Porch Time Guides for Trip Leaders by eYhL5doH


									Porch Time Guide
   1500 N. Great Neck Rd.
  Virginia Beach, VA 23454


Porch Time Guide Outline
This manual will equip you with resources to successfully facilitate and lead porch time
as you guide your fellow mission participants through prayer and scripture in order to
process the day. This guide is to help trip leaders process their experiences so they will
be better able to present a spiritual perspective for ORPHANetwork trips during porch


       1. What is a “Porch Time?”                                    Page 3

       2. Reasons for Porch Time                                     Page 4

       3. Facilitating a Porch Time                                  Page 5

              A) Setting

              B) Establishing a Comfort Level

              C) Leading Discussion

              D) Goals

       4. Index of Porch Times                                       Page 7

1. What is a Porch Time?
What:    Porch Time is an essential, necessary, and much-enjoyed component of
         ORPHANetwork missions trips in Nicaragua.

When:    The team will gather at the end of each day for prayer, to listen to and
         contemplate relevant scripture readings facilitated by the leader, and to
         talk about the day.

Where:   Porch Times are held in a quiet area of your accommodations that is
         comfortable enough to fit the entire team. This could be the Ranchero at
         Casa Bernabe, a central area at one of the Quintas, etc.

Why:     The purpose is to spend time to bring your trip and what you have done
         before the Lord and allow him to be a present and active participant in
         your experience. He will condition your heart for the things he has shown
         you, and better equip you to serve the children. This time is also important
         in getting to know your team. It always helps to know the people with
         whom you will be serving. God will teach you a lot through your serving as
         a body, and will often use these trips to form deep friendships.

         Finally, it is essential to address the emotional and spiritual needs of the

2. Reasons for Porch Time
“For even the Son of Man did not come to be served, but to serve, and to give his life as
a ransom for many." -Mark 10:45

At ORPHANetwork, we believe that Christians are called to be Jesus in their world
today. We believe that Christians are called to love, serve and witness the reality of
Christ to people without regard to their status, socio-economic position or ability.

Porch Times are instrumental in allowing team members to process what they have
experienced throughout the day in a spiritual setting and context. The trip leader
facilitates and leads porch times by incorporating scripture, personal experiences,
questions for the team, and different ways to evaluate how one’s encounters in
Nicaragua can be applied in their personal lives.

The trip will include time with the orphanage children, cultural activities, work projects
and team discussion. As leaders, you will work directly with your church team in order

1. Expose your church members to the need in developing nation orphan care.

2. Help your team envision how your church can be a part of God's work to create a
better future for the children living at the orphanage.

3. Equip/Envision your team and church to make a significant long-term impact at your

Porch Times are ideal ways to address all three components of ORPHANetwork’s
mission. By utilizing scripture and processing the magnitude and effect that the trip has
on each individual, the trip will have a deeper spiritual effect on the team.

3. Facilitating a Porch Time
      As a trip leader or member of the trip who will lead a porch time, you will be
responsible for ensuring the following:

A. Setting

It is important that porch times are held in a quiet, comfortable, and communal setting
with the entire team present. They are held at night, usually after dinner. Perhaps allow
a little downtime for team members to reflect on the day individually, record their
experiences in a journal, read over scripture, or relax with one another.

B. Establishing a Comfort Level

Creating an atmosphere in which team members feel comfortable enough to share their
experiences and emotions is essential. Their comfort level with each other will naturally
increase as the week goes on, but as a trip leader it is important to establish a relaxed
setting from the first day. There are different “ice-breakers” that can be used to kick off a
porch time session, and put everyone at ease.

1) “Remember That Time”

This is a classic way to start off porch time, and is a great way to get the team laughing
and ready to open up with one another. A team member relates something humorous
that happened over the course of the trip, beginning the story with “Remember that
time…” For example, “Remember that time the boys put the live iguanas in the girls’
house at Casa?” (Not recommended). The only rule is that stories cannot be whispered
between a few members of the group; it must be shared with the entire team.

2) “I saw Jesus Today”

Invite the team to think of an instance or situation in which they truly saw Jesus at work
during their activities or experiences that day. They could see him in the actions of
another teammate, a child at the orphanage, in the way that someone handled a difficult
situation, or in the way that someone overcame apprehensions and reached outside of
their comfort zone in order to truly engage with another person.

3) Start with a Prayer

Invite a member of the group to voluntarily offer up a prayer for the day. If you wish,
have other members add on to the prayer as they see fit. Prayer is a great way to begin
any porch time, and a group prayer should be included after any other ice breakers are
used. Prayer will center the group and will signal the proper setting and state of mind to
move on with porch time.

C. Leading Discussion

As a trip leader or selected member to lead the porch time discussion for the evening,
you will be in charge of leading the discussion and presenting the scripture, stories, and
questions that the group will consider together in light of what they have experienced.

Each porch time is designed to address pivotal spiritual questions that may arise and
that team members may struggle with in Nicaragua.

“How does God let this happen?”

“What should my role here be?”

“How do I continue to be cognizant of the suffering and need here when I am back
home?” are questions that will naturally arise during the trip.

Through leading discussion, you will be able to allow the team to think through these
questions with the tools that God provided specifically to answer such questions by
examining scripture and applying it to the situation in Nicaragua.

D) Goals

The main goal that you should strive to reach in each Porch Time is to effectively allow
the team to process the events of the day by bonding with each other in scripture,
spiritual reflection, and their personal experiences.

As a leader, you also want to take the opportunity to challenge the team to step outside
of their spiritual comfort zone and consider different ways to interpret what the Lord has
offered to us through his teachings and scripture.

The team should be able to offer their own insights and interpretations of Nicaragua and
be able to share how their experience has affected them mentally, spiritually, and

E) Tips

Here is a basic guide from Andy Stanley’s Communicating For A Change on how to give
an                                   impacting                                 talk:

      Why are you communicating?
         o What is purpose?
                 Communicating to create a change in the audience
                       Must           have          memorable     element(s)
                        that stand out in mind of audience.
                       Must be focused on one concept that could sum up the
                        whole talk in one sentence.

o Outline for Talk
      “Me”
              Introducing yourself and getting your audience to
                understand/buy into who you are and what you are about
                    o Personal illustration regarding the message of talk
              Setting up the tension or problem that you’re going to
      “We”
              Make audience have same problem that you had before
      “God”
              Set up God’s Word as solution to problem
      “You”
              Application = how audience can incorporate the message
                into their lives practically
                    o e.g., Secret of the Poor –Live a life with more
                       compassion, less competition
      “We”
              Imagine what the world would be like if everyone applied the
                Application principle
                    o Give audience a vision of possibility

4. Index of Porch Times
As a leader, you may use the following porch times as they are written or you may also
prefer to modify them in order to incorporate your own interpretations and experiences.
Feel free to use these porch times as guidelines or to present the content as it is written.

Each porch time is tailored to be presented on certain days of the trip. Use your
discretion and this guide’s suggested order to select the porch time that you feel would
be best for the group on a given day. Some are written especially for the first day in
Nicaragua, while others present different issues that the team may encounter when they
visit places like La Chureca, Hertylandia, or the communities around the orphanages.
The ideal days for each talk are noted for each porch time.

Start of the Trip – What We Can Be Ready To Do

   1.    Will You Carry the Mat?                                                 page 9
   2.    The Bible and Mission                                                   page 12
   3.    It’s Not About Us                                                       page 14
   4.    Wrestling with God                                                      page 16
   5.    Cast Your Net                                                           page 18

Mid-Week – What We Can Do While We’re Here

   6.    Incarnational Ministry                                                  page 20
   7.    Other Side of Incarnational Ministry (after “Incarnational Ministry”)   page 22
   8.    Get Electrocuted                                                        page 24
   9.    The Kingdom of God                                                      page 26

Mid-Week – What We Can Learn While We’re Here

   10.   How Nicaragua Messes With You                                           page 28
   11.   Why Your Faith Makes So Much Sense Here                                 page 31
   12.   Give ‘Til You’ve Got Everything Left                                    page 34
   13.   We Are the Miracle                                                      page 36
   14.   The Emperor is Naked                                                    page 38
   15.   Between Genesis and Revelation is Us                                    page 41
   16.   The Secret of the Poor                                                  page 43

End of the Trip – What We Can Take Home With Us

   17. One Life at a Time                                                        page 47
   18. What Do I Want You to Know?                                               page 51
   19. Feeding Five Thousand (Another Interpretation)                            page 54

Start of Trip: What We Can Be Ready To Do
1. Title: Will You Carry the Mat?

By: Tyler Tuite

Key Message

All of us play a key role in bringing these children to Jesus

Optimal Night for Talk

This talk lifts up our Nicaraguan partners and their work in offering hope to the children.
It also challenges your team to participate in the work by bringing that hope to the kids.
The talk works well as one of your first or last talks depending on how you would like to
shape the message. If you do it early you can focus more on the partnering while you
are in Nicaragua, and if you do it at the end you can focus on our key role in ongoing
partnership with the orphanages.

Questions or Issues Addressed

1) How do we fit into the bigger picture?

2) Why would he allow such suffering in the world if he is present in our lives?

Guidance for Talk

Draw a parallel throughout the text between the paralytic and the orphans. You can also
draw a second parallel between us and the paralytic; though it gets a bit more
complicated having two parallels. The parallel with the orphans is outlined below.

Read through the passage and have breaks every few versus to draw out important
points. Here are some of the breaks points:

1st Break: v. 18:

Ask the group to give a description of what it would be like to be a paralytic: powerless,
lonely, scary, dependent, etc. Parallel their answers with the life of being an orphan, and
stress that in many ways these kids are paralyzed. That leads to the key part of the
message: the four friends. Emphasize that it takes everyone working together to bring
these children to Christ, as the four friends worked together to place the paralytic on a
mat and bring him to Christ. The Nicaraguan church takes one corner, the orphanage
staff takes another corner, ORPHANetwork takes a corner, and lastly the US churches
(the team) takes the last corner. Without working together it is impossible to carry the
children to Jesus. Everyone must carry an equal portion of the weight.

2nd Break at v. 19:

Continue the parallel and discuss how our world can be too “crowded or busy” to bring
orphans or those in need to Jesus. Not only is it difficult for the team to make it
themselves, it is even difficult for them to make it to Jesus with the help of their friends.
The four friends were willing to do anything to be sure the paralytic was healed. Will we
do anything to make sure these kids are healed?

