Monday, September 9, 2013
Saturday, August 24, 2013
Better late than never, I suppose. Nicaragua. June 2013.
Friends at one of the schools we visited.
In the village of Pascuala, painting nails.
Sharing the salvation bracelets, the salvation story and a prayer with new amigas.
My buddy and I talking about the colors of the salvation bracelet.
More dancing. More joy.
Singing songs with the kiddos.
I've never felt the presence of God more than I did during my time in Nicaragua. There were multiple opportunities every single day to serve, to share the word, and to see the true blessings that are all around us. After our time in the villages and schools, after our crazy back-of-the-truck rides, throwing clothes and toys to the locals, and after sharing our God moments for the day, we would have quiet time to journal, to pray, to reflect on the day gone by. God was all around and felt very close that week. He was there, holding my hand through one of the little girls in Laredo; He was speaking through me as I shared His word; He was speaking to me as I thought about my testimony and my walk with Him. I struggle to get that same feeling here, because of the many distractions of each day. I know He's always with me, and He's just as much with me now as He was in Nicaragua. It just feels different. But, every time I look at the pictures from the mission trip, or remember the children and people there, I get that same peaceful feeling again. It's easy to get distracted here, to place more value on a situation or an item than is necessary, to put something else before Him. But, when I think back on Nicaragua, when I look up instead of looking around, I feel what really matters, and I realize how truly blessed I am and always have been. Needless to say, the trip changed me. It forced me out of my comfort zone, to go and talk to strangers about Jesus and salvation in Him, to write and share my testimony for the first time, to give up the usual routines and luxuries of my days. Not only that, but I saw how uplifting the smallest of acts can be, from painting nails, to blowing bubbles, to trying to carry on a conversation in Spanish. And I've come to realize - besides sharing and focusing on Jesus and the everyday Joy that can be found in what matters most (my family, friends and faith), what else is there? My heart aches to go back, and I will certainly be visiting Nicaragua again next year. Until then, I hope to be able to serve and share and really see as He continues to lead me.
Let us draw near to God with a sincere heart in full assurance of faith, Hebrews 10:22.
Sunday, June 9, 2013
The Nicaragua preparations continue. After a group meeting about the trip, we were given the infamous black bag to fill with 50 pounds worth goodies to give away in the villages. Thanks to the Dollar Tree, and a quick run-through of my closet, I was able to load up the black bag with clothes, stuffed animals, coloring books and crayons, nail polish and hair bows, bubbles, stickers, and flip flops. I cannot wait to deliver these!
"Commit your works to the Lord and your thoughts will be established" Proverbs 16:3
In not-so-fun preparation news... I headed to the doc this week to get the necessary vaccinations and prescriptions for the trip. The doc informed me that you can visit the CDC website, click on the country you're visiting, and see which vaccines and meds are recommended for that area. I thought that was a pretty neat trick. After a tetanus shot, a Hepatitis A vaccine, and prescriptions for malaria and typhoid fever, I am all set to go!
"The Lord is my strength and my shield. My heart trusted in Him and I am helped" Psalm 28:7
Thanks to a new friend, I've gotten the chance to learn more about Google, more about the capabilities of my phone, and how beneficially the two can work together. We
visited Managua, Nicaragua via Google Earth and checked out the area... the volcanoes, the lakes, the city itself. It fascinates me how detailed it gets and how you can zoom right in... down to the city streets and neighborhoods! I have to say, it was pretty neat traveling to Managua before even getting on a plane!
"In all your ways, acknowledge Him and He will make your paths straight" Proverbs 3:6
Thursday, May 30, 2013
It's been a busy month, planning and preparing for Nicaragua.
Casey and I have been practicing our Spanish. And, although we remembered more than we thought we would, we still have a ways to go. We've learned there will be translators in Nicaragua who will be with us every step of the way. But Casey and I still wanted to brush up on our Spanish.
Thankfully, I had my brother to turn to, to ask about Spanish words and verbs and phrases that would come in handy out in the villages. Because of his hard work, and his many conjugations, I was then able to create a stack o' index cards, Spanish words on one side, English on the other. And the Espanol practice began!
We also ordered 4iana (For I Am Not Ashamed) bands (see below) to help tell others about Jesus in five simple steps. The bands came with small foldable pamphlets that go into more detail about salvation, in English and Spanish. Casey and I have bands of our own to wear and plan to give them out to the people of Nicaragua as we share God's word.
I have trusted in Your mercy. My heart shall rejoice in Your salvation. Psalm 13:5
Sunday, April 28, 2013
I have always wanted to do mission work. In a little over a month, I will get the chance to travel to Nicaragua on a mission trip with my friend, Casey. Early on, Casey and I agreed that this wasn't just an ordinary trip; it was an opportunity to serve others and spread the word. Knowing that, we decided we had to start preparing and taking the steps necessary to get us ready for Nicaragua.
We've started discussing and journaling Bible verses we would like to have memorized, verses we'd like to share throughout the villages, and verses we plan to use to back-up our testimonies. We've started considering our own testimonies and how we can best share our growth in our relationships with God. We've started planning out what we'd like to say about Jesus, his birth, his life, his death and his resurrection. And, most importantly, we've been praying together for guidance and to be his hands and feet.
Casey and I both agree - it feels as if something big is going to happen in Nicaragua. It's just a feeling we both have, and I hope it's right. What I do know for sure is this - we have the chance to serve others through Jesus and I cannot wait to get started.
I'll be blogging about our journey before we leave, as we continue to prepare, and once we get back. I hope you'll follow and learn something alongside us.
Be truly glad. There is wonderful joy ahead. 1 Peter 1:6