I love going to new places, but I also love returning to a place that's become familiar. The taxi driver greeted me by name when I walked out the airport door. ("You cut your hair," he noticed.) Pulling up to the Nicaraguan YWAM base felt like coming home after a long absence, seeing how all the kids had grown, being informed how they'd all been praying for my health. The next morning when I visited our adopted town of Masatepe, I was greeted by name again – by Juana the bathroom attendant in the central park, by Xiomara who runs the pupusa restaurant we frequented last summer.
People see the missionary life as one of great sacrifice. I guess it's true that there are things I've given up or done without, but that's hardly unique to this particular career. And when I'm here doing what I love the best, all I can see is how blessed I am. Tonight I sat with friends from Puerto Rico, El Salvador, and Nicaragua, chopping open fresh young coconuts with a machete and scooping out the tender flesh with spoons. I laughed at Spanish jokes and drank coconut milk from the shell. There's not much I'd be willing to trade that for.
"People are still coming to our churches because of the Bible distribution project you did last year," I was told. Pastors in Masatepe are excited that we're coming back. In a few days I'll be helping connect American teenagers with opportunities to serve. They'll be visiting juvenile detention centers and prison cells, primary schools and garbage dumps, churches and homes, discovering that God can use their story of redemption to introduce others to the Redeemer.
I wouldn't trade that for anything.