September 6, 2019
Kendra Redding is a registered nurse from Mississippi that has a love for travel and serving others. In addition to nursing, she also owns a group tourism business, with which she returned to Nicaragua on a medical mission in 2019.
In 2006, I was a typical teenager. I was a good kid, made good grades, and was involved in church and extracurricular activities. Like a lot of teenagers, however, I tended to think life was all about me. When I heard through my school about the opportunity to go on a mission trip to Nicaragua, I thought it would be fun, but I had no idea of the lasting impact that it would have on my life.
I didn’t know anything about international travel, physical labor, or self-sacrificing service at the time, but that one week changed all of that. During that week I got my first taste of travel, climbed a volcano and learned how rewarding it is to conquer something that scares you. I also picked up a shovel for the first time and experienced what it was like to physically work until you hurt. But most importantly, I learned what it was like to inconvenience yourself for the good of others. I learned what it was like to make true connections with strangers that you may think you have nothing in common with, and I realized that true happiness had nothing to do with how many things I could acquire.
Recently, thirteen years after my first trip to Nicaragua, I had to pleasure of returning to serve again with Amigos. Some things were different, but the life changing aspect the week was just the same as it had been the first time. I connected with beautiful people that I otherwise may have never met. I worked alongside some wonderful Nicaraguan people that taught me the meaning of hard work. I played with children that didn’t have an abundance of toys but were some of the happiest children I’d ever met. Though many years had passed since my first mission with Amigos, the lessons I learned and the impact on my life were the same.
For the longest time I have credited Amigos for Christ with helping me realize my purpose. Serving in Chinandega, Nicaragua was where I first realized my love for international travel. It was where I first discovered my love for international missions. It was where I first realized my love for serving others. And now, many years later, I find myself in a profession where I serve others daily, travel the world. and serve on missions every year. Had I not experienced serving with Amigos 13 years ago, I’m not sure that my story would have been the same, and for that I am forever grateful.