Nicaragua Mission Trip - The Final Chapter
[This article, submitted by Becky Warner, describes a mission trip she took with her husband Daryl in January, 2016. This article is part 4. Read Part 1 here (Bible donation). Read Part 2 here (Clothing Distribution). Read Part 3 here (Meals, Care and Training for Children).]
In this final installment of our trip to Nicaragua, I could tell you about the huge cross looming over Matagalpa brightly lit each night reminding any who can see of God’s strength and presence with them giving hope to the homeless, hope to the impoverished, hope to the downtrodden, and hope to those who long for peace. It is maintained by priests who also provide support for their parishioners by selling the coffee they produce as well providing pastoral support.
In contrast, I could tell you about the countless huge neon trees, each either pink, yellow or green in Managua maintained by the leader of the country and his wife who believe the trees ward off the evil spirits lurking about trying to take away their power.
I could tell you the stories of the three housekeepers who care for Juan’s and Olivia’s house, where we stayed, when they are not there, or of Juan’s farm. We could chill you with the stories we heard of disrupted lives due to the revolution in the 1980s. We could tell you of the relief worker we met in Leon who is an expat from the U.S. and after living around the world, is now living in Leon creating a second career helping young men re-acclimate after being forced guerrilla warriors. We could tell you about the coffee plantation, the World Heritage cathedral in Leon, volcanoes, the dark sand beaches and… ooooo, the fresh, delicious, all fruit smoothies!
We’ll leave those to be shared with you in person. Instead, we’ll complete this series of articles about Nicaragua with our hopes for the future at East Church. The compelling lessons we learned from being in Nicaragua are two. One, every person we met shared a happy spirit, from the stranger on the road carrying a large load on his bike who had time to give us directions to the privileged coffee plantation owner who gave us a relaxed and informative tour of his operation,. The lesson here is that we in the U.S. are incredibly privileged in comparison, but manage to be unfriendly to strangers never making eye contact to acknowledge others’ humanity, always in a hurry to do something else, and thinking we are superior, more just, more knowledgeable, and more righteous. Two, people who leave their country due to war and violence are desperate and with few choices. Those who stay are changed and suffer unfathomable losses. They each have a unique story and deserve respect and support.
It is our dream in the short term that in becoming a deacon and a member of The Benevolence Committee we can continually experience and radiate the spirit of light and hope, perhaps by supporting one of the program's described in previous articles: El Ocote, the Church on the Hill, Sister Angela’s programs for the children, and the youth group that received Bible. Perhaps it would be by supporting the homeless and hungry near us even more than we do now, working together for a healthy planet, for gun and violence control, for the Milton Substance Abuse Coalition, and continued work in literacy. In the long term, we hope this work would lead to an expanded congregation, expanded community presence, and joy through the spirit for us all.