Showing posts with label Nicaragua. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Nicaragua. Show all posts

Wednesday, August 22, 2012

To Nicaragua and back.

As you know, I recently went on a mission trip to Managua, Nicaragua. Last summer I had an opportunity to go with a team from TX. Click here to read about that experience and get a bit of background info.

Anyway, this trip was super unique because it was not a “typical team.” Not only was it a women’s team, but it was also an individual team. Meaning that our group did not know each other in advance! We all met for the first time at the airport in Managua. Well, some of us met in Houston, but still. You get it.

It was an AMAZING experience. We were thrown into a situation where we needed to completely trust God and trust each other. Talk about bonding and making new friends fast!

The team

In Managua we serve in the city dump. There is an entire community within the city dump, La Chureca. Forward Edge has built a home for girls called Villa Esperanza. This home is a safe haven for girls God has rescued from the Dump through FEI. In La Chureca teenage girls are at risk. They are threatened by the garbage truck drivers, abuse, drug use etc. Many parents sell their daughters as young as 12 and 13 into prostitution either for money or for the first pick of garbage.

This team not only served women and children from La Chureca, but from other communities as well. Time was spent sharing stories, praying and pouring into each other.  We spent time at Villa Esperanza, a “new dump” in an area called Tipitapa, as well as at the children’s hospital.

This truly was a heart changing experience. Whether the team was bonding with those who are living in La Chureca or praying with the parents who have children in the hospital, relationships were built and time was dedicated to laughing, hugging and praying.

So many people think of mission trips and their minds automatically jump to “building something.” Well, we did just that. We built relationships. That was the mission, to share love, joy and Jesus.

This trip was extra special because I was there with my mom! It was beyond amazing to have my mom on this team. She was certainly out of her comfort zone, and it was incredible to watch her completely trust the Lord. She fully broke through any hesitations she may have had and she went for it! Her story isn’t mine to tell, so you should ask her about the experience yourself!

Here are some photos of the trip:

Manis, pedis and bracelet making at The Villa

My mom and Jane. Jane is like a second mother to me! You can imagine how special it was to have her there too. Not to make them sound old… but they have been friends for 40 years!

Playing with kids from La Chureca

Yard work at the Children's Hospital

Praying for the director of the Children's Hospital

My girls Kenia and Luisa. I love them so much! It has been a gift to see them change since they first started living at The Villa. The first time I met Luisa she wouldn't talk to anyone, now she doesn't hesitate to share how God has changed her heart. These girls and I DANCED! We danced and danced. They are my sisters. 

Kenia on the left, Luisa on the right

Perla and my mom dancing

If you read the post from last year, you will read about Perla. The day after we got there I was sitting by her at church and I told her that my mom was on this team. During the week, It became clear to me that she wanted to seek out my mom to show her love!  

If you have any questions about FEI, Managua or how to look so sweaty and haggard do not hesitate to ask! 

Friday, August 03, 2012

Adios! I'm off to Nicaragua.

Okay friends, I will see you in a bit. I am off to Nicaragua!! It is going to be a fantastic trip. Try not to miss me too much!

The day after I get back there is another wedding. This one includes out of town college friends. Yes, I will be dealing with travel sickness and exhaustion. So after the festivities I will be sleeping. Posting is not going to be a priority. Don’t be sad.

I will have a lot to share when I return. So get ready for it!


Thursday, August 11, 2011

Perla, mi amiga y mi hermana.

Another life changing experience for the books.

I love the company I work for. I was blessed with an amazing job. I do admin and it obviously gets tedious but recently I had the opportunity to go to Nicaragua with one of the mission teams. This trip was extra special because not only did I need it in my personal life, but I also needed it in my job. I am now better at my job because I went. I know about being on location and I was refreshed in knowing that the tedious tasks I do in the office actually have a purpose.

The organization I work for sends short-term mission teams to developing countries and have local partnerships all over the world.  I work in the teams department and specifically work with group leaders, team facilitators and our field staff. I assist all of our Team coordinators and help get teams out the door and to location.

