NEWS FROM NICARAGUA
Justin Sundberg is a PCUSA missionary serving with CEPAD. He recently led a delegation from Morgantown Presbyterian Church and wrote a reflection on his experience.
Kennedy and 24 others from her Morgantown, WV church and I (Justin) just finished a week together. She captured the essence of the trip at the very beginning of her visit. In describing her overnight with a Nicaraguan family, she shared with sober clarity, “[Their house] wasn’t 5-star, but [my hosts] were happy. And I know that when I get back I have a long Amazon order to make and none of that stuff will make me happy.”
At twenty years old, Kennedy had discovered the life-changing truth that though we need some of the material stuff in our lives, it doesn’t fill us up, bring us joy, nor does it move us outward to love and serve others.
My family likes to tease me about my phone. I admit that I’m wedded to it. I rely on it. And I like it. But it doesn’t make me happy. In a post-dinner moment just after my new West Virginian friends had returned to the states, I played a charades game called “Head’s Up” with Renée and the kids. A phone is needed to play the game. But the phone is incidental. The joy of that evening came from being and laughing with my family.
I’m praying for Kennedy. That she continues to see clearly how stuff cannot fill her. And that she knows Jesus in a way that deeply satisfies her hunger and sates her thirst. Renée and I are praying for you, too, our friends old and new. Praying that you’ll have Kennedy’s clear sight. And that Christ will work in you for a more just and joyful world, one in which all can laugh freely and fully.
Thank you for praying for us. Soon we enter our second year in Nicaragua. We have loved facilitating visits and mission trips like those from Kennedy’s church. Our hope is that more and more U.S. churches and individuals will be strengthened and renewed through these experiences as we facilitate university and congregational relationships in Nicaragua.
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