Nicaragua or Bust

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As some of you know, I have been hoping and dreaming of traveling to Nicaragua for quite some time. In fact, ever since my sophomore year of high school when my good friend Cameron told me about his experience and love for the country, I have been dreaming of going. To this day, I have never met anyone so enthused about a place and time, and the enthusiasm was quite contagious. The people, the language, the history, the beaches, the culture: I had to see it.
For those of you that don’t know (no worries, we are all a bit geographically challenged), Nicaragua is a Central American country that lies north of Costa Rica, and south of Honduras. It is the second poorest country in Central America, and has had a long and complicated political history that I am still learning about. It has overcome years of dictatorship, along with natural disasters such as hurricane Mitch and an incredibly powerful earthquake.
Anyways, many things have changed since the spark of an idea of venturing to Nicaragua. My “good friend” Cameron has become my most trusted companion and friend (oh, and a pretty cute boyfriend at that!). He has been working with a public health organization in Nicaragua since August, living his dream of working in Central America. I also have caught the travel bug, and have spent time in Costa Rica and China and am currently getting my daily dose of Adventure while living in Spain. I also have fallen completely in love with the Spanish language, despite what any of my Spanish grammar teachers may think, and feel a huge calling to soak in as much of Latin American culture as I can.
Interestingly enough, God has a plan where all these crazy threads of life come together. I was accepted to be a Music Intern at AMOS Health and Hope in Nicaragua, which is basically a dream come true! Believe it or not, while I convinced myself that working towards a double degree in Spanish and Music (which are ENTIRELY unrelated) was a good idea, I never actually had imagined a position where I would get to use my love of language, culture, people, and music all at once. I remember feeling so lost my freshman year because of this culmination of passions, and not knowing what to do with it or whom to share them with. And then feeling an instant calm with God answering my prayers and telling me that there would be a time and place to use all of these things. Later, my junior year, distinctly hearing God’s “It’s coming” and knowing that this is exactly the opportunity that was awaiting me.
Freaky, right? I’ve never so clearly been called by god to do something, and this is one situation that there was no possible way I could deny his hand in it. Like a Moses-style hearing his voice from the heavens type of calling. So clearly, I had to go.
If only it was that easy. One major factor of my dreams dreams of traveling and serving falling potentially falling through was money. The green stuff that college students don’t happen to have a lot of. Even with two part time jobs, I knew that it was absolutely impossible to fund two international trips, especially in the same year. For those of you that know me well, you have an inkling of an idea of how stubborn I really am. Meaning: I wasn’t about to give up.
I asked everyone I knew (and didn’t know) about fundraising, travels, loans, scholarships, or anything they could think of that would take me closer to Nicaragua. I kept waiting and waiting for someone to shoot me down, tell me it was too hard or impossible, or tell me I wasn’t qualified enough for this internship, anyways. But nobody did. Every single individual that I talked to only offered encouragement, congratulations, and their most helpful advice. My Spanish professor, who honestly is one of the best teachers I have had, was the one who had an idea. She had heard of the research grant, and lead me on the path to writing for this grant, helping me correct it, and even giving me tons of resources and advice on the topic. Slight catch, I only had one week to write it before it was due.
While Thanksgiving break was a bit more stressful than usual, my parents and writing support team (made up of my theory professor, Spanish professor, voice teacher, boyfriend, and sister-in-law-to-be) were immensely helpful. If you have a teacher that will email you encouragement and corrections over a holiday break, you learn how valuable they really are. Anyways, I turned in the grant and hoped. And hoped and hoped and hoped.
The answer I got was “maybe”. “We are interested in funding you if you resubmit with changes”. Interested? Like, we want to fund you with some changes? Like, maybe it would just be interesting to fund you, but maybe not? Whatever that meant, I reevaluated and rewrote. I felt good about my changes, and continued to fall in love with the topic I planned to work on, fall in love with the idea of living in Nicaragua for the summer, and fall in love with the idea of meeting and learning from the people that live there.
So I waited. I went to Spain in the meantime. Every day I frantically checked my email, praying for a response so I would know what country it expect to be living in when I come back. I learned that I needed to be patient, that this situation wasn’t in my hands anymore, and all I could do I give it up to a God bigger than me and my little dreams, and wait for his approval.
And approval is what I got.
That’s right, friends.
“We are pleased to inform you” was all I had to read to feel a HUGE flush of relief, joy, excitement, and most of all, gratitude. I am officially funded to travel to Nicaragua and participate in the professional development experience of a lifetime!!! I will travel to rural communities, research their musical culture, record a songbook of Nicaraguan worship music, and create a plan to make music an all-around accessible form of communication and community for the organization I am working for and the communities they partner with.
So, the moral of the story? I don’t have one yet. I guess I’ll just have to wait and see what more prayer and patience bring me.

6 thoughts on “Nicaragua or Bust

  1. Emily Deering

    Kate this basically made me tear up! I am so flipping proud of you! I cannot wait to hear about this lovely experience and learn the moral of the story right along with you.🙂 well written. You’re amazing.

  2. Denise Lowen

    What a great experience you’re living! God definitely has a plan and I knew it by the time you were 3 years old! You were so interested in language, especially if it was different than your own! I am SO PROUD of you and the beautiful (inside and out) young woman that you are. I’m looking forward to seeing where God will use you as well. You’re a great example to me and I’m learning to commit you to God and trust God wherever he takes you! 🙂 For I know the plans I have set out for you… I love you, but God loves you MORE! My prayer for you is that you will listen to God and He will direct your heart and path! Congratulations! You deserve the blessings for all your hard work and determination! yeah, you are a bit stubborn too! 🙂 Love you!

  3. Cameron

    Congratulations. I knew you could do it all along. I am excited to see you in 4 short months and am already planning what to show you and where to take you.

    Quick correction: Nicaragua is the second poorest country in the Western Hemisphere after Haiti. It is the poorest in Central America.

  4. Dad

    Wow this is the stuff that make a Dad very proud…it is difficult to express how exciting it is to see how God is revealing his plan for you.

    So I guess I did do the right thing when I went back and rented the little blue snow shoes for my adventurous 5 year old daughter.

    I am genuinely overflowing with joy, pride and love for my favorite daughter

    DAD

  5. Marjorie Van Boven

    Sooo very happy for you Kate! Congrats and more prayer and cheering on from me! Love your blog and following your amazing adventure🙂
    Marjorie

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