It hasn’t officially been a week but we’ll just keep that little detail between you and I.
Arriving to Nica was well…emotional on many ends. Sad I was leaving and to be honest a lot scared. Scared of nothing in particular just scared because I was about to land in a country where I didn’t speak their language and I was alone. I got to Nica about 4:30pm local time…which for EST was 6:30pm. I had been traveling a total of 12 hours and was exhausted.
Laura, who is the teams’ coordinator for House of Hope, picked me up and she drove me to my new casa. It was dark so most of the girls didn’t recognize me at first and I didn’t recognize too many of them. I spotted a familiar face and I wasn’t sure it was really who I thought it was until she ran into the main meeting room screaming “She’s here she’s here! My madrina is here!” At that point I knew it was my Lupe. Lupe is the little girl I wrote about my last day at House of Hope and how God chose her to show me his love. I scooped her up and gave her a big hug. I was so glad to see her here…safe.
To be honest the first night was rough. Just being physically and emotionally exhausted and no way to call/text my people to just get a comforting word. Nothing. I felt the aloneness deep in those first few hours. After taking a shower to cool off because it was super hot, I had unpacked my supplies in attempt to feel grounded; I was ready to curl up with God. Oh just thinking about to how I felt Wednesday night brings me to tears. Not so much of the sadness I felt but just how God totally met me and was so close…answering my prayers in the days to come. I felt so alone but it was as if God sent his best caregivers to comfort me. He used letters and gifts I found in my bag and a dear friend’s voice on a playlist. Reading in his word that first night was so comforting but brought me to tears in a way I’ve never experienced. Thinking, “this is it God…I’m here…you better be too!” I wasn’t saying that in a “you better” kinda way it was more like a “oh Jesus I can’t feel you or see you so please come close!”
The next day I could feel that peace…that closeness that only God can bring. I’ve felt it before in the states…it’s just a little bit different here. You don’t have the distractions of life pulling close as well…it’s just me and God at night in my little 10’X10’ room. I wrote in my journal both Wednesday and Thursday and God had completely answered my heart’s cry from Wednesday.
I ended my entry with:
“oh Jesus, I feel so scared and so alone. I so need you to come close. Need you to fill this emptiness I’ve never felt before. God please move into the spots that aren’t yours yet. Come Jesus. Come close.”
I began Thursday’s entry with thanking God for doing just that…not realizing what I wrote on Wednesday. He is so good to us. He loves us so well. I am so thankful that he choose many of you who are reading this to love me in supporting me. I can never thank you enough with words or deeds for your sacrifice. Know that I take that seriously and am encouraged by your obedience and sacrifice to support me during these next six months. I’m not just speaking of monetary sacrifice…there’s the prayers and the encouragement and hugs and love I feel so many miles away. It’s finding a letter tucked away for me to read…it’s hearing my friend’s voice on a quick call to the states encouraging me to be brave. I see and hear God in all of this.
With God I can be brave…with me I’m gonna run.
(My closest friends know that about me.)
There is a total of 22 girls…well…actually 23 now that live in the dorm. Oscar actually just picked up another girl he found with no family prostituting in a market. She is 13. She has been here now about 2 hours.
God’s love in pursuit of us…of her…in the dirty noisy market.
There are also 9 women who live here with their families on campus now. A new mom came the day before I got here and she has three beautiful children.
These past few days have mainly been of me adjusting to Nica life and learning the ends and outs of the House of Hope. Adjusting to my new normal. A normal where I don’t speak the language and talk a lot in one word sentences and gestures. No one is sick as of yet and nothing major has happened to report…as of yet that is.
One funny story from Friday night: I was taking a shower and was just turning off the handle when the handle broke and the water flow got even stronger! I ran and found Grace, a summer intern, and explained to her I’m not sure what I did but the water won’t turn off. Oscar sent us to find the cistern and shut the water off on the entire campus. Yes, me, I caused the entire campus of House of Hope to have no water. That’s how I roll people. That was only on day 3 too…who knows what else I’m going to come up with!
God has been and is continuing to be close and to speak to my heart in ways I am not used to. I know he has big things for these next six months. I can feel it deep. With growth comes pain and death of myself though…as most anyone would like to fast forward to change…I’m asking God to not let me miss anything he has for me. Even though I miss you all more deeply than my words can say here I know that this is of God and this is what he wants. Just kind of ironic to think about…this time last year I was writing how God was moving in me to make deep connections and roots with those that I call my close friends now…and look where he has me now. Growing my security in him…in those “Jesus roots”…in who I am as his child.
Oh! Another funny tid-bit of info: there are three interns total. Grace a summer intern who the kids call “loco” or “princess”. Ashley another 6 month intern who the kids call “cowgirl”. And me…which I’m going by Ash, and the kids are calling me “beautiful”. Not sure how beautiful I really look in Nica dirt and sweat but hey I’ll take it. J
To my family and friends…know that I am praying for you. Praying for each of you to move towards God in radial ways. Radical doesn’t have to mean moving to a different country or anything like that…radical for God means being obedient to him when you have every reason not to be. Just do it friends. Move towards him. He is for your good…in your corner fighting for you. He loves you. I love you and miss you more deeply than I’d like to think about right now…so with that…go friend and love!