3rd Break at v. 21:

Explain that Jesus knows not only our physical needs, but all of our needs and has the
power to heal them. Not only can Jesus heal the physical needs, but he can also
address their deepest need: healing sin. You can stress the importance of working with
the church because we are aiming to meet the kids’ physical and spiritual needs.

4th Break at v. 26:

Conclude the parallel by discussing what healing looks like for the kids. What would it
look like for these kids to “get up and walk away?” Draw out the point that after his
healing the paralytic gave praise to God, meaning if we are hoping to have these kids
give praise to God it is also important to meet their physical needs. This single healing
was a testament to all that witnessed it, in the same way seeing our orphans being
“healed” is a testament to the Nicaraguan church.

Relevant Scripture
Mark 2:1-12
Luke 5:17-26

Personal Themes to Incorporate in Talk

Stick primarily to the story for the important points in this porch time, but if you wanted
to include a personal touch you could mention a time you felt completely powerless or
weak (perhaps a funny story here to kick things off). Something along the lines of an
embarrassing story where friends helped to “rescue” you.

Potential Illustration, Quotes, or Other Resource

None noted. Feel free to add any from your own knowledge or experience.

Main Takeaway Points

The Main Point: We must all work together to meet the needs of the kids and “bring the
children to Jesus.” We all play a critical role in the work. We all have physical and
spiritual needs, and God can meet all of them.

Personal Application Questions

Challenge the team with the following questions:

   1. Will you carry your corner of the mat? Are you willing to do whatever it takes?
   2. How can we work together to carry the children to Jesus?

2. The Bible and Mission
By Lauren Henricksen

Key Message

We should think about the reasons we do mission according to the models we see in
the Bible.

Optimal Night for Talk

This talk will provide a broad perspective about the purpose of mission and the theology
out of which it operates. It is probably most suitable for the first night as it is meant to
frame the experience in Nicaragua according to what we know about God and God’s
purposes for the church.

Questions or Issues Addressed

1) Why do missions work?
2) What does ‘going forth’ and ‘being sent’ from our homes tell us about God?
3) What does the Bible say about mission?

Guidance for Talk

Open this talk by asking the question, “What is mission?” Literally, it means ‘being
sent.’ We talk about this word in a variety of ways, from mission statements that
corporations or non-profits develop to mission trips like the one we are on now. But
mission doesn’t always mean what we think it does and the Bible provides a variety of
ways of thinking about mission. Let’s look at some of them together.

Our God of mission (Genesis): From the beginning, we see God ‘going forth’—creating
the world, and walking in the garden. God is sharing his very nature through creation
and is venturing into relationship with humankind. God shares his very self with
humanity by creating the world and then inviting us to share in it. If we are created in the
image of God, we cannot be anything but missional.

Mission of the Israelites: Israel’s mission is a response out of gratitude for what God
has done for them in taking them out of Egypt. They will bless all nations and be a “light
to the world.” They respond to the liberation from God.

Mission of Jesus: We see the missional character of God closely in Jesus, who was
sent by God to be with us. Jesus’ mission is to make God known among people, to
effect their salvation and bring about a kingdom of justice and love.

Misson of the Disciples: The disciples are sent by Jesus on a mission to the world.
Jesus becomes the message, rather than the messenger and the disciples are called to
join in the work of Jesus on earth. Jesus’ mission becomes the mission of the church.

That is why we are here today. We are grounded in who we know God to be. He is a
God who goes forth in creation and sends Jesus, a God who is with us, and invites us to
join Jesus’ work of healing, salvation, and justice in the world.

Relevant Scripture
Genesis 1-2
Exodus 13:1-10; Isaiah 49:6
John 1
Acts 1:1-14; Matthew 28:18-20

Potential Illustration, Quotes, or Other Resource

If you have access to internet or a video capability at some point, there is a video online
called ‘miniature earth’ that gives a great overview of world demographics and poverty
and can help us see what responsible mission work is responding to.

Personal Themes to Incorporate in Talk

Talk about your own temptation to see mission as something that is done to make you
feel good about myself. I am tempted by legalism that seduces me into thinking that if I
am good enough, if I work for the right things, do the right things and become the right
kind of person, I will be approved of by God. But that view is not biblical. A biblical view
of mission tells me that I go to Nicaragua because God is in my life and because I hear
Jesus’ command to ‘go to all nations’ as an invitation to be a part of God’s ongoing
mission. I ‘go forth’ to be obedient and to do the joyful work of Jesus in the world.

Main Takeaway Points

The Main Point: We don’t come to Nicaragua just to feel good about ourselves and what
we’re doing, or to be exotic or to be seen as radical. We come because Jesus came to
us and because we want to see God at work in the world. We come because we
believe that we can know and see God when we ‘go forth’.

Personal Application Questions (End of Talk)
Challenge the team with the following questions:
   1) Why did you come to Nicaragua? Do your motives and/or expectations need to
      be kept in check?

   2) What do you hope to gain by being here this week?

   3) How do you understand going on a mission trip as a spiritual discipline, a
       practice of discipleship?

3. Title: It’s Not About Us

Key Message
Throughout Scripture, God gives us examples of men who live in humility and
dependency on God. Men like Moses, Hur, and Aaron are “poor in spirit” because they
recognize that God is the one behind all of their efforts. With the understanding of Jesus
as the True Vine and us as the branches, we will really bear fruit here.

Optimal Night for Talk
This talk would work well on the first night to give the team a goal for the week. The talk
is about recognizing their place in the work that is going on and Whose work it really is,
and thus preparing them with a humble, servant mindset for the week.

Questions or Issues Addressed
  1) Who is really working here?
  2) What does Jesus as the True Vine mean for what we can experience and
      accomplish here?

Guidance for Talk
Begin by considering the following question: “Have you ever noticed that when your
focus or motivation behind an action change so will your success or failure?” Then after
giving the personal illustration below, explain the difference in result after recognizing
what was going on.

Now, read the passage Exodus 17:8-16. Let’s say Hur & Aaron had my attitude about
serving Moses. They would be saying, “Gosh we’re such great guys, helping out Moses
like this.” What is common in both my and their views of the situations? Who is the
focus of them? The answer is ME ME ME. However, Moses, Hur, and Aaron have the
right view of the situation. They recognize an essential truth that Jesus would later
relate to his disciples in a couple different ways.

Read John 15:5-6. Jesus really wants us to understand the view we are to take of God
and ourselves. We literally can do nothing apart from Jesus. Nothing that we do, even
“coming on a mission trip to Nicaragua”, will produce anything if we are not rightly
focused on the True Vine, the Source of Life. We must recognize that all that we do
here, all battles we might win (Exodus passage) are depend on the Lord for their

The second way that Jesus uses to communicate our dependency on Him is in Matthew
5:3. He says, “Blessed are the poor in spirit, for theirs is the kingdom of Heaven.” Or, as
CEV says, “God blesses the people who depend only on Him.” The message phrases it
thus: “With less of you, there is more of God and His rule.”

This is the concept that provides the basis for Moses, Aaron, and Hur’s actions. And it
needs to be the one that frames everything we do this week. If we begin to lower our
arms this week, and try to serve on our own, we will very quickly run out of steam and

start to lose the battle. But, if we are always reminding ourselves of who is our strength
and we are branches that need to cling to the vine, then we will bear much fruit
individually and as a team.

Relevant Scripture
Exodus 17:8-16
John 15:5-6
Matthew 5:3

Potential Illustrations or Quotes
None noted.

Personal Themes to Incorporate
Here I present a personal illustration: I volunteer with Young Life Capernaum. After I
had been involved with it for awhile, I had really begun to bear more fruit in it. I was
getting more involved in some of the kids’ lives, things were seeming to really grow. I
was really excited to go to stuff and be involved in it. But, as things continued to grow, I
started getting really annoyed about scheduling conflicts with it. It became a burden,
and I started to get satisfaction out of it because I saw it like, “Oh man, I’m doing such a
great thing, sacrificing my time, working with disabled kids. Gosh I’m such a martyr.”
Such thinking begins to suck satisfaction away completely. But then I realized that my
motivation had changed, and that I had forgotten why I was really doing this and who
was really behind it all.

Main Takeaway Points
God has all kinds of great stuff planned for us this week. He is going to show us new
things, introduce us to new people, and confront us with new opportunities to serve Him
and his children. But, the most important truth for us to remember this entire week, no
matter whether it is a good or bad thing that we experience, is that we are powerless if
we are apart from Jesus. If we really depend on him and recognize how poor our
inability is compared to how rich God’s power is, he will grow fruit like we can’t imagine.

Personal Application Questions
   1) While you’re getting chances to love these people, are you recognizing Who is
      behind you, the Source of your love and strength, and who is really changing
      these kids’ lives?
   2) Am I relying on Jesus to work in everything that I experience?

4. Title: Wrestling with God
By Tommy Weiglein

Key Message

God transforms our faith when in uncomfortable circumstances.

Optimal Night for Talk

This is a great talk for the first night in order to challenge the team for the week. The
talk is about Jacob wrestling God and how God appears to Jacob, and ultimately gives
him a name when Jacob is in unfamiliar circumstances.

Questions or Issues Addressed

1) What does God want to do for us this week?
2) How do we approach our relationship with God throughout the week in light of
everything we see and experience?

Guidance for Talk

After sharing the personal illustration mentioned below, I tie my experience to scripture,
specifically the story of Jacob wrestling with God. I start to read the story and pause
after the first half of verse 24 to highlight the fact that Jacob was alone and everything
familiar to him was sent across the Jabbok. I then point out that we are in a similar
position. Many of us may be away from our possessions, our families, our friends, and
everything comfortable to us. We are in a new place of which we know very little.

I finish verse 24, highlighting that these are often the situations in which God appears to
us. Then I read about how they wrestled, and how God wrenched Jacob’s hip, leaving a
visible sign of his struggle with the Lord. I give the team permission to wrestle with God
during the trip, and to ask hard questions.

These are the moments where he changes us. These are the moments where we
realize who he really is and ask him to bless us. These are the moments where we
receive a new name.

Relevant Scripture

Genesis 32: 22-31

Potential Illustration, Quotes, or Other Resource

Stick to the scripture on this one.

