Tuesday, August 28

Last Wednesday, I along with Michelle & Alex (the two other Mission Interns whose jobs end in January) went to the Casa Ben Linder. The Casa Ben Linder meetings gather every Thursday morning to discuss issues facing Nicaragua and several different topics involving everything from economics to sustainable farming to U.S. issues in Nicaragua. I met Nan, another United Methodist missionary who works with another organization in Mangua, and the two missionaries sponsored by University Christian Church (UCC) in Fort Worth. UCC just sent a mission team to work with Tim & Laura Jean, the Global Ministries missionaries. To sit among a group of 20-30 people who are all passionate about working along side the poor in Nicaragua and working for social justice was a powerful experience. Although the group consists mainly of citizens from other countries, a few local Nicaraguan people attend the meetings as well. 

The property is dedicated to Ben Linder. Ben Linder was U.S. citizen who died at the age of 27 while working in the village where he worked on small hydroelectric dam during an ambush by the Contra army. The Contra army was financed by the United States government. Ben was someone who wanted peace and justice to the beautiful people of Nicaragua. "It is the loss of something that seems rare these days: a man with the courage to put his back behind his beliefs. It would have been very easy for this bright, young man to follow the path to a good job and a comfortable salary. Instead, he chose to follow the lead of his conscience." http://www.greenempowerment.org/about-us/ben-linder

During this particular meeting, a woman named Lillian shared as much as she could fit into our short time together about her life in Nicaragua. She moved here as a young woman and over time has spent almost 30 years in Nicaragua. She shared stories of so many people willing to give everything in order to live in a more just country. Everyday common people who lent a helping hand during the revolution. Her stories involved personal accounts of joining the war front with the Sandinista army and working in solidarity with those involved in the war. It was interesting to hear her very personal history of Nicaragua. It's a lot different to hear about the history or read about than to have someone give you personal accounts of seeing people shot, fighting for justice, and being apart of the war. Lillian has deep passion for the history of Nicaragua, but she stopped her stories at 1992. When people urged her to continue until present day she said something along the lines of now Nicaragua is not the same Nicaragua she knew before. She said it feels like the revolution they won never even happened.

Nicaragua's history is an interesting one and embodies much of the culture today. At a later point, I will share the Nicaraguan history lesson I received last week. Also, I will work on taking pictures of Casa Ben Linder. It's still so amazing, yet peculiar to me to meet all different non-native people working to help a country and whose hearts beat for Nicaragua.

Sunday, August 26

One Week

I can't believe my time Managua already equates to an entire week. Wow! This week flew by. I already experienced so many different people, places, cultural differences, different foods, and sites. I have many things to reflect on and discuss with others but mainly I have stories. Stories I hope to share in a meaningful way because all my encounters in Nicaragua so far feel somewhat holy. I want to capture the "magic" behind these moments. Perhaps it's the warm spirit of the Nicaraguan people or the buzzing streets alive with culture.

San Salvador, El Salvador: layover during my flight to Nica
Before I begin, I want to reflect on the fact my family as well as many others are going through some big, transitional phases in life. Some changes are due to the new school year or the time of year. Some are planned events. While other changes may be sudden or unwanted. Then, I have fellow missionaries who are ready for a transition as they restlessly await visas to enter their new countries. As we all know transitions can be hard, but I am constantly reminded that God is with us every step of the way. Also, the community surrounding you is ready to out pour their love and support for you that already exists. I may sound cliche. I may sound like I am simply repeating overused words of encouragement. However, God's unconditional love & the ability for a community to embrace &  support one of it's members are amazing realities that have recently "punched me in the face". Don't underestimate what happens when you rely on God & your community. May you find peace, even if for slight moments, in your times of transition.

This week I befriended as well as trained alongside at different moments two young gentlemen making large transitions in their lives. Harlon & Edwin leave for Kenya tomorrow for 3 weeks of training as Communication for Change participants in order to prepare for several months in Norway. Around 30 other young adults from various countries attend the program as well. They had the opportunity to practice presenting about Nicaragua in front of several of the AMC staff. It was unique opportunity to learn a little more about this beautiful country from two young native people. 

The only problem spending time with Harlon & Edwin is the fact they speak English, so I didn't practice Spanish very much this week. As someone who is certified to teach English as a Second Language and who empathizes when others struggle in English, it is interesting to be on the other end of the process. Everyone is very patient with me and when I say something that makes zero sense, Dona Rosa, my host, puts forth so much effort working with me to communicate. I'm simply amazed how two people can communicate when both parties know very little of the other's language. Presence & patience help tremendously. My fellow missionary, Alex, is going on one year with AMC and he assures(?) me my frustration/anxiety/impatience with learning Spanish will not cease; however, I just need to embrace the struggles. Okay, alright. I'm aiming to embrace my struggles con espanol. 

To be continued...

Thursday, August 23

Mi Cuarto

Here are pictures of my new room for the next 7 or so weeks! :) Mi cuarto!

