How Nicaragua Impacted My Life by Shelby Hennager

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Our class recently returned from our Heroic Leadership Institute mission trip! We traveled down to the beautiful country of Nicaragua. Upon arrival, we drove to the base where we would be sleeping at. We were immediately introduced to the amount of poverty throughout not only the city of Managua, but for so many who live in Nicaragua. Sellers were running in between cars, desperately shoving merchandise in the windows, trying to get a few dollars to bring home at the end of the day. From small children to the elderly, we were astonished to see them running through the busy streets to try and provide for their families. One day we did an exercise where we teamed up with a classmate and were given 37 cordobas, about a dollar and twenty-five cents, and were sent into a local market to try and provide a days worth of food for a family of four. When walking around the market we were able to put ourselves in a local’s situation and see how hard it is to bring home food for your family with limited resources. This was a very eye-opening experience for everyone in our group.

        We got to meet some of the existing programs and organizations running in Nicaragua, one of which was AMOS. This organization spends time and resources training up local women in the villages to be a nurse for their communities. They provide them with supplies, training, and a facility to work and live in. We got to travel to a mountain village where there was a woman who had recognized the need for someone to care for all of the infants that were dying from diarrhea in her own village, and decided to be the solution. Nicaragua doesn’t always have the promise of clean water, especially in the remote areas, so waterborne illnesses are one of the biggest health issues in the country.  Being able to see how others in the world had taken their God-given passions and turned them into something was a truly inspiring opportunity.

        On our final week of the trip we drove to Bluefields, a coastal town on the other side of the country. While in Bluefields we were able to build cement walls at a La Viña that doubles as an elementary school. We got to partner with two locals that have been working at the school and church for quite a while. We saw the dedication to Christ that Pastor Norman and his wife Martha have had throughout the years, and how they live it out on a daily basis. We were able to invest in the children at the school by worshipping with them, performing a skit, getting to know them, and most importantly by spend time loving them how the Lord loves us. We were able to pour into the kids what they were needing in that moment, whether that was playing with them, coloring with them, or just giving them a hug. They really liked hugs in Bluefields…like, a lot!

        Our time spent with the children was the most impacting experience we had while in Nicaragua. Seeing them run around, working on school work, worshipping and everything in between was an incredible thing to witness. With so little, they were expressing an insurmountable amount of joy. They spend their time with those around them and not on things of this world. They care for their neighbors when they aren’t able to care for themselves. They spend time getting to know the Lord’s people, and live life in the community of Christ.

        We were blessed by our trip and got so much more out of it then we expected. The Lord is moving in big ways down in Nicaragua, and we were honored to have the chance to witness it.

Mary McKellick