Thursday, December 19, 2013
Tuesday, August 13, 2013
Nicaragua Trip 2013
I am back from my annual trip to Nicaragua, and while these notes are late, most of it was written while I was there.
|The view from the Sandinista History Museum|
|The view into the major crater of Cerro Negro Volcano|
|The crew working on the trench monday|
|Digging in the trenches with Beth, the Gales and Alfredo|
Wednesday's are my favorite days in Nicaragua. We get to visit the orphanage, and I get to visit Chilo. I have written about her in the past. I could not see her last year, since she had to have surgery, but this year, she was there, sitting in her chair. She is severely disabled, and has little motor control, but she enjoy playing "futball" where I hold the ball for her left leg to kick. She is so grateful and laughs in in the most miraculous way. Afterwards, we toured the town.
ThursdayToday we were back in the village of La Chuscada digging again, and I was working alongside Milagro again, who work has hard as any of us. I also had a chance to talk to the head of the village, Sebastian, who kept using the word "historico" or historic, for what this work, the promise of clean water, would mean to the community for the future of La Chuscada.
FridayToday we had a "fun day" with the community. It was also the "triumph of the revolution" day. We went out to the community and had Mass. It was the first time many of the people in the village had seen in years. It was in both English and Spanish and was very moving. We prayed over Sebastian's wife who had cancer. We then had lunch, peanut butter and jelly as always, in the community. We then had a baseball game with the folks of la Chuscada. We lost badly. They have some great players down there, soccer too. And most of then play barefoot. We then had the talent show, and my team did a bad interpretive dance version of Genesis 1. We won the fan favorite version.
And I got to say good by to the woman on staff, but not before telling her how brave and strong she was.
|Alfredo, his pal, and the baseball game|
Saturday was a travel day, and we got home after 1am on Sunday.
After a lot of reflection, it occurred to me that this is the most impactful thing I do in my life. Without the experience in Nicaragua, I would not have made it through the first half of this year. Doing this kind of work changes and deeply impact you in many ways.
Sunday, March 31, 2013
Many of you know that I have had some bad luck lately. Some of it self-inflicted, some not. What this has caused me to do is strip out all the superfluous things in my life and focus on the important things.
One thing that has been a great comfort to me, in addition to my family, has been my Catholic faith.
Am I religious? I don't know. That's for others to determine. What I will say is that I could not have made it through these times without the lessons my Catholic faith taught me.
What are those things? There are really two things:
- Life is hard. And Life is unfair.
- Even though you are greatly flawed, you still have a path to salvation. There is always hope.
- Saint Peter, the first pope: He denies Jesus 3 times (!) and still gets to be the first pope.
- Saint Paul, the great evangelist: Actively persecutes Christians, until the Road to Damascus.
- Saint Augustine, the great teacher: "Grant me chastity and continence...but not just yet"
- Zaccheus, the Tax Collector(Luke 19): Jesus chooses the despised to preach his message.
During Good Friday, we say a litany that prayers for other Christians, our brothers the Jews, those of faith who do not believe in Jesus, and who have no faith. The latter gives me the most pause. Without my culture, my faith, I am not sure I could have made it through January and February of this year. And since bad things do happen, how do people with no faith make it through hard times? I really can't fathom this, unless they get help from other people. This is where James 2:26 comes in: Life is hard, and we have to help the people who need it. I must live a life of faith PLUS action.
This Easter, I am grateful for my family and friends, all of whom have helped me through a difficult time. I owe you more than you can know, and I'll be happily working off that debt the rest of my life. Thank you.