HOLA to our Family and Friends!
We've been back from our trip for about a month...although I think we've each left a little piece of our hearts in Nicaragua! We want to thank you all for praying for us while we traveled! While "prayer" remains somewhat of a mystery...we saw the fruit of your prayers while we were in Nicaragua.
We had safe and relatively peaceful travels to, around and back from Nicaragua. The kids were as flexible and accomodating as little children can be throughtout the duration of our trip. Noah slept on the very bumpy descent into Managua and slept through the crazy/loud customs lines at the airport AND the shuttle ride to the hotel...he awoke happily in the arms of a Nicaraguan man that helped us unload our luggage at the hotel. He then sneezed a misty spray on the guy twice and smiled. This nice man said "salud" (which means good health) and smiled back at Noah!
We were blessed to have a great driver and translator (and now, friend) for the week we traveled in and around Managua...which also allowed us to "communicate" with those we met. We had enough courage to use the little Spanish that we learned prior to our trip...I (Bethany) even ordered juice for the kids one day...all in Spanish! Noah talked to everyone with very little to no concern that NO ONE could understand him...and thankfully he didn't call anyone PIG!
Both Jeff and I left Nicaragua feeling that it was a viable option for long-term mission service. All three children (even Andrew) have expressed desire to go back to Nicaragua...although Ella wanted to be assured that on our return we'd be able to eat the fresh fruits and vegetables that we were not able to eat on our first visit (more an issue of the water they are rinsed in rather than the fruit itself). One day at lunch, Ella actually cried over the fact that we had to leave the lettuce and tomatoes on the plate uneaten! Jeff thoroughly enjoyed teaching at the university and was well received by the students. He saw several areas in which he could serve the staff and students at the vet school with his experience as a veterinarian. Andrew was able to attend all of Jeff's lectures and we think he is making plans to skip elementary school and go straight to vet school!
We are moving forward in our plans to make Nicaragua our family's mission field. However, we know that it is God that determines our steps as we seek to plan our course according to His Plans. We covet your continued prayers as we carefully move forward and discern if this is where God would have us serve Him.
With thanks for your support and prayers,
Jeff, Bethany, Andrew, Ella and Noah Bracht