a mighty one who will save;
he will rejoice over you with gladness;
he will quiet you by his love;
he will exult over you with loud singing.
I've tried this once already, the power went out, and I lost it all. I am hesitant to try again, because it is a stormy day here in Nicaragua, so any second it can all be down as far as power is concerned. I'll just publish as I go.
Today, I have written down, in another place, much of what I remember from my time making art with the women here, so I have exhausted most of my writing energy. And, I am packing to head out tomorrow after church, to the Best Western in Managua, and then fly home early Monday morning.
What I want to remember is how powerful the making of the art was in sharing our stories and faith. As my translator said to me in English, "I did not know art could be so powerful in helping someone to share their life story and in healing hearts."
It's amazing, and we both saw it unfold together.
These women were really taking risks in being transparent and in making art because they have very little experience in both areas. One was especially worried that she could not do the art, but she prayed and made a beautiful book she entitled, "Life is Art."
They all wanted a grade on their art! I said they all had A +s because of all they had done. No, they really wanted a grade. That would not do. So, I said Jesus earned them their A+ and just trust all was well with their art.
Women shared stories of sexual abuse, rape, loss of loved ones early in life, infidelity, shunning and shaming. The art helped with getting the stories out and relief for the hearts of the women.
There were many moments of prayer and then more sharing. The time was sacred with these special women. I was undone in my heart several times and wept just like Jesus wept over Lazurus's death.
I hope to share more with you all in the days ahead, but that's a wrap due to power shortages in 3rd world countries. :-)
Today was a day full of activity, beginning with the bird concert from 4:20 am to 5:40 am. Then, it was back to sleep for me followed by a quick shower and a dash over to Pastor and Pastora's house. We had planned a trip to the Masaya market in a town southeast of Los Cedros. There would be one stop at the school where the Bustamonte's had placed their children. I think it was a meeting of heads of school.
The day was stiff and hot, so the air conditioning was amazingly cool. I hadn't had a time with AC in quite a while, so my body was a bit taken aback. And then spoiled. I knew I'd be back to sweating after our adventure, and boy, was I right. When we returned, I sweated buckets...but that's skipping to the end.
We headed into Masaya before I knew it, but closer to lunch than breakfast time.
So, with hunger (hambra) setting in, we headed straight to a lunch joint. It was clean and refreshing, and the fried fish was actually quite tasty. What was even better was all our leftovers were passed right along to 3 young men who sat down quickly next to us. They looked dirty and tired and they thanked us.
I was so happy to have been a part of spontaneous food relief grace moment without food police or paperwork. It was one of the sweetest moments of my time here.
Selah, Pastora's sister, Anna, Pastora's daughter and I slipped off to enjoy the market. We saw all sorts of cool arts and crafts, but I know my boxes in my garage have plenty of knick knacks, so I refrained from buying more. I did find the artist who makes flowers out of corn husks and bought all her flowers. She gave me her phone number - I guess I'm an amiga now:-)
I also bumped into a woman who makes many different items out of paper beads, and I bought a bracelet and asked to have a photograph with her. I couldn't believe she made baskets and picture frames out of beads! I am so happy she is selling her beautiful things.
We ended our stay with freshly squeezed mango juice, and we sat and sipped happily amongst the colorful wares around us. This market was so much cleaner than the Moroccan markets, but filled with little children begging. One mom was begging with her hydrocephalic child who had a very large head. My heart was cut to the quick and Selah quietly recommended I give her some money.
I had yet another chocked-full day in Nicaragua...ending up back at school and overhearing..."IGUANA!!" and then many children screaming. I, quick thinking gal that I am, ran for my camera and dashed toward the screaming. Unfortunately, the screaming must have caused the iguana to slink away rapido as they say here.
I capped off the afternoon with a glance at my light on the porch only to discover a cockroach the size of Texas. Yikes....it may not be an iguana, but I did capture it on film!
Just when I thought my day was winding down, a woman from my art class dropped by and shared all the art she had made. I complemented her on her beautiful family tree made out of butterflies. We had some photos taken by her niece, Ava, and I took some photos of her art. For me, it was sacred.
I think I'll just relax a bit before I head for bed...and get a nap in before the howling starts up! Oh, I think Pastor Manuel is a very frustrated guitarist! (See photo from the market.)
You are probably juggling three or four activities right now, getting ready to drive somewhere, have two or three calls to return, need to check your phone, and you need to make dinner or go to the grocery store or BOTH! Unless you live near the equator. Life is so different there than here in Nicaragua.
Here it's hot or very hot or very, very hot.
That translates to 95, 99, and 105 degrees just about every day. Water for a "gringo" is something to think about a lot. There is much relief when one has a cache of water. Since I have been sipping lemonade at Pastor's house, I think my body is swimming with parasites, but I hope to not overdo it, so I keep buying bottled water.
I spent a large part of my afternoon walking to a place to get water, chatting with different children and moms, and goofing around with Pastor and Pastora and their family. (I haven't driven a car in 6 weeks. If I use my cell phone, it could cost $20 for one message. Thus, no cell phone use.)
Today, I had the privilege of hearing different women's stories as they shared their artwork they had made. We stopped and prayed every so often as the stories spilled out. There was much pain, violation, hidden hatred, abuse and much more. We were careful with each other. I pray these women continue to care for one another deeply in the days ahead. No matter how little or much money one has, these sufferings of the heart and soul are world-wide.
I asked the women to also make at least one page of art telling about times of grace, love, mercy and hope in their lives. The women will be sharing their final art/stories on Friday. I pray for healing, much healing and grace as they share.
And no, I did not get to the market today. Manyana, as they always say. Life is slower, slower, slower here.
I'm off to church, giving another pastor a farewell portrait. It's not perfecto, but it comes from my prayerful heart, and I pray he is blessed and encouraged through the art.
Oh, and hug your kids tonight! Many are without a mom or dad or both in this little town.