A team of 12 people from Commonway were able to see a dream realized that has been in the making since the start of our church. For the last 5 years, we have been seeking God as a church to determine how He wants us to invite people outside our community and around the world to find hope in Jesus. Last year, our church had the opportunity to hear what Food for the Hungry was doing in Nicaragua, thanks to Bryan Olesen. That morning, our hearts were touched and we began a journey that we plan to continue for at least the next ten years.
This spring our church was paired with the village of Caulatu in Nicaragua through the organization Food for the Hungry (FH). Caulatu is a village of approximately 1000 people, with around 600 being children. This village is the last village going out from the bigger city of Quilali to have running water and electricity and is a hub for smaller surrounding villages. For six days in early June, this team from Commonway travelled to Caulatu, to begin developing relationships and take steps at strengthening this new partnership.
Travel to Nicaragua included a couple of relatively easy flights. Once settled into the country, we traveled to the village for the first time. Our biggest surprise was the incredible natural beauty of the country, including the mountain range we drove through to reach our village. Around each corner was a new view of the valley below. All but the final 20 minutes of our 9-hour drive was on paved roads (paver bricks that had been laid by hand).
As the first team to visit Caulatu, we entered Caulatu seeking to learn more about the people and community, holding onto very little expectations of what we would experience. Our welcome was impressive — speeches, prayers, dances, and songs — and yet understandably awkward. We were likely the first foreigners most of the villagers had ever seen and we drove into town in a mini-bus passing, homes made of one or two rooms with an outhouse and outdoor shower. Although fresh water was available, water was not piped into each home. Still, we were welcomed with smiles, hugs, and curiousness.
Food for the Hungry (FH) is designed to allow a group of local community leaders to develop a plan for their own community under the guidance of local FH staff. This group is the primary source of determining how funds the partner church provides are used (child sponsorships and short-term team funds). A unique thing about Caulatu is that two different local denominations of churches are working together to bring change to their community. As a team, we were able to experience and be encouraged and challenged by this unity.
Our three primary tasks while we were in Nicaragua were conducting a VBS, visiting our sponsored children, and beginning the building of bathroom facilities with running water at the school. We quickly learned that these tasks were not nearly as important as the relationships we began building in our time there. The tasks were given to us in order to make building relationships easier. Our real task was to begin to develop relationships and friendships that will last even longer than our presence as a church in Caulatu.
Our team grew closer together during the trip, and each one of us left Caulatu with a love for the people in our village. Our departure was completely different from our arrival. Gone were the barriers and awkwardness between us. They planned a beautiful goodbye program for us which concluded with everyone in attendance walking by and giving us hugs. We shared parts of our lives together for three days and were able to connect with individual people. We each have a longing to go back and continue these relationships that have begun and bring others in our family at Commonway with us in the future. Thank you for allowing us to represent you in Caulatu!
You can look forward to hearing more stories from other members of this first team to visit Nicaragua. We’re also putting together a video to give you a closer look at the people, village, and natural beauty of Nicaragua.
If you’d like to receive regular updates and information about our partnership, fill out the form below. We won’t spam you, but you will get an occasional email from us through The Commons, with news, information, and opportunities to be involved in this partnership.