It’s been a year since I’ve returned from my favourite place in the world. In reminiscing about it, I remembered this blog and figured it would be nice to give you an update.
My junior year of college went according to plan with no major crises. I returned home from Peru and went through a minor depression, as is reflected in my last post. It was a little pang of sadness that would come and go and sometimes still comes and goes when I get too busy with classes and with life in general. It’s an internal ache, a chasing after the happiness I found in Peru, walking with God on the mountains. And so I came home from Peru, desperate to turn around and return to it. I thought for sure that God had taken out a little bit of my heart and left it there.
And so when plans for my summer came up, I knew what was at the top of my list. I mentioned to my parents that I’d love to go back for a full trip. They informed me that we were planning a family trip to Europe smack dab in the middle of summer and to make my plans accordingly. So while I should have been overjoyed about my family’s first international vacation together, I was torn. Seeing as this was my last summer before graduation, I felt like kind of a jerk flitting off for a full eight weeks. And then along came Nicaragua. A group from the USC BCM was planning a trip to Nicaragua for two weeks at the end of May. After a painstaking tug-of-war in my head and heart, reviewing my motives, and humbling myself, I reluctantly decided to take the Nicaragua trip, so I could also go to Europe with the fam. Very reluctantly.
Second semester a butt-load of stuff happened. I was fundraising and whatnot for Nicaragua and that was all well and dandy. I found out lovely news, that I was going to be the up and coming BCM President. I took over after Spring Break and it’s been really great so far. Then the parental units decided to up and sell the house we’d lived in for 95% of my life. Other than pitching a minor hissy fit about having to pack up and move 18 years’ worth of crap, I was pretty fine with it. (After you live in various apartments and dorm rooms, your sense of home kind of changes a little.) So the semester came to a close and I had my annual end-of-the-school-year realization of how fast time goes by, accompanied by the ever worsening I-can’t-graduate-in-a-year-I-don’t-know-what-to-do-with-my-life tantrum, a Peter Pan moment. To make matters worse, I found out that for some reason, probably having to do with the fact that my parents bought a house, the Europe trip was off. I was pretty angry about it because it was the whole reason I chose Nicaragua over Peru and now it was too late to change my plans. I felt as if God was punishing me for choosing a silly vacation over a full time summer mission trip. I was pretty flippin’ bummed to be honest. So anyway, summer starts, the move happens, and before I know it, it’s time to go to Nicaragua and I can’t say I’ve emotionally prepared for it much. Truthfully, I wasn’t even very excited about it because I really only wanted to be going to Peru.
But then I got to Nicaragua and God had something to say to me there. As it turns out, it wasn’t Peru that had stolen my heart, but serving the Lord and his people. That happiness that I’d never quite managed to find since Peru was waiting for me there in Nicaragua. Sure the people and the place were different, but it felt like my heart’s home. It was that full feeling of knowing that you’re exactly where you’re supposed to be. I’ll tell you more details about Nicaragua in a later post, but I will tell you that the people were amazingly sweet and hospitable and I was truly inspired by the Nicaraguan believers that I met. I was reminded of how much I adore the Hispanic culture and the Spanish language (and how I wish I wasn’t so white sometimes!) Nicaragua was everything I wanted it to be and more. My missions experience had made me a little prideful, but God certainly humbled me and showed me that I hadn’t learned or seen it all yet. Not even close. I think he wanted me in Nicaragua and the whole mess with the Europe trip was what it took to get me there. He couldn’t have shown me all the new things that he did if I had chosen to go back to Peru. I’d still be thinking about the place instead of its Creator.
And now I’m back and missing Nicaragua just like I did (and still do) Peru. Of course the people and places stick with you, but I’m beginning to realize it is so much more than that. The inner ache I feel is a longing to be back there again. And there isn’t Peru. It isn’t Nicaragua either. In Nica, we showed this film called Last Flight Out. It was cheesier than an omelette but it had a good message. One of the lines in the movie was “The only place better than being in God’s will, is being in his presence.” That stuck with me. It wasn’t the place or even the people after all, but the wonder of being in God’s will. My heart longs to get back on the mission field, wherever that may be. I just want the people of Latin America to know how much God loves them. And I’m finally putting two and two together, realizing that burning desire is God-given. So I’ve got one year left of school. After that, I’m going to find a way to get there somehow. Right now, I’m trying to be patient and live for now because I know my last year of college will go by fast enough without worrying it away. But the feeling of dread I had about graduation is gone. I don’t know where I’ll be this time next year, but I’m leaving that up to the one who created Peru and Nicaragua and me. He knows better anyway.