My trip to one of the most impoverished countries in the western hemisphere solidified my belief in the power of faith. In 2007 I had the opportunity to travel to Nicaragua with a church missions group. As I am fluent in Spanish, I knew that I would be called on to be an unofficial interpreter in many situations, but I did not expect that being able to understand the dozens of Nicaraguans that I met and hearing their stories would become one of the most enriching experiences of my life.
I saw that many wore the same clothes every day, and a few even appeared malnourished. Every single individual, however, regardless of the age, was happy.
About 20 of us from the church spent two weeks at a Young Life camp near Matagalpa, Nicaragua. There, every day, many locals, and especially children and young adults, would come to the camp for prayer, fellowship, a good meal, and activities. I saw that many wore the same clothes every day, and a few even appeared malnourished. Every single individual, however, regardless of the age, was happy. After hearing their stories and backgrounds during the church services which I had to interpret, it became apparent that the root of their daily joy, despite a lack of goods that we sometimes take for granted, was their faith in and love for Jesus Christ.
Day after day, I heard numerous horrific stories of the very tough roads that were traveled by dozens of Nicaraguans of all ages.
One woman’s story in particular, whose testament I had to interpret during one service, was typically moving. She told us that as a teenager she was raped by her own father, and afterwards decided to leave home at age 16. During her months of homelessness, she met the founders of the Young Life camp where we were staying. They took her in and instilled in her a love for God and an appreciation of all things that He has created. From then on, she has awakened to a new day with a smile, a love for Jesus, and an unwavering faith that living to honor Him is a forever enriching experience.
Her experience was not atypical. Day after day, I heard numerous horrific stories of the very tough roads that were traveled by dozens of Nicaraguans of all ages. All of them, bar none, were joyful to be alive and to have the love of Christ that they had in their hearts.
This trip proved to me beyond a shadow of a doubt that we can persevere through the most difficult of times if we have our faith.
More Faith Stories
I’d been drinking all day long and pulled out into the path of an oncoming vehicle with a with a woman and all of her children packed into this car. They T-boned me and at that moment everything went blank.
One Sunday the music director said the handbell choir needed more members. I thought, “No, I wasn’t ready to get involved.” At the end of the service I found myself volunteering for bell choir!
One Sunday afternoon I was sitting drunk in a bar, and I’m looking around. The only ones in the bar were the bartender, some shady looking guy in the corner, my ex-boyfriend’s mom, and me. I heard this voice in my head say, “What am I doing here?”
This past year I found a black dot on my thumbnail that looked like a pencil point. Nothing much to it. Then it became an abrasion at the end of my nail. My doctor referred me to an orthopedic surgeon who found it to be malignant skin cancer.
At that point I said, “I can’t do this myself. It’s in your hands, God.” That part I remember clearly. It turns out that it was really, really was up to Him (and a good surgeon).
So when drugs and alcohol came around, it was easy for me to say “yes,” because I didn’t have anything in me saying “no” anymore. As I got more involved with drugs, I got into more crime. I started committing violent crimes, selling drugs, abusing drugs ended up back up in prison.