My Angel

Today is a special day. We have our first ever guest writer on the blog!! Traci (in the picture to the right) is a student at Texas A&M that was part of our trip in December and she was gracious enough to share part of her experience. That’s enough from me, here are her words!

Traci’s Words

Howdy! My name is Traci Reece and I’m a junior at Texas A&M. Chris was cool enough to let me post something on his blog. The December mission trip was my second time to go to Nicaragua and there were so many amazing things that happened, but I’ll just share with you a quick story that really touched my heart.

As I was boarding the plane to Nicaragua I repeated a prayer that I’d said numerous times in preparation for the trip. Since this was going to be my second trip to the country, I prayed for God to show me new things. I prayed for a deeper understanding of the pain and devastation I had witnessed on the previous visit, and most of all, I begged God to help me to be a better version of myself in every way.

I wanted to form even closer relationships with the precious kids, be a servant at every moment, and I wanted to be broken in ways that would help this journey stay on my mind and heart even when I was back in the states. In a way I was scared to request these things of God, knowing that he would answer them, but I’m glad I did because even though this trip was harder on me in many ways, it made an imprint on my soul that cannot be undone.

Enter Tipitapa

It was our first day in Tipitapa and God sent me an angel. Her name was Dulcinea (in the photo, she is the one on the right). Dulcinea was the answer to a very specific prayer of mine. When the team was going to be in areas where there were tons of children, I would always ask God to help me find a few special kids that I could specifically invest in and encourage. The children of Tipitapa are so easy to love, but sometimes I can be tentative when deciding which children to really sit and talk with. The second part of my prayer was for God to make those chosen kids obvious to me. As always, God answered this prayer in an extraordinary way.

We, the Aggies, had just walked up to the school in order to start singing and begin the other VBS activities. Literally 15 seconds after standing in the school, a beautiful little girl with long hair and a brilliant smile approached me and grabbed my hand. She looked at me as though I was an old friend that she was eager to catch up with. There was something very unique about this little girl. Even though she couldn’t have been more than 8 years old, she had an air of maturity and intelligence that impressed me greatly. She was very conscientious and aware.

In the past, the children I have spent time with are so happy to have attention that they talk a mile a minute and they have to put up with me using the little Spanish I know to say things like “slow down please” or “I’m sorry I didn’t understand that.” Dulcinea, however, was already very conscious of the fact that I wasn’t fluent and, without me asking, was very slow and precise in her speech. She would even use hand signals to help me understand. She was so patient and sweet and I fell in love with her instantly.

I would have been happy to have had just one special kid to devote time to, but thankfully God provided me with about seven little girls that I was able to love and encourage. Dulcinea was always by my side and would help me understand what the rest of the girls were saying when they would ask me things all at the same time. They were so beautiful with sweet, innocent smiles and a hunger for love and attention that I was all too happy to provide.

Our second day in Tipitapa was just as blessed. God allowed me to see Dulcinea again as well as meet many new kids whose hearts were as big as their smiles. The second day was also extremely difficult because when the kids asked us if we were coming back tomorrow, we had to tell them no.

I loved the two days I got to pour out love and encouragement, but I was also extremely frustrated. How can I really let these sweet children know how loved they are if I only see them two times?

Saying Goodbye

Besides feeling like I didn’t have adequate time with these great kids, something else really broke my heart. Things were winding down and I had already said many of my goodbyes to each kid. These goodbyes always included great big hugs and saying “Te quiero mucho” (I love you so much!) a million times. As I was saying goodbye to Dulcinea, I wanted to tell her so many things! I wanted to tell her how amazingly smart she was and that I’d never met a child with so much understanding and kindness. I wanted to let her know that God was going to do remarkable things with her and that I would always remember her.

All I could manage was that I loved her and she was intelligent and beautiful.

With one last hug she then pointed to a home across the play field and said something along the lines of “I’m going to go over there to my house.” When I saw where she was pointing, my heart broke.

None of the houses in Tipitapa are very good, but Dulcinea apparently lived in one of the worst ones. It was the kind that wasn’t even made with wood, but rather with scrap metal and other leftover pieces of material. (The picture to the right is not of her house, but it is an example of what she lives in)

This wasn’t fair!! I have seen so much during my two trips to the country and I have been in numerous houses that made me aware of the undeserved hardships so many people must endure. But seeing Dulcinea’s house had a deeper affect on me because I had formed a relationship with this incredible girl and wanted the best for her. It was so hard to see someone so gifted and beautiful run to a house that could not offer her safety. Her home was a representation of the many struggles she has and will endure.

Pain and guilt filled my heart. I didn’t want to leave! I wanted to switch places with every child there so that they could experience the blessing of living in the US. I wanted them to have the blessing of food, and love, and an education. I cannot convey how smart some of these kids are and it kills me to think that they may never have the opportunities that I was so freely given.

What I Learned

God sent me Dulcinea and many other special children in order to make me face some difficult thoughts and emotions. After my first trip to Nicaragua my heart was broken and I had a hard time processing the many things I saw and felt. When I returned from the first trip, it wasn’t long before I got back into the swing of school and slowly my time in Nicaragua was finding a place in the back of my head.

This trip was different.

God gave me what I asked for and made sure that I saw more and felt more so that my feelings and memories would not slip away in time. I will not merely reflect on my time in Nicaragua, but every time a memory surfaces, I will pray and I will praise God.

With these new intense feelings, I also had to develop a more intense trust in God. I had to learn to trust that HE would provide for them and do amazing things in their life. I want to be there with them, making sure that they always know how special they are. But I’m here in the states and I have to trust that my prayers for these precious kids will be answered by God in his own way. His way is divine and perfect and wise and I know that there is no one better to take care of them then the Creator.

I’ve experienced the amazing power of a specific prayer. Dulcinea was one of many answered prayers, so I know that I should continuously pray for the children in Nicaragua. Pray for the ones I’ve met and fell in love with and the ones who I will never meet. In his perfect way, God will look after them. My job as his servant was to give my all when I was with the kids and my job now is to pray for them ardently.

I am so blessed to have been a part of the sowing process and I know God will continue to cultivate the hearts of these little angels.

4 Comments

  1. chris says:

    Thanks for sharing, Traci!

  2. Brooke says:

    Thanks for sharing Traci and Chris, that was an amazing story. I have thoroughly enjoyed reading these updates on the previous trip. I’m so glad to hear that you had another successful trip.
    -Brooke Dowtin

  3. walter says:

    Gracias a todos por ser de bendición en nuestro país y en la vida de nuestras familias y niños, los amamos, bendiciones de Dios siempre.

  4. walter says:

    Gracias por ser una bendición para estos maravillosos Niños, en nombre de cada niño y familias: Te amamos y oramos por ti. besos y abrazos.

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