5 Ways Going On A Mission Trip Simply Changed My Life
Start writing a post
Lifestyle

5 Ways Going On A Mission Trip Simply Changed My Life

They thought I was changing their lives, but little did they know, they were completely changing mine.

210
5 Ways Going On A Mission Trip Simply Changed My Life
Danielle Axelrod

This morning I awoke earlier than normal, with a heavy heart. Confused, I searched for the reasoning behind the weight that lingered in my chest. Immediately, photos and memories of the beautiful country of Nicaragua filled my mind, along with detailed depictions of its natives.

My heart began to ache. Before I could even begin to try and understand why a country I visited two years ago was on my heart, my mouth opened, my eyes shut, and words spewed out in prayer form.

Following this, I felt another ache. Yet this time, it wasn’t so much a hurting ache. It was a longing. A yearning to see this beautiful place and its humble, accepting people again.

In 2016, I felt a tug in my heart to travel and experience a new culture. While I was unsure of a destination, my college soccer coach informed me of a program that would allow me to pursue my wish of immersing myself in an unfamiliar culture, while being able to give back. This organization was Soccer Without Borders, and it changed my life.

Not too long after this discussion with my coach, I was able to raise the necessary funds, pack a suitcase full of soccer equipment to donate, and hop on a tiny plane to Managua, Nicaragua. With my extent of knowledge in Spanish being as far as “hola,” I jumped in head first and learned to embrace a complete change of scenery and lifestyle for a week.

Here’s how going on a mission trip to Nicaragua changed my life:

1. I learned to come out of my comfort zone

Listen, I am the first to throw on a chicken suit and run around in public just for fun, but being thrown in a new group of people who didn’t even speak my language was an obstacle I wasn’t sure I was ready to face. After the first night in which I cried myself to sleep, I learned to do my best in opening up to a new culture and a new experience.


2. I learned to communicate in a way other than using language

Although I completely struggled to form even one sentence to the loving people there, I decided to use soccer as a universal language to immerse myself with them and form bonds that I will never forget to this day. There is always a way to communicate with others - always.

3. I absolutely fell in love with the people

Although the natives of Nicaragua barely had anything, they were the most kind, accepting people I have ever met in my life. Every morning I had at least three girls surrounding me, excited just to be in my presence. They thought I was changing their lives, but little did they know, they were completely changing mine.

4. I was humbled

Having to stay in a tiny house with no electricity, freezing cold water for showers, and spiders and scorpions creeping through its walls was not the most ideal experience, but it taught me to be thankful for all that I am blessed with back here in the United States. Still, even in these conditions, our host family always had a meal prepared for us, and loving arms welcoming us home each night. They had little to nothing, and yet they were some of the happiest and most giving people I have ever met.

5. I learned to be more thankful

While walking to the field to play a game against the Nicaraguan national team (THAT was surreal, people), two of the girls came up next to me. I could tell they wanted to be next to me, just because I was an American. I extended my hands to them and their smiles lit up as bright as a full moon sky. Just simply getting to hold my hand was a huge ordeal for them and gave them the greatest joy. Back home, I cry over a cracked iPhone screen and get extremely grumpy when I haven’t eaten in a few hours. These girls barely had anything to eat, didn’t own a phone, and found the greatest joy in just being beside me. That small gesture taught me to be more thankful for what I have and to find the joys in the little things in life.

Nicaragua, you are a beautiful, breathtaking country full of the most loving people I have ever met. Thank you for shaping me into a more humble, thankful individual. This experience, along with the people you introduced me to, will always have a prominent part in my life. Although we are miles and miles apart, you are always close to my heart and I can never thank you enough for teaching me how to love deeper, cherish others, and be grateful for the little things.

Gracias Nica, Gracias.

Report this Content
This article has not been reviewed by Odyssey HQ and solely reflects the ideas and opinions of the creator.
Swoon

Is Meaningful Casual Sex A Paradox?

Why noncommittal sex is more complicated than we'd like to think.

980

I lost my virginity to a graduate student from Los Angeles. We’d met at a rundown cafe whose Yelp page complained of an alleged rat infestation. His name was Ken and he was 25. What drew me to him was the peculiar way his mouth was perpetually fixed into a sideways, half-moon shape that was like a smirk but without any trace of smugness. But the two most striking parts of Ken by far were the dinner plate roundness of his face and his small, expressionless teddy bear eyes. Of the things that mattered to him, there was his best friend, a college dropout who sold computer parts in Toronto, and sex.

Keep Reading... Show less
Featured

A Conversation About Sex

"Sex is a part of nature. I go along with nature." - Marilyn Monroe

5061
Thinking Beyond Barriers

There it is. Even though I'm not around you, I can feel it. Was there a flutter of embarrassment in your mind when you saw the word sex in this article’s title? Did you look over your shoulder to ensure nobody was around before you began to read this?

Keep Reading... Show less
Featured

13 Signs You Are A True Cancer Of The Zodiac

Calling all babies born June 21st - July 22nd!

4344
My Astral Life

I'm the first to admit that I am one of THOSE people who uses their zodiac sign as a description of themselves. I realize not everyone believes in astrology-related anything, and there are plenty of people who don't fit their signs. However, I'm one of the people who truly fits their sign to a tee. I'm a Cancer, a Crab, a Moon Child. It's currently our season fellow Crabs! So without further ado, here are all of the signs that you're a Cancer.

Keep Reading... Show less
Featured

The Blessing of Lacking Sex Appeal

To all the fellow non "it" girls out there

4920
kozepsuli.hu

Lacking sex appeal is not a desirable thing. It makes you fee not ugly, but wrong. Not having charisma is not a life goal. It doesn't make you fee friendless, but isolated. Not being the "it" girl happens, and tonight (and every nigh prior to this)

Keep Reading... Show less
Swoon

Confessions From the Single Friend of the Group

It is truly the worst place to be

7360
Confessions From the Single Friend of the Group

Look. If you are anything like me, complaining about being single is such a hard thing to because you are genuinely happy for your friends, but as they continue to be happy in their relationships, the ever crushing weight of being the single friends can become overwhelming. For context, my primary friend group consists of four people. We are all roommates and it is a great time here. All three of my roommates have boyfriends/girlfriends, which makes our friend group of four quickly jump to seven, and it is wonderful! I love my roommates so much and I love their S.O's, but no matter how much I love them I always get extremely jealous and sad. The sad thing is that the only part that ever truly ends up bugging me is that since I am single, they are my go-to top priorities and it has been really hard to watch myself slip from the top of their go-to's to not being their go to when they feel the weight of the world. What makes it harder is that expressing that I feel alone and unwanted makes me sound jealous and like I don't want my friends to hangout with their people. I get it. I do. But there are just days I want to be someone's first pick and I'm not.

Keep Reading... Show less

Subscribe to Our Newsletter

Facebook Comments