The trip is over. All that planning, all the meetings, all the fundraising, all the fears...done. We are home and life is getting back to normal.
This time last week I was preparing to speak at the women's event in Tipitopa, Nicaragua. It was our third day of the mission trip and we were running at full speed, having done several children's events and had begun food distribution. The heat was smothering at times, the bugs seemed to multiply and there was a voice whispering to me "you don't belong here, why did you even come".
As the time for me to speak drew near, I found myself at the back of the stage for two reasons. 1) there was an ever so slight breeze and 2) I needed to gain perspective. As I paced back and forth I fell into my rhythm and whispered repeatedly "more of You, less of me." One by one the ladies on my team came to the stage and hugged me, stating words of encouragement...words I so desperately needed to hear, to drown out the other voice and to be reminded it's not up to me, I'm just the vessel.
For a very long time I didn't like to be hugged. My church likes to hug. Nicaraguans like to hug. I'm so thankful that today I like to receive hugs...hugs have grown to be very comforting to me...a sign of healing. The Nicaraguan ladies sat in chairs, patiently waiting for me to take center stage, and they witnessed hug after hug and knew by my face I was being washed in Grace.
Nicaragua is a place filled with deep need, poverty in its truest form. But what I saw that night, what I saw one week ago in this hour was not poverty but women with stories, women with broken hearts, full hearts, and God's grace covered every square inch of the windowless church.
Our mission trip is over, true. But THE mission is far from over. Every person on this Earth deserves to be heard, to be told they matter, to feel God through hugs and words of encouragement. The journey, for this girl, is just beginning.