Friday, 10 June 2022

Journey Home, the Spirit World, Diego, Outreach


Juigalpa. I’d spent time in Sydney with my best early childhood friend and 2 other families who have been uber kind and supportive of me and my Nica family over the years, prior to my Los Angeles bound Delta flight. 


Each interaction felt like a slice of Heaven. Luuuuush.


Kate (Please say the “t”) Rebecca and I talked and talked and talked and talked about nothing and everything until I literally fell asleep (She was trying to spoon feed me pasta even as I slept haha). It was as though we’d never been apart. 



Rich, with his southern European model good looks (complete with the wildest hair ever and phenomenal drumming/skating abilities), is not Italian after all. We enjoyed a delightful spot of din-dins together, and then a drop of red by their logfire, along with Jo, my Spirit Alive (prayer buddy) and Imogen, Rich & Jo’s GORGEOUS daughter who gives and gives and gives… her smile, it is TO DIE FOR!!! 


In the daytime they showed me around their northern beaches Sydney town and we had a splash of lunchie-poohs by the surf. The conversation was full and flowed freely, even in the bitter cold and with a jackhammer pounding the cement only meters away. This family is buried deep within the earth of my heart, and no machine can crack that.


Aunty Val… (And Uncle Tones, Stephanie and her 3 young treasures) I love this family from wayback. FUN! We’ve shared so many quirky moments together. Our catch-up was long overdue and we chatted and giggled until 4am or something ridiculous like that. We should have been told off and ordered into bed by someone responsible, but with nobody to take on that role the party cascaded into the following day. 



Stephanie drove me to the airport. I had known Stephanie as a teenager when I was a young adult, but now in her 30s, Stephanie is a woman in her own right and with so many thoughts and opinions on just about everything. She is WAY fun, and rivals the dry wit and hilarity of her crazy Italian mumma.


Delta was incredible, as always. They never fail. A friend from Pittsburgh had paid for my night in a LAX hotel, which was so lovely and completely necessary. I checked in and was asleep by midday. 


The earliest shuttle in the morning wouldn’t get me to the airport on-time, and so I checked out of luxury at 10pm (The staff were like “wait, what?”, had a deep conversation with my Nica shuttle bus driver on my way to the airport, and spent the night at LAX, working away on my lappy tappy, alongside the El Salvadorian cleaners (Whom I also spoke at length with… felt INCREDIBLE to be speaking “my” unique dialect of Spanish again).



The flight with Jetblue from LAX to Liberia, Costa Rica, also charmed. I didn’t get a seat on the flight until the last person had boarded (And I had been first to check-in), and I don’t know what that was about. But in any case, I made the flight (And didn’t have to pay for my “personal item” which was a bit big, as the staff were occupied in arguments with customers about their personal items which were a bit big and closing the flight).


Onboard, I was stuck SMACK BANG in the middle of a large extended family reunion party thingy, and they were all traveling to see their “grandparents” who had recently moved to Central America. Delish. The children rotated seats between uncles, aunts and cousins. There was something very special about this group of Californians.


“Where are you from?” I asked one of the dads. “Bakersfield.” He began to explain where exactly he was from, but I stopped him. “I’ve driven through and visited Bakersfield hundreds of times. Why are you traveling to Costa Rica?” He explained the story about the olds moving there… Wonderful.



I feel as though all the other parents within the party were listening too, because they’d all sort of stand up randomly to look at me and explain something or tell a side-story. This experience I’d never had before, I felt like I was on the set of a Modern Family episode, ‘twas surreal. 


I only share this little part of my traveling experience, because they were the most lovely people ever. They all looked after each other. You could tell they were close. But as I just mentioned, I also wondered if I was actually secretly in a reality tv episode (I sucked my stomach in for the first hour, but couldn’t maintain the pose for 5 hours and so relaxed), or if they were about to do a flashmob or lip dub movie, because YOU  KNOW I would have been down for that (Just give me a few minutes to practice my sashay. I just love it when people are kind and loving to each other, especially family. We should all love each other. 


