PHOTO-2023-10-16-17-22-35 9
Chief Storyteller. You can usually find Ivi with a big smile on her face and a camera in her hand. She is passionate about telling stories of transformation and loves being a part of all the good happening here in Nicaragua.

Before the Bazaar 

Written by:  Lynnaya Preuss 

I love a good garage sale. As a little girl, I would scooter around the neighborhood looking for a special treasure with the couple dollars my mom sent me off with every time plastic tables appeared in the driveway of someone’s house. So you can imagine my excitement (and the nostalgia) when I was told that there would be a bazaar in the community of La Grecia… and I was invited to help out!
On a sunny weekend morning, I arrived ready to organize toys, clothes and accessories and to assign prices to the last couple of items donated for the sale. Shortly thereafter, people began to trickle in. Grandmas with their grandchildren. A group of kiddos giddy to have been given permission to arrive on their own.
As people perused action figures and dresses, I couldn’t help but notice the faces of joy. Of community members finding that special something. A pink pony. A flowered blouse. It felt really good to see the community relaxed and enjoying time together picking out their new things. There was laughter. There was food. And there was even face painting!

But all of this wasn’t what impacted me the most. That came before the bazaar.

You see, the bazaar was put on by La Grecia’s Youth Committee. In each community Amigos partners with, a group of young adults forms a committee which we call the CDJ (“comité de jóvenes”).
these committees do a variety of activities, but a key pillar of their work is supporting the education of the children in the community by leading after-school- homework clubs and coordinating extra support for students. In this way, each CDJ is dual-purposed: it provides an opportunity for young adults to develop their leadership and service while simultaneously supporting the long-term success of children who face many obstacles to achieving their dreams.
In the community of La Grecia, there is a young woman named Nayelis on the Youth Committee. It’s her story that I want to tell— what came before the bazaar.
Twenty years old, Nayelis is sweet and a helpful person. And before the bazaar, she took a big step. At our planning meeting for the bazaar, she accepted the recommendation of her peers and filled the role of the CDJ’s secretary! I think all of us would agree that it’s a happy thing (good news!), but for her it was much more than that. It truly was a big step.
She was nervous. She expressed that she didn’t feel capable: she had never been a secretary. Moreover, she had never been elected as anything. She wasn’t sure she could do it. But with her peers’ encouragement, she decided that sí (yes!) she would do it. She would do it afraid. The reason she gave? For the children in the community. She hoped that her work as secretary would help facilitate meeting the needs of her community’s kiddos.
Thinking of Nayelis, I think back to my younger self. Or better yet, I think of myself now. Would I do things that are outside of my comfort zone for the sake of others? Would I lay aside my own desire to do what’s more comfortable, to avoid something that intimidates me, for the sake of a greater purpose beyond myself? Would I do it like Nayelis did? Do I?

One could say this is the call the disciples answered when Jesus said, “Follow me.”

“For whoever wants to save their life will lose it, but whoever loses their life for me and for the gospel will save it.”
Mark 8:35
Jesus calls us to a grand purpose. He calls us to “lose our life.” The way I see it, this is not only deciding to follow Jesus and his example in the big ways; it’s also taking the “tiny” steps that stretch us to reflect his character more and serve others better. For Nayelis, it’s making the choice to serve as a secretary for her community’s Youth Committee. I’m thinking about what that is for me. What is it for you?

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Before the Bazaar 

Written by:  Lynnaya Preuss  I love a good garage sale. As a little girl, I would scooter around the neighborhood looking for a special treasure

Read More »