Happy New Years. May your hearts be filled with joy as we enter this new year. Old things are over, new things are beginning. For those of you who are interest, here is something I just found.
Here is a story of how our work of love began…
Napoleon Villalta and our FIRST TRIP INTO THE DUMP! *over 3 decades ago*
Just after the Contra wars in Nicaragua, Winnie and I had some toys to give to kids in Managua. We were giving presents to the kids in the Managuan churches but they were already getting lots of gifts. We were getting pretty disappointed. Someone said, ‘ You should go to the garbage dump, no one goes there to give stuff away’ so we decided to visit. We were surprised to find a thriving community of about 250 families there.
We were told by others not to go because there were no roads, only mud and decades of sharp metal objects buried underneath. We were told that the gangs there were ferocious. At that time there were not ministries there, nor any one even going in there that we knew of.
I whistled down a taxi driver. *actually Winnie whistled, I don’t know how to whistle like that, much to my shame*. His name was Napoleon Villalta. Napoleon was a sniper during the war. When he saw me, he said to himself ‘this big fat yankee would have been an easy target during the war.’ He was kind of surly to us. When we asked him to take us to the dump, he got angry and called us crazy. He almost drove off. I said, ‘you’re supposed to be a commie, you should love and help the poor’. He reluctantly agreed, and charged us big time for his services. When we got to the dump, we were stampeded. AND we got stuck in the mud. It was mighty bleak there for a moment, and Napoleon was GLARING at us.
After we had given everything we had away, the happy garbage dump kids helped push us out of the reeking, stinking, burning mud with huge billows of gut-wrenching smoke typical of a garbage dump. I remember seeing thousands of buzzards, a man cleaning a buzzard he had just killed to eat, the pungent smell of burning decaying garbage and death. I also remember hundreds of ecstatic parents and children, and most importantly, Napoleon accepting Jesus into his heart that day. Napoleon is now a leader in OANSA Nicaragua *AWANA USA* and a member of Verbo Church.
Here’s a picture of Jose Napoleon Villalta Gutierrez.