I said an overly emotional goodbye to the Modern Family I’d just met, complete with hugs and kisses, and then stormed off towards the immigration hall. 



I wish I hadn’t made such a song and dance about that moment (it was really for the cameras), because they were only a few meters behind me and immigration was full. I had to “pass them” in the queue another 10 times before reaching an officer. 


I had worn my shorts under my pants, and had thongs in my bag. So after my “stripshow,” I was left with nothing. I had to either roll my eyes the other way and pretend I hadn’t seen them (deep in thought, a “Cam” moment - possibly overacted just a tad), or have a quick and meaningless ten second chat. “Looks hot out there.” “Yeah, it does, aye.” “Yeah.” “Yeah…” “But it sure is cold in here! Haha!”  Awkward silence… “It is though, isn’t it.” “Yeah.” “Yeah…” Awkward silence…


In any case I made it through immigration (The Nica immigration officials obviously sit a lot, the buttons down by their tum-tums are usually stressed and about to pop, I always anticipate this and am perched ready to duck… but the Tico immigration officials look like Hollywood body doubles (They must have a gym in their basement), and dress in uniforms that I feel sure come straight from the FBI).



On the other side of that I ran into the arms of Shan and Pastor Dan. They were positively BEAMING. I felt overly excited and a sense of relief to be together again. We passed exuberant tourists and locals desperately waving their transport/name signs, and headed down to where the quiet Costa Rican workers were waiting for their buses. 


We didn’t have to wait, not even a minute. The bus to Liberia could have taken a dozen hours or 3 minutes, I can’t remember. We were a wave of yakety yak. Once in Liberia, we walked to the restaurant across the road and ordered a meal. I couldn’t remember when I’d last ate. We ordered chicken, rice, and salad. 


A few minutes later we were served half a chook each and a little bowl of brown liquid. The bowl also had some chilis in it. Pastor Dan took a sip. “Nope, it’s not soup!” LOL! I picked up the dead bird and began to gnaw like a neanderthal. Shan was feeling “seasick,” so she didn’t partake in our feast. We were 2 minutes in when our bus bound for the Nicaraguan border arrived. We ate ten bites in ten seconds and darted for the bus. 



The 90 minute bus ride was the same experience as the airport bus. Locals sat around us with expressionless faces. Nobody spoke. I loathe being the weird tourist, but I was so excited, I couldn’t shut up. Also, as I’m a bit deaf and speak too loud, I come across as annoying from time-to-time (I know, ME, right???). So I popped my best southern American accent on (Think “Gone With the Wind”) and referred to “Charleston” every couple of minutes, at least they’d put me down to being a bothersome Gringo, rather than a vexatious Aussie. 


We arrived at the border and everything was smooth sailing on the Costa Rican side. On the Nicaraguan side? A brand new building, tourists laying about, two queues actually moving, and tension in the air. I arrived at the front of the queue and began to charm my cranky official. “The copy of your cedula?” “I have never needed to provide that when coming into Nicaragua.” “YOU HAVE ALWAYS NEEDED TO PROVIDE THAT!” “WELL NOBODY HAS EVER ASKED ME FOR IT!” Silence. Scowl. Strung.


Then the unbelievable happened. My darling best friend, let’s call her “Gladys,” began to process my entrance and Bob's your uncle, Mick's your mate, I was allowed to pass through. I knew Pastor Dan had been praying the whole time.



On the other side we chatted frivolously as we skipped along. We’d made a new Dutch friend on the bus and he’d asked about transportation to Rivas. “No problem, it’s on our route!” We were processed by yet a 4th Nicaraguan immigration official and were granted entrance to our beloved Nicaragua. 


Our hired driver would not allow us to take our new Dutch friend, and so we parted company with the promise of our house as accommodation should he need it. I think we chatted all the way home, but I honestly can’t remember. I was elated to be home.


The kids were actually waiting at the gate upon our arrival. I was a bit giddy, they were as excited as me, even the big ones. With grins from ear-to-ear, the kids bounced along as they showed me through the house. They’d made many improvements. 



