July 21, 2014

This is how the adventure began for me

Discover & Learn 2014 HANDS Team:

The principal of my school sent me a link for EduDeo’s Discover and Learn program with the words, “Considering your love of missions, I thought you might be interested in this…” The site piqued my curiosity, and after a friend shrieked when I told her about the opportunity, I applied.

It wasn’t too long before I heard back from Phil Beck, the Canadian Partnership Coordinator at EduDeo. Half expecting to read, “Thank you for your application, but…,” I was pleasantly surprised to read that I qualified to go on the trip. More emails started coming loaded with information: planned itinerary, expected costs, next steps to take. The question was, “Are you still interested?” This is not a typical missions trip. It’s not about “doing” anything. In fact, you won’t find “teacher in-services,” “VBS,” or “construction work on school” on the itinerary. But perhaps that’s the point. It’s easy to “do” something, to get involved. How often do I sit back and listen, really listen, forgetting about that list of things that never seems to end, and fully immerse myself in the lives of the people around me? Life can get pretty noisy with all the rushing around. Thirty minutes to eat dinner before it’s time for soccer. Five minutes to say hello to a friend after church before driving to a parent’s birthday party. Ten minutes to tell God what’s on my heart, never mind sitting in silence to listen to His voice, before leaving for work. Perhaps getting away to listen and learn without a “to do” list would be good. Looking closer at the itinerary, I realized that this trip is an opportunity to see what God is doing in Nicaragua, to hear the hearts of the teachers and students, to experience the culture and another part of God’s beautiful creation, to dream, to connect. I also realized that with this door wide open, it would be silly to not walk through it, so I accepted the invitation to go to Nicaragua.

What followed next was a series of steps that need to be completed in order to prepare for the trip: create an account with EduDeo and fill out my profile, pay the deposit, send a list of available dates to meet the team, get vaccinations, find prayer partners, tell people about the trip, etc. A few things stand out during this preparation period. 1. How organized and detailed Phil was, from putting together the Skype calls to helping us have a better understanding of what to expect. 2. Not just the awkwardness of talking with people I didn’t know during our first Skype meeting, but the excitement that came when I realized EduDeo combines my two of my passions – missions and teaching. 3. Learning about the possibility of going zip-lining and the joy that came from it. 4. Realizing I hadn’t put on weight. EduDeo shirts just fit small.

Now the preparation period is over and the day has come to fly to Nicaragua. How quickly it has snuck up on me! I am excited for this adventure. Never a dull moment with Jesus! For those interested in praying for us, a few things come to mind: team unity, health and safety, open ears and receptive hearts, humility, opportunities to be an encouragement, a deeper appreciation for cultural differences. Thank you for sharing this journey with us.

- Amanda Baker


Jul 24, 2014 at 5:09 pm

Hi Team,

I have been praying for your team ever since Annette Dykstra told me that she was going on this mission trip. I pray that you will stay healthy and safe and that God will open many doors for you. I pray that you will find ways to encourage fellow teachers, but also to be encouraged by those that you meet on your journey.

Sleep well tonight!

Jul 25, 2014 at 7:25 pm

My prayers and thoughts are with you! I just came home from Nicaragua with the Fraser Valley HANDS team. As a teacher, it was probably one of the most life changing experiences I have ever had! All the best as God works in you and through you this trip. My prayer is that He opens hearts and minds. Praying for you!

Be God's.

P.s. Please tell Lester our team says hi, and we miss him! Also... don't leave your shoes out. ;o) (I am sure Lester will tell you the story if he has not yet!)

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