March 3, 2015

Until this year I’ve never done anything special for Lent. I chose a short devotional by Ann Voskamp that I’ve been reading every morning. About a week ago, I read Matthew 5:13-16, fairly well known verses and ones that I have read many times. As often happens, they spoke to me in a way that they had not before. Verse 16 says, “Let your light shine before others, so that they may see your good works and give glory to your Father who is in heaven.” A few weeks ago I was at a women’s event called “IF:Gathering” and one of the short interviews that took place was between a mother and her now adult daughter. They shared of the mom’s battle with depression when her children were smaller and how through counseling she came to realize that while being a wife and a mother is a top priority, it would also be beneficial for her and her family if she were able to do some things that she loved. At the close of this two day event, while feeling a loss of what “word or words” God was speaking to me, my friend reached a piece of paper to me that simply said, “GO!” She said she didn’t know where, but that she just needed to tell me that. Later that evening, I knew it meant Nicaragua.

When I became a believer in high school and started attending a local church, my heart would speed up every time a missionary took the microphone or with every letter from the field that I read. I had always LOVED other cultures. I wanted to travel even though leaving eastern Kentucky wasn’t really on any of my friends’ minds. When I visited an orphanage in Eastern Europe for the first time, there was a moment I still remember, when I felt distinctly that I was made for this. God gave me a love and an eagerness to share His love with people both near and far. To be honest I’ve really struggled with this for a few years now. When the door to living in Minsk shut and the kids came along, I felt a little bit lost, a little like, “what now?” There is nothing like being a wife and a mother, but as the kids have gotten a little older, I have felt a bit of yearning to return to some parts of me that have been on the backburner, or honestly not even anywhere in the vicinity.

There are things that hold a big piece of my heart and I think I deprive my kids when they don’t know that mama cares about anything other than them. I want my light to shine before them and no doubt they see it day in and out as I hit my knees for wisdom in how to parent them, but it will also shine before them and others when I share about what God is doing in a place that I have secretly wanted to go to for six years now. That place is Nicaragua.

For the past two years Andrei has been able to go to a small area called Bayardo Arce. It’s on the outskirts of a larger city and is riddled with poverty, poor infrastructure, and few opportunities. But in the few years that Food for the Hungry (FH) has been there, there have been various improvements to the community. I love that FH asks the leaders of the community what needs they have and works cooperatively with them. This June, Andrei and I will get to spend a week working alongside others from our church, the FH staff and the people of Bayardo Arce. We do not know our project yet. Most likely it will not be finished in our few days, but will be a boost for the locals to get a necessary project done. In the past Andrei has worked to keep contaminated water out of the streets and began a bridge across a stream in a flood prone area where children daily have to cross to attend school. He looks forward to seeing the finished project!

Here’s a couple pics from Andrei’s previous trip when they built a much needed bridge.

IMG_0743 IMG_0691


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