No, I do not have hot water, but I honestly think I beginning to get accustomed to the cold water in the morning. In Nicaragua, everyone has to place the toilet paper in the trash can, but as long you have a plastic bag in your trash and change it often it doesn't seem like a big deal. I don't have air conditioning- I have the fan I turn on at night. It gets cool enough in the night to use my quilt. I'm grateful for my new, safe humble abode. 


Wednesday, August 22

Home Church

First Christian Church of McKinney, TX. 
Beginning of my faith journey.

I spent my last Sunday in the United States with my home congregation. It felt so good to worship with the community who helped raise me; who helped form my faith. The community who taught me how to live and serve in Christ's footsteps.
Neill, my minister, preached the words...

"Be strong! Be courageous!"

He also discussed that the journey God calls us to is not easy, but we need to be strong as we journey ahead. These are the exact words I needed to hear. Before leaving I began feeling nervous thinking about the unknown track ahead of me, yet as I hear Neill's words and sat among my church family I felt peace.

I flew out of DFW airport on Monday, August 20 feeling an overwhelming since of peace. Of course, I cried as I said goodbye to my parents who graciously delivered me to the airport, but then I simply felt peaceful.

I had a quick layover in San Salvador, El Salvador. The airport in San Salvador is right next to beautiful mountains and I landed right when the sun was setting. Peace.

Now, I am spending this week in training with my organization, Accion Medica Cristiana. I'm all settled in a home stay literally right across the street from my future Spanish school.

I'm here.

 I'm in Nicaragua.

Now, is the time for me to have patience, learn everything that I can, listen, and seek God in the small moments. :)

Thank you for all your continued support! I will write more details later this week.

Dios te bendiga. 

Whitney P.

Monday, August 13

Preparing In Any Possible Way

I spent the evening back in Fort Worth, TX, the city where I spent my four years in college and a place I consider another home. In a week from today I will be boarding a TACA jet and flying to Managua, Nicaragua. I'm spending time preparing. I must say, I feel unprepared to prepare.

Tonight.was.perfect. I reunited with friends I haven't seen in a while. We cooked burgers and dogs and spent the evening hanging out in the pool. I felt extremely blessed. It felt like worship. Simple moments often times have HUGE impacts.

Sooo this preparing to leave thing. Ironically, I left to live in the Netherlands around this time last year. As important as it was for me to move to Holland at that time, this time feels different. I feel like I'm heading in the right direction. As a veteran expat, one would think I'm pretty okay with knowing how to prepare to leave, but that's so not true. I said goodbye to my brother a few days ago and bawled like a baby.

I'm saying goodbye to friends. Buying last minute things. Starting to pack. Staying busy. Tonight reminded me that I missing a crucial piece to moving on; soaking everything in and reflecting with God. I'm going to be more intentional with my next few days. I won't completely slow down, because it's me, but I want to take more moments to just BE.


Wednesday, August 8

I posted the following New Years resolutions at the beginning of this year and I am happy to say that I accomplished or am in the process of accomplishing many of them. :) As I start on the new journey, I am excited to start new goals. What goals are YOU currently working on?


  • Pray & read scripture on a daily basis. 
  • Run a half marathon. June 10
  • Go on at least two backpacking trips with my brother.
  • Start rock climbing.
  • Teach/work in another country or state. Off to Nica
  • Be a better listener.
  • Learn to not over schedule myself.
  • Read more & limit watching shows to 3 hours a week. 
  • Volunteer more.
  • Stop drinking so many "cokes."
  • Start learning another language, again.  Spanish
  • Play volleyball at least once a month. Sand league once a week
  • Try new foods. Sushi, Moroccan, Caribbean, Peruvian
  • Go on a road trip. 
  • Stop gossiping. period. 
  • Live on my own. 

Tuesday, August 7

"Somehow, at this very moment, I feel more like me than ever before."
Laura Wise, Mission Intern

My fellow Mission Intern wrote this when we were about half way done with our 3.5 weeks of training. It sums up how I often felt during training. Although I'm about to embark on a tough, yet rewarding journey, it is a wondrous feeling to finally be doing what I've felt called to do for many years now.  Now, I must say "see you later" to friends and family and prepare to leave over the next two weeks. Then, I'm off to Nicaragua. I'm ready to continue "feeling more like me".

Monday, August 6

I really appreciate what my friend Hanna has to say about Nicaragua and serving abroad from a Peace Corps viewpoint. 

Check out her blog post "My Two Lives"here.

Saturday, August 4

Commissioned Young Adult Missionaries with Global Ministries staff.
Taken by Annie Solis,

"Every prophet worked and pushed against the social order."
                        -Jim Winkler, General Secretary of the Genral Board of Church & Society

Mission Conference off to a Solid Start - General Board of Global Ministries

Mission Conference off to a Solid Start - General Board of Global Ministries