Nicole and I had left the YWAM base here in Nicaragua to go and do some filming around Diriamba. We left the home we were staying in and grabbed a “Moto Taxi” (TukTuk) and got a ride into town. When we got there we began walking through the old colonial streets, enjoying the colors and beauty of this small Nicaraguan town. Diriamba is a beautiful place, with concrete adobe style markets, full of life and smiles as people offer to sell you an avocado or “platano.” It was a Sunday afternoon and the locals were enjoying the sunlight and hanging around, it really made for a perfect filming session, getting to see the true atmosphere of Diriamba without any disruption or distraction. As Nicole and I walked around, we had a lot of fun asking local market sellers to pose for a video, or let us take some shots of their children. Most people were happy to let us film them, and made for a lot of genuine and quality shots.
After a good 20 minutes of walking we remembered that we didn’t have any Nicaraguan “Cordobas” on us, so we started to look for an ATM. We had just passed the central park, and thought it would be a good place to start. After asking two different men who were seated in the park, we had an idea in what direction to go. In Central America you never know how certain you can be when someone gives you directions, especially when people start contradicting each other. Once we realized we were not actually getting anywhere we stopped and decided to ask someone else.
On the steps of a catholic church were 3 kids that looked the least threatening of anyone around (Yeah…we profile people), so we asked them if they knew of any ATM’s. They looked up at us, mumbled something to each other and cheerily said “Ok, we will take you there!” To our surprise they quickly stood up, and began leading us down the road. As we walked we began asking them questions, how old they were, where they were from, etc. They were two girls, Kimberly (17) and Iris (15), and a boy, Arlin (11) who were from a poor small village named San Carlos, which is an hour walk away from Diriamba down a dirt road. As we looked for the ATM, we joked with them that they were our “gringo” tour guides, and they took to the task proudly of taking care of us Northerners.
After going to two different ATM’s without any luck, we finally found one that would accept our MasterCard. At this point we had been walking for a fairly long time, so after getting the money we asked the kids if they wanted to go and get some ice cream. They looked at us sheepishly, but with a little encouragement, they began leading us to a local “Eskimo” ice cream shop. Once we sat down and were licking our ice-cream cones, the oldest of the three, Kimberly, asked us a little bit more about what we were doing in Nicaragua and what we did for a living. We shared with her that we were missionaries in a Christian organization, and that basically for a living we got to share Jesus’s love with people. So then she began to tell us about a dream she recently had where an old man came up to her and told her “Go and find God before it’s too late”. She said that she didn’t know what that exactly entailed, or what it meant to look for God since she had never been to church in her life. But that she wanted to know. So she looked at us and asked us what the dream meant. Nicole and I were pretty surprised by her vulnerability and began to share with her about how God wants to have a personal relationship with each of us, and how He longs for us to know Him, and that her dream was maybe His way of trying to reach out to her. She then told us, “I don’t think that it was an accident that you came and talked to me.” We agreed, and she asked us what it meant to be a Christian. She had told us that she once talked to a pastor in her local community and that pastor had told her that being a Christian meant that men wore pants, and girls wore dresses. We told her that in reality, what you wear has nothing to do with knowing God, but rather it’s about allowing God to come and dwell in your heart and to receive Jesus’s free gift of eternal life. She looked off in the distance and sat pensively.
At this point Nicole and I were pretty stoked, I mean it’s not everyday that you get to talk to some 17-year-old Nicaraguan girl from the outskirts of Diriamba about Jesus. She literally knew nothing about the God of the Bible, and only comes into town once a week to go to high school. After talking for a while we asked her if she wanted to have a personal relationship with God and let him come into her heart. For a moment we sat there in silence, then she looked up with a grin on her face and said, “Yes, but you guys tell me what to say, I don’t know how to pray, so I will just copy you.” We said that was okay, and together we prayed in an ice cream shop in Diriamba, Nicaragua for Kimberly to accept Jesus into her heart.
After we finished praying, we looked up, and the first thing we saw a was a huge grin and a twinkle in her eyes. Then we all started laughing, and none of us could stop smiling. The Joy of the Lord totally came over her, and she was almost giddy. Her two friends had been sitting there the whole time and were just as excited.
As we stood up to say goodbye we got Kimberly’s number to give her a call to meet up later in the week. This morning we took her out to lunch and gave her a Bible. It was so cool getting to go over the story of creation, sin, and redemption with her. She had SO many incredible questions, and had such a genuine curiosity about God. Now, through our contacts here at YWAM Diriamba we are trying to find a church that she can go to, one that hopefully won’t tell her that being a Christian only means wearing certain clothes or doing certain things. But instead that following God is about the heart and allowing Him to be the Author of our lives.
This was such a sweet and unexpected result of what we thought would be a quick trip down to the ATM. It was so cool to see how something so small and insignificant, like needing cash, could bring such eternal consequences. Thank you God for the love and plans you have for all of us. Continue to use and surprise us, we want to see you do more!
P.S. We were in Nicaragua for 11 days to make a video that tells the story of a family He called to Nicaragua during the revolution to bring transformation to the Nation. It was so amazing for us to be able to put their story together into a video that tells of 25 years of God’s faithfulness in that beautiful country full of hope and promise. You can see the video here: https://vimeo.com/110535456