Personal Themes to Incorporate in Talk

I usually share a lighter illustration, as this would work well as the first talk of the week.
I talk about the first time I went on a trip geared towards working with orphans. I was in
Ukraine. I talk about an evening when my friend and I were almost arrested for not
carrying our Visas. We were walking around one night, talking about all of the things we
were processing, quite similar to the porch times that we will have throughout the week.
We were approached by some police who wanted to see our Visas, which are required
in Eastern Europe. We spoke very little Russian and the only way we got out of was by
bribing the police. This story loosely ties, but my point in sharing it is that the week was
full of out of the box experiences that caused me to look at my faith with an entirely new
perspective when I came home. It required me being in a new place, away from family
and friends and the day-to day-comforts of my life, for God to appear to me. When he
did appear to me, he gave me a new name.

Main Takeaway Points

God wants to appear to us, and he wants to use us for his glory just like Jacob. The
goal of the week is to put yourself in situations where God can appear to you, and allow
yourself to wrestle with him. Perhaps it is allowing a child from dump we are going to
visit this week to sit in your lap on the bus, to soak in God’s presence in that moment
and to wrestle with the fact that he is appearing to you through the life of a forgotten
child whose home is a landfill. Perhaps it is taking the opportunity to fully comprehend
all of the corruption and disaster that has filled this country, and to allow God to appear
to you even while you are in the midst of it. If you want God to give you a name, you’re
going to have to wrestle him. It may be painful, you may walk away with a limp, but your
life will be completely different.

Personal Application Questions (End of Talk)

Challenge the team with the following questions:
  1) What is holding you back from allowing God to bless you like he did Jacob?

5. Title: Cast Your Nets
By Tommy Weiglein

Key Message

Hearing how God is instructing us and having the faith to follow him will lead us to see
him in an entirely different way

Optimal Night for Talk

This is a great talk for the first night to challenge the team for the week. The talk
challenges team members to step out in faith while in Nicaragua as doing so will
transform our faith and our relationship with him.

Questions or Issues Addressed

1) What will God ask of you this week? Will you obey him?
2) How do you expect this week to change your relationship with God?

Guidance for Talk

Start with scripture, reading through the story of the calling of the first disciples. Read
through the first three verses and pause to explain that Jesus and Simon (Peter)
probably already knew each other. Peter grew up in the same region as Jesus and he
had already started his ministry, evident by the crowds following him. Peter would
probably not have loaned his boat to Jesus if he did not know him. Then read versus
four and five. I again highlight that Peter refers to Jesus as “Master” or “Teacher”,
evidence that he knows Jesus. I also explain that Peter could be annoyed by Jesus’
request to let down the nets for a catch. Peter and his crew spent all night fishing and
caught nothing, they had just cleaned their nets and Peter could have even thought, “I
am the fisherman here, why don’t you just stick to the teaching.” But Peter responded
that he would do so because Jesus asked. From this simple obedience came the
miraculous catch, from his faith Peter became very aware of who Christ was and was
completely humbled. Because of his obedience to this simple command, Jesus
presented him with a bigger command (verse 10). This is when the relationship began,
the relationship where Peter left everything and followed Christ, ultimately to his death.
I think this is the relationship with Christ we all desire, and I think he desires it to. So
the question is, will you demonstrate the faith for it to become real? Will you let you
nets into deep water this week?

Relevant Scripture

Luke 5: 1-11

Potential Illustration, Quotes, or Other Resource

I like to emphasize that Jesus and Peter both grew up in the same region, and Peter
already knew Jesus and knew he was a teacher (evidenced by the way he addresses
him in the passage). Peter knew Jesus before the miraculous catch. Everyone on the
trip already knows Jesus in some form or fashion, just like Peter. But the relationship,
the relationship began when Peter stepped out in faith and obeyed Jesus. And this
prompted a decision to leave everything and follow him, a life I am sure Peter never
imagined, and a lasting legacy a fisherman would never expect to leave.

Personal Themes to Incorporate in Talk

I follow up the Scriptural portion of the talk with a personal account of how my first
overseas experience in mission, and in working with orphans, has completely changed
my view of Christ, the life he calls me to, and my relationship with him. The decision
came my senior year in college, when I heard a tiny voice telling me to go to Ukraine
with my roommate over spring break and work at an orphanage, rather than going to
Florida with some of my close friends. This decision to obey God had the same impact
that it had on Peter, with me falling on my knees before him with a realization of who he
was and who I was. And it led me to where I am today, my plans after graduation had
to be rethought, Christ was calling me to something different, just like Peter, who left his
great catch of fish and boats and followed Christ.

Main Takeaway Points

Most of us are here because we know Christ and have a relationship with him, but are
we truly following him? Do we know him like Peter knew him? I think sometimes it takes
a radical experience, stepping out in faith, like Peter did to come to the point where we
are truly at his beckon call. We can know Christ without doing this, but we do not know
him in the joyous, fulfilling, peace giving, radical living way that requires us stepping out
in faith. The team has already started the process by coming on this trip, by raising the
money (maybe you weren’t sure this would happen, but you trusted God), now let’s
finish it while you are here this week. I know from first hand experience that God will
speak to you.

Personal Application Questions (End of Talk)
Challenge the team with the following questions:
   1) Will you obey Christ’s calling to you this week by casting you nets into deep
   2) Will you obey a larger calling that may arise from your experience this week,
      leaving everything to follow him?

Mid-Week: What We Can Do While We’re Here
6. Title: Incarnational Ministry

Key Message

God wants us to be open to the challenge of carrying on his ministry

Optimal Night for Talk

The best time to address the themes of this talk would be after spending a day
distributing food or hosting an event within the community, or engaging in any activity in
which the team was able to meet and relate with members of the community.

Questions or Issues Addressed

After the team’s initial experiences with the kids or the community, they may still be
holding themselves back. Emphasize that Christ does not intend us to keep ourselves at
a distance. Dive in to the experience because you have nothing to lose. Christ
encountered new people, places, and situations constantly, yet he was able to engage
with them and love them. In order to act as Christ’s hands and feet, we need follow his
example to the best of our ability.

Guidance for Talk

Lay the groundwork for the talk by establishing that God could have chosen a variety of
ways to minister to humanity, but he picked the model of incarnational ministry. He
came down from heaven and became one of us. If this is God’s chosen method to save
all of human kind, then we ought to follow this model as we seek to minister to others.
We can’t just write checks from our office in order to act as the hands and feet of Christ.
It is necessary for us to go and be present with others while building personal
relationships with our brothers and sisters in Christ.

Jesus, who is God incarnate, ultimately had to leave the world. He charged his church
with being his body incarnate in the world and to continue his work. This is why the
church is referred to so often as the “Body of Christ” in the New Testament. This
description of the church is not simply a figure of speech. It is a command to do ministry
as God ministered to others.

Jesus is no longer present physically, but through the power of the Holy Spirit his
church are his hands and his feet working to bring love, mercy and justice to the world.
The church is called to be Christ in the world. We are not merely charged to teach about
him or serve as his defense attorney, but rather embody him in every dark place in our
world. Jesus said in John 8:12, “I am the light of the world.” It is no coincidence that in
Matthew 5:14 he also says to his followers, “You are the light of the world.”

Relevant Scripture
John 1:14
Colossians 1:19-20
Philippians 2:5-8
Luke 24:51
Ephesians 4:12
Ephesians 5:29-30
Colossians 1:24

Potential Illustration, Quotes, or Other Resources

In one passage, Jesus tells Saul that he was persecuting him, but Saul is actually
persecuting the church. This indicates the connection between Jesus and the church as
his body in the world.

Personal Themes to Incorporate in Talk

None noted. Feel free to incorporate your own experiences.

Main Takeaway Points

The Main Point: God ministered to humanity through incarnational ministry. Jesus left
the earth with the intention of having the Church act as the body of Christ in the world.
The church as the body of Christ is not a figure of speech, but an actuality of faith and
Christ’s mission realized.

Incarnational ministry is an important component of this missions trip. As a team, you
are acting as Christ’s body for his international church, making him known to those with
whom you interact this week.

Personal Application Questions (End of Talk)

   1) Where in my life and in the life of my church are we being Christ to others?
   2) How have you seen the body of Christ in Nicaragua?

Has there been any specific time this week that you have felt like God’s hands or feet?

7. Title: Other Side of Incarnational Ministry

Key Message

There are two sides to Incarnational Ministry. We expect to give much in Nicaragua, but
we receive much in return.

Optimal Night for Talk

This talk is best given the night after the Incarnational Ministry talk, in order to allow the
team to continue their consideration of God’s method of ministry.

Questions or Issues Addressed

Many of you have already felt a strange presence in the people here in Nicaragua.
Make no mistake; it is Jesus Christ whom you are holding and serving. Tomorrow,
whoever the team encounters, ask God to lift the veil, look into their eyes and see who
is really staring back at you.

Guidance for Talk:

Start by illustrating the complexities of the team relating with those they are serving in
Nicaragua. If we only look at the world through the lens of “Incarnational Ministry” we
might have the tendency to think that it is all up to us to go out and save the world. We
might think that we come down from on high to help all of these lowly people living in
dark places.

This could not be further from the truth.

Incarnational Ministry is only half of the story when it comes to Jesus’ presence in the
world around us. It is true that the church is the Body of Christ and as Christians we
incarnate his love to those around us. However, Jesus also comes to us through the
poor and the needy. We bring Jesus, but at the same time Jesus is brought to us. As
the church incarnates Jesus to the poor, the poor incarnate Jesus back to the church.

It is a deep error to believe that only the church offers ministry. The poor, lonely, lost
people to whom the church ministers also minister to the church in a profound way. The
Bible teaches that the poor and all those who are down trodden are Jesus. How could
standing in the presence of our Savior not mold us, change us and minister to us?

Relevant Scripture
Luke 24:15-16
Mark 9:33-37
Matthew 25:31-40

Potential Illustration, Quotes, or Other Resources

Mother Teresa calls the poor “Jesus in his most distressing disguise.” She also claims
that “We should not serve the poor like they were Jesus. We should serve the poor
because they are Jesus.”

When you begin to see through the veil that hides the presence of Jesus in the poor, it
will radically change the way you perform ministry. No longer do you look to the future
for a time when you will live in God’s presence, rather you will see God’s presence in
those whom you serve presently. No longer are you the one to change the plight of the
poor, Jesus in the poor changes you.

