I’m standing outside a small house in Los Brasiles, Nicaragua with an elderly woman named Angela, a missionary named Paul, our translator Luis, and 7 high school students. Angela’s house has brick walls and a heavy, black, plastic roof. Her yard is made up of dirt, a small tree, and a boundary line marked by a barbed wired fence. She sits in a chair crying out in Spanish for God to bring her some peace and heal her arm, which lost circulation halfway up through her fingers a few years back.  The rest of us have our hands laid on her and pray similarly in English that she might be healed. With tears streaming down her face, Angela tells us that she believes in faith God will heal her, but it’s okay because she believes her time is soon, and she is just waiting for Jesus to take her to Him.My experience with Angela is just one of many moments, which left a dent on my life on a recent trip to Managua, Nicaragua with 15 students from Plum Creek Community Church.  I was shocked to learn slightly before the trip that Nicaragua is the second poorest country in the Western hemisphere. I felt like I had witnessed poverty before, but not like what I saw in Managua. Six kids, two parents, one room, four mattresses, no clean drinking water, dirt floors, the whole bit.

Los Brasiles
Trash burning

Much of the trip I wrestled and struggled with Jesus’ words from His sermon on the mount, “Blessed are you who are poor, for yours is the kingdom of God.”

*Note: you may struggle with my words here in these next few paragraphs.

I always loved the way His words were written.

Blessed are you who are poor. Because He said “you,” it means Jesus was hanging out with and talking to poor people. He was inspiring them, providing hope, peace, comfort, and a view into the Father. While I was in the impoverished village of Los Brasiles, Nicaragua I had the overwhelming feeling the modern day Jesus would be right there. He would walk the dirt streets without shoes, give people food, pray for them, and simply love them because they are His children. “Blessed are you who are poor.”

But wait.

I kept hearing from all our students, “this trip has helped me realize just how blessed we are in America to have what we have.” 

Are we actually blessed? Didn’t Jesus say the poor are blessed?

He didn’t say, “blessed are you who have the comfort of air conditioning, a warm shower, clean drinking water, big flatscreens, and a boat.” You can see why I was wrestling with His words. Here is usually the part in the post mission trip blog that I tell you about how amazing it was to see such poor people have so much joy. And how it was incredible to know people who don’t have a lot of stuff can actually be happy! We have heard it a bunch of times before, it’s the same story, and yes it is true.  The kingdom of God belongs to the poor because those of us who have a lot (myself included) have created our own kingdom with our own gods. Our kingdom is the American dream and our gods are the material idles that accompany it. We will never know what the “poor in spirit” know, what it’s like to truly need God (*unless of course we come to terms with just how desperate our tired and dirty souls are for a savior. But that message is for another blog post). And truly needing and knowing God is all satisfying.

But that wasn’t the biggest thing that struck me on the trip. I figured out poor people could be happy when I learned about the life of Paul.

What struck me the most was the pure joy I saw in our students eyes as they willingly served and loved with the heart of Jesus. How fifteen high schoolers disregarded heat, sweat, discomfort, and safe busses as they built meaningful relationships with Nicaraguan children and loved them simply because they are supposed to.

Our team with our new friends at Imagine Ministries in Los Brasiles

At the end of the trip I asked all the students a very profound question during our small group time:

“How many of you felt like you were doing God’s will these past 10 days?” 

Every single hand shot up.

It’s a question we so often struggle with in America. How do I know what God wants me to do? Is he going to make me do something I don’t want to do? Our students proved they figured out God’s will for all our lives. To glorify Him by drawing near and loving others. And it’s exactly what our souls want.

My favorite picture from the trip sums up exactly what we came to do, and what we did well. It sums up God’s very will for all our lives.

John 13

Who knew you could sum up the King of the Universe’s calling on our lives in one picture, right?

If I then have washed your feet, you also ought to wash one another’s feet.
John 13:14


This entry was posted in adventure, Jesus, Missions, Nicaragua, Plum Creek, service, Travel. Bookmark the permalink.

2 Responses to Nicaragua

  1. Rebecca Win says:

    Mikey – ahhhh such a good post.
    it’s so TRUE what you write.
    Great shots too!

  2. Pingback: nicaragua video » WildVision

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