It was 20 years ago that I took my first trip to Nicaragua with the organization Bridges to Community. That winter we lived and worked in the community of Bilwi helping with the construction of a community center. Since that first trip 20 years ago, I have been in Nicaragua at least one time each year. At 4:15 tomorrow morning the group of us from Bedford Presbyterian who are going on this year’s trip will meet at the church, pile into cars and vans and head to the airport for this year’s trip.
These trips humble me.
For a few minutes I see the world as most of the world really is and not as it looks out my front door. These trips also teach me what gratitude looks likes and feels like. And, I am forced to make my neighborhood a bit larger and more inclusive. For all those things I am deeply grateful. I cannot imagine what my life world be like if I did not have these experiences.
And, because of these trips I understand the Bible in ways I never did before. The people with whom Jesus lived and to whom he spoke lived in situations and conditions much more like Las Conchitas or Nindiri, Nicaragua than Bedford, NY. Jesus saying, “In my father’s house there are many rooms…” (John 14) sounds very different to those who live in a one room house made of scraps of wood and metal and only dirt for a floor than to those of us who already live in homes with many rooms. And, when Jesus talks about a grand banquet (Luke 14 and elsewhere), that sounds very different to those who only have one, maybe two meals a day, consisting primarily of rice and beans than it does to those of us who have a banquet each day. These trips and the relationships I have made and what I have experienced and learned has deepened my faith and has helped me to see the world as God must see the world.
So, we leave tomorrow.
45 of us.
We will help build homes for four families.
And, just as important
We will learn something about ourselves and about the world and its people which God has entrusted to our care and keeping.