Tony Campolo said, “Once you realize that Jesus comes to us in the poor, no longer will
you ask yourself the question, how can I serve the poor, you will only ask yourself, am I
worthy to serve the poor.”

Personal Themes to Incorporate in Talk

None noted. Feel free to add an illustration of your own experience.

Main Takeaway Points

The Main Point: We are often kept from recognizing Jesus in our midst. Jesus comes to
us as we minister to the poor, through the poor themselves and our actions of

Personal Application Questions

1) Have you allowed yourself to see Christ in those you have met in Nicaragua?

2) Have you been open to the love and the lessons that those we have met have to give
or teach us? Give an example.

8. Title: Get Electrocuted
By Hawley Smith

Key Message

God calls us to “get electrocuted” by standing between His love and the suffering in the

Optimal Night for Talk

This is a great talk after a positive, fun-filled day to show the sources of true joy.

Questions or Issues Addressed

   1) How do we address suffering here?
   2) Why do we feel so complete here in Nicaragua?
   3) What is the source of our joy?

Guidance for Talk

Begin the talk with presenting the phrase “get electrocuted” and asking what that means
and looks like here. Articulate that it is the manifestation of literally being the “light of the
world” here in Nicaragua. That a light bulb has a source, a bulb and the cord and when
we stand in between the bulb (suffering) and the source (God) we act as the cord which
carries love and in effect electrocutes us with that love.

Following that idea, then challenge the group and ask why we come here to Nicaragua.
Present the obvious reasons why people would have an aversion to coming: the heat,
bugs, food, sickness, and money. But then share that the most common question that
people on or after this trip ask is “Why do I feel so complete here in Nicaragua?”

To answer, present the poem and the scripture from John 7:17. This illustrates the idea
that our work here, as John 7:17 shows, is that we find the will of God by serving our
neighbor and we are literally completing His will and carrying out the love of God. Then
break down the calling in Matthew 25:34 to show that we are “plagiarizing” the will of
God here (feeding the hungry, giving drink to the thirsty, inviting strangers/orphans in,
clothing the naked, helping the sick and visiting those in prison (the bondage of the
dump). Then reiterate that these actions cause us to be electrocuted.

Finally, speak to the joy that is experienced through this. In psalm 16, God tells us of the
fullness of His joy and how our feelings of being complete are direct results of that
fullness. Tie it all together by reiterating the idea that getting electrocuted leads to being
in community. In His presence, community fullness of joy.

Relevant Scripture
John 7:17
Matthew 25:34
Psalm 16:11

Potential Illustration, Quotes, or Other Resource
“I searched for my soul, my soul I did not see,
I searched for my God, but my God eluded me.
I met my neighbor, then I found all three.” –author unknown

Personal Themes to Incorporate in Talk

Present the moment that you first felt electrocuted, like you were the physical carrier of
God’s love.

The one Hawley uses is a story about experiencing that illogical joy when reaching out
to prostitutes during a dinner while in Nicaragua. One asked him why these Americans
would come here and show them love. His answer was “we want to do this for you
because we believe in a guy that did the same 2000 years ago.” They replied that
through this group they were reminded that “God had not forgotten about us.” This is
Hawley’s story to show when he felts plugged in between God and the suffering as a
model of Jesus who came to the hurting, loved the unlovable and prostitutes, and died
on the cross even though none of those actions made sense to the world.

Main Takeaway Points

      God calls us to be electrocuted, standing between Him and the world as carriers
       of His love.
      Our joy in Nicaragua comes out of satisfying the call in scripture to meet physical
       needs and suffering with His love.

Personal Application Questions (End of Talk)

Challenge the team with the following questions:

       1) Have you been electrocuted?

       2) Are you willing to be electrocuted?

       3) What will your electrocution look like both here and at home?

9. Title: The Kingdom of God
By Steve Murphy

Key Message

Here, we party with these kids; and they party with us. That is just what Jesus did, and
just what Jesus talked about.

Optimal Night for Talk

Shorter talk. Good to use on a night where everyone is especially tired from the
activities of the day.

Questions or Issues Addressed

Are we accepting of others who have different backgrounds than we do? Do we
embrace others as our brothers and sisters in Christ?

Guidance for Talk

Jesus’ Actions
Read Matt. 9:9-10. Explain the story of when Jesus ate with tax collectors and sinners.
Tax collectors were traitors, and sinners were ritually unclean. Both were social outcasts
by their own making or by someone else’s. Despite all of this, and going completely
against societal norms, Jesus ate with them. In his meal with them, Jesus offers us a
vision of salvation. Everyone is present, regardless of social class and means, eating
and rejoicing with Jesus

Jesus’ Teachings
Next, read Luke 14:15-23 and Matt. 22. Note that in Matt 22, Jesus says “the Kingdom
of Heaven is like …” Here, there is no direct comparison. But notice why people don’t
come to Nicaragua. Think of all of the obstacles you yourself or your group had to
overcome to get here. But you still came to Nicaragua

Relevant Scripture

Matt. 9:9-10
Luke 14:15-23
Matt. 22

Potential Illustration, Quotes, or Other Resource
None noted.

Personal Themes to Incorporate in Talk
None noted.

Main Takeaway Points

We have already taken a huge step in coming here. We already recognize that this is a
place where Jesus is present; where the Kingdom of God is alive. We have time left in
Nicaragua. Let’s continue to pour ourselves out tomorrow, in this Kingdom of God. Let’s
also start thinking about how we can continue this walk once we return home

Personal Application Questions

1) What is one way that you would like to expand yourself in the time you have left

Mid-Week – What We Can Learn While We’re Here

10. Title: How Nicaragua Messes With You
By Jess Jiao

Key Message

Being drawn out of your comfort zone can be emotionally and spiritually challenging, but
the Lord has a plan for everything and will never ask you to do anything he has not
equipped you to do.

Optimal Night for Talk

This talk is best for a mid-week porch time, after the team has had a lot of different
exposure to the kids and the community.

Questions or Issues Addressed

1) It can be difficult to figure out how your own life fits into a global context after being
exposed to extensive poverty and injustice in Nicaragua.

Guidance for Talk

To start off this porch time, begin with the following quote:

“When the statistics have a face and poverty becomes personal, that is what messes
with you. There are layers of separation that allows injustice to happen- don’t stand at a
safe distance. It is a beautiful thing when people in poverty are not longer just a
missions project, but became genuine friends and family with whom we laugh, cry,
dream and struggle. One of the verses I have grown to love is the one where Jesus is
preparing to leave the disciples and says in John 15:15 “I no longer call you servants…
instead I have called you friends.” Servant hood is a fine place to begin, but gradually
we move toward mutual love and genuine relationship.” (From “Irresistible Revolution”)

As a result of being “messed with” in Nicaragua, this particular trip leader experienced a
slight identity crisis. This could be similar to what you are feeling after experiencing a
little bit of Nicaragua. Maybe you’re feeling small, or that you are not capable of
relieving so much want and poverty. Perhaps you feel as if you need to do something
on a large scale – something great.

To begin to address this identity crisis or feelings of being conflicted, offer the quote by
Mother Theresa: “There are no great things, only little things with great love.

Next, read Ruth 1:8-13 and emphasize the idea of carrying heavy things. Ruth and
Naomi were challenged by carrying heavy things. Our own “heavy things” in live today
could be physical, mental, or spiritual. Also emphasize the following verses:

v. 9: Rest

v. 12 Hope: The conviction that there is something good in the world or that something
good is going to happen to you

Next, turn to Isaiah 59:15b-16a.

Highlight the fact that Boaz had to intervene, and offered rest through caring for her,
hope by redeeming her, paid her debt, and welcomed her back into the family. The
other kinsmen redeemer did not intervene – why? The other kinsman was afraid to risk
his estate – his wealth and worldly possessions.

You cannot intervene by staying at a safe distance. Getting involved and opening up to
others will cost you something, but it will be worth it. It is not safe, but it is worth it.

Go back to the opening quite and read second part of it once again. Challenge the
group to see beyond the barriers, and not to be afraid of “endangering your estate”.

Address the question of why is it important to intervene. What is the big picture
perspective? Ultimately, rest leads to hope. This week, you are offering the staff rest,
and the orphans and people that you have met hope.

Read Proverbs 22:18 and highlight that “Hope leads to faith: new you have a reason to
believe faith bring you to God.”

Relevant Scripture
John 15:15
Isaiah 59:15b-16a
Proverbs 22:18
John 15:12-17

Potential Illustration, Quotes, or Other Resource

Use the quote and the example of Mother Theresa.

Personal Themes to Incorporate in Talk

Invite members of the team to recount a time this week when they have felt like they
have offered rest or hope.

Main Takeaway Points

The Main Point: Offer and find rest. Rest develops into hope, hope blossoms with faith,
and love. Ultimately, to love is our command.

Personal Application Questions

Challenge the team with the following questions:

   1) Do you feel as if you have stepped outside your comfort zone and connected
      with others yet?
   2) What does it mean to you to “love recklessly”? Do you feel that you are being
      called to love recklessly here?

11. Title: Why Your Faith Makes So Much Sense Here

Key Message

Many of us wonder why our faith back home seems irrelevant or disconnected from our
lives. We go to church, pray, read our Bible privately and corporately in group studies,
but still our faith feels sub par. When we are confronted with these feelings we must ask
ourselves, is our faith in action?

Optimal Night for Talk

This would be an optimal porch time during the middle of the week, after the team
members have had the opportunity to experience a few days in Nicaragua and have
participated in the initial porch times.

Questions or Issues Addressed

   1. How do you see faith in action at home? How is it different than in Nicaragua?
   2. How do you enact God’s desire to have us live our lives in complete connection
      with our faith?

Guidance for Talk:

Begin the talk by stating that author and Pastor John Ortberg once said, “God is not
interested in your spiritual life, He is just interested in your life.”

Emphasize that all too often we keep our spiritual life separate from our “real” life as if
they were two different things. Your faith makes so much sense in Nicaragua because it
is working in concert with your life. Right now there is a seamless connection between
your faith and your life. Your faith in action is God’s desire for your life and that is why
your faith makes so much sense here.

