Hey VN Fam!
Our summer trips have officially begun! We have a packed summer full of groups coming in and out of the Mission Center and we couldn’t be more excited about what God’s up to! So many times we have groups that come and go and a lot of you never get to hear their story. We’ve decided to change that! Butler University from Indianapolis, Indiana set out Saturday morning to start their adventure in Nicaragua. Throughout their trip we’ll be updating the blog so you can join in on their experiences. You’ll get the chance to hear from various team members about their experience. First up…meet Tanner! We hope you enjoy getting to know our teams this summer and thank you Tanner for sharing your heart!!!
First and foremost, I can only express tremendous gratitude for everyone in the U.S. who has financially supported or prayed for our team thus far. We encourage everyone to keep lifting us and our week in Nicaragua up to the Lord. Second of all, I can say that our trip thus far has been incredible for a variety of different reasons. Third of all, we cannot wait to see what God has in store for the next five days.
Thus far one word really has stuck out to me on the trip: beauty. I was fortunate enough to get the window seat on both flights, and on the flight to Managua from Atlanta I was able to see the sunset from above the clouds. This moment in itself for me almost made the entire trip worth it. I think David talked about this best in Psalm 19:1 when he stated, “The heavens declare the glory of God; the skies proclaim the work of his hands.” I love the moments when God’s creation simply leaves us in a state of awe at how great He is. Nicaragua is also a very beautiful place. Although it has rained everyday thus far, we finally saw a clear blue sky and sunshine today!! Speaking of beauty, I am definitely looking forward to visiting the beach at Masaya and sledding down the volcano Cerro Negro after hiking it. That’s right. What you just read is not a typo. We are sledding down a volcano.
We have had numerous chances to interact with the people so far, including going to church yesterday at Bethel and Candelaria. All I can say is it is very different over here. The same rules and safety measures for the road we enjoy in the U.S. do not apply in Nicaragua (this applies to food and sanitation as well). Our rides in the back of our canvas-covered truck are typically a little bumpy and let’s just say the people of Nicaragua are fairly liberal with their use of the carhorn. Despite all of these differences, the people surprised me with how welcoming they are. I remember learning in my Business Ethics class this past semester that smiles universally mean the same thing around the world, and this fact has proven true to my experience in Nicaragua. Since Americans are not commonly seen in Nicaragua, we definitely receive a lot of stares when we travel to the main market areas. However, simply giving people a smile and attempting to engage them in even a simple conversation using Spanish has really gone a long way so far.
Finally, our team has really bonded well. Being a fairly social person, I love meeting new people and making new friendships. Although I knew next-to-nothing about most of my team members prior to the trip and had not even met Derek, we all have quickly learned about each other’s interests and involvements. It has been a blessing to meet each person as well as the native people, and I am really looking forward to spending the next five days allowing the Lord to open my eyes and heart to his purpose and direction in my life.
Tanner “No Shave Nicaragua” Halbig