Friday, February 22, 2013

Thursday, March 1, 2012

Lenten Devotional

Mark 15:66-72
66 While Peter was below in the courtyard, one of the servant girls of the high priest came by. 67 When she saw Peter warming himself, she looked closely at him.
   “You also were with that Nazarene, Jesus,” she said.
 68 But he denied it. “I don’t know or understand what you’re talking about,” he said, and went out into the entryway.[g]
 69 When the servant girl saw him there, she said again to those standing around, “This fellow is one of them.” 70 Again he denied it.
   After a little while, those standing near said to Peter, “Surely you are one of them, for you are a Galilean.”
 71 He began to call down curses, and he swore to them, “I don’t know this man you’re talking about.”
 72 Immediately the rooster crowed the second time.[h] Then Peter remembered the word Jesus had spoken to him: “Before the rooster crows twice[i] you will disown me three times.” And he broke down and wept.

The first call of the crow  

            Do we deny the first call of the crow through our scared yearning to be just another person attempting to get warm by the fire, when what we know to be true calls us forward to ask something of us?   The feeling that we must act and think by a higher moral standard can be uncomfortable to carry out.  How sweet is seems to be a woman or man who must only worry about feeling warm on a night like the one peter was stumbling through, with no sense of grief, no moral discomfort, no responsibility, but as just another citizen in a society that holds numerous crucifixions.  Is that the reason we do not hear the first crow?  The desire to be normal combined with the weight of responsibility?
But it is the fact that our soul “weeps bitterly” once we come to terms with the meaning of our words, “I don't know him” which Peter says, that gives us a chance to follow Christ.  And it is the way we demonstrate our responsibility to the “least of these”, who Christ represents, that makes us Christen. 

Thought:  Feel the bitter affliction in your heart after you hear the second call of the crow and let it be.  For the affliction is nothing less than love.  Only it is boiling and thrashing as grace.  But truly know why it is there so we may learn.  Then, we know to serve.

Prayer: God, let us feel your grace in all of its intensity.  Grant us the humility to weep bitterly, grant us the courage to learn, and grant us the knowledge to serve.  

In your name we pray,  

Wednesday, December 14, 2011


Merry Christmas,

I truly hope all of you are having a wonderful and joyful Christmas Season. 

I would like to take this opportunity to give you all a better idea of my role in Nicaragua by sharing a bit about what I have been doing, and what I will be doing in the coming year. 

I am a Commissioned Missionary of the United Methodist Church, serving through the General Board of Global Ministry in a young adult program called the Mission Intern program. 

Through this program I have been placed with a Non Governmental Organization in Nicaragua called Accion Medica Christana (Medical Christian Action) or AMC.  AMC is involved in a wide range of work in the different areas of community health.  My job title in this organization is “ Volunteer Team Facilitator”.  I have two basic responsibilities; In Country Logistical Coordination for the Volunteer Teams and Intercultural Communication Support between the North American and Central American cultures during the visits by the volunteer teams to Nicaragua. 

To date I have been in Nicaragua for a little more that 90 days.  As a matter of fact I just went to the immigration office to extend my visa for another 90 days.   I’ll do this though out my time here.

Well, let me catch you up one everything.

My first four weeks were spent in Nicaragua’s capital city, Managua, with the objectives of getting to know Accion Medica Christiana, taking language classes, and going though the general process of immersion into the Nicaraguan culture.  

I then left Managua for a small town called La Dalia in the mountains of the department of Matagalpa.  There I was introduced to simple living conditions and a community of absolutely wonderful people.

I went there in order to work with the field team in Matagalpa in order to gain a better understanding of the work AMC is doing there.  At the same time that I was working with the field team it was also important that I establish relationships with not only the team members of AMC but with the members of the community they work with as well.  Gaining this understanding of AMC’s work and building these relationships with the community are both important in order to effectively support intercultural communication while carrying out my role at AMC as the volunteer team facilitator.  

My time in La Dalia, Matagalpa will stay with me well beyond my role at AMC.  I feel extremely blessed to have had the opportunity to get to know this group of people.  The amount of love and knowledge that was shared with me was overwhelming.  It was difficult to leave.   

A few days after I returned to Managua from Matagalpa I went on my first medical mission trip. We held medical clinics in five different communities in the department of Boaco.  This was an opportunity to see how an experienced medical mission team holds and organizes clinics.  During the week of clinics, I gained a learned more about the process of medical mission teams by participating several different areas of work.  I was involved in the team by recording patients’ problems, doing medical translation, and I worked in the pharmacy. 

This week with the medical mission team demonstrated how easily common complications such as diarrhea can turn life-threatening when simple but necessary attention is not available.  It was an eye opening experience.  
Also, when a man came to the clinic and informed the doctors he could not hear, I witnessed a nurse clean a lump of dark brown wax out of his ear that was literally the size of a quarter.  The man could then hear, and If I may paraphrase the nurse doing the cleaning, ‘it was Biblical’.