HUGE THANKS to Ms. Stephanie, our diversional therapist, music teacher, home decorator, tour operator… She brought new furniture and furnishings, and has spent 2 months decorating my old room (Our new guest/education room). I spent an hour catching up with everyone, and even though I felt exhausted, I knew my journey had not ended. 


I asked Ms. Heydi for a loan of her motorbike and found the papers, keys, bike helmets, etc., and then drove off into the night.


I have often told stories of our kids having seen supernatural phenomenon, such as demons, murderous shadows, etc., but have never physically experienced anything like that myself. 



I believe in the power of the Holy Spirit, I have faith in Jesus, but I ‘ve never heard God audibly speak to me, nor seen any kind of supernatural manifestation. That all changed on this night. It wasn’t good, it was terrifying. 


I am not trying to “build anything,” and it may seem made-up, nonsensical, or overly dramatic to some. Nothing “came” of this experience, but it woke me up physically and spiritually. 


As I drove out of Managua, darkness enveloped me. There was nothing around on my 4 hour motorbike journey, except for when I passed through 3 towns. 



As I drove I suddenly encountered a bundle of white helium balloons on the road. Nobody around. I slowed until almost stopped, but skirted around the balloons and continued on my “merry way” not really thinking too much of it. 


About an hour later, I saw a set of parallel and vertical fireworks exploding just in front of me. I almost stopped, but continued forward and the fireworks suddenly just sort of disappeared. The fireworks had not come from the ground, but from about 6 feet in the air. There was no apparatus or structure, and again no people around. 


I continued to drive for yet another hour and suddenly I noticed a man on my right about 20 meters away, running as fast as my motorbike. He never looked at me, he was busy racing and jumping over the obstacles in his way. Then I looked on my left and still another man was running. Chills raced through my body and I suddenly felt out of breath (Even though I wasn’t running), teary and terrified. I looked back on my right, the man was still racing alongside me. 



I began to hear children crying. It wasn’t the sound of air rushing through my helmet. I stopped my motorbike and the children continued to cry. Minutes later the sound of two antique music boxes began to clash with the tears of children in my ears. These sounds, the children crying and the music boxes, stayed with me until I arrived in the mountain town of Juigalpa. 


Seconds after the music boxes started playing I heard a roar (Sounded like VOOM, as opposed to VROOM) and a massive shadow (the size of two of my feet) raced under my bike. My skin was bumpier than a plucked chicken’s. I know this sounds strange, but the shadow wasn’t a shadow, it was a creature. It was alive (I really hope I’m not institutionalised because of this post).


I looked down for just a few seconds and then I looked up but nearly fell off my bike. Massive faces in the trees were looking at me, their eyes were following me. I began to pray. I prayed and prayed. I prayed all of the way to Juigalpa. I was being terrorised. I don’t know why.



I was to meet Diego, our newest Nicavangelist, at a restaurant on the outskirts of the town. He wasn’t there, and it was now 2am. I asked the waiter for Wifi access and he kindly granted it, something I was not expecting. Diego had been anticipating I’d arrive at 10pm or soon after, as we’d agreed. He’d waited all night, disappointed, he had only just begun his journey home on foot.


I drove Diego back to his family’s house. They are lovely people and live in a humble dwelling on the edge of town. They do not have a floor in their house, their toilet is cement and the waste simply falls into a deep hole underneath. Their shower is a bucket of water. Their kitchen is a fire and a bench outside. Their loungeroom is a few hammocks strung between trees in the backyard. 


Dogs, chickens and ducks wander through the house smelling, picking and defecating everywhere. Waste flows with the water in the creek beside their home. Trucks rumble by 24 hours per day. They have a parrot and lots of flowers planted in coca cola bottle pots. I LOVE their humble home.



Diego is the middle child. He has both an older and a younger sister. Diego’s mother is unmarried. The father of Diego left him and his older sister when Diego was very small. He fell in love with another woma(e)n. Diego’s younger sister has never known her dad. Diego’s older sister has a daughter, though we didn’t really speak of where her father is.


