Just Show Up
The team I traveled to Nicaragua with was a group of people who attended West Ridge Community Church…all but a few of whom I did not really know. The team that traveled home was more like a family. Pulling together, under leadership that got down and dirty like the rest of us, to do God’s work, created an everlasting bond. We may not see each other often, but when we do, there is a kindredship among us that is palpable.
Our trip to Tecoloste consisted of doing much needed repairs on the existing school, building 2 new classrooms, including a kitchen and a computer room, teaching English to the beautiful children, and adding a fresh coat of paint onto virtually everything. We also moved mountains of dirt, sifted a virtual riverbed of volcanic sand to make mortar and concrete, and even made a soccer field on the school grounds!!
Over the course of the week, were able to create a sustainable difference in this small community! And the best part was that we did it through empowerment of the residents…not by doing work for them, as much as doing work with them. The pride and ownership they all took in the projects was awesome to see!!
One of the real highlights for me was the fiesta on the last night. The schoolyard was decorated and set up for a party. A band was brought in, and everyone from the community dressed in their best to come out and celebrate the week. We all came together as one big group of God’s people. In the short time we were there, we created friendships and long lasting memories with this tiny community.
Having the opportunity to serve is a blessing for those being served AND those doing the serving. You see, Jesus calls us to do service, to use our “God given talents” to help those less fortunate. The difficulty for me, and what has typically held me back, is in the understanding of what my talents are. I am not a carpenter by any stretch; I do not lay bricks; I have never taught students; and on this particular trip, where Spanish is the primary language, I do not speak it! In the end, none of this matters. I found out that just showing up is the most important part. Once there, God does the rest.