My Adventure in Getting to Rivas [Nicaragua]

By: Joann Vanderyacht

September 2, 2015

It all started when ... I went to the kitchen sink for a glass of water one day. It was in December 2014. I felt grateful to only have to walk 8 steps for clean water. I had an evening of then feeling extremely grateful for EVERYTHING I have. By US standards, it isn't much, but by a larger part of world's standards I have much. The next week at church my pastor announced we would partner with LWI to raise the funds to donate a water well in the Rivas community of Nicaragua. I understood fully what my evening's stirrings were all about a few days earlier. As I kept donating change and whatever I could I thought to myself, "Hey, who is going to go there to do this work of drilling this well?" Well then, a few weeks later our pastor announced that we would be sending a team of 12 people. This was no "inner stirring" now, it had become a magnetic pull to go be on this team. I inquired about the cost...then quickly th ought, there is just no way I can afford that. Then on Easter Sunday after attending all 3 services I spoke to my pastor and it was most clear that if I ever truly wanted God to know that I trusted him, this was the way to show him. I applied for my passport and wasn't sure I'd be granted one since I had a criminal history that might not excite my government to grant it to me. I simply prayed outside the passport office, "Jesus, if I have been made new, IN YOU, let it be so." Ten days later there was a passport in the mail. That was all the confirmation I needed. God was off to the races and placed things in my path one thing after another to bring the funds cascading in like water. 1,000 tamales made and sold and then houseful after houseful of items donated to me for a huge garage sale. My trip fee was paid in full in less than 4 weeks. Having MS i was a little concerned about the heat. That doesn't work well with this disease. I prayed for health during my trip and asked a few people to pray for me in that regard as well. I hit a wall everyday about 2:30 but I was never sick, never had any problems aside from normal fatigue. I was so grateful. The people I met in the El Cocal community and the LWI staff we worked with are forever in my heart. I was fortunate enough to be on the drilling team and the hygiene team as well. I had countless exchanges with people in the community and the children....THE CHILDREN...This meant so much more to my life than I even thought. EVERYONE should do something like this at least once in their life. I am determined to go again next year. I am forever changed. I couldn't be more grateful.

I enjoyed getting to know ... I enjoyed getting to know Jorge and his wife Karla and family; Leo, Liseth, and Chico. The women in the compound house Carlissa and Tanya as well. Then there were the people in the El Cocal community; Matilda, Mercedes, Lillian, Pastor Jesus, Maria, Francisco, Erika, The women baking bread next door to Matilda's house, Children: Erik, Alexander, Daniel, Manuel, Luis, Arrian, Jassir, Prisila, and Franciella and so many more that I cannot even count. They are forever in my heart.

Things that challenged and changed me ... Was judging myself for not speaking perfect Spanish. The moment your heart was fully open and you simply wanted to communicate with someone the language barrier meant nothing at all. Something that changed me was through my conversations with Matilda she remembered details I'd told her about my life. Each day we started off by greeting each other and "checking in" that we remembered things about one another. She was so very special to me. The little boy Erik that had no water access at all at his house simply wanted to shower in the water once it was running clean. I thought to myself as he begged me to come in with him because he was scared, how could I say no?? Even on the day that I remained dry and clean until this moment! Our cool water "shower" cooled me off internally and then I realized that as we were walking to the school together before this event (hand in hand) we were both so hot . We kept wiping our hands off to dry them then immediately holding hands again. I thought to myself as he showered in the water...this has got to be the first time he's really cooled off from his head down to his toes...at least i could take a cool shower back at the compound house after the day was done. He was three years old I think. He kissed me when I left for lunch that day, and he asked, "don't you have things you can sell so that you can stay?" fighting back tears, I said no, but I have things I can sell so that I may return. He smiled we hugged and that was the last time I saw Sweet Erik.

I will never forget ... I will never forget one moment of this trip. I feel a stirring inside me has been quieted, but just for now. I'll be back.

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