I had the opportunity to go to Managua and Leon Nicaragua. I went with one of our repeat teams that annually go on a specialty trip. They go north to an area called Leon, a poor more rural area where they serve at a local church and in the community. We camped for 5 days in the hottest region of Nicaragua during rainy season. It was um… challenging, but also an amazing experience that definitely took me out of my comfort zone. 

That is the thing about comfort zones though. Doesn't God want us outside our comfort zones all the time? If we are truly serving the Lord shouldn't we always be required to be a little uncomfortable? If there is no feeling of uncertainty how are we really trusting God with our lives?

Anyway, back to Leon.
Note: Rain in Nicaragua is not as friendly as it is here in Oregon.  Yes, it is hot as it rains in Nicaragua, but the rain also comes down in sheets.  These aren't just big drops. If it started raining while we were trying to have a discussion we would have to give up. Seriously buckets of rain ricocheting off of the tin roofs.

Some awesome camping stories came out of this trip.  I am not the strongest of campers… to say the least.  I am used to fluffy camping in the NW where there are bathrooms and showers, and if not showers at least a lake or river to feel clean (and NW camping is sometimes a struggle for me).  I was pushed and God used it to help me bond with other team members who were in the same boat.  I don’t like being smelly… but at least we all smelled. I was forced to become familiar with, what we like to call, “baby-wipe bathing.” Basically we all smelled like B.O., baby butts, sunscreen and bug spray.

Our camp
One of our work sites
The kitchen where our AMAZING food was cooked. How they made those delicious meals over a fire is beyond me.

The team was fantastic! They have been coming to this community for a number of years and members of the community couldn’t wait to greet their old friends. We did a medical clinic, VBS, and one of our team members, Patricia, taught a quilting class to the women of the church. The women were captivated by Patricia. I will just let the pictures speak for themselves.
Cuddles with the kiddos.
FEI Staff hanging out in the medical clinic.
The kids just wanted to hang out. No effort needed. But a game or two always helps.
Patricia with her dear friend in Leon.
Patricia and her quilting class.
This woman and her husband have been married for over 60 years.

Leaving Leon with tearful goodbyes.
As amazing as my time in Leon was, my time in Managua was even more impactful.

In Managua we serve in the city dump. There is an entire community within the city dump, La Chureca. We have a home for girls in Managua called Villa Esperanza. This home is a safe haven for girls that God has rescued from the Dump through FEI. In La Chureca teenage girls are at risk. They are threatened by the garbage truck drivers, abuse, drug use etc. Many parents encourage their daughters as young as 12 and 13 to sell their bodies to the drivers for money or for the first pick of garbage.

Recently we had a photographer (Marianne Bach) take photos of La Chureca. Here are a few.

A home in the dump.
Heading to work to collect trash.
The girls that we house in the Villa Esperanza (village of hope) are the most amazing girls I have ever met. They have so much spirit and joy, yet they come from dyer circumstances. (Shameless plug: Click to sponsor a child!)
Lindsay, our child sponsorship director, with all of the girls living at the Villa.

The most meaningful relationship I built was with Perla. Perla is the oldest girl living at the Villa. Knowing her story, spending time with her, and developing a true friendship with her changed me. I have gone on mission trips before. Never on those trips did I connect with another individual near my age as an equal and sister. We talked (with difficulty due to the language barrier) like I would talk with any of my friends, or how I talk to my cheerleaders. It wasn’t a kid at VBS or a woman my senior. It was a teenager who could be my younger sister.
A portrait of Perla. (Taken by Marianne)

On the last night in Managua we had dinner with the girls. At the end of dinner Gloria, the Villa director, welcomed us to go pray for the girls and shared that the girls may pray for us as well. Immediately, Perla stood up and walked over to me. She came over and began praying for me in Spanish. I immediately burst into tears. It was so incredibly powerful. I then tearfully prayed for her. (I mean ugly cry) We sat there crying, hugging and holding hands until the girls were excused to go back to their houses.
Right after all of the praying and crying. I love her!

My trip to Nicaragua was wonderful and there are a lot of things I am leaving out. Actually, I pretty much left out all of the funny things because the serious ones just seemed more important. I have no idea what my future holds. It is easy for me to want to be in control and need to know what is next. But that’s not my job it’s His.

Does the clay say to a potter, "What are you making?" Isaiah 45:9