5 Reasons to go to Nicaragua this Summer
By: Alex Salzwedel, Pastor of Operations
Every summer for the past 5 years, Hear The Cry has sent teams of short-term missionaries to La Villa Esperanza in Managua, Nicaragua. The Villa is a home for adolescent girls who have been rescued from high-poverty, high-risk living situations. Over one week, each short-term missions team gets to build relationships with the 30 or so girls at The Villa as well as various other people in the surrounding Managua community.
These are 5 reasons you should go on one of the trips to Nicaragua this year.
- FUN. These trips to Nicaragua are fun. Personally, I have been on 9 trips over the last 8 summers and each week seems to be the most fun I have all year. Now, I understand “fun” might not be enough of a reason to raise 2K and fly to a foreign country, but it’s a nice bonus.
- LONG-TERM RELATIONSHIPS. If my math serves me correctly, I’ve spent 75 days at La Villa Esperanza over the last 8 years. In that time I have built some amazing friendships with the girls at the villa, the Nicaraguan workers at The Villa, and the American missionaries who live there as well. The Villa is an invitation to begin relationships that you can return to year after year, building upon what was started years before. Can The Villa still be a one-time incredible experience? Absolutely. And while one week would be totally worth your time, how cool is it that the door remains open to return, continuing a trip where the previous one left off?
- QUALITY OVER QUANTITY. At La Villa Esperanza, you will not find 5,000 girls who have been rescued from poverty. Rather you will find around 30. These 30 girls are given physical, mental, psychological, and spiritual nurturing so that they will become 30 women who impact their families, friends, and peers, change the country of Nicaragua over time for good. The beautiful thing about smaller numbers is the relationships that one gets to focus on over time. My first trip to Managua was in August of 2008. When I return this summer I will spend time with over twenty people whom I met 8 years ago on my first trip.
- MANAGUA IS BEAUTIFUL. Beyond the brokenness of the western hemisphere’s second poorest country lies the beautiful, tropical, lush country of Nicaragua and its lakes, volcanoes, sunshine, and rain. Simply put, this country is the supermodel of countries. You will not be disappointed with its beauty.
- A WISE FINANICAL INVESTMENT. The number one reason I hear people give for not going on this trip is money. Just to make it clear, I do understand what $2,000 can get you – a new wardrobe, a vacation to Mexico, food for a few months (or 3 years if you’re a bachelor), a functioning car, a luxurious bicycle, or that pure-bread dog you have always wanted. The problem with this type of thinking is that we are only considering the “stuff” we can buy. I would like to be so bold as to say this: your trip to Nicaragua is more valuable than everything listed above. There is no trade-in value for understanding the way that much of world lives in comparison to the wealth that we have been given. The lifelong friendships you may make are surely worth more than a few benjamins. The way God uses these Nicaraguan girls to teach you about how incredibly and unconditionally loved you are by The Father is worth a lifetime of money. Let’s be honest, we don’t need more stuff. What we need are experiences that will shape the rest of our lives, influence how we spend our money, and transform the way we follow Jesus when we come back home after a week in Nicaragua. That, my friends, is worth far more than $2,000.
If I still have your attention then I think we can agree, it is time to head over to http://www.hearthecry.org/trips/ and sign up for one of this summer’s Nicaragua trips.
* If you’d like to read a more sentimental and emotionally-packed blog I wrote shortly after returning from a trip last summer, you can check that out here: http://ajesuschurch.org/blog/heaven-and-earth-in-nicaragua/