Vida Joven (Young Life) began in Nicaragua in 1988 when Jim Hornsby walked onto the streets of Matagalpa with a baseball and a bat in his hand. Nicaraguan kids gathered around Jim, and in his broken Spanish he began to build relationships with young people through the common language of sports. Twenty years laters, this is still the goal of Vida Joven staff and volunteer leaders: meeting kids where they are, in the streets or the courts, and building trust, gaining respect and developing friendships. Through these relationships leaders are able to present the Gospel and love of Jesus to these kids. Just like my Young Life friends do in America. This mission is worldwide.
Over the last 20 years, Vida Joven Nicaragua has grown into 29 clubs in nine different cities.
We had the immense pleasure of heading to Nicaragua with the interns from Sharptop Cove, where Mark works, and Windy Gap in North Carolina. We spent time in Managua, at the Vida Joven camp near Jinotega, and in Matagalpa. We fell in love with the Nicaraguan people and were honored to work along side them at the camp for a few days. We picked coffee, dug trenches, made a new frisbee golf course, and painted with lots of lead paint that I still can’t get off my fingers. We were welcomed and loved and stretched and moved and changed.
Here are some of my favorite photos from the adventure, all taken via my trusty Lumix.