Gray was one of a group from First Baptist Church of Eupora who traveled to Nicaragua this summer to help an up-and-coming church. This summer marks the second year a team from FBC Eupora have traveled to Nicaragua. And as part of that commitment, the pastor of the partner church in Nicaragua is travelling to the United States this week and will be at FBC Eupora to speak and get to know church members who have done so much to help his congregation.
“It is good for our church to see what our hard work has done over the past two summers,” Gray said. “Sunday will be a time for the church to get to know him and put a face with the mission. We will learn more about the culture of the community and maybe a few new songs.”
This Partners in Christ mission experience has made a big impact on all of those who have participated on some level, but particularly for those who were part of the team.
This was Cathy Embry’s first trip to Nicaragua and she most enjoyed delivering the Food Boxes and Bibles to the people of the community and getting to know the members of the church.
“I was so humbled by the experience,” Embry said. “God has blessed me with so much and these people have so little but were still willing to give what they have. The church members would give you the shirt off their backs. (It was) A life changing experience.”
This summer was also Bro. Cody Robertson’s first trip to Nicaragua. He said he was most impacted by the people he met.
“Nicaraguans are people with very little in possessions and finances, however, they are extremely joyful people full of faith,” Robertson said.
Robertson said at the beginning of the trip, he had great pity for the people they met because of how little they had. He said it did not make sense how people could live with so little. However, the longer they were there, the more he realized “that we were the ones to be pitied.”
“These Nicaraguans truly understood what it meant to depend on the Lord for every aspect of their lives,” Robertson said. “They would genuinely pray to God for food, work, healing, shelter, and so many things that we just take for granted. In praying for these things, they would have only faith in God to provide these things.”
Robertson said instead of wishful requests, their prayers become desperate pleas, longing for God, resulting in a joyful attitude towards all that God provides for them (good and bad), and an expressive worship to a God who the Nicaraguans truly are desperate for.
“The more I was able to know the Nicaraguans, the more God was speaking to me about the deficiency of my own personal faith,” Robertson said. “I pray that God would build in me a faith like the Nicaraguans, even if it takes me having less to know Him more.”
Lyn Blaylock said being with two of her children on a mission trip has been one of the most wonderful experiences of her life.
“Last year, to be honest, one of the reasons I went was because they wanted to go; I wasn’t sure I could send them that far without me,” Lyn Blaylock said. “When we got there and they kicked into gear, I knew they were more ready for this experience than I was! They had no fear in meeting the people of Nicaragua and telling them about Jesus. I, on the other hand, was more fearful in what I would say and do.”
Blaylock said her son, Parker, so easily began communicating with the teenagers and connecting with the children.
“I loved seeing him play games and interact with the children,” Blaylock said. “It was such a gift to see God use him through language barriers connect and bond with these people. At any given moment, I might look up and see him with a group of children surrounding him playing any number of games.”
The teens were more difficult to win over, but Blaylock said Parker did it with ease. She said even with his limited Spanish, he was able to communicate and become instant friends.
“I know he left Nicaragua with many new friends,” Blaylock said. “One of the funniest stories from this trip was when we were in a school room and taking pictures. Our translator told me that one of the girls told her friend to ‘pretend’ to take a picture of Parker and her so she could just stand next to him! Her camera didn’t even work!”
Parker Blaylock said one of his favorite parts about this particular trip was reconnecting with the people they met last year.
“Although it had been a year, it felt like we picked up where we left off,” said Parker Blaylock. “The Nicaraguan people are beautiful people with beautiful hearts. They are giving, loving, and Godly people.”
“I think it’s important for us as a church to realize the brokenness there and do whatever we can to aid them in reaching the lost of their communities,” Parker Blaylock said. “It was truly a great experience and I’m so glad I got to experience it with my mom and sister.”
Lyn Blaylock said her daughter, Greer, was immediately was drawn to the children. And that was no different from the first year, when she quickly found a group of children to play with and twirl around.
“From chalk painting to jumping rope, she loved on every child she saw,” Lyn Blaylock said. “She fell in love with little Anthony and often joked about putting him in her suitcase. Her laughter is infectious, and she easily connected with the children. I loved seeing how God used her compassion to love others.”
Greer is a dancer, and during this past school year, she learned how to dance a custom Nicaraguan dance.
“I loved how she had no fear and just joined in with the girls,” Lyn Blaylock said. “She loves so easily, and it was a pleasure seeing how she connected with young and old alike.”
“There’s something about the gospel of Jesus Christ, combined with sharing a single roll of toilet paper that allows you to truly bond,” said Greer Blaylock. “I like to think my opportunity to bond with my team was not only special, but rare.”
This mission trip was the first time Greer Blaylock had the opportunity to share the Gospel with the beautiful people of Managua, Nicaragua.
“There was something so precious about sharing that ‘first’ with my brother and mom,” Greer Blaylock said. “I was able to share this experience with them not once, but twice.”
Greer Blaylock said her mother has always been “the perfect example of a Godly woman.”
“She’s compassionate, generous, and selfless,” Greer Blaylock said. “Growing up under her influence has molded me into the young woman I am today. That’s why this experience was so special to me. I was able to watch her lead strangers to Christ the same way she had led me. “
And her brother, Parker, has always been her very best friend.
“We’ve done everything together” Greer Blaylock said. “This last trip allowed us to grow like never before. Conversations were opened up between us that allowed us to dig deep into one another’s walk with Christ.”
Greer Blaylock said these two mission trips were life changing.
“God used His teachings to bring my family closer together in a way that only He could do,” Greer Blaylock said. I am looking forward to more missions and sharing these missions with my family.”
Lyn Blaylock said seeing the growth in her two children was “amazing” over these first and second years of the Nicaraguan mission trip experience. This year, she said she was able to see God work through her “young adult” children.
“As a parent, watching your children witness and share God’s love is so overwhelming,” Lyn Blaylock said. “When we were visiting the homes and both Greer and Parker would step up and talk to the people and pray for them, I was amazed at how bold they were. God moved me many times through their actions.”
Lyn Blaylock said she considers it a blessing to have been blessed with experiencing this journey with her children.
“They will never really know how much it meant to me to be with them on both trips,” Lyn Blaylock said. “Not only did God use them to bless the people of Nicaragua, he used them to bless me.”
For more information about the Nicaragua Mission Trip project at FBC Eupora, please contact Rev. Travis Gray at (6620 258-3491.
A portion of this story was published in the August 24, 2017 edition of the FBC Eupora newsletter FBC newsletter Aug 24
This story also ran in the August 23, 2017 edition of The Webster Progress Times.