Thursday, August 22, 2013


I went on a mission trip to Nicaragua in the middle of July, and I've been meaning to write this post pretty much since I got back. It doesn't have much to do with running, but that's okay. In fact, I'll get the running-related points out of the way first:

1. We saw three people running in Nicaragua! I love seeing other people run--it makes me want to start running too--and in a foreign country it's even more exciting.
2. I didn't run at all during the week we spent there.
3. I ran an awesome set of quarters with my dad's awesome running group when we got back to the states, but...
4. It was kind of slow getting back into consistent running when I got back to El Paso. Part of this was probably because I expected El Paso to be cool and dry compared to Nicaragua and where my parents live, and it wasn't. I got back smack in the middle of our "rainy" season ("rainy" is a bit of an exaggeration), and it's continued to be humid.

Throwback!  Here's me and my dad in 2008.

Anyway, Nicaragua. My dad goes every year, visiting various ministries and doing whatever kind of work needs doing. I went in 2008 and had been wanting to go again ever since.

 There were four of us on the trip, and we stayed just outside the city of Masatepe, where we painted the home of a missionary, Shirley, who both teaches a sewing ministry and houses girls who need a place to live, sharing the gospel with them and helping them get a Christian education. We finished painting the whole house in just one day and used our remaining paint to paint the library, concessions stand, and computer room at the local church school Shirley's girls attend. It was so much fun! Paint colors in Nicaragua are fun and bright--we used blue, green, pink, and purple, and mixed several colors at the end to make a great teal for one of the bathrooms.

The house we stayed in.

Kitchen before...

...and after.

The outside of the school. We also attended church here Sunday night.

Coconuts grow everywhere, along with mangoes, starfruit, and so much more.

 After we painted, we traveled around the area visiting other ministries, including Rancho Ebenezer, where we stayed the first time I visited. We also visited the city of Granada, the oldest city in Nicaragua, and toured the historic attractions in a horse carriage. While in Managua one day, we visited a McDonald's (which I never never never eat in the United States!) for the purpose of obtaining cheese pies, a delicacy not found in the US. They were delicious--just like the fried fruit pies many fast food restaurants offer, only filled with cream cheese.

I could go on and on about food in general in Nicaragua--Shirley hired Martha, the school's cook, to make dinner for us every night. It was always delicious! Fried plantain chips are one of my favorite things, although I'm not going to attempt to make my own, ever, because I know they wouldn't compare with the ones I ate there. One night we ate them with a big bowl of guacamole, made from avocados three times the size of those we buy here. Also, gallo pinto, the national dish of Nicaragua, is another of my new favorite things. Rice and a type of small black bean, but indescribably tasty.


Each night after dinner, we had Bible study with Shirley and the girls, and even though I don't speak much Spanish, I tried so hard to follow along. I learned so much Spanish that week, just by listening and by trying to communicate! On Sunday, we got to go to church twice. In the morning, we worshiped with the International Christian Fellowship in Managua, a community of English-speaking Christians. It was such a neat service! Missionaries take turns preaching, even though not all of the missionaries are necessarily preachers by trade. In the evening, we attended church at the Christian school in Masatepe where we had done some painting earlier in the week. The songs and service were entirely in Spanish, and though I could only catch a few words here and there, I still felt completely immersed in the worship.

I'm so grateful to have had the opportunity to travel to Nicaragua and see some of what God is doing there! If you've made it all the way to the end of this long post, I hope you enjoyed it, and I hope you'll keep Shirley and her ministries in Nicaragua in your prayers!

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