Good morning, Friends! To start our missions series and finish out 25 days of giving, we are going to highlight the phenomenal human beings who made their way down to Nicaragua during their Christmas vacation to celebrate children from all over the country.
These people made a financial sacrifice to spread the love of Christ with little ones and their families. They sacrificed their luxurious homes for a few weeks with spotty wifi, 95+ degrees Fahrenheit temperatures and the occasional cold shower. My hat goes off to each and every person on this trip because they made an impact, they changed a life (or 2 or 30), and they selflessly gave the best parts of their hearts to the most deserving people.
The girls and guys on this trip blessed my soul so much. The ability to become just as comfortable sitting on a dirt floor in a tin roof building as they would in their own home speaks volumes about their character. Seeing them pick up and hug children who are covered in filth because they could see past the dirt to see their beautiful souls and worth filled my heart. The people in these pictures are the REAL DEAL. They made up our Dream Team, and I can’t imagine serving without them by my side. I am so grateful to God for hand picking this team and sending each and every one of us to WMO for the same trip at the same time. I just keep remembering that at one point, we were all complete strangers, but now, we are closer than family. These people are my people.
This trip was Jenna’s first time out of the country serving in a 3rd world country. You would never have guessed that by the way she naturally fell into place with our team. She didn’t spare a single hug or opportunity to love on the beautiful children in the communities we visited. Jenna’s vibrant spirit and love for Christ shined through time and time again on this trip. She was well-versed in the Spanish language and never hesitated to test out her words on the kids. Jenna, it was an honor to be a part of your very first trip, and I look forward to many more experiences like this with you!
This was Savannah’s 3rd trip to serve in Nicaragua, and her consistency of supporting these communities to does not go unnoticed. Savannah never misses an opportunity to share a hug or give away gifts to those in need. I have even watched her give away clothes straight from her own closet. Over the years, Savannah has continued to build our WMO teams with friends from college, always bringing a new face with a big heart to join our outreach programs. On this trip, Savannah and I were able to really connect, and I admire her perspective on life and giving spirit so much!
This was Jessica’s 2nd trip with World Missions Outreach, and she just thrives in these communities. Being fluent in Spanish, she is able to personally connect with the children, parents, and volunteers and on a deeper level understands exactly what they are saying. It was honestly the greatest joy watching her re-connect with so many of the kids she had met the year before, remember their faces and their names, also just catching up on how their year had been. The kids in this photo are some who she really connected with on her first trip, and she was able to surprise them again this year.
Mary is no stranger to Nicaragua, as she has traveled here several times with her sister Taylor and even her parents on a previous trip. The cool thing about Mary is that she thinks outside of the box. Our team regularly noticed different needs here and there, but then Mary notices one that we all missed. She is perfectly content spending all of her time investing in just one child rather than feeling the need to run laps around the building making all of the kids love her. The way that she serves is beautiful and incredibly intentional.
Taylor’s entire life is focused on ending childhood hunger, and the time she has spent in Nicaragua over the past 6 years have given her an abundance of opportunities to fight this epidemic. It is an honor and a privilege to call Taylor a friend, and I love watching the way she not only feeds the kids with physical food, but she also shares the love of Christ and fills them up with spiritual food. Taylor’s unending love for these children and the communities in Nicaragua is one of the most beautiful things about her.
He’s the guy responsible for most of our photos on the trips. It’s his second time here in Nicaragua, and he has been adopted into the family. His whole life is centered in ministry, specifically children’s ministry, and although he is a fantastic photographer, he is also one of the most phenomenal people on the planet. Satta’s heart is bigger than just about anyone else’s on the planet. He gets it. He tells his story through pictures, but the stories are the most raw and authentic version of the truth. I am so incredibly grateful for his friendship and his role on this trips.
This guy 🙂 Harry wears many hats… Interpreter, Public Speaker, Photographer, Server, Friend, and now Family. He has been a part of several of our teams, but he’s more than just a volunteer who works for WMO, he’s part of our mission team. In this photo, he’s translating a card written from a family in the U.S. so that their sponsored girls can understand how much their sponsors love them. He always goes the extra mile, and it never goes unnoticed. You can ask him anything, and he’s always quick to jump up and help out, no matter what.
Meet: Judith, Martin, & Dean
This is one of my favorite families on the planet, not just in Nicaragua, but on the planet. Judith and Martin are phenomenal leaders, and they are raising a little world changer. Their son Dean is only 5 years old, and he always steps up to hand out the first hot meal or hygiene kit. He never asks for toys from the gift bin, but instead, he takes it upon himself to ensure that every child gets a “good” gift. He refuses to be spoiled and always shares his gifts with other kids. He’s a great person, and he’s only 5 years old. I have to give the credit to his parents though because they have been incredible intentional at raising a future leader.
Meet: Donna (aka Mother Theresa)
I’m keeping it short, and that’s not easy. Nana (Donna, Mother Theresa of Nica, etc.) is everything that I hope to be as a woman. Nothing compares to the heart this woman has for children, needy folks, and people in general. She has sacrificed everything in her life to make sure the people around her are happy and comfortable. I love her more than words can ever express, and I admire every aspect of her heart and her soul. She is the one who taught me how to serve. Her, her daughter Lisa, and her granddaughter Amanda are a clear representation of generational leadership.
and again, trying to keep it short when I talk about Amanda is never a reality. She is my person. On a personal level, I will never be able to repay her for the role she has and continues to play in my life. She is hands down the most level-headed and anointed person I have ever met in my life. I am so beyond grateful for our friendship and this sister bond we share. Everything I have learned about children’s ministry in Nicaragua and developing countries is a direct result of her incredible example. She is intentional with every person she meets, and she never stops serving even on some of the hardest days of her life… She puts herself aside and gives what she has left to those in need.
Now, I’m not gonna write a little blurb about myself, because that’s just awkward, but when you look at this picture, the only thing I want you to see is joy. Being the vessel and being used by God to do His work will give you more joy than anything else in this world. Before I even open my first Christmas gift this season, my heart is already full, and I am already at peace and 100% content with all that God has given me. Nothing will ever compare the opportunity to serve a child a meal, put a smile on their face and make sure that they understand their worth.
More posts to come from our trip. The next few will include real stories about real people. I wanted to make sure you had the background info on those serving in our pictures before sharing their stories. Each person represented in this post brings a unique character to the team. We would not be complete without each and every one of them. I am so grateful for so many like-minded people in my life and on this team.
– the Wife
**All photos were taken by Satta Ektrakul and Harry Estrada**