Although this was my 4th mission trip through GlobalX, it was my first trip as a “team leader” which offered such a different lens to see and experience this trip through. Since I went on this same mission trip last year to Los Robles, I expected to have roughly the same experience…WRONG!
This year, I was able to experience the growth that the community had made throughout the past year. I got to continue building relationships that were planted as just small seeds in June of last year and see/ feel them sprouting every time I heard someone say, “This is Laura (pronounced “lah-u-rah” by the locals), remember her? She came with a group last year,” and see their faces light up with a smile.
Reconnecting with the locals was not the only great thing I got to do. Seeing the continued progress within the community was amazing! All the families that were interested in receiving a water filter now had one, countless additional floors and stoves were constructed for hard working, in-need families, the local cemetery that was started with my group last year already had it’s first loved one laid to rest in it, the bathrooms in the converted stables we were staying in now had real doors instead of just a curtain to separate your bodily functions and your poor roommate (ha!), most of the showers (sorry Stephanie!) had been converted to gas showers instead of electric showers…some of our teammates last year got to experience what happens when electricity and water mix…
In addition to witnessing the upgrades and progress within the community, I also had the opportunity to experience a different work load as well. I was able to lead a women’s bible study designed for many of the women in the community to come together for almost 2 hours of support, teachings, discussion, crafts, and fellowship (this was an amazing & growth provoking experience!), and I was able to paint a house with mosquito repellant “paint” which consisted of CaMg, salt, and water which I didn’t have the opportunity to do last year.
Although the aforementioned was very rewarding, the part that touched my heart the most this trip was the growth within our own team. In working with them for the last 4 months and seeing them grow as individuals and as a team has been one of my favorite parts of this trip. It was so exciting seeing each team member step up to complete a task that was part of their individual strengths, but even more exciting to see each team member wiggle and squirm to do something that was a weakness of theirs and out of their comfort zone. This looked different for each team member. For some, it was praying for the first time aloud or leading a morning devotional, for others it was relinquishing the control that they are used to having and letting the locals/other teammates take charge of a task even if it’s not the most efficient or productive way to do it. Some members grew during meal times trying new foods or drinks, while others learned the virtuous lesson of just showing up and the power that brings along with it. God works in sometimes mysterious, but always wondrous ways and one of the greatest gifts this trip was our Extraordinary Eight.
I have already re-accustomed myself to throwing toilet paper directly into the toilet (instead of into a garbage can) and am grateful to brush my teeth under clean, flowing water (instead of bottled water), drinking ice-cold water without fear of a stomach ameba and sleeping cozily and freely in my bed without having to locate the flashlight beside my pillow and tuck in a mosquito net below the mattress. However, the two things that I certainly do already miss is the rewarding focus and purpose that full time service gives your life as well as the playful, solid bond we experienced with our teammate “family.” A week of service in Nicaragua together will now lend itself to a lifetime of friendship and memories. ❤ ❤ ❤