Nicaragua 2012 - I need your help!!
Hello! As many of you may already know, Nicaragua has a very special place in my heart. For those of you who are new in my life or may not know, I began doing missionary work there for the first time in 2009 and attended the high school trip with Spring Branch Community Church three times. The trip is through an organization called ORPHANetwork, which has been partnered with Nicaragua for several years now. I am hoping to make it back again this summer on the family trip, but I need your help. Since its a family trip I am lucky enough to be able to bring my Mom along with me this year!
Now you may be asking what keeps me going back after all this time? And the answer is that I simply could not see my life without it. It has changed the way I think and see everything in life and not a single day goes by that I don't think of the kids and families I have met down there. Each experience has been so different and I have continued to learn and grow each time, shaping me into the person I have become today. I am now approaching the end of my freshman year at Radford University and have decided to major in Social Work solely based on the time I have spent in Nicaragua. It literally did change my life!
I wanted to share a brief story with you as an example of why this is so important to me: This past summer we spent a lot of time in a refugee camp called Nueva Vida which was formed after a hurricane wiped out a huge part of the country. We were able to put on a Vacation Bible School for the kids and served them lunch daily, which was usually their only meal that day. Often times older siblings were responsible for caring for their younger siblings throughout the day, making sure they received their lunch and were safe. While watching this kind of interaction between siblings is adorable, it also broke my heart. These kids were taking on adult responsiblities while they were only kids themselves. On the last day of the Vacation Bible School we celebrated with a huge party, and even got a bounce house brought in! One of the boys who was about 11 years old was caring for his disabled little brother who was unable to sit or walk on his own and couldn't play with all of his friends. I could see that this was really hard for him, however he knew he had a responsibility to his little brother, so I went over to help out. I held his little brother, Manuel, for the rest of the afternoon while he laughed and played just like an 11 year old should.
People often ask me how I know if i'm making a difference, and that story always comes to my mind. It was such a simple thing for me to do, but that meant that for one day he was able to be a kid like he should. He was able to live carefree, even if it was only for a few hours. I couldn't even tell you the amount of times he thanked me for the rest of our time there and it is truly something I will never forget.
James1:27 says "Religion that God our Father accepts as pure and faultless is this: to look after orphans and widows in their distress and to keep oneself from being polluted by the world"
By helping me raise the funds to travel to Nicaragua again, you are helping my team and I not only save lives by working in feeding centers serving children their single meal of the day, but you are helping us have more moments like the one I shared with you. With my mom and I both attending the trip this year, the financial burden is doubled so I am hoping to be able to raise the funds for myself and maybe even for her as well to defer the cost from my parents. I have been so blessed in everything I have been given in life, and it has become my goal to help make that possible for others. I do not want anyone to feel financially obligated to this cause, and if you don't feel donating is for you, your thoughts and prayers are equally as helpful. I can't wait to be back in the country I have grown to love and be able to share more stories and pictures with all of you. If you have any questions, or just want to hear more about the time I've spent in Nicaragua please feel free to ask.
I attached a few pictures and a video that you should watch if you have time. I did not make the video, however I believe it helps further explain our mission and shows some of the beautiful children I've been able to meet.