Diego’s mother washes clothes for other people to make money. Diego’s older sister sells clothes from her home which she purchases online, and studies at university. Diego attended school one day per week. Diego’s younger sister and his niece go to school five days per week.

After talking for several hours, we went to bed. I couldn’t sleep on account of my journey. That, and the mosquitos, the oppressive heat (They don’t have fans), and a headache (I don’t get headaches and didn’t have panadol/ibuprofen). As the sun rose the mosquitoes intensified their attack. I began to feel nauseous and I was so so tired. 



At about 9am I drifted off and slept fitfully until 5pm. The family were really concerned about me, and I did not want to offend in any way (In my stupor, and before the sun rose, I had thought the mosquitoes were bed bugs…).


I offered to take the family out to dinner. They dressed up to the NINES. “You’re wearing that?” they asked. “Yes,” I chuckled. We walked through the streets of Juigalpa looking for a restaurant. I could tell they rarely ate out because they couldn’t find a place for us to dine. We ended up at a pizza restaurant. We had a lovely time together, enjoying each other. 


In the evening Diego returned to Managua with me. He is shining and loving being a part of something “bigger.” He is exhausted as we work from 6am until about 11pm at night. We’ll be working 7 days per week until Pastor Dan, Pastor Marcy, Shan & Dara leave in early July. 



Today we’ll have some of our Nicavangelists Street Tricking School leaders and students arriving for our San Juan del Sur/Granada outreach bootcamp. This’ll be a great time together. We’ll be learning about God, praying for our outreach, practicing our dances and Tricking, eating great food, having fun in the pool and enjoying games and other activities together. 


Our youth all come from homes like Diego’s. Please believe with us for miracles. My Dad has been admitted into hospital and I have no information about that to share, other than they are running many tests. 


I feel sad in my heart, the last time I saw Dad was when I said goodbye a week ago. He cried the loudest and hardest I’ve ever heard him cry. I embraced him and loved him, thinking I’d see him again soon. I hope I do. Yet in the meantime, I know he understands that this is the call of God on my life, to love those who so desperately need it. 



Today is Akon’s birthday, we’d like to buy him a cake, a game (He loves checkers) and clothes (He has a couple of outfits but now is wearing one of Heydi’s daughter’s dresses because with all the rain his clothes have not been able to dry). We need food for our camp and would like to do a few activities too… If you would like to help please donate at: https://www.givesendgo.com/GranadaANDsanjuandelsurOUTREACH or https://www.nicavangelists.com/partnerships 


Have a great weekend!!! We love you…


Jeddo & Co xoxo

#LoveThyNeighbour #BrightFuture4NicaYouth











Sunday, 22 May 2022

Tom Hallas

 

Yesterday I worked the election and WHAT A HOOT! So much fun.  We were offered the chance to pick our roles, and I decided to let everyone else go first because they were all either elderly or immigrant, and I wanted to serve my country by loving my neighbours (I wanted my colleagues to be comfortable, it was to be a long and challenging day).

 

I was left with the job of HYGIENE OFFICER (Thank you COVID!), which was wonderful because nobody knew what I was meant to do.  I spent my time wandering around chatting with people, armed with spray bottle in one hand and cleaning rag in the other. So fun. I love to talk!

 

I came in particularly good use at the end of the day when after 11 hours of work, our work was just about to begin. Counting the ballots. A fun, young dreaded blonde lass came in from another polling station and brought efficiency and order to our friendly, humble, slow Deception Bay world. “Granny Mae, can you please carry your chair and stack it over there, and fold your table and store it here?” Poor Granny Mae’s teeth nearly fell out in shock with every demand. “FASTER, GRANNY MAE!” I screamed in jest as I ran to assist.

 

It was interesting to count the votes and see first-hand the direction people had decided for our country. As reported in the mainstream news there had been a swing to independents and minor parties, but the Liberals still seemed to lead in our area of the electorate. 