Since the medical mission trip I have been back in Managua for about four weeks.  I have continued training under my friend Beth Jerdan, who I will be replacing when her missionary term with the Mennonite Central Comity comes to an end at the end of December.  Recently, I have been learning about the logistical organization responsibilities of the job.   During this time we have been preparing for the teams that AMC will host.  We will host nine teams from the end of January through June and we are still hearing from more teams that would like to come!

And that brings us to now.  Purisima, the celebration of the Virgin Mary, just took place this past week.  From a Northern American’s perspective, the way this holiday is celebrated could be described as a combination of the fireworks of the 4th of July with a fusion of the gifts of Christmas given and received by a religious twist on Trick or Treating.

As for daily life,

I continue to be challenged.  I continue to overcome challenges.  I continue to struggle with challenges.  I continue to learn.  I continue to listen.  I continue to question.  I continue to wonder.  I continue to find answers.  I continue to wonder deeper into questions.  I continue to not find answers.  I continue to be an outsider.  I continue to be befriended.  I continue to be loved.  I continue to love. 

And at the end of everyday I rest.  My human being wrapped in grace.

Thank you for your continued prayers.  Your support is a wonderful gift.

Merry Christmas


Alex Devoid

Monday, October 10, 2011

La Dalia, tu hogar lo amo. (Your home I love)

Some different experiences:
As I sit here writing this in the office of AMC I can hear a roster crow.
I see at least three pigs on my way to work.
Every time my door is open at the house for more than ten minuets the neighborhood kids come running in.
(with there dogs)
When we have electricity at night it is a lot easier to cook.
My flatulences have subsided now from eating so many beans.
Barbed wire is a multipurpose wire used in many not threatening ways. (I walked on a rope bridge made of barbed wire and I did not feel like I was in a horror movie)
I wash my clothes on a washboard on saturdays and try not to get a sunburn in the process.
The men were rubber boots and carry machetes.
The countryside is even more beautiful seen from the bed of a truck.(but thats how I lost my John Deer hat)
I think cold bucket showers have put more hair on my chest.
Our outhouse has a bees nest that I have watched grow and I don't think they sell bee killer around here.
I can buy fresh tortilla every morning for 1 Cordoba (5 cents).
When the rain falls its hard to hear anything over the sound it makes on the tin roof.
I sang in spanish and english in front of a congregation.
I walk up a hill every morning to get to work and when I turn around I can see clouds resting in the valley of the mountains out side of La Dalia.

I see God in the faces, community, and beauty of a small town.

The past week and a half has been filled with different amazing and challenging experiences as I have continued to visit the different projects of AMC and live in La Dalia.  I spent one day planting coffee with some of the partner famers of one of the Land Banks and yesterday I led sunday school with the kids of the church I went to.  I have to thank Camp Tekoa for preparing me for that.  If only we spoke spanish at Tekoa haha. We played my favorite version of tag... ELBOW TAG, which I think is a universal language to itself.  But actually my spanish is definitely making progress.

The sense of community and social development is strong in La Dalia.  An example of this is that AMC holds workshops regularly for the pastors and leaders of the community.  In this time AMC gives seminars on different techniques of social development and social problem solving.  In the process they also incorporate prominent topics including climate change, community health, HIV, etc..  This is also a time for the these leaders in the community to get together and communicate different struggles and achievements they have been part of.  It is inspiring to see some of the effects of this type of community organizing in the relationships between the different community leaders.  

Thanks so much for reading.  I miss those at home and I continue to meet wonderful people in here in Nicaragua.

Thank you for your continuing support and prayers.


Tuesday, September 27, 2011

The first of a lot of things (including blogging)

Hello everybody!
I want you all to know that I am doing great and I am really loving it here in Nicaragua.

For the past four weeks I have been going through the orientation process at AMC (Accion Medica Christiana, the organization I am working with.) and I have taken a lot of language school classes (Which have been very helpful).  Along with participating in these two things, I have also been experiencing the natural process of integrating into a foreign country with a different culture.

As of yesterday, I left the capital city of Managua for 5 weeks and I am living in a small town in the mountains called La Dallia.  My purpose here is to learn about the different projects of AMC and what my role will be as someone organizing volunteer groups who will have come from various other places.

I am super excited about the next several weeks.  My environment has definitely changed once again.  Just to give you a little bit of an idea of what it is like here, I had taken a couple of bucket showers in Managua when the water was out of service, but here it is a daily routine.  I also get to use an out house. (It's nicer than the ones in the moves)

Today I visited two of AMC's Earth Banks.  The idea behind these projects is to affiliate with members of the community in order of provide a space where families can grow there own crops for consumption and so they can sell the produce.  This is a big deal because so many people in the community are forced to work for plantations or rent someone else's land for lots of money.  Both options are labor intensive and are not structured in a way were one can earn a living wage.  It was a great learning experience.

O yea... and I got to eat sugar cane right before I went swimming in a waterfall in my underwear.  I will upload pictures.  hahaha

You guys are great.
Thanks for reading, Thanks for your prayers and support, and I love you... tehe