We see this truth vividly throughout the Bible. Any Biblical discussion on faith is always
accompanied by action verbs. Paul writes in Galatians 5:6, “The only thing that counts is
faith expressing itself through love” (Italics added). According to Paul, faith must act,
and that action in its ideal form is love. Similarly in Hebrews chapter 11, which is
referred to by Christians and the “Hall of Fame of Faith,” we read that the faithful never
simply believed, but rather always acted in accordance with the mandate of their faith.
They brought their faith and their life together.

Read Hebrews 11:32-34:

And what more shall I say? I do not have time to tell about Gideon, Barak, Samson,
Jephthah, David, Samuel and the prophets, who through faith conquered kingdoms,
administered justice, and gained what was promised; who shut the mouths of lions,

quenched the fury of the flames, and escaped the edge of the sword; whose weakness
was turned to strength; and who became powerful in battle and routed foreign armies
(Italics added).

In merely two Bible verses, there are nine action verbs associated with faith.

Perhaps most notoriously James links faith with action. Sometimes it is hard to believe
that James’ words are in the Bible, but they are and we must take them seriously as
God’s word to us. In this first passage James poses a chilling rhetorical question
regarding the efficacy of faith: that must not be an inactive faith, disconnected from life.
He writes in chapter 2 verse 14, “What good is it, my brothers, if a man claims to have
faith but has no deeds? Can such faith save him?” The obvious implicit answer to his
question raises the stakes on this discussion of faith in action. We are not merely talking
about our faith making sense on a mission trip, but something much deeper. James
goes on in verse 15, “Suppose a brother or sister is without clothes and daily food. If
one of you says to him, ‘Go, I wish you well; keep warm and well fed,’ but does nothing
about his physical needs, what good is it? In the same way, faith by itself, if it is not
accompanied by action, is dead.”

Explain that action and faith should never be separated. Your spiritual life and your life
must be one and the same. Our faith feels alive in Nicaragua because we are living faith
as God intended it to be lived. You may think that when orphaned children are before
your eyes each day, bringing faith and life together is an obvious choice. This is true,
and therefore it is of utmost importance to keep the “poor” and the “orphaned” in full
view upon our return. The challenge is to continually surround ourselves with
circumstances where the need before us forces us to approach life by our faith. Then
and only then will our faith make as much sense back home as it does here in

Relevant Scripture
Galatians 5:6
Hebrews 11:8
James 2:14-26. (Verses 14, 14, 24 and 26)
Hebrews 11:32-34

Potential Illustration, Quotes, or Other Resources

The goal of Christianity as Michael Simone, senior pastor of Spring Branch Community
Church says is to “bring faith and life together.”

Personal Themes to Incorporate in Talk

Talk about a specific moment you have experienced in Nicaragua in which you felt at
one with your faith and your life.

Main Takeaway Points

The Main Point: Faith must be in action, and faith void of action is not really faith. You
can take the experience of living your faith in Nicaragua and successfully adapt your
experience at home. There are so many opportunities for faith in action

Personal Application Questions

Challenge the team with the following questions:

   1) How do you think you will try to continually surround yourself with circumstances
      where the need before us forces our faith and our life together at home?
   2) Describe an experience or revelation that makes you feel as if your personal faith
      and relationship with Christ makes so much sense in Nicaragua.

12. Title: Give ‘Til You’ve Got Everything Left

Key Message
Even if you think you should be careful with what you have left, if you give God
everything you have, he will bless you with more than you can possibly want or need.

Optimal Night for Talk
This talk would work well on a night in the middle of the week, after the team has had
some tiring days and trying experiences. It is a refresher and a re-energizer, and will
prepare the team for remaining opportunities to serve.

Questions or Issues Addressed
1) Am I giving God and the people here everything I can, or am I trying to save some for
2) Do I really believe that God will bless me if I trust Him with my efforts?

Guidance for Talk
Start out by defining “paradox” (Merriam Webster’s): “a statement that is seemingly
contradictory or opposed to common sense and yet is perhaps true.”

Then describe Jesus’ use of paradoxes, and the paradoxical nature of nearly all of
Jesus teaching. Read off the passages from Matthew and Proverbs, noting how they
are paradoxes, and don’t seem to make sense. Then briefly discuss how the Jews’
expectations of Jesus as a mighty deliverer was completely different from who He
actually was. The real Jesus didn’t fit with what they had come up with about Him. Most
could not give up their ideas, their way of thinking to find the truth in what was really
happening, who Jesus really was, and what he was really asking of them.

A similar thing may be happening to you guys after a few days of tough stuff. Some of
the things that you see don’t seem to make sense, and it’s tough to give up some of the
things that you thought were or weren’t real before you came. Most of all, you guys may
be really tired, and it doesn’t seem as if giving any more of yourselves in serving these
kids, in serving God is really possible, or will help you. At this point in the trip, things
may seem like they require more than you have.

[Then I bring in my personal illustration.]

When Jesus says, in Matthew 16:25, “For whoever wants to save his life will lose it, but
whoever loses his life for me will find it”, he is referring to this paradox I am talking
about: Gain (savings) = Loss. Above all else, Jesus wants us to understand that we can
give everything we have, physically, emotionally, and spiritually, to Him because He will
make it prosper infinitely more than it will iif we keep it to ourselves and try to figure it
out or do it ourselves.

So, for me it was my time (or whatever your illustration is), for you guys this week, it
may be your difficulty in understanding what you’re seeing and experiencing this week,

or it may be your energy level and willingness to keep giving even though you think
you’ve got nothing left. No matter what it is, God wants it from us, so that He can
transform it into something that is infinitely more productive and powerful. God can take
your confusion about what’s going on here, your sorrow on behalf of the kids, or your
feelings of running on empty and transform them into transforming wisdom, hearts of
compassion, and an overflow energy and servant wills.

Relevant Scripture
Mt. 18:1-4, 20:1-16, 16:24-28
Prov. 11:24-5, 26

Potential Illustrations or Quotes
Switchfoot asks it like this in “Gone”: “Where’s your treasure where’s your hope if you
get the world and lose your soul?” That album is called the Beautiful Letdown, a name
that refers to this paradox I’m talking about.

Personal Themes to Incorporate
I add the following personal illustration: During my past year God opened all kinds of
doors for me. But, I didn’t understand that I needed to give something up to Him so that
I could walk through those doors. My time became the toughest thing for me to
surrender to God, or even know how to. I hadn’t surrendered control over my time to His
purposes, so I was frustrated, tired, and overwhelmed. But, when I stepped back from
the situation I realized that God was trying to teach me one of His most essential truths
through all of it: Gain = Loss. The whole time I was thinking that if I kept my time to
myself, made it up to me, then this would satisfy me, keep me refreshed, help me grow.

Main Takeaway Points
No matter what we think we need to try to figure out ourselves, or don’t think we can do
ourselves, God wants to hear about it, and most of all, help us with it. So, whatever
problem is confronting or might confront us on the trip, Jesus wants us to lose the
problem to Him, so that we might gain what He intends for us to gain from experiencing

Personal Application Questions
1) What can I give to God that I think I need to try and save for myself?
2) Do I trust that God can take whatever I have and use it for great purposes, even
confusion, fatigue, or reluctance?

13. Title: We Are the Miracle

By Tommy Weiglein

Key Message

God wants us to be the Miracle

Optimal Night for Talk

This talk will help the team process a day where they have seen extreme poverty, and
may struggle with questions of why God would allow it (e.g., visiting La Chureca Dump
in Managua). The goal is for the team to recognize that God has given us the privilege
of being his agents of change in the world. If we feel as though he is not addressing
poverty and suffering, it is ultimately because his Church is not addressing these issues.

Questions or Issues Addressed

1) How does God really work in the world?

2) Why would he allow such suffering in the world if he is present in our lives?

Guidance for Talk

Share the scripture of Jesus feeding 5,000 people with only a few loaves of bread and
fish. Read the story as it is written in scripture. Emphasize how Jesus gave the bread
and fish to the disciples and they distributed it to the people, and everyone had more
than enough to satisfy their hunger.

Then re-tell the miraculous story with a twist.

Jesus uses the small sacrifice of the boy’s bread and fish and begins to reproduce the
food, handing it to the disciples. Instead of the disciples handing it to the people they
begin to eat it themselves, thanking the Lord for blessing them with the meal. They eat
until they are full. Jesus continues to reproduce the bread and fish and distributes it to
the twelve, but the disciples begin to put the excess food in their pockets and continue
to thank Jesus. Then they start to get annoyed with Jesus, and begin to ask why he will
not feed all of the people who are hungry while they are being buried by all of the food
he is handing to them.

How often do we live like the disciples in the altered story?

Relevant Scripture
Matthew 14:13-21
Mark 6:30-44

Luke 9: 10-17

Potential Illustration, Quotes, or Other Resource

Stick close to the story, placing emphasis on the twist in how the disciples distribute the
food. The bread and fish were not the miracle, but the disciples’ action of knowing
Christ’s intentions and passing out the food was.

Personal Themes to Incorporate in Talk

Talk about a specific moment you have experienced in which you felt overwhelmed and
thought that the situation is too big to fix or even begin to improve. Your experience
parallels that of the disciples, as they told Jesus to send the people home to eat
because it would take two years’ wages to feed them all.

Then, contrast your experience with faith. Be open to seeing what Christ will do if we
have faith that he has recognized the situations that we find overwhelming. Many times,
he has already provided what is necessary for change. It is up to us to recognize our
strengths and be open to Christ’s direction and purpose.

Main Takeaway Points

The Main Point: God has given us the privilege of being his agents of change in the
world. Rather than fixing it all himself, he has invited us to participate in his work. The
disciples understood this, and that is actually the real miracle of this story; that they
knew what they were supposed to do with the bread and fish. We can only imagine
what a rewarding experience that was to be part of, to be able to talk for year about
when they helped Jesus feed 5,000 hungry people with only a few loaves of bread and

Personal Application Questions

Challenge the team with the following questions:

1) What are bread and fish in your life, the blessings God has given you to share with
the world?

2) Are you sharing them, or are you hoarding them?

14. Title: The Emperor is Naked

Key Verse:
This talk can use a lot of scripture, depending on your style and the team’s maturity;
Luke 18:8 is the key message – God upholds justice, but does he have partners on

Key Message:
The Emperor is naked—injustice, perhaps like never before in your life, has been laid
bare this week. God is still just. It is entirely our problem that the world is broken, and
we need to actively respond, as God’s vessels on earth, refusing to allow His heart to
be ignored.

