“piece of my heart” by leigha braaten.

One of my girls wrote this beautiful blog and I want to share it with you…

It’s officially been 2 months. We’ve reached the halfway mark, and there’s only 1 day until my 19th birthday. I’m currently laying in a hammock at our Hostal on our mid-way debrief listening to foreigners talk and wondering why I haven’t been able to blog about Nicaragua. I’m still not quite sure why. Maybe its because I haven’t been able to wrap my mind around my new life, and everything that has come with it. Or maybe its because everyday there is a new story, or something else that I want to add to my list of blogging ideas. Its starting to get overwhelming.

So i decided that there is no way that I could just talk about some aspects of Nicaragua. I want everyone to know how I feel. I want every one to be here with me witnessing this. And I know that that’s not possible so I guess i’ll try to explain my life, and my thoughts since being here…

In some ways I thought that coming here would be running away, that everything would be easier, that I wouldn’t have to deal with my past or the problems that my future will hold. I have never been so wrong. I guess foreign countries, and good communities have the power to mold you into a different person. It’s not easy. I’ve have to face things that I had chosen to forget about. I’m going through a process of brokeness, but God is showing me how amazing his grace is during these seasons. I spend alone time here. I read, a lot.  I go walking in the mornings. I enjoy taking way too many pictures. I don’t take baths. I discover new music. I don’t do my hair. I like doing the dishes. I wake up everyday before 8.

I wake up everyday at peace, and at home. I wake up everyday knowing that I am one step closer to the person that I want to be. I wake up everyday feeling thankful for the season and the place that I am in, and for the people that I am surrounded by.

If you were to ask me how I was doing I wouldn’t even begin to be able to tell you. When I say “I’m doing really good.” in response to your questions, it’s because I really am. For the first time in my life I can say that and truly mean it. Not that I don’t have my days of loneliness, sickness, homesickness, and brokeness, because I do. But it is worth it. I’ve gotten a glimpse of life, real life. I’ve seen things that I can’t explain. Been to places that I didn’t even know existed. I’ve met people with stories along the way.

I’ve been reading some of Donald Miller’s books. I think that I can finally say that I am writing a better story for my life. I have a purpose, and that purpose is to share love with people. I’ve really learned how to love people. I love loving people.

Starting with the 8 amazing women on my team. I wake up in the morning on the bottom of my bunk bed to look around to see what every one is doing, and fall right back asleep. This brings so much comfort. We’ve been through it all together. We laugh together till we cry. We cry till we laugh. We eat together. We clean together. We worship together. And some of us even shower and sleep together. This is the closest community that I have ever lived in. We love and care about each other on a different level. We want to better each other. We are sisters for life. I can’t believe that I only have 2 more months of this left. I know that It will just be tomorrow that I am crying, and saying my goodbyes. I don’t want to think about it.

I’m going to try and explain ministry and my adventures here, so excuse the side notes or “thought bunnies”.

I live at a youth center in Jinotepe about 1 mile from civilization or “town”. It is called Nueva Vida, which means New Life. I love that we live there because there are constantly kids around. We also have church there about 4 times a week, so we always have something to do. The music in church is in spanish and straight from the 90’s, so that’s great. We barrio walk. Which consists of walking through poor neighborhoods, praying for people, playing games or singing with kids, eating random and sometimes weird meals that people make for us, and sweating. I have so many Moms, brothers, and sisters that live in the barrios. We’ve started a preschool for the lil ninos. We started an English class. We started a Women’s bible study. We visit the hospital that is in very poor condition. We visit the home for the old people. I’m in love with an old women named Daisy. We like to giggle together even though we can’t understand what the other person is saying. Sometimes I paint her nails. The men there don’t really like to keep their pants on though.. My favorite place that we go to is Los Pipitos. It is a school for kids with special needs. There are about 12 kids there that I want to take home with me, especially Noel. I’m not sure what she has, but she is mute so we don’t have to communicate on that level. We like to giggle, draw, hold hands, paint, dance, act, and just be together. Every day when its time to leave we get her stuff together and I hold her hand and walk her to the bus. I always help her  wondering where she lives, and what her life is like at home. I think about that for all of the kids. I don’t like to think about it. For a short period of time every Monday I like to help them feel and pretend like there isn’t a problem in the world. I think that being there has changed my life. The atmosphere of Nicaragua in general has changed my life, and my perspective of life.

I’ve also been able to mark a lot of things off of my bucket list.

I climbed Volcano Mombacho. It was literally the most challenging thing that I have ever done in my life. I also climbed Volcano Masaya. I swam in a Lagoon. I rode on a motorcycle. I have been in the only lake in the world that has sharks. I have witnessed a wild animal attack. I went to the Pacific ocean. I have learned some spanglish. I have sat in multiple hammocks. I have worshiped on the roof. I have defeated a tarantula, and a scorpion. And I plan to do much, much more.

It took me awhile to give a piece of my heart to Nicaragua.

But now I know that I will never get that piece back.

This is my home.

I miss my home.

I’m not ready to go home.

There is so much more to come.


About Hope Naomi

Lover of all things tea and travel.
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2 Responses to “piece of my heart” by leigha braaten.

  1. chelseakim says:

    ahh i love this. community is so soo so good. hope, you are one good woman for leading them in this.

  2. marissavilla says:

    yes to what chelsea said. i can see why you love them so much. and i love you so much. i dont love internet fasting so much.

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