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  • Writer's pictureMegan Greenwald

CICRIN Ministry Overview.

Tomorrow is my last day here at CICRIN, our first ministry spot. I don’t know how to make sense of the fact that I’m reaching the 1/4 mark of the trip. It’s like I just got here, but it’s been almost three weeks. The relationships that have been built between not only my family and I, but also our host and all of the locals that we have encountered go well beyond the depths that a few weeks should allow for, though. I swear it’s like the Lord works in super-speed sometimes, He’s so cool. 

I feel like I haven’t spent much time on this blog sharing the physical side of all that’s been going on because I tend to share about what the Lord has revealed to me through situations instead of the what the circumstances themselves entail, but I also think that it is important for each of you to know the practical ways that your support has allowed my team and I the honor of revealing Kingdom in this time and space that God has given us. 

I guess I’ll just try to break life right now down into the four categories that our dad, Matt, shared with us the other night, because as Adventures says, “life is ministry, & ministry is life”. I’m still working on getting these categories in the order that makes our scheduled ministry time the most fruitful, but here it is: 

 

  1. Relationship with the Lord

  2. Self-Care (turns out this is actually very important and the Lord wants us to steward His home, which is ourselves, well. We are living sacrifices and the Lord wants every part of our beings to be healthy.)

  3. Relationship with teammates

  4. M I N I S T R Y (yes, this is actually meant to come last.)

 

We are called into a life of overflow with the Father. We should be getting filled through Him, and then allowing that fountain to flow down and infiltrate every other area of our lives. It can be tough to understand that on a MISSION trip, missions and ministry actually comes last, but I mean we are talking about Kingdom here, where life within is always upside down and out of order compared to what the world may think. I actually believe though, that it would be tragic on this trip if I were to put preaching the Gospel above actually partaking in the Gospel, and the “doing for” above the “abiding in”. 

 

Father

I am constantly learning deeper intimacy with Him. I’m learning what it’s like to seek Him first, and above all else. I’m learning all of the ways to worship Him, and that it goes well beyond a song, but worship leaks out of us when we smile or share an encouraging word or have dance parties to high school musical on the pavilion with Maddie and Claire at midnight (If you guys are reading this, I’m gonna miss those for the next 9 weeks. Maybe we can sneak one in at midpoint). It also happens when we have blisters on our hands from sweeping or raking or chopping plantain trees with a machete and when we have kids crawling all over us. He’s teaching me that He wants to have fun with us and that He isn’t some tyrant waiting to bop us on the head at the first mistake, but instead is the coolest friend who just wants to hang out with us. I’m learning how present He truly is in His Word, and that I’ve been withholding so much joy from my life by hesitating to pick up that book. He’s showing me that His word is alive and active and that it cuts deeper than anything else ever could, and that even when I don’t feel like I understand what I am reading, it is still feeding and nourishing my soul. I’m noticing Him all around, especially in the wind because it is so present here on the lake. The wind is the most prevalent way that He makes Himself manifest to me constantly throughout every day, I’ve asked Him to let it be a reminder of Holy Spirit wherever I go, and He totally took me up on that. Sometime’s He gets a little extra and goes crazy with it while I’m trying to sweep off the pavilion and dirt keeps flying back on, or during dinner when a gust of wind blows these little flower things off the tree into our rice and beans. It’s so funny how He shows up in the inconveniences but also in the purest moments during team worship with the kids on the basketball court or around the bonfire. It blows my mind how intimate and intentional this Master of heaven and earth is with each and every one of us. He’s revealing the reality of His relentless pursuit after every single person that I pass by, and it’s the most beautiful thing.

