Its a God Thing

Hey everyone,

This week I wanted to share a change in our school’s missions trip plans this summer. NCU has five trips that students will be going on this year including Nicaragua, Mexico, Cambodia, China, and Houston. I am blessed to be able to go on the Mexico and Nicaragua trip this year.

As of a few days ago,  Nicaragua has been deemed unsafe to travel to by the organization we work with, Forward Edge International, due to its dangerous current political climate. There have been mass protests demanding the resignation of the current president, and these protests have escalated to the point where thirty people have been killed. As of a few weeks ago, the U.S. Embassy left the capital of Nicaragua, Managua, because it was becoming too violent.

At our last Nicaragua meeting, our team leaders Lucy Henderson and Jessica Cardwell told us this news and that Forward Edge has given us the opportunity to travel to Puerto Rico for hurricane relief. Although I received this information with huge excitement, for reasons I will highlight shortly, this news was met with various different emotions within our team. Our team is made up of seventeen members including two leaders, ten newbies, and five returner’s. This was hard news for the returners who had high hopes of continuing the relationships they’ve built over their past trips. They have made friends and great relationships that they vowed to continue in the future, and now that is no longer an option for them this year. These circumstances are not in our control, however, and coming to terms with that will be rough. Many of my teammates have some decisions to make while also reflecting on how God will work this out.

Ever since Hurricanes Harvey and Maria, I have felt the need to be a part of the relief work that is being done. When I first was deciding back in September what trips I wanted to apply for, my heart was really leaning towards the hurricane relief work in Houston. This trip was planned for spring break and unfortunately that did not work out for me because of my commitment to be home for Easter. Nevertheless, I still had a heart for hurricane relief, particularly in Puerto Rico because of the severe devastation and the members of my family that live there. My grandpa is Puerto Rican and has family still living there, and he always tells the lovely story of how he was born under a mango tree.

I re-applied for Mexico to return for a third year because of my heart for the relationships I’ve made there. Other than Mexico, I felt led   something more. All I know is that I felt lead to go on another trip other than Mexico. I didn’t feel called to China or Cambodia like some of my awesome peers, but I felt a pull towards Nicaragua even though I didn’t know exactly why. I applied, and since then, I was overwhelmed with financial support and God didn’t close one door.

When I showed up late to our weekly Nicaragua meeting a few days ago, everyone had blank stares on their face. What I didn’t know was that the news was just broken to them that Nicaragua was unsafe to travel to and Puerto Rico is our next option. I wasn’t told that until a few moments later and I could not hold my excitement. All of the emotions I had while applying for trip back in September, all the hurt I had felt from my grandpa telling me of his cousins still on the island, all the bad politics that was leaving Puerto Rico without necessities, came running back to me and I was overwhelmed. I felt like God had answered my prayers. I now get to take part in this relief that I am so passionate about!

 One of my good friends, Angela Cusano, really put it into words best, “I was going to Nicaragua because I wanted to be obedient to Gods calling for me to serve, but going to Puerto Rico now feels like more like a calling.” These changes are good, but scary and unplanned, yet I believe our team leader, Jessica Cardwell, said it best, “It’s a God thing.”

Thank you for reading. I hope you will continue in your prayers with me and my teammates as they will in a few days decide if God is calling them to Puerto Rico. In addition, please keep the people of Nicaragua in your thoughts and prayers as they are going through a very rough and deadly presidential election.

 

-Tomás

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