Optimal Night for Talk:
This is a great talk to come later in the week. Depending on what is emphasized, it can
be used best as a last, or second-to-last talk.

Questions or Issues Addressed:
      Why does God allow injustice in the world?
      What is our role, as Christians, in combating injustice?
      How should this change my worldview?

Guidance for Talk:
         I love to get the group involved. If they have their bibles with them, I get ten
people ‘in’ the talk beforehand, by giving them a verse to look up and read when I call
on them. If they don’t have their bibles, print out a verse for those ten, or copy it down
for them. You can’t present ten scripture references by yourself.
         I’d start off with the classic children’s story of the Emperor’s New Clothes – I like
to tell it in about three minutes: How the Emperor was tricked into parading through the
town naked, and the townspeople all acted similarly, as if he were in the finest
garments, until a little boy called out ‘Hey! That man’s not wearing any clothes!’ (or
something similar), and everyone was silent, because they knew they had been living a
lie; then I highlight the two reactions – they either love the boy for exposing the lie, or
hate him for destroying their fantasy. I immediately link that to Nicaragua. Maybe you
didn’t know these children existed – the lie has been exposed, they’re real; you have
two possible reactions now: you can go home and live like Nicaragua didn’t happen, or
you can stand in the midst of the crowd and shout out ‘Hey! The Emperor is Naked!’.
         Then I go into what that looks like as a Christian, and why we encounter so much
difficulty with it. The why is the important part of the talk. We know what to do, we can
come up with ways to do it; I’m interested in why it’s so hard to fight injustice.
         So I get a big piece of poster board, and I draw a ‘timeline’ through the middle.
At the beginning is “Now” and at the end, is “Future”. I get the group to give me a
snapshot of what’s going on “Now” with Nicaragua-specific issues, good & bad. Write
them down. Then in the top section of the timeline, I write ‘God’s Promises’. I get my
first two people to read their verses. Then state that we can trust God on those

promises, so the future must be something like ‘justice/no suffering/no oppression’.
Write that next to ‘future’. Then I talk about the bottom part of the timeline, which I label
‘World’. I get the next group of team members to read their verses – the ‘God’s People’
verses, and talk about our call to fight injustice. Then I talk about ‘the Oppressors’ with
the next group of verses, and describe how our aim, as God’s vessels on earth, is to
bring the future – the Kingdom of God – as close to the present as we can, not as a
heavenly second coming, but as a present reality. We are constantly in a struggle with
the oppressor category.
        From here I’d jump to the Luke 18:8 – and explain that God is not struggling to do
justice. He’s got that down. On the other hand, we are struggling, as God’s chosen
way of intervening in the world, to be faithful to what his calling is. It’s entirely our
problem, and we need to act accordingly.
        I’d end with the story from Mark 5, of Jairus’ daughter. Jairus is struggling and
without hope. His daughter is dying, just like our Nicaraguan kids are suffering. He is
scared and probably wondering why this is happening. But he takes ownership in it –
instead of despair or inaction, he seeks out Jesus, asking for help. A lot of the
oppressors tell him not to try—that his daughter is dead. But he presses on, hopeful
that Jesus can do something. And Jesus tells him not to be afraid, and the situation,
largely due to Jairus’ effort, is made right. It was Jesus’ miracle, but it was enacted as a
result of Jairus’ commitment to his daughter, and his hope that something could be
done—by Jesus. Are we acting as the oppressors, or as Jairus? If we act a little more
like Jairus, the future-side of the timeline is going to come a whole lot quicker.
        The Emperor is Naked—we’ve been exposed to injustice, and it is against God’s
will, and entirely our fault. We need to respond in a hopeful, action-packed way.

Relevant Scripture:
Mark 5:21-24, 35-42 – The story of Jairus’ daughter.
Luke 18:8 – The key verse.

God’s Promises:
Psalm 146:7-10 (or 5-10) – What we can be sure God does.        * These verses are for the
Isaiah 60:16-22 – What God promises to do in the future.        timeline illustration…I
God’s People in Action:                                         like to use a lot of
Isaiah 58 – What we are supposed to do now.                     scripture for this portion,
Micah 6:8 – Our call.                                           but I fly through it…if you
Matthew 23:23 – The ‘important matters’.                        can’t use ten verses well,
The Oppressors                                                  just use one  *
Ecclesiastes 4:1
Zechariah 7:9-12
Psalm 10:2-4, 8-11
Ezekiel 22:29-30
Isaiah 59:16

Potential Illustrations & Quotes:

“The struggle against injustice is not fought on the battlefield of power or truth or even
righteousness. There are pitched battles waged on these ramparts, but the war is
ultimately won or lost on a more forward front. In the end the battle against oppression
stands or falls on the battlefield of hope.”
                                                       - Gary Haugen

Personal Themes:
Instead of the Emperor’s New Clothes story, (especially if you don’t know it well), you
can use a personal story in similar style – maybe your first trip out of the country, or first
experience with poverty…some watershed moment.

Main Takeaway Points:
If the church were alive in the way God calls it to be—if we were alive in the way God
calls us to be—there wouldn’t be this devastation. Let’s come alive.

Application Questions:

Rhetorical, In-talk
   1. Do you believe that God suffers at the injustice of the world? (This is good if
       you’ve given a talk that highlights ‘Compassion’ as ‘to suffer with’ – If God is
       compassionate, then he suffers).
   2. Do you believe that God enacts justice “quickly”? (Luke 18:8)
For the Group to Answer
   1. What role have we acted in this week? The Oppressors? God’s Children? What
       about Jesus (as he reaches out and touches the daughter)?
   2. What role will we play back home? Read Psalm 10:11 – We know that God does
       not forget…but what about you? Will you forget?
   3. Read Ezekiel 22:30, and Isaiah 59:16 – We know that oppression is a reality, so
       God must be looking for someone to stand in the gap. Are you available? Better
       yet, are you, like Jairus, actively seeking solutions?
   4. What do you put your hope in? Is it God? Or the world?
   5. How does this change your view of the world? (With the idea that, it isn’t God
       ‘allowing’ these things to happen, it’s us allowing God’s heart to be ignored.)

15. Title: Between Genesis and Revelation Is Us.
By Dustin Holliday

Key Message
The world has been broken since the fall of man; it was not designed to be this way. In
the end He will make everything right again. His church, the body of Christ, is his plan
for making things right on this earth until Jesus returns and God fixes it once and for all.
Through his body, he brings hope to the lost and broken of this world today.

Optimal Night for Talk
This talk would do well in processing poverty, brokenness, and the orphans’ experience.
It speaks to what a loving God has to say about it and how he wants to say it through

Questions or Issues Addressed
  1) Did God intend for the world to be so broken?
  2) How does he intend to deal with it today and in the end?
        a. We serve a God of hope; so where does the hope come from?

Guidance for Talk
Begin by talking about the brokenness that is seen in Nicaragua. Talk about how this
involves the orphans and what kind of brokenness they come from. (Maybe tell the
background of one of the kids as an example). God did not intend for the world to be
this way. Read Genesis 3:8-13, the fall of man. Most people are familiar with this
passage. Most people have an image what this scene might have looked like. In verse
13 when God says, “What is this you have done?”, most people probably imagine God
saying this in an angry, large booming voice; like the voice portrayed in the old movies
about Moses etc. But when I read the bible I see a God that is full of grace and mercy.
I imagine when God said, “What is this you have done?” that his voice had more of a
sound of anguish and disappointment. God is all knowing and in that moment he saw
the entire future of this world. He saw all of the brokenness, the wars, the disease, the
hunger, every orphan. He saw that his son would have to die on the cross to reconcile
us back to him. He saw all of this in that instant. We are the plan for addressing the
wrong’s of this world until his return. Colossians 1:26-27. We have the hope of glory in
us. Talk about ways that we can take part in making things right; ways that we can
reconcile people back to Jesus. Our “hope of glory” rests in what has been told about
the future in God’s timing. Read Revelation 21:1-5. After reading this it is good to
expound and talk about wrongs they see in Nicaragua and how they will be made right
by God. i.e. “there will be nor more orphans”

Relevant Scripture
Genesis 3:8-13
Colossians 1:26-27
Revelation 21:1-5

Potential Illustrations or Quotes
Maybe talk in the beginning about your own struggles to understand suffering in the
world and how we play a part in it.

Personal Themes to Incorporate
None noted.

Main Takeaway Points
  1) God did not design the world to be broken the way that we experience it to be
  2) God has a plan to make things right in the end, and reconcile believers back to
  3) We are God’s agents of change in making things right until Christ returns.

Personal Application Questions
1) Do I accept that the world is broken?
2) Do I believe that God cares about?
3) Do I believe that God has a plan for today and for the end?
4) What role will I play in reconciling the world back to God?

16. Title: The Secret of the Poor

Key Message

Jesus provides a different definition of what “poor” and “wealthy” truly mean.

Optimal Night for Talk

After a day when the team has been exposed to the community’s economic situation,
the orphanage situation, and has gotten to know the children and community.

Questions or Issues Addressed

1) Why do the poor live in the fullness of generosity, hospitality, and graciousness,
given their circumstances?

2) Why would Jesus call the poor blessed?

Guidance for Talk

In Luke 6:20-21, Jesus proclaims: “Blessed are you who are poor, for yours is the
kingdom of God. Blessed are you who hunger now, for you will be satisfied. Blessed are
you who weep now, for you will laugh.”

It is important to note that this version of Jesus’ teaching the in Beatitudes is different
from what we are accustomed to hearing in church. In the U.S. many pastors use
Matthew’s version, which states, “Blessed are you who are poor in spirit… Blessed are
those who hunger and thirst for righteousness, for they will be filled.” Matthew
spiritualizes the virtues so that all can attain them. Luke is more specific in his language
as to who is blessed. The entirety of Luke’s gospel is suspicious of wealth and its

Why would Jesus call the poor blessed? Most of us pity the poor and feel sorry for
them. If we are honest with ourselves, maybe that is why we came to Nicaragua. We
want to lift them out of their troubled state. Jesus offers a different vision of what it
means to be poor. He taught that they are blessed and not cursed. Why? They know a
secret about life.

