for HSLDA members
Second HSLDA Essay Contest
Category 2 Sixth Place

Nicaragua Beckons

By Kristen Miller

Standing in the cool mist of the morning, I gazed out over the luscious green valley that was covered in coffee bean and banana plants, palm trees swaying in the gentle breeze, and other unfamiliar plants. I turned with an almost sad feeling in my stomach and bent down to drink in the scent of a blue tinted hydrangea blossom one last time. With a sigh I closed my eyes and gently whisper into the flower, "Someday I want to come back here to Nicaragua!" If given the option of being able to go anywhere in the world I wanted for two weeks, I would choose Managua, Nicaragua. I fell in love with that country and the people while there once before on a mission trip. Vivid memories keep drawing me to the conclusion that someday I want to go back to Nicaragua.

Tiny stick houses made mostly of scraps that people call home. A language that rolls off of many tongues yet is virtually incomprehensible to me. Meals that repeatedly consist of mainly of rice, beans, and corn tortillas. The culture of Nicaragua both fascinates and draws me to want to team and understand more about it. How do Nicaraguans earn a living? What is a normal school day like for a ten year old? How do they celebrate birthdays? These and other questions trickle through my mind and somehow it just isn't satisfying enough to find the answers in a book. I want to experience the culture first hand, which is an experience that books can not give.

Although the beauty of Nicaragua's countryside is often marred with trash and junk, it is still easy to fall in love with the rolling mountains, bushy plants, fragrant smelling flowers, and the harmony of wild parrots song. Remembering the tingle of excitement that comes from waking up engulfed in clouds or the delight of strolling down the mountainside while a gentle breeze teases your hair, left me with the desire to experience and soak in the beauty of God's creation again and again. Both Nicaragua's countryside and the people that live there are intriguing; inviting me to learn more about them.

Close friendships are not easily forgotten and neither are the ones that were sparked when I was irk Nicaragua. The possibility of renewing these old friendships, as well as to make new ones, also draws me to want to go back. When pondering the memories I have of friends in Nicaragua, it leaves me with a desire to rekindle that fire of friendship that burned while I was there before. As well as reviving these friendships, there is also the yearning to encourage and assist these missionaries in whatever ways needed, whether it is through work projects or ministry.

Finally, memories of Nicaraguan children flood my thoughts and captivate my heart. Memories of being tickled on every side by excited, giggling kids. Memories of seeing the splashes of delight run across their faces while they chased after the shiny bubbles that were dancing in the air. Those children found a way to sneak into my heart before I realized it and somehow I know that there will always be a soft spot in me for Nicaraguan kids. When remembering the glimmer of hope I saw in the little girl's dark brown eyes as she asked if I was coming back again, tugs on me to want to go back to Nicaragua someday.

Nicaragua is definitely the place I would visit if I had the opportunity to go anywhere in the world I wanted for two weeks. The culture and country of Nicaragua, friendships, and the kids all draw me in wanting to visit again. Yet overruling my wants and wishes is the desire to do God's will and follow his plan for me, even if that means that I never get to visit Nicaragua again. I'll never forget my experience in Nicaragua and with a tug on my heart that small country full of luscious coffee bean and banana plants, still beckons me to come visit again!