Team Member Jared from Common Ground Church in Indiana shares about…”Understanding God’s Will First Hand” during his trip with Vision Nicaragua.
Today, God proved that he never stops teaching me. He shows me profound truths that my mind would tell me that I already know but my heart has never really understood. My relationship with God seems to be in a constant balance between knowledge and understanding. I know things to be true but my heart just does not get it. The beautiful thing about Nicaragua is that God is so present and moving here that it is impossible to escape him and the ways he wants me to understand…Truly understand.
Today the word Joy manifested itself over and over to me. We worked on Connie’s kitchen today. Connie is a member of the staff at Vision Nicaragua and she assists Dr. Michael with the medical clinics they have on the project sight as well as around the villages. Connie has had a dream for some time now to add a kitchen on to her house. Vision Nicaragua stepped in and said that they would provide a loan for her to purchase the materials and provide the labor to install. We were building the back wall. As we all struggled with non-uniform blocks and out of square concrete columns, Connie came up behind me the only phrase in English I thinks she knows, “OK People!” which for me I heard “It’s ok, Jared”
You see Connie does not care that the wall is straight or that it looks pretty, she is just joyful it is there. She does not complain about her leaky tin roof or the smells coming from the pig in the backyard. She is just is joyful to have these things.
In the afternoon we went to a village named Nuevo Amanacer . I watched as Kim Neidigh read the children a story about when Jesus calmed the storm. She read and 60 kids and parents were mesmerized.
They were so joyful of the story when she got to the part about the boat rocking the kids were chanting, “Derecha, izquirdea, derecha (right, right, left) and leaning that way to mimic the boat rocking… Joy, true joy, in a way that is beyond material things. How much better would life be if we smiled this much, laughed this much, rejoiced this much?
Real community, the kind where a group of people love each other so well that through the ebb and flow of the relationship God interacts with us. Personally, for me I am all about community when I can control it. When I can control how much and how little of the true “me” people get.
I have always had a passion for service. It is a very natural thing for me to do. Being served is something different all together. I am ok if I can decide when and where I am to be served. As long as I can control how much I am vulnerable. Unfortunately for my pride God doesn’t work like that and this place has a way of bringing that to my attention.
I had a conversation the other night with a girl who is down here from another group about my struggles with this. We were washing dishes for the group and she would not let anyone take over for her. Instantly I knew how she felt and how she is because I am the same way. Serve… Don’t be served. I was discussing this with her and I told her how last year while I was on this trip I lost my wallet and was forced to rely on my community for money, for food, water, cash to get out of the parking lot at the airport. God has a way if he wants you to learn something you will, first hand.
One day later this girl was sick. So sick she could hardly get out of bed. When we came back from the village she was laying in the main room on a mattress with five or six girls sitting around her, laying with her, cuddling up next to her… Compassion…Real community.
I understood then that God’s community has no give and take. There are no favors. This is not such a thing of owing somebody. In God’s world there are no such things as I.O.U’s. Only love… Completely free of possession.
One thing I have learned on the two trips that I have been down to Nicaragua is my impact on the people here is small. Their impact on me is eminence; the joys, the smiles, the community. Vision trips are appropriately named. It’s a vision of what life could be like and in many ways what life should be like. The people here give me so much more than I give them and I now understand that is ok.