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A small team from Quinault Baptist Church in Kennewick, Washington traveled to Nicaragua in July to participate for ten days in the life of Dario Christian Academy. The six of us, Nathan and Sarah Tennis, James Ng and Matthew Ng, and Abner and Laura Solano did a variety of things in Dario. Narlly and Julio gave us a great schedule - enough activities to help with that we felt like we were useful and enough downtime to make new friends and enjoy the gorgeous weather.
James, a dentist, spent three days providing dental care to the teachers. He shared the importance of dental hygiene with all the students during classroom presentations. He also engaged the teachers in describing ways they could identify poor dental hygiene in their students and dispelled many common myths regarding teeth. Sarah, a music teacher, spent months gathering donations of musical instruments and supplies to supplement the school's band. She worked closely with Josue, the elementary music teacher, and Nicolas, the band director. Matthew, a twelve year old, proved helpful in many ways as he gave trombone tutorials, played with students at recess, and sought to engage fully with everyone. Abner taught workshops to the primary teachers to build on what he had done two years ago. Laura, with the help of many others, coordinated students writing letters to their American sponsors. She enjoyed the small group time with the students, especially in an atmosphere where they shared their hearts. Nathan fixed a weedwacker, irrigation pumps, and led students in playing baseball at recess. He also preached at the Wednesday night church service.
As a group, we led two marriage nights, one at the church and one for teachers, sharing what we have learned in our own marriages and providing a dinner, interactive activities, and opportunities to reflect on the importance of marriage. We also shared our testimonies at a youth group night around a bonfire. The stars were dazzling, but so were the students' hearts as they shared how God has impacted their lives. For our last evening in Dario, we held a pizza dinner at Narlly and Julio's house for the families who had especially connected with us. The laughter and stories touched all of us. We knew our ten day trip was of everlasting importance - not because of what we had done, but because of the relationships we had built and because of the new understanding we had gained of God's people.