Students take mission trip to Nicaragua

Despite the high risk for food and waterborne diseases, senior Alexis Burton and junior Christy Dean traveled to Nicaragua on a nine day mission trip. They partnered with the organization Youth With a Mission (YWAM) . The trip took place from July 17 to July 25. After an approximated one and a half hour flight from Indianapolis to Houston, and a two and a half hour flight from Houston, they arrived in Managua, Nicaragua.

“On the way there I felt a little anxious, but very excited,” Dean said. “It took a while for it to hit me that we were actually in Nicaragua.”

Even with a couple of trips to the hospital, Dean and Burton both enjoyed their time in Nicaragua. While there they performed skits to express their faith, had door-to-door bible distribution and also got to play with the children at some parks and daycares in the area. They both quickly learned that their expectations did not meet their reality.

According to Dean, the trip was intimidating at first, because she had never traveled to a third world country. Dean’s sister had traveled there twice, so she told her a lot about it and her experience there. Even so, Dean says nothing could have prepared her for the poverty she witnessed. Burton and Dean both realized that the people of Managua were welcoming and very appreciative of the mission group to visit.

“Nicaraguans have a true love for one another and family, even though they don’t have all the material items we have here,” Dean said. “It just struck me how genuinely friendly everyone was.”

For Burton, she wasn’t expecting the food to be good, and she figured she would starve the whole time. She expected it to be so hot that it would affect her time there, but that wasn’t the case.  

“In reality it was really fun,” Burton said, “And it was hot, but I didn’t notice.”

Most of the people they encountered on their mission trip lived in shacks on the sides of muddy dirt roads. This was one of the many side effects of the poverty there. Dean and Burton were told that most families couldn’t even afford to buy bibles. If the families did decide to buy bibles, they would most likely go without food or necessary items.

During their mission trip, they came across a lady who broke down in tears when she was given her free bible. The lady told the group that she had been praying for six months to receive a bible, and she was thankful she was finally getting one to call her own.

While visiting Nicaragua, the group also spent time playing with the children at parks and performing open air dramas. The group used these dramas to express their faith, without letting the language barrier hold them back.

While performing the drama “Everything,” Dean got a cut on her foot. Her foot was cleaned and bandaged, but after walking around during bible distribution, Dean’s foot became very swollen.

“I couldn’t see my ankle the next morning,” Dean said. “I was rocking the cankle look.”

She had to be taken to the hospital which, according to her, was an experience she would never forget. Dean said that the hospital was better than she imagined it would be for a third world country, but there was definitely a difference. Using a translator, the doctor told Dean that her foot was infected. The doctor cleaned the cut and gave her an IV of antibiotics. Dean explained that she was mostly apprehensive of the needles.

“I was only really nervous of the different needles they were using, since the place wasn’t very clean,” Dean said.

Dean wound up back in the hospital two days later for disregarding the doctor’s orders to stay off her feet. She was given more antibiotics that she was to take every 12 hours, and was recommended to see a doctor when she got back home.

With their trip coming to an end, both Burton and Dean had several experiences that they will get to keep forever.

“It was hard to leave and say bye to all the people we had grown so close to,” Dean said. “I was sad to leave, but happy to go home.”

Burton plans on going on mission trips every summer. She said that her experience made her more bold and open to talking to new people. Now that she’s traveled across the country, she said that she is no longer afraid of traveling alone or going on mission trips.

“I would go back in a heartbeat,” Burton said.