On Mission to Nicaragua

When reflecting on this month with Kingdom Builders, I can’t help but consider all the lives that are impacted through missionaries around the world. It’s easy to take so many things for granted over here in the states, where everything is so easily accessible. I recall my first missions trip to Managua, Nicaragua. I was only 18 years old at the time and this was my first mission’s trip outside the country. I was prompted to go on this trip after a family friend brought the opportunity to my attention. I went on this trip having no idea what was in store for me or what I would be asked to do. I partnered with an organization known as Total Health, with which numerous doctors and nurses from the US go to share the gospel and provide medical need to those who don’t receive proper treatment, examination or medication. During my time in Nicaragua, I stayed with a family who spoke primarily Spanish and some English. Thankfully, I was rooming with someone who was more fluent in Spanish than I was. Even with the language barrier, this family was so hospitable and kind the entire time we stayed with them.

My role on this trip wasn’t to administer medication or to provide examinations, but I was asked to come and serve the locals in another way. A nearby church connected to Total Health had identified a man with Parkinson’s Disease who was in need of a flat surface to walk on. He and his family were living in less than ideal circumstances, having a dirt floor in their living room, no roof and a small toilet in the corner. Plenty of us have no idea what that is like, but for this family that was a normal way of life.

Our goal in the home was to install tile in the same room this elderly man slept in. We worked together as a team for the following week making cement and placing tile throughout his room. As we were hard at work completing this service project, I couldn’t help but take in where I was. This home was located on a busy street and had no door. There were buses and bikes rushing past the home and stray animals were everywhere. There were also roaches or “la cucarachas” scattered all across the street looking for food. It was in this moment where I began to reflect on how grateful I should be for everything I have back home. It can be so easy to not thank God every day for what we do have. But it’s also easy to not thank God when we don’t know how the rest of the world lives. When it comes to scripture I think of Colossians 4:2, which says, “Devote yourselves to prayer, being watchful and thankful.” 1 Thess. 5:16-18 also says, “Rejoice always, pray continually, give thanks in all circumstances; for this is God’s will for you in Christ Jesus.”

There were countless people serviced in the clinic that week, who walked away feeling much better than when they came in. Part of the reason being that they received treatment for their health conditions, but also that they heard the gospel for the first time. When it came to the man with Parkinson’s, he was powerfully impacted as well! After the project was completed with his room, this elderly man was so appreciative of our hard work. While we couldn’t relieve him of his Parkinson’s, we were able to make his everyday living a little less stressful. Even having a flat surface to walk on was worthy of his praise!

When it was time to leave, I certainly didn’t walk away from that missions trip the same person as when I came in. While I went there to share the gospel and to serve those in need, I believe the person who was impacted the most was me.

by Samantha Copeland
Sam was born and raised in St. Louis, Missouri but has called New Jersey home since 2016. She works in social work as a Case Manager and is pursuing her Masters of Divinity with Southeastern University in connection to Kingsway Leadership School. In her free time you can find her reading books, listening to podcasts, trying out different coffee shops, kayaking, or going on a hike. She is passionate about inner-city communities and finding ways for the church to serve families in own own backyard.

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