Jesse and I recently traveled to Nicaragua with a group from our church, through Project Hope to build 15 houses. We were told beforehand that although we would be there to build houses for that community in need, that the real blessing would be for us. The blessing of getting to know and love the people there. That turned out to be so true. We were so blessed and moved by the generosity, hospitality, love, gratitude, humility and kindness of the people there. Something that you need to know about Nicaragua, is that the people there are very smart and hardworking. I feel like it is easy to assume that they are lazy based on the poverty level of the country. Nicaragua is one of the poorest countries in the Western Hemisphere. Something that I learned is that there is not much opportunity there. You can't "work your way up" at a nice bank (at least where we were) or other big businesses. They primarily make money by growing and selling produce. When we were working on the houses, the Nicaraguans were always the first to jump in and help. They worked extremely hard, and were very skilled at what they were doing. After working for 2 days, I discovered that one of the Nicaraguan men I was working with had a prosthetic leg due to a mine explosion during a war in the 80's. I was so impressed by that. He was shoveling concrete and moving huge wheel barrels full of concrete back and forth all day, with one leg! That gave me a good perspective on my attitude with work while we were there and my job that I have at home.
Ok, so I want to share two of my favorite things about the trip:
1. I loved how personal this trip was! We prepared boxes of pots/pans, clothes, toothpaste, etc.. for our individual families while in the US. What I didn't realize, is that we would soon be delivering those boxes to our families in person. We physically took those boxes into the houses we built and got to share in the excitement with our family as they received their goodies! It was such a moving experience. They were getting new and used basic items, but to them, it was so much more than that. These are things that I so take for granted. I am glad that I was able to experience that. I gained a new perspective and I pray that I always realize what God has done for me, and never take it for granted.
2. Going on a mission trip with my husband was incredible. The trip as a whole was just...awesome, but one of my favorite things about this trip was having Jesse by my side. Not just because I am used to being around him and would otherwise have missed him, but because I believe that serving God together really blessed our marriage. We were able to serve and love his people together and that is an amazing thing to do with your spouse!! I loved sharing that experience with Jesse and I think it was a wonderful way to start our marriage. We celebrated our one month anniversary while there! :)
I also wanted to say thank you to our friends and family who supported us financially so that we were able to go on this trip. Also, thank you to those who prayed for us before and during our trip. And thank you to Larry and Janet White, for all that you do with Project Hope. We appreciate you! We are very thankful that our bosses allowed us to take off work so that we could be a part of this trip.
I will update the blog soon, now that the wedding/honeymoon/Nicaragua trip have passed.