UncategorizedNicaragua 2012 August 15, 2012Alright y’all, as promised, here’s some details of the mission trip that we took to Nicaragua a few weeks ago. This post has been hard for me to write. I thought about it on Monday and Tuesday and just couldn’t bring myself to sit down and write it. It’s one of those experiences that was so huge and mountain top that I don’t really know how to accurately represent that in words. But I’ve promised you some details and some of you have sweetly asked for them, so I’m going to do my best. Today, I’m going to share a little about what we did while we were there and how we felt going into it. I was nervous about the trip, if I’m being honest. I was concerned about the language barrier and of course, I was feeling selfish about the time it would take to go on the trip. I’d been on some mission trips before, so I sort of felt like I’d been there done that. Chris has never been on one and felt very strongly about us going together. I went along with it, but was a bit more resistant than he was. Looking back on the trip now, I am SO THANKFUL that I went and that he encouraged me. It truly changed the way that I view our life here, the world, and God’s power. I definitely see why it was His plan for us to go and I’m excited to share how He showed us this. We flew into Managua and stayed for a night at the Christ for the City House there. Christ for the City is an organization that our church partners with for these trips. Each trip our church takes (they send a group four times a year) is in a different community in Nicaragua where this organization has seen a need. They organize and plan our trip with the local church we’ll be working with since they’re on the ground there. They were so excited for us to arrive and very welcoming. We spent the first night there and had an orientation about the culture, where we would be working, and what we’d be doing. The next morning, we loaded up the bus… …and headed to Rivas, a community on Lake Nicaragua that is three hours from Managua. We drove through the countryside and saw some beautiful sights. Nicaragua has many volcanoes and we passed several along the way. We also saw some glimpses of the Pacific Ocean, which was beautiful. Once we got to Rivas, we went straight to the church where we would spend the week working. All of the church members that we would be working alongside were there to greet us. I was amazed immediately by the love and generosity toward us. I had been told that their faith and generosity would blow me away because it is not something we experience here. They were hugging us, thanking us and welcoming us from the moment we got there. We started out the week by gathering in a circle, praying, and introducing ourselves to each other. We spent the rest of the day working alongside each other to set up everything for the work week. Here’s how our work was going to run. We brought several different teams. The first goal was to set up a clinic and pharmacy inside the church. The church members had invited everyone from the community to come to this free clinic. Doctor visits and health care are not something that they have ready access to as we do here in the states. Outside, we had two teams working. One group of men worked with a Nicaraguan team on a construction project that would benefit the church. Another team worked with the children doing a camp outside while their parents visited or worked in the clinic inside. We also had two guys come as a teaching team, but they did not work on site with us. They spent their days teaching local pastors about how to teach certain Biblical passages to their church bodies. After a long day of setup, we were ready to go. For four days, we ran the clinic, did construction, and worked with the kids. I worked in the clinic and pharmacy. The local people came in and were talked to about health and hygiene practices that are helpful in this area. Then, they went to a secretary station where ladies from the church took down their basic information. Here I am sitting with the “clinic secretaries.” Then, the patients went over to Triage to have their vitals taken. I was scheduled to work here each day, which I was nervous about. I have no medical experience, so even the idea of taking vital signs made me a little uneasy. The language barrier was also a huge concern. I did this for half of the first day and was amazed how much fun it was. I learned a little Spanish and got to interact with all of the patients, which was exciting. But by the afternoon of the first day, the Pharmacy was swamped, so I got moved there. Here I am counting pills out to fill a patient’s prescription. And here are some of the pharmacy ladies: I loved bonding with these girls. It was a little sad to miss the patient interaction that the other job had, but we really had the best time back here. We served the patients in a behind the scenes kind of way, but it was much needed. Here were the “exam rooms” where the doctors saw the patients: Yes, very different from what we had here. But it was amazing to see how well this clinic worked. In four days, we saw over 400 patients. The goal of all of this was to partner with this local church and assist them in meeting the needs of their local community. We came in to provide a physical need that these people have. Then, the people of the church were able to get to know and make connections with their community to hopefully meet their spiritual and community needs as well. It was such a cool experience to work alongside the Nicaraguan people and church for four days. At the end of each work day, we headed back to our hotel that was on Lake Nicaragua. It was so beautiful there. In the center of the lake, you see Ometepe Island and a volcano. We took a ferry over there to tour aroumd on the last day, which was fun. We spent some of our afternoons out on the beach. We had ourselves some fun 🙂 The work that we went to do was successful and fun, but it taught us so much. While I’m so glad that we were able to serve physical needs of so many, we made spiritual connections with these people that just blew me away. On the trip, they asked us to think about our highlight and struggle of the trip. I’m going to share those with y’all tomorrow.