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.