, easing he nerves.

Upon arrival, Juan Carlos, the girl’s father and a Vision Nicaragua local staff member, drove Doug and the medicine straight to the hospital. As they entered Ixcell’s room, she greeted them with a beautiful smile. When her dad told her about the medicine, she cried for joy. The doctor gave her the first injection about an hour later.

With more work to do, Juan Carlos and Doug drove on 2 hours further north to the Vision Nicaragua Mission Center.

Doug updated this post on July 27th with good news.

“Thank you for those of you who prayed for Ixcell in Nicaragua. The antibiotic did its job, and by the grace and mercy of God, she has been discharged from the hospital and is now HOME!”





Daniel Bridges: Time to Share God’s Message

And my God will supply every need of yours according to his riches in glory in Christ Jesus. (Philippians 4:19)

Hi, here is an update on my time in Nicaragua over this past week. Thanks!

Saturday, 6/25/16: God provides for me.

The Indianapolis team flew out this morning, and a World Race team of 6 girls arrived late in the afternoon. Without any groups at the mission center, the day was very chill. The interns and I relaxed,  played games, and talked.

We visited Bethel in the morning to give sponsorship money to some of the guys. It was great catching up with old friends. One old friend and I talked about how God has provided for me spiritually; and how He encourages me, knowing that I will lead a group in the future. We had a great a great day of relaxation and rest.

Sunday, 6/26/16: Look ahead

After breakfast we went to the Bethel soccer game. I talked with Carlitos and Luis (Juan Carlos’ sons, and Ixcels brothers), and also Marcos. It was fun hanging out and watching some soccer.

Later, we discussed as a team about what our time will look like over the next 3 weeks. Then, Marty gave us the Strengthfinder book, which is designed to uncover our talents and areas of expertise. It’s similar to Myers-Briggs personality test, but more in-depth and personalized. Then, I played Settlers of Catan with Cassie and Lauren (my two fellow interns) and enjoyed bonding with the team.

Monday, 6/27/16:  God uses what I say.

Today, we planned everything we are doing when the other groups arrive, and how all of the planned activities will work out. The two groups (guys and girls) will both be going through and discussing Sacred Rhythms by Ruth Barton, which is all about opening up your deepest desires in God’s presence and experiencing spiritual transformation.

We then discussed when to do the D-Team (Discipleship Team) meeting during the rest of the time we are here. We decided to meet for a 2-hour session on Monday, Wednesday, and Friday. Please pray for me and that these sessions will be impactful and that God will be present as we all meet to find out more about Him.

We had a meeting on short notice today. It was a little tough because I wanted to be able to speak to them perfectly; because even in the US, leading a group can be hard on the communicating side. But after talking to Marty and the other interns, along with some Nicaraguans, I realized I was underestimating myself and forgetting that God will use whatever I say and whatever the strength youth believers say to penetrate people’s hearts and allow us to grow closer to God together.

Tuesday, 6/28/16: Into the jungle

San Cristobal

San Cristobal

This morning we set off as a group (interns, World Racers, Mission Center staff, and a guide) into the jungle below the San Cristobal volcano. We got a sneak peek at a “resort”-type camp that will open in the coming months; and we learned about the plants and trees that inhabit the jungle. It was beautiful, and I had a great time joking around with Thelma (she works cleaning clothes).

Thelma in the jungle

Thelma in the jungle

After this adventure we returned for lunch and later went to Leon where we shopped, got coffee and smoothies, and saw one of our teammates get a tattoo. That said, it was an interesting fun-filled day. I am starting to get to know everyone at the Mission Center, and this makes me very happy!

Wednesday, 6/29/16:  Share the Gospel.

In the morning, we went to Bethel to play with the kids and show the World Racers around the village. I spent time with Karely and her sister, Chiquita. We all played; and the crazy kids nearly wore me out! After this we went to meet a girl named Cadence who described her ministry in Nicaragua and showed us where there was going to be an orphanage.

Our first meeting was scheduled for after lunch, and I was very nervous. It went well and thankfully Carlos the translator was there because I was able to share the Gospel, my story, and also heard the youths’ testimonies. I knew that God gave me the words to say, and it was a very good start as we begin to journey together to know God more.

Playing with the kids in Bethel

Playing with the kids in Bethel

I think many of them will benefit from reading Sacred Rhythms… including me. I thank God that it went well, and now I feel a little more at ease because we’ve broken the ice.

Continue to pray that we all will see God more and fall more in love with Him, and that because of knowing Him more we will want to tell others and be disciples who make disciples.

