Our beautiful city of Granada is surviving. You might say just barely surviving, but we are trying to get through this pandemic. Every day another restaurant closes or we hear the news of another death. People, for the most part, are staying safe. Masks are being worn. Handshakes and hugs have been replaced by waves and fist bumps. Yet the reports of midnight burials still persist. The hospitals are still full. We are still concerned.
I am not certain of the reason, but it seems like we are losing more people to other illnesses as well. Maybe it is with the heightened awareness of COVID-19 that we just pay more attention. One of my friends passed away this week, he had run a restaurant and bar a couple of blocks away from the main restaurant row, La Calzada. He was from Great Britain and he offered the best fish and chips that I have had in a while. As good as any London Chippy Shop. He also offered a place where foreigners, mostly North Americans, could gather and watch all of the NFL games during the season. Of course, he would open early when his beloved English Premier League football (soccer to some of you) games would play. It was just a good place to hang out with friends and Brian was a good man to sit and chat with during the timeouts or other breaks in games. He sold his part of the restaurant just before it was closed because of the virus. I had not seen him in a couple of months. I have not heard how he passed, but no matter what, Granada has lost a person who loved his city and his friends. Rest In Peace, Brian Running.
I have a puppy now. I think most of you know that. Like not realizing you are tired until you hit the bed or forgetting that you’re hungry until you smell food, I did not realize I was lonely until Coco came into my life. She is feisty, sassy and a great companion.
The need is still great here in Nicaragua. In fact, the physical needs have probably increased since the whole quarantine began. I get messages and calls everyday from someone who is asking for food or a job or prayer. We continue to feed families and continue to offer classes online. We take all the necessary precautions and are praying that we can remain safe.
In all of this we have not faltered in our faith. There have been moments when that faith, hope, and love are all we have. Every day, in spite of the pandemic, maybe even because of it, new opportunities to serve come our way. God is still working in this beautiful country.
Stacy, our UnoMas ambassador to the U.S., has a tattoo on her forearm. The ink represents the great triumvirate of I Corinthians 13 where Paul says, “these three remain, faith, hope, and love. And the greatest of these is love”. I am reminded of that everyday. Sometimes the only things that remain are those 3 pillars. My friends, those will never go away in this life. Hold on to them as they will be what will carry you through.
In the old days, sailors would be known to lash themselves to the masts during terrible storms. The idea is that if mast falls then all is lost anyway. However, it would surely be the last to succumb to the torment. So it was better to tie yourself to the mast than risk going overboard on a wave or wind surge. That is what we can do with our faith, our hope, and the love we have in our hearts. The winds buffet and seas roar but these three things remain.
I hope you are well. I hope you are safe. I hope you have secured yourself to those masts. I love you all. Thank you for your continued support.
Dios los bendiga.