Thanks to all of you who supported us on the November 4-11 TBA Mission Trip to Nicaragua. It was a wonderful trip and our group traveled well together. Our hosts from CEPAD (Protestant Council of Churches in Nicaragua) welcomed us warmly and took excellent care of us. The Nicaraguan people we met treated us as though we were family and did everything possible to make us feel at home. We had excellent interpreters traveling with us so the language was not a problem, and communication was handled with ease.
We were met on arrival at the Managua Airport by representatives of CEPAD, and we spent Saturday and Sunday nights at the CEPAD facility in Managua. We had good food, good accommodations, indoor plumbing and cold showers. Sunday was spent at a Moravian Church in Managua, touring the city (including the dump), and observing the election by visiting a polling station. The election was a peaceful process. I can still hear the refrain reverberating in my ear, "Give Peace a Chance."
There are several highlights of the trip for me, one of which was the presentation on the political and social conditions in Nicaragua by Professor Gilberto Aguirre. I wish some of our political leaders would have a chance to dialogue with this man. What an enlightenment that would be! Another was a conversation with Juan Carlos, an Agronomist who works for CEPAD in the Matagalpa area. Juan Carlos told us of his experience on a visit to Indianapolis and one of its museums. He said he cried when he saw things in the museum that had not yet come to Nicaragua. He was talking about technology.
However, what I will remember most is the visit to Samulali a campo (rural area) outside the city of Matagalpa. Here we did not have indoor plumbing, and electricity was limited to a few light bulbs, it was here that I think our group felt the presence of God in a powerful way. We had to adjust to a new way of life and we did without complaint or losing our cool. Amidst the humidity we worked in a cornfield for hours, and we had fun doing that work. We bathed by dipping plastic bowls in a bucket of water that came out of a concrete holding tank, which came from a community river that was not necessarily a clean river. Three times a day we had a home cooked meal prepared over a wood fire - remember no electricity or hot running water. Yet for us that was a moment of thanksgiving to God with our hosts and a deeper bonding of our group. I cannot forget the children of the village and the school that we visited.
I have come back with a deeper appreciation for the people of Nicaragua, a renewed sense of hope, and a commitment to find ways to care for all of God's children. Join us at the January 27, 2007 Leadership Event when Jan Hoffman and others will share more with you about the mission trip. Participants on the trip are willing to visit your congregation to share their experience.
Kenneth E. Hall
Trinity-Brazos Area Minister