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Bedford Police Chief Jim Day, along with several other members of Bedrock Community Church, took their faith to the extreme last month—backpacking through the hills of northern Nicaragua as part of a mission outreach in that country.
Their mission, take the gospel to remote villages in that part of the country in conjunction with Because We Care Ministries.
Based out of a mission house in Somotillo, located on the Nicaragua/Honduras border, that area is known for its crime.
According to Day, it’s a very poor country and the area they were in was among the worst.
The Extreme Team was part of the mission group that took on the task of backpacking to remote villages unreachable through other means. They took food, Bibles and toys and held church services.
“We were like the circus coming to town,” Day said of the attention they drew when the team showed up. “People would gather where we stopped to see what we were doing.”
Day said the food was especially helpful because Nicaragua is in the midst of its dry season. “They exist on very little for those few months,” he said.
Those on the Extreme Team ranged in age from 18 to 59. Day was the oldest. And he was much older than the men he met from Nicaragua. The average life expectancy there for a man is 54 years old.
Joining them were four pack horses to carry their gear and food, and a translator. In all there were 14. Though he’s in good shape, the backpacking experience still proved to be physically demanding, Day said.
Don Gillette, a former pastor of Timber Ridge Baptist in Bedford, started Because We Care Ministries with his wife Pam. Day said the trails the team hiked to the remote villages aren’t like trails around here. Many of them were gullies or creek beds, left dry by the lack of rain. He said walking or riding horses are the main modes of transportation.
And there wasn’t much access to electricity either.
Their first night up in the mountains the team ended up at the home of a man who had a solar panel in his home, the size of a computer screen. That panel generated enough power for a single light bulb in his house. That was where they held the church service that evening.
Day said people would walk as long as two hours to attend the service and then return home that same night, in the dark, after the service was over.
“It was an awesome trip,” Day said. “We had a good camaraderie within the team.” Jonge Tate, Bedrock’s Lead Pastor, led the group.
Meeting the team’s translator, Oscar Corea, left an impact on Day. As a 14-year-old boy, Corea left Nicaragua for the USA, walking and hitching rides for 40 days. He ended up in California and got involved with a gang there. Eventually Corea ended up in prison and after he served six years, was released. A jail chaplain had led him to faith in Christ during his incarceration and Corea had to return to Nicaragua when he was released. Corea now has a ministry that feeds 7,500 people each week. Day said it was no coincidence that he—a police chief from a good upbringing—and Corea ended up as part of the same team.
“That’s something that does not happen by accident,” he said. “That’s God’s plan.”
The team left for the trip Dec. 30 and returned Jan. 7. It’s the first missions trip Day has been a part of; but it won’t be the last.
“I’m going back next January,” he said. “It was a tremendous experience for me. You get as much of a blessing out of it as those who you serve. … Our job was go to and take the Word and let God do the rest.”
He said it’s important to obey God’s calling on your life. That’s why he went—and why he plans to go back.
“Not all of us can be preachers or song leaders. You just do what your talent affords you to do,” he said. “It’s something that I’m able to do and something I should do. It’s part of being obedient. ... Obedience, that’s the key word in my vocabulary.”