Santa Maria


Daniel Bridges: Labor Not in Vain

Cast your burden upon the LORD and He will sustain you; He will never allow the righteous to be shaken. (Psalm 55:22)

Tuesday, 7/5/16: Toiling for the Lord

Lyndsey Parham and Pastor Tommy Bridges, ready to pour concrete.

Lyndsey Parham and Pastor Tommy Bridges, ready to pour concrete.

We started construction of the floor at Casa Bethel today. It was a day full of labor; but it went very well, and everyone ended up very tired!

Wednesday, 7/6/16: Serving those who serve

Thelma in the jungle

Thelma in the jungle

We spent the entire day at the Mission Center, in order to serve the ladies who clean hear. Thelma had us clean chairs, clean pillows, and clean all of the boy and girl’s dorm rooms. There was a lot to do. We finished around 7 pm, then showered and set off for dinner.

My group session lasted from 1 pm to 3 pm; and it went well. We talked about solitude — just sitting in God’s presence and bringing to Him your desires and any thoughts. We practiced it during our meeting, and I hope that the guys and me will regularly practice solitude in our free time.

Lynn and Lyndsey, with a friend in the middle, cleaning up.

Lynn and Lyndsey, with a friend in the middle, cleaning up.

Around 8 pm we set off for the Central Plaza. We ate dinner there and had ice cream at the food court.

Thursday, 7/7/16: Working with the homeless

This morning our ministry lead us to some homeless men who live in Posoltega. We sang worship songs and my dad shared his story, as did Cole, Ashley, and Luis (Ixcel’s younger brother).

It was a great time, and we hope and pray that one day these men will come to know Christ as Savior and that they will place their hope in Him.

After the message and more songs, we played basketball, which made me feel at least average in my basketball skills, because none of them are very good!

After lunch at the Mission Center we made our way to Santa Maria to lead a kids message and games. During the service I had a very long, Christ-centered conversation with our new driver, Wilmer. I told him my story about who I am in Christ and I heard about life as well. I thanked God for allowing me to have that conversation; and I pray that Wilmer will come to accept Christ as Lord and Savior so that he may be saved and God may be brought glory!

Friday, 7/8/16: Talking about Scripture

Today we went to a different part of Posoltega. We did a similar activity as in Santa Maria with the kids, and while the group was arriving and doing this, I had my group session with the guys. We talked about scripture. It was good to talk about some logistical ways we can encounter God in the scriptures and learn about ourselves as well.

Pastor Tommy and Lynn Bridges with a young friend

Pastor Tommy and Lynn Bridges with a young friend

After this we headed back to the Mission Center for lunch. Mom, dad, and I headed to Bethel so that mom and dad could say goodbye and distribute containers of lotion to many of the widows in Bethel. They were grateful to receive this gift, and it was a blessing for me to help them translate on their last day here.

Saturday,  7/9/16: Let’s talk about the Lord

We set off for Masaya today. During the 3-hour drive I talked with Josue about how God changed my life. I heard about his life as well. It was great catching up with my old friend!

At Masaya we ate, shopped, and then went to the potter’s house to hear his message (which is different for every single group). It was cool seeing him again.

Then we set off for Managua. We arrived at the hotel around 6 pm and said our goodbyes to the team. I was exhausted by the time we got home.

Sunday, 7/10/16: Relaxing on the Sabbath

We watched Kaleb play baseball this morning. We sat in the shade near the field (which is literally just a grass field with four bases on it) and enjoyed talking with each other and watching the game. It was fairly hard to follow without a scoreboard to remind us what inning they were in and how many outs they had.

We returned to the Mission Center after the game and got ready to go to the beach. All the young people from our discipleship teams and our group had a great time swimming, playing, and later expressing our gratitude for one another. It was a great time, and I am thankful to have been able to go to the beach, because I’m unsure if I’ll make it there with my family.

It was a great day.

Monday, 7/11/16: Satan burdens my heart

Morning today was tough. I felt a burden on my heart, and that burden was the desire to return home, but for the wrong reason.

Satan has been telling my heart that it wants to go back to comfort, where I can do nothing and remain stagnant in my faith. I saw this because during the conversation about what we will be doing in the final weeks, it became clear that there will be a lot of travel to villages and sharing. I felt a sadness build up in me because I knew I won’t be living in comfort for a while.

I had to address this feeling. So, I prayed about it, and rested in the fact that no matter what I do, I’m successful because I claim Jesus as my own. And because of this I shouldn’t be afraid of going and doing what I may not want to do. No matter what, I will be successful through the work He has done.

Resting in this I hope I can overcome this feeling of ambivalence for sharing and the nagging desire to return home. It’s really is tough lacking the motivation to continue, but still having to work.

After group I felt better about my feelings. I know that I need to continue to do God’s work for the full time I am here. Although I may want to return home, that doesn’t mean I should stop doing the thing for which I came!

That night we celebrated Cassie leaving by getting pizza and ice cream, and just enjoying community together.

7/12/16

Since the group from Concord cancelled their trip, we have had chill mornings and not very busy afternoons.

We said our goodbyes to Cassie by going to a nearby pool to swim and share with the community. After returning from lunch we had a restful rainy afternoon.

Note for this week: It’s hard sometimes to see the fruit of your work and to be discouraged, but I am strengthened by 1 Corinthians 15:58.

Therefore, my beloved brothers, be steadfast, immovable, always abounding in the work of the Lord, knowing that in the Lord your labor is not in vain.” This verse, shared to me by Lauren, has really helped me stay confident that the work I do here is good because it is for the Lord and His glory. (1 Corinthians 15:58)

In Christ,

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