To understand the secret of the poor we must comprehend the meaning of The Parable
of the Rich Fool.

Read Luke 12:15-21to the team.

       Then he (Jesus) said to them, "Watch out! Be on your guard against all kinds of
       greed; a man's life does not consist in the abundance of his possessions." And

       he told them this parable: "The ground of a certain rich man produced a good
       crop. He thought to himself, 'What shall I do? I have no place to store my crops.'
       "Then he said, 'This is what I'll do. I will tear down my barns and build bigger
       ones, and there I will store all my grain and my goods. And I'll say to myself,
       "You have plenty of good things laid up for many years. Take life easy; eat, drink
       and be merry." But God said to him, 'You fool! This very night your life will be
       demanded from you. Then who will get what you have prepared for yourself?
       This is how it will be with anyone who stores up things for himself but is not rich
       toward God."

The poor do not build barns; that is their secret. They understand the fleeting nature of
material things in life. They know all possessions are only temporary possessions.
Instead of building barns to hold items that will not last, they cultivate community,
hospitality and generosity in relationships. As North Americans, we have deluded
ourselves into believing that the accumulation of material symbols of “wealth” really
matters. Because of their position, the poor know it does not.

However, the things they have to endure are not good things and oppression is not
something we should seek out to know God better. We can’t settle with the slogan
“they’re poor, but they’re so happy.” We have to be realistic about poverty and the
realities of living as orphans. People know they’re poor. They are not happy about being
poor and we should not be happy about it either. I am not saying that the poor have
something we don’t and know God better and therefore it’s fine for us to leave poverty
as it is. It is not ok, and we can help with it.

Still, who can better understand the nature of a God who was himself oppressed,
abused, overlooked, impoverished? The poor identify with a suffering savior in a
special way. They get it.

The secret of the poor challenges what we seek in life. We must move away from
seeking to be rich toward ourselves and begin to seek a wealth that is much deeper
than possessions. The poor suffer the most in our world. But through their suffering or in
spite of it, God grants special insight into His nature, which is to:
               1. Seek real wealth in community, hospitality, and relationships.
               2. These relationships are true wealth because they are an investment in
                   God’s Kingdom, which will not fade or rust.

Relevant Scripture
Luke 6:20-26
Luke 12:15-21
Luke 21:1-4

Potential Illustration, Quotes, or Other Resources

The playwright Arthur Miller wrote, “The majority of our lives are spent chasing after
things that rust.” Invite team members to offer their own thoughts and experiences as

The Gospel in Solentiname:
     Solentiname is a group of islands on Lake Nicaragua with a population of
     campesinos (peasants). There was a Nicaraguan priest who ministered there
     among the peasants and instead of preaching a sermon to them at church every
     Sunday, he had them over to his house for dialogue about Scripture. He felt that
     the gospel was written for the poor especially. This book recounts their
     conversations and I’d like to read a portion of it to you.

      On one Sunday, they read Luke 9:1-6. Could someone please read that passage
      for us?

      Now picture a bunch of Nicaraguans living in poverty—the people you’ve seen
      everyday since you’ve been here—sitting around a table talking about the

      Here’s what they had to say:

      “Rebecca said: …They are going to announce the kingdom of God and the
      kingdom of God is love. And he gives them those powers so that people will
      understand, because sometimes people don’t understand what the kingdom of
      God is. Many people think the kingdom of God is heaven, after death, but what
      they were going to announce was the kingdom of love among people. They had
      to make people know what love is. When they cured the sick and cast the evil
      spirits out of people they were beginning to bring about that kingdom on earth/”
      …A lady: They were also going to preach humility and poverty, and so they
      couldn’t bring all the comforts of home with them. They had to go without
      provisions, to give an example.
      Olivia: It seems to me that Jesus, by saying that, also wanted to tell them that
      none of those things were important. What they were going to wear they would
      find later; everything would be supplied to them. God would give it to them. The
      message of the kingdom was the important thing they were taking to wherever it
      was they were going. And good and all the rest, that wasn’t needed, because
      wherever they went they’d find something to eat.
      Marcelino: They were going to teach what they had heard, that we shouldn’t
      worry about what we’ll eat or what we’ll wear. But we should seek the kingdom
      and its justice, and that’s why they had to practice what they were teaching.”
      (The Gospel in Solentiname, Ernesto Cardenal. Maryknoll, N.Y.:Orbis Books,

Both these quotes come from an Episcopal priest’s memoir about ministry in small-town
Vermont. The first is about the monks in a monastery where he stayed for a year when
he was trying to discern a call to the priesthood:

“All of [the monks] refused to believe that “you can have it all.” In other words, all of
them were challenging what has become the virtual battle cry of “yuppie” culture in the
decade since I made my retreat. That battle cry is also the complete antithesis of any
notion of social responsibility, even though people who claim “you can have it all” often
affect to care about such things—why not, when “you can have it all?” Quietly, the
monks were saying, and had been saying for 20 centuries, “That won’t work.” If other
persons, peoples, species and generations are to have justice, no one can “have it all.”
There are choices to make and prices to pay for those choices.”

“The gospel always looks weak and under qualified. The Gospel always seems to need
protection. The Gospel looks as fragile as a baby in a stable, as fragile as a scroll in a
carpenter’s rough hands, as fragile as a family with a convict under its roof. And yet,
there’s no power on earth that can stand against it.” (A Dresser of Sycamore Trees)

Personal Themes to Incorporate in Talk

Talk about a specific moment you have experienced in Nicaragua in which you felt
wealthy or blessed.

Main Takeaway Points

The Main Point: The poor are blessed and are able to pursue true wealth, the Kingdom,
because they are not busy “building barns” or accumulating worldly wealth.

Personal Application Questions

Challenge the team with the following questions:

   1) What is your own definition of wealth? Has it changed since you have arrived in

   2) What do you think of American society as you compare and contrast it with
   Nicaraguan society? Do you think we can learn anything from the poor we have

End of the Trip – What We Can Take Back With Us
17. Title: One Life at a Time

Key Message

As the team prepares to leave Nicaragua, one nagging question looms large in their
minds and hearts: “To what extent am I responsible for what I have seen here?” It is
vital that you and the team address this penetrating question before you leave.

Optimal Night for Talk

This talk is most effective on the last night of the trip.

Questions or Issues Addressed

1) In order to break down the barrier between us and the poor that we experience at
home, we can consider taking responsibility for Nicaragua.

2) How do we come to terms with our responsibility for the poor?

3) Are we our brothers’ keeper?

Guidance for Talk

Begin by asking the team to think about the process of their journey back home
tomorrow. Explain that the United States has an eerie way of helping you forget what
you saw during your trip. As Tyler Tuite, an ORPANetwork staff member tells groups
“Everything you see and experience when you go home tells you that what you saw in
Nicaragua is not real.” The onslaught of messages that scream, “You’re number one
priority is you,” will bombard you the moment you board the flight out of Managua
International Airport. Emphasize that this separation both symbolically and effectively
serves as a barrier between you and the people who you grew to love this past week. In
order to break down that barrier we must be open to the idea of taking responsibility for
the poor we have come to know and love in Nicaragua through the “One Life at a Time”
sponsorship program.

God has much to say about our responsibility for the poor. According to one count,
there are over 2,000 verses of scripture that call Christian’s to serve and love the poor.
The challenge to take up responsibility for others occurs early on in scripture with
“Cain’s Question.”

Read Genesis 4:9 with the team. After Cain kills his brother God comes to him and asks
him a question:

“‘Where is your brother Abel?’

‘I don’t know,’ he replied. ‘Am I my bother’s keeper?’”

God does not answer Cain’s question. Instead, he lets his response stand as a
rhetorical question for each and every follower of Christ to answer with their lives. We
must all pause and ask ourselves regularly, Am I my brother’s keeper? And if so, how
can I live more fully in the reality of a positive response to that question? There are
innumerable methods to answer “Cain’s Question.” ORPHANetwork believes the best
method is to take responsibility for others, “One Life at a Time.”

Indicate that In addition to God desiring our lives to be the answer to “Cain’s Question,”
he also explicitly answers the question for us in the Bible. God’s answer unfolds
incrementally throughout scripture. It starts in Leviticus 19:18 where we find the familiar
command “Love your neighbor as yourself” and crescendos with Jesus’ world view
shattering interpretation of that verse in his Parable of the Good Samaritan. It is in this
parable that we find not only Jesus teaching that we are indeed responsible for all of
humankind but also God’s blueprint for how we should go about taking on that
responsibility in our lives.

Read Luke 10:25-37:

On one occasion an expert in the law stood up to test Jesus.

"Teacher," he asked, "what must I do to inherit eternal life?"

"What is written in the Law?" he replied. "How do you read it?"

He answered: " 'Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and
with all your strength and with all your mind'; and, 'Love your neighbor as yourself.'"

"You have answered correctly," Jesus replied. "Do this and you will live."

But the law expert wanted to justify himself, so he asked Jesus, "And who is my

In reply Jesus said: "A man was going down from Jerusalem to Jericho, when he fell
into the hands of robbers. They stripped him of his clothes, beat him and went away,
leaving him half dead. A priest happened to be going down the same road, and when he
saw the man, he passed by on the other side. So too, a Levite, when he came to the
place and saw him, passed by on the other side. But a Samaritan, as he traveled, came
where the man was; and when he saw him, he took pity on him. He went to him and
bandaged his wounds, pouring on oil and wine. Then he put the man on his own
donkey, took him to an inn and took care of him. The next day he took out two silver
coins and gave them to the innkeeper. 'Look after him,' he said, 'and when I return, I will

reimburse you for any extra expense you may have.' "Which of these three do you think
was a neighbor to the man who fell into the hands of robbers?"

The expert in the law replied, "The one who had mercy on him." Jesus told him, "Go and
do likewise."

This passage contains multiple steps toward living a life that takes responsibility for
others. When the Samaritan arrives at the inn he is in the exact same situation as you
are right now. He too must leave in the morning. However, his imminent departure does
not keep him from taking care of the half dead man. Instead of letting his exit
discourage him, he decides to take responsibility for the man even while he is away. He
cannot adopt the man in the traditional sense of the word, by taking him into his home
for good, but he does in a sense virtually adopt him from afar.

