Monday, July 14, 2014

Home is where the heart is... sort of.

I've been home from Nicaragua for just over a week.
My brain, my heart, my thoughts... they're all still a wreck.

This re-entry stuff is no joke!
As much as I love my home and my family, I bawled when I had to leave Nicaragua. I mean, full on ugly cry.
I can usually compose myself and not go there. But I did. In public. I went into the ugly cry.

I'd read that re-entry after a mission trip can be hard.
The rest of our team has each other in Texas. They attend church together, live in the same community, go to Sunday school classes together.
They can talk and share and commiserate.
Meanwhile over here in Kansas I'm flying solo. Trying to process. Trying to comprehend what I saw. Reliving what I tasted, heard, felt, and smelled.
Trying to understand why I was sent. (I'm certainly not whining or complaining about it. Just sharing my heart. I can text and email with my team members easily enough, thankfully.)

Nicaragua is the second poorest country, falling only behind Haiti.
Nicaragua is second in human trafficking, falling only behind Thailand.
These are not badges of honor.
It is Goliath. And I'm a little David.
What can I do? Other than pick up tiny pebbles and start to have faith.

I'm not even sure I was sent to do anything. What if God was really just working on me?
Changing me, stretching me, growing me? Showing me to fear less?
What if it was not about the beautiful people of Nicaragua at all?

Those people are no longer just pretty faces on a missionary's slide show.
They're suddenly very real. Real people with adorable laughs, dirty fingernails, names that I can sometimes pronounce and sometimes not. People who give the warmest hugs.
People that will give you a plastic bracelet off their wrist because they want to share love with you and have nothing else to give.
People that I want to love and nurture. People that I want to help understand that there is a Hope and a future.

I'm trying to slip back into life, work, and a bit of normalcy. But it's surprisingly difficult.
I'm busying myself. If left alone with my thoughts, the tears come again.

I'm so happy to be home. Home really is where my heart is.
But a part of my heart will always be in Nicaragua as well.

Wednesday, July 09, 2014

Well... that was awkward. (part 3)

Last week I spent time in Nicaragua.
If you missed previous blog posts about it, click here for part 1, click here for part 2.

Today I just want to show you some of the beauty, some of the colors and textures I saw in Nicaragua.

This was the day we took the orphans to the resort.
I honestly didn't lay around like this all day... Just sat down for a moment and shot a picture "resting" then got up and back to loving on some babies.

There was talk about needing to repaint the desks at the school.
I love them! Chippy turquoise paint for the win.

Cups are sometimes hard to find. But baggies are not. So you get "Coke in a bag".
You bite the corner off and drink it that way.

When you go into the bathroom, a lady will chase you in there and demand money.
Ask me how I know...

"And the child grew, and waxed strong in spirit, filled with wisdom: and the grace of God was upon him."

There is such a stark juxtaposition of beauty and grime. Hardships and determination. Despair and hope.

Tuesday, July 08, 2014

Well... that was awkward. (part 2)

Last week I spent time in Nicaragua.
If you missed yesterday's blog post about it, click here.
Thank you for all the amazing comments, shares, and love!

We did a lot of things while we were there. A lot.
Each day we crammed in about 4 days worth of work.
Two of the things were to work with Oasis De Esperanza (the school near the dumpground in Managua) and work with an orphanage at Tipitapa.
Today I just wanted to show you some faces. People.

I am very white. Very blonde. And I believe I was about the only person in the country with pink hair.
I don't speak any Spanish. I'm awkward. I didn't fit in. But that's okay.

Some of their lives would appall you. Slavery. Gangs. Prostitution.
Abuse. Some of their parents are prostitutes. Some of their parents have sold them.
Some of their parents require them to run drugs.

Fun dip was a huge hit!

This is my friend Rhonda with a little set of twins at the orphanage. Aren't they beautiful?!
They melt me.

A teeny 7 day old baby. *swoon*

At the orphanage, each kid that was 15 or older received a purity ring.

This is Moises from the orphanage. He is absolutely amazing, gentle, kind, and smart.
He speaks Spanish, English, and Korean.
I've tried to set up an arranged marriage. I told him I have a 14 year old daughter... He just laughed.
I don't think he's convinced yet, but I'll keep working on him. Ha!

One day we took the orphans to a beach resort. At the orphanage they generally get 2 meals a day, breakfast and lunch.
At the resort was an all-you-can-eat food bar all day long. All the hot dogs, hamburgers, fries, nachos they wanted.
I've never seen little people consume so much food!!

This is Fernanda. She said, "Will you be my friend?"
Me: "Si!"
Fernanda: "Forever?! My friend forever?? Beeeeki y Fernanda, freeends forever!"

I don't know this little guy's name. But he was sitting alone so I joined him.
We were both wearing hot pink shirts so I pointed it out to him, "rosado y rosado!".
And he said, "I luhhh you." Then he hugged me and wouldn't let go.

This little girl liked my hair and played with it all through the church service. "Amarillo y rosado!"

This is David from the orphanage. I can't even begin to tell you his life's story due to time & space constraints, but even if I did, you wouldn't believe me.
He has suffered horrific things that even Hollywood writers couldn't come up with.
Yet he smiles. He has such a joyful peace about him.

Brown eyes or hazel eyes, black hair or pink hair... It doesn't matter.
These are the faces of people created, designed, and loved deeply by God.
Just like you and I.
People that deserve a Hope and a future.