The poor have it right. My recent mission trip to Nicaragua taught me where America got things wrong.
Over the summer I went on a mission trip to the Mustard Seed Communities Special Needs Orphanage in Nicaragua. Because of the work I did there and the people I encountered, it was a life changing experience that I will hold dear to my heart for the rest of my life.
The people I met in Nicaragua truly amazed me.
They appreciate the simple gifts of life.
In the eyes of others, these people are considered “poor”, but they are SO rich in love. Some may think that they have every reason to be depressed and miserable but they are the happiest and most joyful people I have ever met. They know that their circumstances are due to the brokenness of the world and they still believe in the goodness of God and that God has a special plan for them despite all the suffering.
It’s easy to feel sorry for these kids because they are abandoned, unhealthy and malnourished, but as I learned more about them and really got to know them, I began to admire them. They may not have all the resources that we have in America, but they do have happiness and love, whereas here in America we have everything we could ever want and yet there is a huge lack of faith and love.
In America, we tend to take a lot for granted and get caught up in the distractions and temptations of life, but when you strip away everything except for the basics, God is the one thing that remains.
Nothing else matters.
When you live a simple life, you don’t worry about the small things and you are able to immerse yourself in the beauty of everyday life. Living simply gives you the opportunity to really live everyday to the fullest and open your eyes to see how God is working in even the simplest of moments.
For example, despite all the language and cultural barriers between the kids and I, God’s love was our common language. They didn’t speak or understand English and I didn’t speak or understand Spanish, but we understood each other’s hearts and we were still able to communicate. God’s love has no boundaries.
It doesn’t matter what language you speak, what race you are, or your physical or mental ability, God’s love prevails above all.
These kids are a true testament of that. Because they live in God’s love, they don’t judge anyone; they look at people through their hearts. Their example challenged me to aspire to be the best version of myself, who God created me to be, at all times.
Ultimately, that is why God created us, to be examples of love in everything we do. I think He puts certain opportunities and people in our lives for a reason and when we discover, accept and live out God’s plan for us in our everyday lives, He will grant us so much peace and grace.
The lives of these children are both heart breaking and heart warming. Some are a product of rape, some were abused, and others were abandoned by their families. It really stuck with me that considering all of this, the mothers of the children chose life. They valued life enough to give their child a chance in the world even if it meant eventually giving them up. Because they chose life, these kids have the opportunity to let God’s beautiful plan for their lives become a reality.
It amazed me to think and meditate on how God truly cares for each and every one of His children that He would make sure to protect them and give them life. God really does have a special and unique plan for us all!
The fact that there is heartache and suffering in this world just proves that we are created for something so much more.
Something beautiful awaits us in Heaven. It will all be worth it. There will be no more suffering, just pure joy and bliss with God the Father. There is so much hurt and suffering in this world, but where there is pain, you can always find joy.
These kids are living proof of that. They don’t have parents and they may never have a stable family, but they find joy and happiness in their everyday life. These kids have experienced more hurt and heartache in their short lifetime than many will experience in their entire lives. But through the every day struggles, they praise God in the sufferings and live everyday to the fullest.
They seek love but they also give love to others and spread love to everyone they meet. They have no feelings of resentment and hold no grudges. Naturally you would think they would be hesitant to become close to others, but these kids just want to be held and loved and to know that someone loves them and cares about them. They will immediately run up to you and give you a hug and a kiss. Love is all they are seeking. This is a profound reality for us all.
Isn’t that what each one of us is seeking? To live a life of purpose and love?
We get that true love from God and God alone. He calls us to love others the way He loves us.
This trip showed me that the most important aspect of life is our faith. Nothing will make us happy or give us peace but God. Our spiritual life is the most important aspect of our life. This has helped me to realize that God doesn’t call us to do extraordinary things, but he calls us to touch lives and change hearts, one person at a time. Experiencing every little moment and being an example of His love and constantly spreading that to everyone we meet. In every little moment, we are building the kingdom of Heaven, one child at a time, one smile at a time.
I ask that you please pray for these children, that although they don’t have an earthly father, that they may grow to know our Heavenly Father.
For more information on how to donate or plan your own trip, visit http://www.mustardseed.com.
Lauren Costabile is a Catholic speaker, singer and film creator. As a performer in the Array of Hope Concert Event, she actively spreads the gospel to young people and families through music. Lauren speaks about of how God has worked so powerfully in her life in hopes that it inspires others and draws them closer to God’s love. She creates inclusive films that educates and raises awareness for those with disabilities in our society. She strives to use her gifts and talents to make our world a brighter place.