 

Self-Care

We have actually had wayyy more free time than I ever would have expected on this trip, and honestly I struggled with it at first. Part of the reason for this down time is because we have an A W E S O M E host (shoutout to Helen!) who treats us so much better than we deserve, we are so blessed here. I’ll try to upload a pic but literally we live on a lake that looks as big as the ocean and get to chill in hammocks and little swingy hammock chair things lakeside all the time. Beyond the view, we have been loved super well in the way that we have been provided space to just be, as we have been given afternoon ministry off for an entire week, as well as spontaneous moments of free time, whether after breakfast or lunch. After breakfast today, we were told that our only ministry today is helping set up at 2pm for a Valentine’s Day party with the kids this afternoon, which is how I’m able to sit and write this blog lol. At first, I was napping during 98% of the free time not designated to a meal or ministry, this stuff’s hard work, man! Although I have not given up naps completely (nor do I plan on it, it’s still pretty much a daily thing only I’m not allowing myself to escape for hours at a time), I have been taught a lot about Sabbath and what the Lord says about it and what it looks like because we have started practicing Sabbath once a week, typically on Sundays. Contrary to my former habits at home, Sabbath Sundays are actually meant to be more than sleeping the entire day after church away as per usual, instead it’s meant to be a day dedicated to resting every part of your being in the Lord. This includes our bodies, minds, and Spirits. I’m learning to think of it like Self-Care with the Lord. I’m working on taking the free time I’m given, whether that be an entire Sabbath day or a few hours between ministry and spending it doing whatever it is that I need. Sometimes self care and Sabbath means resting your mind by hanging out with your squad and playing cards for a little while. It could look like getting alone with the Father, journal and pen in hand and worshipping and talking with Him. Or maybe your body needs rest, aka a glorious nap, or a run (I have yet to feel the need for this ahahah). Maybe it’s learning a new skill, I’m super hard trying to find a Uke on the race – I wanna learn how to play, or it could be cleaning and decluttering your room, so that your mind can feel organized again (this isn’t something that I find necessary very often either lol). Oh yeah, sorry mom but self care also means pushing the fear boundaries that I’ve allowed to be built up and the manifestation of demolishing those boundaries looks like holding scorpions, walking down roads that my anxiety radar is totally telling me to turn and run from (don’t worry, no one else’s radar ever went off so it was probably great), and taking part in herding, catching, and slaughtering a pelaguay (sheep, goat hybrid animal) that I definitely thought was a pet but is even more definitely tonight’s dinner, and holding it’s heart in my hand. (I may or may not post a vid on that lovely experience later, but if I do, you for sure shouldn’t watch it, mom). I reaaallly encourage you to set some time aside for proper Sabbath rest with the Lord, ya won’t regret it. 

 

S T O O P I D children of God (relationship with teammates lol)

All eighteen of us have been together thus far for ministry (we split up Sunday morning and I’m honestly wrecked): , and it has been the best thing ever. I’ve mentioned a ton already how much these brothers and sisters mean to me in just the first month of knowing them, but it’s so true. We not only do ministry together, but we room together, have every meal together around a table, worship together, have team time just about daily, and also have very late nights of spicy uno (best game ever, thanks Alex for the introduction to it;) and chats and studies about the Lord. Even alone time is very seldom truly alone, which is a fun adjustment to get used to. We share clothes, hammocks, and snacks (if you don’t share them, they’ll get stolen anyway so you learn to offer even a lick of your ice cream cone, hoping they won’t take you up on it, but quickly finding out they totally will). I’m learning that germs may just be a myth because everyone here is totally in denial of them. Decency was totally left in the States being that snacks are a 30 minute walk away- one way, so the floor has definitely just become a big plate if that’s where our food finds itself, and taking a bite of food or a sip of aloe water and passing it back and forth between maybe five-ish people is totally acceptable here, it’s fine. Also meals are outside so it’s a fun time fishing bugs out of your juice e v e r y meal, and you are glad when it’s only gnats ‘cause you can just drink those down lol. Ministry has given us a unique opportunity to have some great conversations with smaller groups of our teams or even one on ones because you’ve gotta find something to talk about to occupy you for the 4 hours that you are pulling weeds. It’s been a joy to hear each and every testimony and about all of the places that the Lord has brought each person. This community has given us a beautiful opportunity to not only encourage each other in the Lord, but also be encouraged in our own walks, it’s the most life-giving thing I have ever been a part of and I’m so honored that the Lord brought me to these people. It’s so cool that we are able to take part in each others faith journeys for these few months, and hopefully for the rest of our lives. I was even given the opportunity to baptize two of my sweet gals, both of which are moments that I will never forget (so proud of you friends for boldly declaring your commitment to the Lord, thank you for letting us celebrate those moments with each of you). We are able to bounce wisdom off of each other, along with way too many awful dad and anti jokes that kind of make you want to cut your ears off. 

