We talked a lot during the Christmas season about the Sacred Forest, and how we expected it to benefit the kids in our Discipleship program for years to come. Well the blessings this property has brought to SuNica continues to expand, and continues to surprise!
What started as an idea to bring our CAPS groups from El Porvenir, San Carlos, and Salinas Grande together for a meeting…
(quick refresher: the CAPS essentially serve as a Public Works Department within their communities, maintaining and servicing their water systems to ensure things keep working properly and the water keeps pumping)
… changed from a simple gathering to a full-on group retreat once the Sacred Forest came into the picture!
Many of the eleven CAPS members from the three different communities where Turn On The Water has focused had never been up to the rain forest before, despite it being only a few hours drive away. They’d never experienced cool mountain temperatures, or seen the vibrant colors of the jungle in bloom either.
Over the course of the weekend, there was plenty of time to talk shop. The El Porvenir and San Carlos teams have had their systems up and running for almost 3 years and for 6 months, respectively, and provided the Salinas Grande team not just tips for during construction but offered social proof that the process will work.
But the Sacred Forest always surprises us, and while those conversations were of huge value, they weren’t the most impactful moments. Our team watched in wonder as this group of people who’d never met, who are well practiced at putting on a stiff upper lip when interacting with strangers (can anybody else relate to that?), developed a quick and deep bond over the shared experience of struggling for water.
The people of El Porvenir spoke of either waiting for hours in line to use the community hand pump wells or gathering it from the nearby river, with contamination present in both sources. San Carlos suffered every dry season, watching their wells dry up one by one, and praying they could make it until the rains returned. And Salinas Grande spoke of rationing water during the two hours every-other-day that the water turns on, storing it in leaky buckets and using bleach to prevent insect-borne contaminants from building up.
Imagine telling a stranger about your deepest fears and physical struggles. Those were the kinds of stories the members of the CAPS shared. Two of the groups got to tell of a triumphant conclusion, while the third got to dream of the day their own water needs are fulfilled. Their individual desires to bring clean water to their communities brought them to the CAPS, and through God’s awesome power they came together. It’s not often that adults get to share their struggles, needs, and dreams in a supportive group setting, and we were happy the Sacred Forest could help facilitate that experience.
And after a weekend spent bonding over those stories, they all swapped phone numbers for future correspondence and became each advocates for each other. The Sacred Forest came to SuNica unexpected, and it continues to surprise us as we share it and the Gospel with the people of Nicaragua.
Written by Justin Biegler