By: Brandie Potzick, Short Term Servant Leader Summer 2014
Have you ever had a teacher who really impacted you, maybe even changed the way you view the world, who remembered your name even after an extended amount of time and hundreds of other students who probably looked just like you? It’s an incredible thing to feel known and important to these people. The impact they had on your life makes it seem obvious that you would always remember them, but you wonder what effect you could possibly have made on their life that they would remember you as well.
Most recently for me, that teacher was an eight (now nine) year old girl named Megan from a rural Nicaraguan village called Miguel Cristiano. In March 2013, I was part of the missionary group that got to break ground with the people of Miguel Cristiano on their clean water system. In other words, I was one of the first of many, many gringos that would support the community in their project. Everyone worked hard that week digging and laying the first 300 feet of pipe, and on Friday we celebrated with games and play time together.
I met Megan while I was eating a mango. I’d never eaten one whole before and she showed me how to peel it and then shared in it’s juicy, ripe goodness with me. I tend to put food in its own category of love languages, so needless to say I probably would have remembered Megan forever just after that moment. But after the mango was gone we continued to keep each other company. We jumped rope, played tag, she taught me hand games and dances and songs in Spanish.
Brandie and Megan, Summer 2013
Then Megan took me to her home. She introduced me to her mother and her baby sister. She brought a chair from her bedroom to the main room for me to sit in even though she and her mom were standing. She poured me the last cup of cold water they had in their fridge at that moment. She filled a freezer-size ziploc bag full of jocotes picked from a tree in their yard for me. She held my hand everywhere we went and when it was time for us gringos to leave, she gave me possibly the biggest, tightest hug I’d ever received.
That afternoon in March 2013, Megan made Christ more visible to me. Through her hospitality she taught me what His love and character look like in action. I have carried the memories of that day with me ever since, trying to emulate Megan in my relationships with others.
Now in June 2014, 15 months later, I’ve had the opportunity to return to Miguel Cristiano with Amigos For Christ’s education team. I was thrilled to visit and see how the community has been able to thrive since completing their water system and constructing Modern Bathrooms.
This time we were there to celebrate education with the children–complete with a parade, games and prizes, a dance competition, and of course a piñata. Soon after we arrived at their school, I saw Megan outside one of the classrooms. I recognized her immediately; when she saw me, she paused just a moment before running over and saying, “Brandie… Brandie, si?” My heart swelled. She proceeded to take my hand and lead me back to her house to see her mom and sister again. Whenever she won candy in one of the games, she’d run over and offer me some. And before I left, she gave me the same big hug I received the last time.
I am sure Megan met and played with hundreds of gringos after our afternoon in March 2013, and I’m sure many of them spoke better Spanish than me, too. I never imagined she’d remember me, much less my name, though I knew I’d always remember hers. The moment she said to me, “Brandie… Brandie, si?” feels unreal and altogether indescribable. I still don’t know what I did to earn a place in her memory, but it’s taught me to be present and intentional with every interaction no matter how long I think the relationship will last, because you truly never know the kind of impact you might have on a person. Thank you, Megan, for continuing to be a teacher to me.