 

There were also minor parties that got no votes. I made our grandmas chuckle as I wandered around organizing the ballots. “Australia does not want Citizens!’” I yelled, poking fun at the Australian Citizens Party who received zero votes. “Where is the Cannabis?” I hollered, referencing the Legalise Cannabis Australia Party (who actually did very well at my polling station). 

 

So fun. I cannot wait for the next election, I want to be a part of TEAM AUSTRALIA!

 

Today we had the absolute pleasure of having Tom Hallas (Pacific & Asia Field Convenor - Youth With A Mission – YWAM) and Merv McDermid (Also a career YWAMer) over for lunch. They brought Pizza, and Tom brought me a special treat – Jalapeño Cheese Bites. YUM!

 

I love Merv, and his family, always have. I used to sing with Merv’s wife when I was a child, and she’d helped our ICS (missionary) school with our outreaches in the local educational institutions, hospitals and nursing homes. 

 

I’d mentioned to Merv on our last visit with him how surprised and delighted I’d been when as a child he gave me a TimTam (We rarely received treats like that when I was a child – and when we did, we always had to “share…” that meant Tim got the whole thing and I had the last bite haha). Today he brought us a WHOLE PACK of TimTams… now my tummy hurts. LOL!

 

I’d always loved the Hallas family, still do. I’d been particularly close with Coby for a short time when we’d baked and sold biscuits around “the base” together, and with Matthew when he’d had caged finches and because we’d go snow skiing together. The Hallas family were uber fun. 

 

The days became particularly exciting when baby Emma and Claire were born. “The base” got baby fever, everyone was invited in to “have a look” and maybe a hold. I was so thrilled. Emma was such a fun baby, toddler and girl, with an inquiring mind, always asking the questions. Claire was a pretty, content, sweet doll, a little lady who took everything in.

 

Diana was like a second Mum for me, countless times I’d go into their rooms with my friends to speak with one of them, and after a while I’d realise that it was just me and her talking. My friends had left. She was so kind, she always had time for me.

 

Tom… was scary. Always away speaking at another YWAM base or church or conference, he was a man’s man. Tough. Dry sense of humour. He freaked me out. One time when I was about 10, we were skiing and Tom was stuck. I felt sure I could help him, but actually I couldn’t. I tried. In vain. He was big and I was little, and he was flailing about, I feared for my life. I skied away, an act of self-preservation, I can still hear him in my mind, “JED! Don’t leave me… JED! JED! JEEEEEEED!!!” 

 

Today we were together. Tom gave me a massive bear hug and I felt a wave of peace. I love Tom Hallas, he is a really Godly, wonderful man. We ate lunch, laughed about a lot of memories, talk over the politics and discussed other current issues. Granny was with us. It was a beautiful time. We prayed together, had communion and Tom anointed Dad with oil and prayed over him. 

 

Granny became a little confused and after praying, forgot that she’d just prayed, and prayed again. Then when Tom began to pray Granny thought the prayer time had transitioned into chat time, and she was belting out her one-liners until Mum stopped her. So fun, my Gran. Even when she’s getting it totally wrong, she still knows how to laugh at herself. I love that about her.

 

Australia has had a LOT of rain, but Nicaragua has had WAY more. Check-out the video. Nearly half of our Tricking School students’ houses are flooded with at least a foot of water. At one house, where two of our students live, the public sewerage pipe has burst, and their house is soaking in filth. PLEASE PRAY FOR OUR YOUTH AND THEIR FAMILIES!!! We need to raise $200 to clean this house so that it is clean and safe for its inhabitants. If you would like to donate, please visit: http://nicavangelists.com

 

I love you all, have a great week!!!!!

 

Jeddoxo

#LoveThyNeighbour #BrightFuture4NicaYouth #NicaTricking

For more information on how to donate please visit: 

https://www.nicavangelists.com/partnerships  We also use Venmo (@Nicavangelists), Zelle (5103096826), Cash App ($Nicavangelists), (office@nicavangelists.com), etc. Plus we can take cheques, direct deposit, etc.). If you pay taxes in the USA your gift will be tax deductible.