This virtual adoption takes place through the Samaritan’s commitment to do two things:
First, there is a financial component, which manifests itself in an initial upfront payment
and a promise for future support. Second, there is a commitment to continued presence
in the man’s life. Simply put the Samaritan supports the man while he must be gone and
decides to come back when he is able. These two components put together illustrate a
commitment to service that is not just one single flicker of a match, but rather a steady
flame that consistently shines light into the broken man’s life.

Relevant Scripture
Genesis 4:9
Leviticus 19:18
Deuteronomy 14:28-29
Luke 10:25-37
Isaiah 59:16

Potential Illustration, Quotes, or Other Resources

The popular story of the child and the starfish comes to mind. A child was walking along
a beach where thousands of starfish had washed up on shore. He began to throw the
starfish back into the water, one at a time. A man was walking by and stopped to
observe the child. He commented, “Why are you wasting your time? There are
thousands of starfish. It will never make a difference.” The child responded, “It makes a
difference to this one” as he tossed yet another starfish into the sea.

Personal Themes to Incorporate in Talk

None noted. You may feel free to share a personal experience in which you have
sacrificed in order to take responsibility for one of your brothers or sister in Christ,
whether financially, a single act of kindness, or via other means.

Main Takeaway Points

The Main Point: Ostensibly, the Samaritan does not do much. Can he really make a
difference through aiding one person, one day, with a couple of silver coins? But therein
lies the power of this timeless story.

Why do we continue to remain gripped by the Samaritan’s bold compassion? The
Samaritan, without any grandiose strategy, without approval from the elder board, and
lacking 5013c federal non-profit status, decided to take responsibility for someone else.
He did it in a way that was not necessarily efficient and may have adversely affected his
productivity during that day. But in the moment he acted to change the world in the only
way that matters, “One Life at a Time.”

At the end of the parable, Jesus makes it abundantly clear how we should respond to
the Samaritan’s example. In the words of our Savior, “Go and do likewise.”

Personal Application Questions

Challenge the team with the following questions:

   1) How do you wish to remain connected to the people you’ve met in Nicaragua?
   2) What are the obstacles that you feel you will encounter upon returning home and
      attempting to incorporate and process what you have seen and done here?

18. Title: What Do I Want You To Know?
By Joe Caldwell

Key Message
You matter! We belong to each other.

Optimal Night for Talk
Toward the end of the trip and is better suited for a trip where many people have been
on a trip before.

Questions or Issues Addressed
This is all about encouragement and belonging.

Guidance for Talk
For groups that have been in Nicaragua before, this is an option to get out of the
same old same old talk, yet it still addresses the core of what we want to communicate
to groups about responsibility and coming back and staying involved.

I tell the team that I do not know what the future holds and that having the opportunity to
speak with them was precious to ORPHANetwork, precious to me, and we want to
make it count.

So, what do we want you to know?…(Briefly go through some of the other porch time
themes). Summarize the following:

   1) Jesus feeding five thousand in Luke 9- He let the disciples participate and we are
      so blessed and privileged to get to know these kids and serve them. We have
      watched you be humble and honored to be here as you have cared for these
      kids. You as a team, as a church, and as individuals know that there is
      something special about this. You get it.
   2) James 2:14-17- Faith and deeds are inseparable. We see you living this
      experience out here year after year, and we are learning more about this mission
      by being a part of this with you and your church. You know this and are living
   3) Luke 10 – The Good Samaritan. You do cross cultural lines, you do love
      strangers, you do adjust your plans to care for people in need, you do give your
      money, you do come back to care for these kids. We(ONET) are watching you
      live these scriptures out and we are blessed to see you being HIS body! Blessed
      to see you being what Christ called for in the world.
   4) Exodus 17:8-16/ Aaron and Hur put a rock under Moses, they hold his arms up
      as he held the staff of God up in the air to show that only by God’s power would
      they be victorious. We want you to know that you can be an Aaron, you can be a
      Hur. But you already are! You are supporting and encouraging and lifting up
      Marlon, Imada, Moises, Danilo, Marta, Melida, Berman, Shayla & Roberto,
      Melissa Busby, Pastro Ricardo and Bob Trolese as they serve and lead these

       ministries and these kids. You are Aaron you are Hur, and thank you for letting
       us see God working through you in this way.

Here are two more things…

   1. We see God in you, in your team, and in your church. Here is what we hear from

       Romans 12:5, “…so in Christ, we who are many form one body, and each
       member belongs to all the others.”

             You belong to these kids.
             These kids belong to you.
             You belong to the other members of your church.
             The other members of your church belong to you.
             The “body” is HIS Body.

The body needs to know what is going on in it. It needs to have the information about
where to send energy, about what direction to go, about what is happening. You are a
part of HIS body. Communicate what is happening in your part of HIS body. The body
needs to know this information. The body won’t be healthy without this communication.

   2. You Matter!

Here I tell a story about Giovanni (one of the kids) taking a picture with one of the team
members’ cameras. He took a photo of his locker by his bed. Then, he took a picture of
the inside of his locker. Finally, he took a picture of the picture taped to the inside of his
locker of him with the team member so they would know how important they are to him.
Everyday he sees himself with them and knows that he is cared for by them.

In this example, Giovanni knows that he matters and that he is worth something.
Somebody cares about him enough to show up here and love him. It does not matter
whether his family did not want him, or if they passed away, or if they just cannot take
care of him. He knows that someone loves him and cares for him!

These kids matter to the God, who died on the cross for them. You matter in the same
way, and these kids know that they have worth because of what you are doing here.
You matter.

Relevant Scripture

Luke 9:10-17
James 2:14-17
Luke 10:25-37
Exodus 17:8-16
Romans 12:5

Potential Illustration, Quotes, or Other Resource

Giovanni’s story.
Personal Themes to Incorporate in Talk

(I put that in the earlier section)

Main Takeaway Points

You are living scripturally.
Thank you for letting us be a part of your experience.
These kids belong to you and you to them.
You matter.

Personal Application Questions (End of Talk)

   1. How will you communicate with the body when you get home?

   2. How do you continue to care for these kids?

   3. How can we help you in this process?

19. Title: Feeding the Five Thousand (Another Interpretation)
By Steve Murphy

Key Message

Pastor Tom (one of the local pastors) commented that after the hurricane of 2007 his
church focused on one community, and his church used the resources it had. This
reminded me of what we must do here, every day.

Optimal Night for Talk

The best night for this talk would be whatever night “One Life at a Time” is presented to
the group, near the close of the week.

Questions or Issues Addressed

How can we fix such a big problem with the means we have? How do we make a

Guidance for Talk

Read the story: Feeding the 5,000, John 6:14. Focus on the theme of the gospel: that
through what Jesus achieves, we know he is God. In other Gospels, Jesus takes the
loaves and fish and gives them to the disciples. The disciples then hand them out to the
crowd of people assembled to hear Jesus. This emphasizes that we all have a role to
play in achieving the miracle. Note that the person who supplies the bread and fish is a

Take a few minutes to examine the characters in the story:

Philip - He says that 6 months’ wages wouldn’t be enough to feed the crowd. Notice that
he doesn’t say, “a gazillion bucks”. He seems to estimate the amount of resources that
it would take. Here in Nicaragua we can see ourselves in his position. Wherever we go
and whatever we do, that voice in our head is telling us that the problems we face here
would take an astronomical amount of money or effort to help. How often do we like to
sit around and talk about a problem, estimate it; diagnose it; talk about how much it
would take to solve it, but like Philip, never take a step to do anything about it.

Andrew - notices that a child has some food; but automatically he says it isn’t enough.
We can see ourselves here, and that voice in our head. We look at the huge problem,
we look at the meager resources, and like Andrew, we throw up our hands

Child - Who was this child? He was probably a child carrying food home to his family;
you often see children doing chores like that in Nicaragua, His resources were most
likely meant to feed his family. Note Andrew’s comment: “There is a boy here.” Perhaps

Andrew noticed him. But I like to think that the boy was the first one to come up. Do you
really think that Andrew was scanning the crowd, hoping to find enough food? Note how
often children are held up as examples of faith. The child offered his food to Jesus. He
wasn’t an idiot; he knew that a basket couldn’t feed 5,000, but he offered it up to Jesus.

The Miracle
Lots of people talk about what actually happened here. The natural explanation is that
people put in their own food as the baskets passed. The supernatural explanation is that
God just changed the rules of the universe, and produced more food for the crowd. A
mixed explanation is that the people were physiologically satisfied by Jesus’ word, so
they did not need any food.

No matter what the explanation – note that there are 12 baskets left. This means that
the people weren’t just satisfied; there was an overabundance. Why 12? There are 12
disciples and 12 tribes of Israel. There is so much that baskets are left over so that the
disciples can now carry them out to the world and continue to bless others

Child’s Faith Children are held up as the example Here in Nicaragua, we confront a
huge need; we confront the 5,000.

 The voices in our head sound like Philip:
“Um, it’s gonna take, 20 years, highways, wells, and $32 billion dollars to fix this.”

Or they sound like Andrew:
“Our church has X amount. That’s just not enough.”

Instead, God calls us to be like the child:
To take what we do have, Offer it to him, and he promises that there will be enough;
somehow, naturally, or supernaturally, God will make it enough

And that is just what your church, did. You saw a need here. You knew what resources
you had. You offered it to God. And it is already bearing fruit.

Relevant Scripture
John 6:14
Matt. 18:1-4
Matt. 19:13-15

Potential Illustration, Quotes, or Other Resource

Theodore Roosevelt stated, “Do what you can, with what you have, where you are.”

Personal Themes to Incorporate in Talk

Talk about a specific moment you have experienced this trip in which you felt
overwhelmed and thought that the situation is too big to fix. Talk about how (if you have)
overcome these feelings.

Main Takeaway Points

Let’s do the impossible today. We see a tremendous need in the financial needs of this
community, the spiritual needs of this community, and the emotional and spiritual needs
of children from difficult backgrounds. We’re not idiots; we know that we have so little;
so little affection to spread, so little money, so little time. But God asks us to offer
whatever we have up to him. And he promises that there will be more than enough;
somehow, naturally, or supernaturally, God will make it enough

Personal Application Questions

Challenge the team with the following question:

1) Have you seen an example of one of the children at the orphanage offering what little
they have to another? Did it impact you in any way?


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