Infants to adults with no clothes on their backs and little resources of food and water. Families sleeping under boxes or very small shelters. I could count every rib in their bodies. Diseases covered them from head to toe. A little worried about getting too close. My heart cried out, “How are these people still alive? How could they be so poor?” Shoes made of cardboard boxes; some made of smashed plastic bottles for those who could afford something so small. The sight was awful, but the smell was worse. I suddenly felt so selfish. Tears began to fill my eyes; all I could do was cry.
I’ve grown up in a place where fashion and looks are everything. At school, on the town, and even at church. My birthday was right around the corner, big 15, and all I wanted was clothes and shoes.
After one Sunday service, my youth pastor came to me and asked if I had ever thought about going on a mission trip with the 14/6 Youth Group. “No, I really never thought about it, I don’t really think it’s the thing for me.” He just nodded, and said, “This December the youth is going on a mission trip to Matagalpa, Nicaragua and I was curious if you would be interested in going.” Millions of excuses began to fill my head, “Oh! I play basketball and ball season will still be going on during December, and I really don’t have the money to go on this trip with you, maybe next time.” He said he understood and that I should just pray about it and then he walked away. I felt so relieved, I DID NOT want to go on that trip or ever go on such a horrible trip so far away to a place known as the poorest country in the world. Nothing about that sounded exciting to a 15 year old girl.
Later that night I tossed and turned, horrible thoughts running through my head. Repulsive images about this place I had never been to before, but only heard awful things about kept me awake all night; I couldn’t sleep. I sat up and the craziest thought came to mind, “Maybe I will go on this mission trip.” so I called my youth pastor at 4 in the morning and told him I thought about what he said and I would go with the youth on the mission trip.
December came quick; the day after Christmas my parents drove me to the airport. I began to regret my decision, 15 hour plane ride crammed with 100 people, to the land of no return… I couldn’t wait. We loaded on the plane, this just didn’t sound like a good enough reason to skip a whole week of basketball. The plane took off, I fell asleep dreading what I was getting into. We arrived in Matagalpa, Nicaragua. When I stepped off that plane, my life changed.
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