Group photo before our departure to Managua.
Our Mission here in the town of Muelle de los Buelles and in the community of La Gorra in the Church Perpectuo Socorro is coming to an end. Spending these past 5 days with the community has been a true blessing. Coming up to them as complete strangers but ending the week with tears in their eyes is astonishing. Seeing how close one can become to a community with simply helping in the renovation of their church, listening to their thoughts and their day can really make a difference. In between the laughs from joking around, nicknames to each other and the different slangs between the same language. We also worked together, digging trenches around the new walls and the demolition of old walls. Bonding together, not just as Latinos but as brother and sisters in Christ. Together building the walls of our universal church, literal and spiritual. As well as with my fellow missioners, bonding with them through breakfast after mass every morning to playing soccer with the kids from the block in the afternoons. I came with a personal mission on this trip, to make a couple of smiles, and thanks to God’s Love that was a complete success. I take this back to Dallas and so much. Memories I will keep in my heart and soul forever. As well as the certainty that one day I will come back with my friends to say hello and go to mass in their new church.
The missionary disciples of El Cacao enjoying their last day by visiting the river with the leaders of the community.
A homemade pinata made by a member of El Cacao community for Mario’s birthday
Words cannot describe what I have experienced on this mission trip. As I sit here and reflect on the experience and the beauty of the people of Nicaragua, I struggle to find words that could give the experience justice. This was the first time I have ever gone on an international mission trip to a Third World country, so I really had no idea what to expect.
During the trip, I assisted with the community’s continued development of a chapel. The work involved a number of different physical activities, including moving rocks, leveling ground, digging up tree stumps, and knocking down concrete walls. I was amazed at the love shown to us by the people of Nicaragua. The community came out each day to work with us, feed us, and pray with us. Even though I am not fluent in Spanish (have not taken Spanish classes since high school), it did not prevent me from building life-long relationships with my new Nicaraguan brothers and sisters. The Nicaraguan workers enjoyed working with a “gringo” that knew how to work with a shovel/sledge hammer (thanks dad!).
Today, we played a soccer game in the rain after our work day—USA vs. Nicaragua. At our worksite, we only had 8 missionary participants for the game. The community had about 15-20 participants, ranging from ages of 8 to 50 (clearly the odds were stacked against us from the start). That game was beautiful because the love we had for each other really showed. Even in the torrential downpour, we had a blast. Reflecting on this game, I felt God’s presence and began to understand more fully that we really are one body in Christ.
This day was also tough because I had to say goodbye to a friend that I made on the trip. Her name is Rayna (Raynita), and she is the six year old daughter of one of the Nicaraguan cooks at our sleep site. I saw her almost every morning and evening since arriving at the community. Rayna enjoys playing games and dancing (with an emphasis on dancing). Every morning and evening, she would find me during meals so we could dance and play together. Feeling God’s unconditional love through a child is such an amazing gift, and she is someone that I will always keep in my thoughts and prayers.
I took so much away from this trip. I felt God’s presence here in such a deep and profound way. It was a truly life-changing experience. I received so much more from the people of Nicaragua than I could have ever possibly given them. The relationships built with the people of Nicaragua and my fellow missionaries are something that I will cherish the rest of my life.
The pursuit of happiness. Estoy muy feliz aque en Nicaragua… I am very happy here in Nicaragua and the reason is because we encountered real human love and God’s unconditional love with complete strangers. If you haven’t figured out what the definition of true happiness is, it is this: True happiness is found in the mutual exchange of love from one another. Simple, yes? The ability of loving one another is one side and the other is through the receiving of love. Things or a profession can never love you back as great as a real human person with a soul can. The Beatles were definitely right when they said, “all you need is love” because these Nicaraguan locals almost literally have nothing, but they give so much to us both in relationships and small earthly goods. Even if I never come back, I will forever remember the faces etched in my minds and the love these strangers have shown. I love these strangers infinitely more than any stranger I have ever encountered before because of this, and may I add that my Spanish is horrible haha, so you can do it too!
Anything is possible with God’s love in your heart. It is a universal language that everyone can comprehend, and the question that you need to ask yourself is: “Do I know and use this universal language of love?” You who are reading this are strangers to me, but I love you. I love you. I love you… For the Father himself commanded us to love as he has loved us.
Thank you and God Bless!