Sunday, January 1, 2012

"What we own, we own..."

Friday, December 16th

"So what are you doing there?"

A question I received several times when I explained that I would be away for a time, heading to Nicaragua on a mission trip.

"What type of trip?"
"A medical mission trip."
"So you are in the medical field?"
"Ah, no, I'm in IT..."

So what am I doing here?  Well, for starters I'm getting in my sisters rental car that was to be exchanged for a larger model that would be used during the trip.  We headed off into the hustle and bustle of the city.  As we approach a large "rotunda"  (i.e. round about) Cheri is explaining how she just hates these, just doesn't get them, is always told she does them wrong, and just as we exit the rotunda a policeman steps into the road, whistles, and waves for her to pull over...

  The police in Nicaragua are very poorly paid.  The "system" typically involves paying the officer to keep from getting a ticket.  But not Cheri :-)  After 10 minutes of back-n-forth the officer tires of her argument and says "just go...".  And for the record, we did discuss later with Windy (my niece that lives in Managua) and she instructed us in how to properly navigate the rotunda's in Nicaragua :-)

Cheri in the middle, Maria De LosAngeles on right.
So anyway, the balance of the day included a visit to MINSA, the national health office, to take care of permits and such.  Cheri will tell you about the years that she spent earning the trust and respect of MINSA, specifically Maria De LosAngeles, who runs the office.  This is part of Cheri's goal of sustainability.  To work within the system, to help those working in the system, to equip those using the system.  It is an impressive model she strives to build.

From there we had to go to the US Embassy.  This was an unfortunate sidebar to the mission trip as two of Cheri's kids were stuck in Atlanta.  A passport had come up missing.  Cheri was trying to negotiate a way to expedite the process of getting a new passport and getting the kids to Nicaragua  (they ended up making it for Christmas, but missed the mission trip).

Standing in front of the embassy I opted not to take any pictures.  Something told me I just shouldn't :-)

The balance of the day involved another trip or two around the city, taking care of more logistics.

And, not by choice but necessity, we ate Burger King for lunch :-)  "220 Cords, please..."  Exchange rate is 22.6 to 1 - that'll mess with your head!

The whole point of this post comes down to this, what I said yesterday was a defining day - by day's end I no longer saw the city with the wide brush of "abject poverty".  Rather, I found a rythym, a lifestyle that seems to just "humm".  Yes, everyone honks at everyone on the roads, but it isn't an angry honk.  It's a message of "I'm here" or "passing" or "ok to pass".  And it's quite effective. Everyone I met was warm and friendly - and proud to be Nica.

Life in Managua is very different from the US, but much the same.  Is there extreme poverty? Yes.  Are there big problems?  Absolutely.  But the people, the culture, the lifestyle, the contentment with simplicity was inspiring. "Senior Charles, what we own, we own..."  - there's a big lesson in those few words...

"So, what exactly are you going for?"  That question still hung out there...

Press on friends. 

Bain Day 2 Note:
I Chronicles 28:19-20 "All this", David said, "I have in writing from the hand of the Lord upon me, and gave me understanding in all the details of the plan."  David also said to Solomon his son, "be strong and courageous, and do the work.  Do not be afraid or discouraged, for the Lord God, my God, is with you.  He will not fail you or forsake you until all the work for the service of the temple of the Lord is finished."

Act on what you know and what is revealed and God will reveal more.  David was given understanding, but he did not keep it to himself.  As the father of Solomon, he encouraged his son to do the work of the Lord.  For what are we to be hesitant about, knowing God is with us?


suchil coffman said...

great post, chuck! looking forward to reading these as they unfold around the trip's progress. my only regret was not having a way to blog/journal when i was there. maybe next time i'll bring my laptop to do that.... :)

Chuck said...

Hi Suchil. I had my notepad and tried to capture thoughts each morning and or evening. Trying not to recapture the emotion of the moments present when I wrote the original notes :-)