Sara and I just returned from our trip to Nicaragua.  The trip was a success.  Three practitioners saw 813 patients in five days and the pharmacists filled over 1800 prescriptions.  Hundreds of lives were impacted and the grandparents made it just fine with the kids on the home front (thanks grandparents!).

 It was quite an adventure.  We flew into Managua and drove about 150 miles north to the mountainous region of Jinotega, which serves as our base while in Nicaragua.  From there, we journeyed out to some of the remote villages that lacked sufficient medical care and set up clinics. 

Some of the travel was quite interesting.  One of the areas we visited, Puertas Azules, was about a 2.5 hour drive from Jinotega – 30 minutes of which was paved roads.  The rest was mud and rock.  We crossed a river in our four-wheel-drive truck and scaled a mountain on a muddy road with a precipitous drop just beside the road. 

There are many images that will stay in my head from my trips to Nicaragua, but one in particular occurred when we dropped off the garbage at a dump.  When you go to the dump, you literally drive over a mountain of trash.  Amongst the garbage, you can see little shacks where people actually live.  As we slowed down, two kids – probably 6 and 8 years old – came running to the truck and jumped into the bed before the truck came to a stop.  They pulled the garbage bags out of the truck and eagerly ripped the bags open looking for food.

When we turned the truck around, I saw two dogs arrive at the scene.  As we drove away, I saw two children fighting off two dogs so they could eat garbage.  Images like that don’t go away.  What if those were my children?  What if they were your children?  We can stick our heads in the mud and pretend that this sort of thing doesn’t exist… maybe that will keep it from being real in our world, but to these kids it’s an everyday experience.

Some people question how God could allow this sort of thing to go on.  Just remember – we live in a fallen world.  Despite the fact that we live in a fallen world, the same God that allows these people to live in such deplorable conditions also put people like you and me here – people with the means and the ability to do something about it.  You have to choose to make a difference – it won’t just happen automatically.

I’ll post some photos next week after I have some time to get everything downloaded.  Until then, take some time to be thankful for what you have.  You have no idea how rich you are.