In 2007, Barry Davis and his wife Susana set up a primary school in Dolores, Nicaragua. Carazo Christian Academy (CCA) started with four pupils and by the end of the year it had grown to 16. They advertised the school in that first year only, and now it has over 100 pupils.
I had the opportunity to see the work first-hand in February. I flew out with nine others; in total we had a team of 16. We were there for two weeks helping with construction and teaching.
The Davises are currently expanding the school to take on secondary school pupils as well as primary. Their aim is to preach the gospel and train Christian teachers.
The school’s slogan is ‘Exploring the full potential of our children, growing up together for God’. 2 Timothy 3:15 is quoted on a board at the school’s entrance: ‘That from childhood you have known the Holy Scriptures, which are able to make you wise for salvation through faith which is in Christ Jesus’.
Barry and Susana are looking to make more use of the current school building, by starting afternoon clubs, holiday schools, youth groups, etc.
They have also been asked to help with starting a school in Camoapa, a beautiful place up in the mountains about three hours drive from CCA. There is already a pre-school up and running there, and in January they started teaching grade 1 and 2 children.
Arriving in Nicaragua, the heat was the first thing that impacted me and was probably the aspect of the trip I found most difficult. It was just reaching the hottest part of their summer when we arrived — about 36 degrees C. during the day and 26 degrees C. at night.
I was surprised at the types of houses we saw as we drove to Dolores from the airport in Managua, many of them very basic and poor looking. I hadn’t realised the extent of the poverty in Nicaragua until I actually arrived there.
Nicaragua is also a beautiful country with huge mountains and volcanoes, massive palm trees, amazing blue skies and gorgeous sunsets. I was reminded of Psalm 19, ‘The heavens declare the glory of God and the firmament shows his handiwork’.
I learnt a lot from the trip. One of the main things was God’s great faithfulness. I will never forget the way in which Barry and Susana constantly rely upon God and his faithfulness to them in providing them with all they need.
God has also shown me to rely on him more and to listen to his guidance. At one of our team meetings we sang ‘How great thou art’, one of my favourite hymns, which really sums up my experience in Nicaragua.
We saw God’s greatness in creation and his beauty and majesty, and yet he sent his only Son to bear the punishment of sin that we deserve. One day Christ will return and take us to be with him in glory. How great is our God and how faithful he is to us!
I would challenge anyone thinking of going on a mission trip to get out of their comfort zone and go! Barry said one evening, ‘Do you think Nicaragua is a dangerous place? There’s nowhere as dangerous as the mission field — you never know what God is going to ask you to do!’
It really is a great experience, although difficult at times. But an occasion for God to draw you closer to him, and for you to get a fresh perspective on who the Lord is.