Saint Francis de Sales once said, “There is nothing small in the service of God.”
In the midst civil unrest, travel restrictions, and COVID-19, I remember several years ago wondering what Amigos would do without back-to-back mission trips from the United States. I began to internally panic, thinking, “We won’t be able to do anything.” One day, the Partnerships Team was sitting together in a room talking about this when someone mentioned, “We could invite Nicaraguan communities and churches to work with us…” We looked at one another, wide-eyed. Why hadn’t we thought of this before?
In 2018, Amigos for Christ hosted its first local, Nicaraguan mission trip group from a Plan 7 community that had already turned on their new clean water system. It was an amazing experience for everyone involved. We continued hosting groups from Plan 7 communities for a while, but we kept thinking, “We can expand on this.”
In 2020, I sat down with my colleagues Manuel Chávez and Leydin Nieto, and we began talking about inviting local churches to work with us. Amigos has hosted many churches from the United States, so why couldn’t we invite Nicaraguan churches to come alongside us as well?
There is a quote by Fr. Richard Rohr that embodies this idea perfectly: “There is a part of you that is Love itself, and that is what we must fall into. It is already there. Once you move your identity to that level of deep inner contentment, you will realize you are drawing upon a Life that is much larger than your own and from a deeper abundance.”
Manuel and Leydin visited church after church, inviting them to join us in serving our neighbors. Over the last few years, many new churches have come to work with us, and the way I view service has really begun to shift.
'And you shall love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind and with all your strength.’ The second is this: ‘You shall love your neighbor as yourself.’
Our lives are not about us. Even though sometimes, if we are honest, we think the world revolves around us. But it really doesn’t. I believe that the greatest things we can do in life are love God and love one another, just like Jesus did. A deep, sacrificial love. That sacrificial love is being shown every day here in Nicaragua.
It has been truly inspirational to work with Nicaraguan groups, doing the same things that we have traditionally done with North American groups. Things like hiking Cerro Negro, doing devotionals, digging trenches, visiting the city of Chinandega. This sort of movement has created a sense of unity among us, among the children of God. It’s a unity that transcends race or nationality, and it’s been a privilege to see.
Can you imagine if all of humanity worked to love and serve their fellow humans? I used to think this was impossible, but now I don’t. It really is possible. I have seen it first-hand. It doesn’t matter how much money you have, where you are from, the color of your skin, or the language that you speak. We can all serve one another in love – the love that every human being has inside of them because we are all made in the image of the One who is perfect love.
I cannot imagine how proud God is watching us love each other deeply and selflessly. I am so proud of the Partnerships Team, every member: Manuel, Leydin, Jaime, Ruth, Carlos, Keven, Wilbert, and Kenneth. Local mission groups have become a way to serve God because of those 8 people working hard to show Christ’s love.
I am thankful for all the local groups, communities, and churches, who have partnered with us. What a gift.
I am thankful for the groups from the United States who paved the way for Amigos to invite more into this story of transformation. They set the example for how we serve.
We are blessed to bless.
My colleague Jaime always says, “We are blessed to bless.” That is a powerful truth. What a blessing it is to be part of such an amazing movement of love and service.