I am not really much of a writer, however I need to start practicing for this next year when I will be on the World Race Gap Year for which we are required to blogs like these! So here goes...
This trip has been a different experience than my other mission trips I have been on. I expected this though, because the two previous trips were both to Jamaica with the same group of people and we solely focused on putting on a basketball camp. However on the Jamaica trips we were at the church, where we lived and served, the whole time. On this trip we stay at a different place than where we've served, and we've served in two different parts of the Island. Also we have a lot more down time then you would expect, and have gotten to go to many different shops and food places throughout our time here. We've gone to a corner store that we are allowed to walk to like every day. We've gone to a local ice cream place, had some amazing churro's, and tonight we are going to a local supermarket that supposedly has anything we'd want to buy. Now while it is different than what I thought it was going to be I have really enjoyed it. It's nice to have the downtime and ability to experience the culture in public places outside of the work of the mission. Now don't get me wrong I really loved Jamaica and created great relationship because we played basketball all the time. Also in Jamaica I witnessed the Holy Spirit move in an amazing way when I witnessed 8 of the Jamaicans there were baptized! Going out to all these places and the downtime has been a great thing to help build out camaraderie as a group and has had us grow in our relationships with people who we didn't know that well before. Another that I knew would be different was the language barrier. In Jamaica they spoke English, or at least close to it, so I could understand them. Here it is very challenging when speaking with the kids because I don't understand much Spanish at all. It has been a good learning experience for how to communicate and love on those kids without speaking. I am not much of a talker but being able to say good job or encourage when doing basketball camps for little kids is very helpful and great! But since I don't speak Spanish I can't do that as well here. Knowing how to love on others like I am doing here with out speaking is very important and is actually a lot easier for someone who doesn't talk much. This is a nerve wracking thing for someone who's not expressive though, but by doing this it has helped me grow as a person. I just realized that this is how God loves on us and shows appreciation and encouragement towards us. We rarely here God audibly speak to us but He shows his love in the people around us and the gifts He's blessed us with and just in His creation. This is the lesson that I have learned I suppose on this trip that just by showing emotion, and loving on the kids without words even, is how God wants us to love each other and Him: by our actions!
All in all this trip has been great and full of adventure; I can't wait for the rest of it.
~ Nicholas Hesselgesser