Thanks to all for supporting my journey.

Daniel Bridges

North Carolina State University

Daniel Bridges: Live Fully for Him

Because by his power he has given us everything necessary for life and righteousness, (2 Peter 1:3)

Daniel at Cerro Negro

Daniel at Cerro Negro

Monday, 6/20/16: I’m in Bethel; thank you, Lord.
I thank God for the smooth flight and travel to to Bethel and that I made it safely. Everything was seemingly perfect! Since I got in late, I didn’t speak with anyone from the team — just went straight to bed after getting to the Mission Center. There will be a bible study to lead and, before then, lots of other things to do.

Note: The team from Indianapolis and I started each day with coffee and a 30-minute devotional before breakfast. Marty, who heads the team from Indianapolis, is leading us through the Book of James.

Tuesday, 6/21/16: God is teaching me here.

Fruit Race

Fruit Race

After breakfast we had a fruit race. We went to the market, bought fruits, and delivered them to the widows of Bethel as a surprise.

After lunch we went to Santa Maria where the guys played with the kids while the women had Bible study with women in the village.

Girl from Santa Maria

Girl from Santa Maria

Then, we came back; and after dinner, young people from a local church came and led an event for us at the Mission Center. We worshiped, played games and enjoyed the company of each other. After they left, the team spent time together, and then went to bed to rest up for an early morning of volcano climbing.

God is teaching me here. Through a persistent feeling of loneliness and apprehension, I’m learning that his presence is sufficient for me, even though it isn’t comfortable or even fun to do His work sometimes. But He promises to give us more of Him if we seek His kingdom.

I pray. Even though I’m terrified about leading Bible study with guys I may or may not know, I recognize that He will show me more of Him. And even if I don’t know the team well, and sometimes feel alone, I understand that God will use my discomfort to bring Him glory. I have confidence that even though I long to see my friends from home, and my loved ones, this trip will be worth any apprehension.

Wednesday, 6/22/16: Living with feelings, unsettled

It’s a beautiful day. We hiked Cerro Negro, about an hour drive followed by a 45-minute hike. We enjoyed running back down the side of the mountain. After leaving Cerro Negro we ate at Hollywood Pizza and then toured the cathedral in Leon. My apprehension lingers, but it was a good day.

Cathedral in Leon

Cathedral in Leon

Thursday, 6/23/16: God has given us everything. Live fully for Him.
This morning our group set off with a large group of Nicaraguans in two trucks for the village of Jiquilillo. We played with the children, painting faces, throwing frisbee, and blowing bubbles.

This happened while all the sick adults and children went to a medical clinic set up by Doctor Michael. The village is right next to the ocean, and the view is beautiful. We are freshly caught fish for lunch, and it was delicious.

 Fishing Boat in Jiquilillo

Fishing Boat in Jiquilillo

Late in the afternoon we drove back to the project where the team from Indianapolis began to pack up to leave the next day.

During the ride back, my friend Marcos and I talked about how people don’t want to give their lives completely to God. We talked about how God has given us everything, so we must live fully for God and not ourselves.

Thank you, Jesus. This conversation eased a little of my anxiety over leading a Bible study group the next week. I continue to pray that God will speak to me through His Holy Spirit.

After returning from Jiquilillo, we ate dinner and, since it was their last night, we got ice cream in Chichigalpa.

Friday, 6/24/16: We are the clay, and God is the potter.
After breakfast the staff at the Mission Center played the pinata game. It was fun to watch! Then, we set off for Masaya, where there is a restaurant and a huge market for shopping. [Editor’s note: Has anyone noticed that eating is a highlight of David’s day.]

We stopped at the potter’s house on the way from Masaya to Managua. There, a man in a village who mostly does pottery spoke about how God is the great potter. He showed us how he takes clay and molds it into a usable mound, constantly changing it during the process.

Finally, when clay is fired, if the potter was unable to remove enough impurities, the fire will ruin it. We are the clay, and God is the potter. He patiently removes each impurity, cleaning and changing us into who he wants us to be. Then, he takes us and molds us into what he wants.

The key is allowing him to do so, answering His call to come to Him, and dedicate our lives to be used and shaped through His plan, so that when we go through the fire of death we will come out with Him and not broken.

It was a beautiful picture of our condition and how God sees us. My prayer is that He will mold me according to His plan and not mine.

Later, after this amazing time, we went to Managua. We said goodbye to the group from Indianapolis and headed back to the project.

In Him,

Daniel Bridges

North Carolina State University