20 years and ready for more!

January 14, 2019


Sabrina Bland has been a part of Amigos since its beginning — as a cheerleader, “Amigos’ mom,” artista, nurse, expert of gratitude, and more. The list could go on and on! Now she works happily as our Donor Relations Coordinator and loves living in Nicaragua with her family and grandbabies!

There is a famous moment in the original Star Wars. Princess Leia tells the Death Star’s General Tarkin that the more he tightens his grip, the more things will slip through his fingers. I love this moment, and in a weird way, I think this concept describes how Amigos has grown so well under God’s grace.

20 years ago, Amigos was an idea in God’s heart. No one was really “planning” to form what we have now. Certainly not John and me. We were not anticipating the way our family’s life would become part of a great story. God always has a way of surprising us all. By letting ourselves be open to receive, we have been given even more than we could have dreamed on our own. Not to say that all of Amigos’ growth has been easy. The irony is that the more we opened our hands to receive God’s Big Dreams and let go of trying to control the outcome, the more we were actually showered with wonderful blessings each year.

Here is what I have discovered in the last 20 years by being a part of this God-story called Amigos:

  • You have to let go of stuff in order for God to fill your hands. Your comfort. Your control. Your idea of what missions looks like. When we dove into living and working side by side with Nicaraguans we became “real.” (like The Velveteen Rabbit)
  • You have to radically shift what it means to love. You have to be vulnerable, like Ruth from the old testament, and be open to ideas from God and others. You have to allow others to love you back. You have to be uncomfortable and laugh. A lot.
  • Serving others is like an orchestra. Amigos can’t do what we do alone. But as we have allowed God to bring in people from all over the world and in all the communities, the story and the impact just keeps growing like a symphony.
  • You have to allow time to do its work. To help you grow. To help you see. To convince communities of their immense worth and potential. To wait for leaders to mature and learn to lead in Amigos better than we had ever anticipated. Like a garden, it takes a long time for the trees to flower and for moss to grow on the bricks.

20 years ago, Amigos started with the idea to drill a few wells, maybe build a few homes, and take a trip or two each year. But the reality is that God had a grander story in mind. We all learned to let go of our small vision, and open our hands to receive His dream for our lives. And here’s the best part, it is more wonderful and exciting and FULL than I could have ever imagined.

I am so excited about the story of the next 20 years. Unlike the General in Star Wars, I am opening my palms wide – as wide as I can – to let the next 20 years just pour in. Amigos is too.

Here’s to 20 more!