We have lived in Nicaragua for 3 weeks and I’m starting to feel at home. It was not an easy transition for me leaving Haiti and the quickie visit to Branson, MO staying with my parents, before heading straight to Nicaragua. I miss the village of Pignon, the crazy, bumpy roads, the critters, the stunning sunsets, our maison, my friends, our ministry with the orphans, the people who captured my heart at clinic, and everyone living at Haiti Home of Hope. I had to basically stuff my emotions of packing and leaving and moving on to the next mission adventure. The welcome to Hope Central was wonderful, and we had to jump right into the action with 2 teams back to back. It felt good to get back to work and learning the new ropes! Roger and I are the host and hostess to the American mission teams who will visit here and serve with Project H.O.P.E. It’s our job to make sure every person who comes through the red gate feels like our personal, private guests. We want teams to really feel like they are visiting our Casa (Home.) I’m also really excited about the new friendships I will make here in Nica. We were very blessed to have a family, the Stearns pave the way and move here (for a 3+ year commitment) in January and open their arms wide for our family. I’m thrilled to have fellowship living next door. Someone asked me on the last mission team if I missed my stuff. “Yes,” I gulped. Thinking about all our stuff packed away in boxes tucked away in storage. I honestly don’t even remember half the stuff, but I miss it sometimes. I miss the house that God sold, shopping at Target down the street, and especially living near my family. I guess I’m learning that home is where my heart settles and grows.
Hope Central (our new home) is located in Managua, Nicaragua and was founded 14 years ago to serve the community and local pastors. Project Hope, a Springfield, MO based 501c3 ministry have built over 1,100+ homes and villages in Nica. They provide education, feeding and children programs, clinic care, ministry to women and at-risk girls, including a special ministry, Furia Santa (Holy Fury), a rehabilitation home for young men who were former gang members and in the prison system… and many more ministry projects. We are newbies here, so we are learning day to day what makes Project H.O.P.E tick and go. I’m sure it’s not easy for the Nica staff to open up their home to a new family, but they have been gracious and patient! We’re all in this together … serving and loving big!
Our casa is an adorable little 2 room cottage and this time, we are not all sleeping together in one big room with bunkbeds. Rog and I have a lock on our bedroom door … need I say more!!!! The girls share a room with 2 twin beds and our son, Michael who arrives on the 28th will stay in one of the dorm rooms. We have a big kitchen with an open plan, which basically means one big space with a couch and 2 rocking chairs. The authentic Nica tiles on the counters and floors are really beautiful. We have an air conditioner (yes!!) fridge, microwave, toaster, and our french press. Life is good. There is even a TV, something we have not had for the past 8 months. I didn’t take the time to turn it on, expecting only Spanish speaking channels, but much to my surprise there are a few channels from the US. We watched the Oscars with Spanish voice overs, but the music was live and Hannah and I had a blast singing the Les Miserables song with the ensemble. I even watched the Today’s post-Ocscar Show, but the next day that same channel was gone. It’s going to be hit or miss entertainment. The city of Managua is unique in every way: markets, parks, McDonalds, Pizza Hut, a high end shopping center with a stadium seating movie theater ($3 per person) and all the things you would expect to see in a 3rd world country. Nicaragua is the 2nd poorest country in the western hemisphere.
I want to ask you to continue to pray for me specifically, as a wife and mommy. I’m working hard with homeschooling and giving my children the opportunities to learn real-life education in a class without walls. It’s difficult sometimes finding the balance with parenting and ministry. I don’t want to sacrifice either, but I also know my family will always come first. It’s my responsibility as a mom to make sure my three beautiful children feel loved, and nurtured, and safe, and protected. I’m thankful God is doing that in my life! I’m praying specifically for their spirits to grow and stay open to what God has planned for their lives. (Pray for Michael, Hannah, and Zoie)
I want to keep letting you know, we could not be here serving in Nicaragua without YOU!! Thank you for praying for our family, and believing in our ministry, Simply Love. I love it when you are actively reading posts and connecting with me. Your comments are like “happies.” We have only scratched the surface of missions, but so honored God would allow us to serve Him in a brand new country. We were called into “missions” and grateful with all our hearts for the ministry opportunities that have literally been handed to us this year. I love this post written by one of my favorite bloggers, We are THAT Family, sharing who the “real” missionary is on the field. Kristen, you have noooo idea how much your post ministered to my heart as Jesus has challenged us to simply love and go. (thank you sister!)
Roger and I are praying that you, our mission-hearted friends will continue to support our mission-adventure OPERATION: NICARAGUA. We have raised 50% of our goal, and need your prayers and help to stay here and serve with Project Hope. We are responsible to raise 100% of our financial support. Please consider contributing to Simply Love with a one – time gift or monthly contributions. We have a special GIVE button that will allow you to pay with a credit card or PayPal. You can also give with a check- information here. (your donation is tax deductible) “Let’s not just talk about love, let’s practice REAL love.” I John 1:8 MSG
I can’t wait to share stories and real-life photos of our life here in Nicaragua. I want to share the real-stuff going on in my life as a wife and mom with you. What it really feels like to pick up and live around the world with your family (some days are crazy!) I hope you will fall in love with a new country, right along side of me. But most importantly, it’s my hearts desire to inspire you to GO … right where God is calling you to serve big and love big!! For hard-core missions, check out Live Dead.
United we love each other, and together we change the world.