Monday, October 25, 2010

Nicaragua? Okay...

How do I communicate this without getting too long-winded?  Here goes: As you may know, my daughter Kaylie has Asperger's Syndrome.  She has participated in the special needs ministry program at our church since she was around three years old.  Like she does at school, at church she participates in the mainstream classroom, but when she was younger she had a "buddy" who accompanied her to class.

In 2005, our church began partnering with Nicaragua Resource Network to serve special needs kids in the Managua area (the capital of Nicaragua).  In this culture, special needs children are often hidden away by their families and not afforded the same opportunities as other children.  A special needs classroom was created to bridge this gap and this Agape Program continues to be supported with finances and mission teams from our church.

A recent team pictured with some of the "Agape kids"

While I have known about this program and the girls have helped with service projects geared to benefit this school and these kids, I never really felt called to go serve on-site.  I think I have been in general avoidance mode because I feel inadequate as the mother of a special needs child.  I am not near the advocate that I should be and come up severly lacking when measured against my fellow special needs moms.

But now there is an opportunity for the whole family to go serve and we feel God is telling us to go.  Kaylie, with her loving, generous heart, wants to know if it is time to start packing yet.  She is beyond ready to go (I am excited to see what plan God has for her as she becomes an adult.  I am convinced He has big plans for her servant's heart.)  Hannah, for now, is most excited about the airplane ride.  Jim wonders how we will pay for the trip, but he, like Kaylie, is always ready and willing to serve.  And then there is me.  (Somewhat) reluctantly going along for the ride because I am convinced God is ordering me out of my comfort zone and to face head-on what He has given to our family.  If I am going to serve other special needs moms, I better learn how to be a better special needs mom so I can set a better example.  And I better learn fast and save fast, as the trip is in January.  (That's a lot of betters, so you see why I am overwhelmed!)

This trip does not excite me the way going to Austria did, or serving in the inner-city has, and I have not anticipated it the way I do one day getting to go to Haiti, or Africa, or China.  But I am excited because I know God's hand is in it and I think sending special needs kids to serve other special needs kids is a beautiful idea and will be a marvelous little glimpse of heaven.

Pray for us, please, as we prepare to serve that God would continue to put all the pieces in place.

To learn more about this work in Nicaragua, please visit the Nicaragua Resource Network and the TPCC Short-term Missions Blog.  Thanks!  If you would like to sponsor our team financially the address to send donations to can be found here.

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