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Communications Coordinator. Anna joined Amigos for Christ in 2020. She loves the mission of Amigos, and as part of the communications team, she seeks to follow Jesus’ perfect example of service so that His love and power become more visible. Being blessed as part of the Amigos Familia, Anna views it as a privilege to bring joy to Nicaraguan neighbors for the glory of her loving Savior.

Please God, Love People

This morning, as I sit in a busy café in the middle of Chinandega, Nicaragua, I feel like a living, breathing paradox. Behind me, I hear the excited chatter as another customer leaves the counter with her morning fuel. Through the steam from my latte, I see a taxi screech to a halt, the passenger barely making it out of the car before the driver races off again. In the distance, I hear the usual shout of an elderly woman advertising freshly made tortillas as she pedals her tricycle through the crowd. Despite the noise and chaos that surrounds me, inside, I sense a single feeling – peace.

Today marks 10 months since my husband and I packed our bags, said goodbye to our friends and family, and headed to Nicaragua to serve with Amigos for Christ. To celebrate this milestone, I sit in my favorite café, nostalgically scrolling through pictures of our time here. Looking at myself on our last night in Georgia, I laugh at the wide eyes and forced smile that don’t hide the insecurity lying just beneath the surface. There is so much that I would love to have been able to tell myself then, starting with a gentle reminder to breathe.

 

The path that led us to Nicaragua was a long one. For as long as I can remember, I have found value in pleasing others. Growing up, I was the child that always followed the rules simply for the sake of making the adults in my life happy. I pushed myself in sports, not necessarily for myself, but for the approval of my coach and teammates. I went to college, made good grades, and followed the path that was expected of me.

While this wasn’t inherently wrong, it does now seem quite ironic. In seeking peace through affirmation from others, I only ever found discontentment.
While this discontentment was personal, it was not unique. Since the fall, men and women have sought to make their own way in this world, longing for the approval of others and going to great lengths to obtain it. The danger of this desire is that it distracts us from our ultimate purpose: serving the God that created us. The Apostle Paul warns us of this temptation in his letter to the Galatians: “For am I now seeking the approval of man, or of God? Or am I trying to please man? If I were still trying to please man, I would not be a servant of Christ” (1:10). The greatest danger of seeking to please the world is success in the attempt; no one can serve two masters.

It wasn’t until the Lord revealed the trap that I had fallen into that I was able to stop trying to please the world and dedicate myself to serving Christ – however and wherever He might call me. This required me to step beyond my comfort zone and put my faith to the test like never before. Ultimately, in serving Him, God led me to a place where I found what I had been searching for – peace.

 

In bringing me to Nicaragua, God fixed my priorities and fulfilled my desires. Now, instead of treading water each day with the pressure of peoples’ expectations pulling me down, I walk in the freedom and peace of knowing that there is only One that is worthy of pleasing. This singular focus invigorates me to try to be obedient to His word each day.

Through Amigos for Christ, I seek to serve in obedience to a simple yet comprehensive command: Please God, Love People. We please God when we pursue justice, show mercy, and practice love. We please God when we treat others as we would like to be treated, looking upon His beautiful creation without prejudice or partiality. We please God when we seek first the Kingdom of Heaven, striving to allow the love of Jesus to flow through us each day. Ultimately, we please God when we love people.
In the café, I continue scrolling past the pictures from our first few weeks of culture shock and climate adjustment. With each passing month, I notice our smiles growing. Whether we are covered in mud, digging a ditch for a new water system, or enjoying a breathtaking view from the top of an active volcano, our pictures are full of big smiles that reflect true joy that we have found in our new home.
I thank God each day for the opportunity to serve at Amigos for Christ and for the peace that He has given me. I pray that He will continue to allow His love to flow through us here in Nicaragua as we please Him by loving people.

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