After days of travel and adjusting to various environments, I am finally settled here in Waspam, a town of about 10,000 people along the Rio Coco in northeastern Nicaragua. And boy does it feel good to be “home”! (Funny how “home” is such a relative term; for the most part, “home” usually means wherever I’m sleeping that night, but for the next 4 months, home will be right here at the Keogh’s house.)
A huge shout-out to Kirsten for overcoming her natural, not-a-morning-person state to drive me 3 hours from Sebring to Miami. Thank you very much! After a brief flight, I left any trace of the Sebring behind and landed in Managua. I soon spotted Tom and Nutie, my missionary partners here, since they were jumping up and down in excitement, and I knew this was going to be a great summer.
In classic Nicaragua style, our plans changed multiple times in the course of those first few hours, and, after a beautiful night along a crater-lake, we boarded a little 12-seater plane for the 1 1/2 hour flight up to Waspam. The scenery below reminded me so much of West Papua; there’s no green quite like that of a tropical jungle!
Since being here, I have met many of the Keogh’s friends, who are all very sweet. I am excited about how things will progress as time passes (sometimes it’s hard to beleive I’ve only been here 31 hours). A few first impressions:
~ Praise God, the heat is not as unbearable as I was expecting. The humidity is a force to be reckoned with, but after having a heart-to-heart talk with the moisture levels, I think we’ve come to an understanding: it’s in control, and I’m just gonna have to get used to being sticky. Call it “the honeymoon phase” if you want, but so far constant stickiness hasn’t been to bad.
~Of the few experiences I’ve had so far here, I think I’ve already found two favorite parts of life here. 1) Tropical rain. The rainy season in this part of Nicaragua runs from mid-May to December (aka, my whole time here), and I love overpowering sound of the rain pelting against the tin roof. 2) Worship music. Waspam is home to many different churches (hearing the Gospel isn’t as big of a struggle here as living it out. Sound familiar?), and I overhead lots of choir practices while exploring the town last night. This morning, we joined a Miskito speaking church for praise and teaching, and I had tears in my eyes as we sang together. Though I didn’t know what exactly we were singing, and I had to really concentrate on my pronunciation, getting to hear my brothers and sisters in Christ worship God in their heart language, and Spanish, was such an encouragement.
~ I really need to learn the language, and gratefully I’ll be spending enough time here to make some headway. Despite all my memories of the time I spent in India last summer, I forgot how isolating it can be when you have no idea what’s going on around you. And for someone as extraverted as I am, it’s easy to get frustrated with yourself. Talking to people and making friends is seldom difficult for me, but in this case, I have a major hurdle in my way. Please pray for perseverance in study, patience with myself, and the proper focus of what exactly to learn.
I am so grateful for your prayers; keep them coming because I need them. Please pray for wisdom and a heart perceptive to God’s lead. The more time I spend here, the more opportunities I see for reaching out into the community and building relationships. And one thing I learned about myself while in GCBI is that I tend to say, “Yes” to quickly. Pray that I will be still before the Lord, seekingHis “Yes” over what to invest my time into and what to leave behind.
And keep praying for the Miskitos of Waspam and the Rio Coco. Pray that Jesus will be the center of their lives, that they will learn to love God with all their minds and strength (not just their hearts), and that my heart would break as God’s does for these people He so loves.
Aisabe (Miskito for “goodbye”) and hasta luego!
ps: I’ve decided to title my Rio Coco posts “Wangki Mairin” (pronounced “wahng-kee maee-reen”). Wangki is the Miskito name for the Rio Coco, and mairin means woman. The more time I spend here, the more I hope to become a Rio Coco girl!