One of my favorite things about Focus One is that each student is required to take a missions trip during his/her year of Focus. I’ve had the privilege of traveling to Swaziland, Macedonia, Denmark and Vietnam as a part of this program. This year I got to lead the team to Nicaragua!
We travelled to Managua to work with Ken and Kendra Doutt. They run feeding centers for kids all over the country. Nicaragua has one of the highest poverty rates in the world and 30% of the population is under 15 years of age. So many of these kids grow up scrounging through trash in the nation’s dumps, looking for food or scraps they can sell. The Doutt’s are working to provide food and clothing to these kids, and each year they run camps throughout the summer. With our help, over 40 kids were able to attend camp this week, where they received full meals, lots of love and a Christ centered education. You can find out more about what the Doutt’s are doing here: compelledbycompassion.org.
There were definitely some great moments that need to be captured, but to keep this from becoming a never-ending post here are a few:
I think the biggest moment for me was the second night of camp when we prayed for the kids. I prayed for these two kids that I connected with from the get go, Winston and Ariel. Ariel started crying right away, but Winston was hard from having been to camp before and from his past. I was just praying over them that they would find strength in God's grace, that they would be a light to their nation and that they would have a voice in their generation. Finally at the end I was hugging both of them, but Winston was curled up in my arms and started crying. I never knew the power of a hug until that moment. It was powerful. Winston was my dude and even thanked me by name in front of the whole camp.
After camp we travelled to Ometepe Island, the volcano island we could see from camp. We only spent one night there but it seemed like a week. We did a few school assemblies and some door to door ministry. The best moment for me was when I got to speak to a lady at her home. She said they had needs but that they were happy. I felt I should tell her that The Lord is pleased with her joy and that He would bless her because of it. She said they needed this house to be complete. They were sitting by a framed building with a roof on it and a pile of bricks on the ground. They didn't have money to pay anyone to build it. So we prayed that the Lord would help them build the house before the rainy season. We didn’t get to see the fruit, but we trust the Lord to provide.
I started getting sick the second day of camp. :/ From then on out every day was a struggle. It was frustrating because that never happens to me. I’m always the one with the iron stomach that never has issues in other countries. But I believe the Lord was using this as an opportunity for me to rely on him in a new way. And I definitely had to do that as the team leader.
Even through the ups and downs, it was an incredible trip! I love missions trips because they really put life into perspective. Not only that, but I know that this is my ultimate calling in life. So it definitely whets my appetite for where the Lord is ultimately leading us.