I honestly can’t believe I am typing up my blog for our last country, Nicaragua. These past two months have flown by. I was a little burnt out heading into Nicaragua. I was still battling the end part of my sickness, I had so many mixed emotions about it being our last stop, and I was extremely tired from all the traveling. However, I loved this country and these people. God touched my heart in big ways this week.
Going into Nicaragua, our team doubled in size. At first I thought that was going to be weird having twice as many people to serve alongside. We have gotten pretty close with the solid five girls who have traveled the whole way. But it was a huge blessing. I was so encouraged to have those extra hands and feet, and they totally lifted us up and really gave us a fresh wind of excitement for this last country. Which was all of our prayer, that we would be able to finish the race strong and not be too tired to serve.
This country we basically just served the church we were staying with. We went door to door to pray for members of the community and church that they knew were sick. We got to minister and play with children in a rough neighborhood. We led worship, gave testimonies and sermons, did skits, hung out at a disability school and met a lot of amazing children, went to an elderly home, danced for hours praising the Lord, and just loved on the people of Nicaragua.
One day that really stands out, we went to different city to help this other church and pray with some of their members. We went around to five houses that day. Every house were divine appointments and God definitely had a reason for us being there. However, the fourth house touched all of our hearts tremendously. It was a small family of three, and the daughter, Valeska, had cerebral palsy. Through our translator, the mother was able to brokenly explain to us her daughter’s condition and the prayers needed. Then she said that the family as a whole were going through a rough time and just needed our prayers. She said she didn’t want to tell us specifics, but just to pray. But a little later as she continued to talk, she began to cry and tell us how the community around them and all of their neighbors were talking bad about their family. Specifically they all blamed her, the mother, for her daughter’s disease and said it was all her fault that Valeska was born that way. It broke my heart. This woman telling us, perfect strangers, her deepest, darkest hurt and us knowing that as a parent, Satan has already tried to attack her with that lie. She definitely doesn’t need other people spreading it. Valeska’s mom told us how Valeska had woken up super early that morning knowing that we were all coming to see her and to pray with her. It just so confirmed what God had us doing. It made a difference. No matter how small it seemed, or how little of time it took.
One of my favorite parts about Nicaragua were the church services. And there were many of them, for many hours. But it was so great. These people genuinely loved the Lord and they expressed it in every way they could think of. There were dancers dancing with ribbons and scarves. There was a guy blowing a horn in praise. There was jumping and running around, shouting, and fist pumps. It was a celebration. Which is how we should worship our Lord. Our God is great, and so worthy of our praise. Why wouldn’t we do everything in our ability to express to Him how much He means to us. It really just showed me true worship.
One afternoon, we all went down to the river. There were some teenagers who were getting baptized. All that morning and afternoon, I felt God tugging on my heart. At first I didn’t realize what exactly it was about, but then I heard it. God was speaking to me to be baptized again too. I was baptized when I was six years old. However, since then I’ve definitely had points in my life where I wasn’t living out what I said I believed in. And I was living for myself. I don’t believe baptism is something I needed to do for me to be closer to God or to confirm my salvation. But, God was wanting me to just officially bury that old me in the watery grave. Let go of all I used to be. And as a declaration of my surrender, do it in front of a group of people. So, I was baptized in the river flowing through the mountains of Somoto, Nicaragua. And it was a defining moment in my life and one I will always remember. This entire trip has been a huge growth process, and it couldn’t have been a better placed timing.
All in all, Nicaragua was amazing. There’s no way I can express everything I experienced and saw in these few words. All I know is that, God is so good. God is so big. And He’s always in control. His ways are higher than mine, and He works out good for all those who love Him.
As I enter into these next few days of debrief, I pray that God would further reveal and highlight things He’s taught me this trip. And that I take away a bunch of things that I can apply to my life. It’s done. My life is officially changed. I will never be the same again. Just continue to pray for these days of rest, prayer, and reflection that we have to really look and dive into what God has done in our hearts these two months. Thank you to everyone who’s continued to pray and support me while I’ve been away. I’ve definitely felt it.