 

M I N I S T R Y 

Finally, the part that you guys may actually care about. Ministry is so broad and it has looked like a plethora of things. I like to think of ministry as simply being Jesus’ hands and feet aka doing what He is doing and going where He goes. Doing: He served, and so we are called to serve. The Gospels speak about how the greatest take the lowest places in the Kingdom, so a lot of ministry looks like doing the not so fun stuff, but that gives us the greatest opportunity to allow the Lord to give us our joy instead of finding it in our situation, and then we get to allow that joy to be the strength that keeps us going. Serving often looks like sweeping and mopping (several times over even though it feels pretty pointless sometimes), painting and sanding doors as I’ve already explained, but also pulling weeds while talking with the gardener, Hilario, and working at the plantain farm chopping wood or pruning trees with Hilario’s son, Marvin. It also looks like thinking you’re going to a church service, but upon arrival finding out you’re leading children’s church with a language barrier and no plans whatsoever. One of my favorite ministries so far was us showing up at a park in town one night after dinner to crash some locals game of soccer and watching their reaction as a bunch of “gringos” crushed them ahaha. We then played basketball, where the locals found their redemption and victory. Most of the time, other than the week the we were gifted afternoons off, we have had a pretty set schedule of a form manual labor in the mornings and then the afternoons consisted of hanging out with all of the kids in the after school program where we would chat with them and be intentional about trying to use the little Spanish that we know to form sentences that actually make sense. I was pretty surprised at the relationships that we have been able to build with the kids since we don’t speak the same language, but I have definitely gotten super attached to all of them and feel like I’ve known some of them for a lifetime. Also for the after school program we would do sports ministry with the kids and love on them in that way, as well as lead worship in Spanish and have some pretty sweet moments with them through that. I’ve also been learning that ministry isn’t just serving the world, but also serving the Body of Christ within our own little community, so putting teammates before ourselves, taking the initiative to empty the bathroom trash which is pretty disgusting because toilets can’t withstand toilet paper (thanks Rach for being the queen of serving us in this way!), switching off each meal doing the dishes, and as we did last night, humbling ourselves before each other as we kneel down to wash feet like Jesus did for His disciples. Ministry is a super hard idea for me to break down because as I mentioned earlier, life is ministry and ministry is life, but ministry is so beautiful and it’s genuinely the most rewarding thing to see all of the ways that the Lord’s Kingdom has come all around and understand that we have the opportunity to reveal it wherever life takes us. 

Sunday morning we are leaving for our next ministry spot where we will spend our last three weeks in Nicaragua. We will be split into teams from this point on, so my closest pals will be Rachel Marcelli, Alex Stiles, Emily Jones, Mackenzie Dunbar, Rachel Kriese, and the boys, John Vandal, Jeremy Tse and our dad, Matt lol. You can read all about them on their blogs to the left of this post, 10/10 recommend each of them. Our travel day should start out back on the ferry to get off of the island, and then I think that we have somewhere between 6-8 hours of travel by bus to our next spot: Cuidad Dario. Please be in prayer for save travels for both my team and team one, and for the Lord to prepare the way before all of us as we transition into a new environment and continue to see Kingdom come. 

 

Thank you SO much, 

Meg :)

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