To The Third-World Country

To The Third-World Country

I thought I was changing your life, but really you changed mine.

July 1, 2016. The day my life had changed forever.

I remember like it was yesterday. I was anxious, excited, nervous, and exhausted all at once. I was leaving the United States for the first time in my life to go to a third world country that needed my help. Nicaragua. I knew I was going to make a lasting impression on the lives of the people we had helped, but I had no idea they were going to leave such an immense impact on my life forever.

Once in Nicaragua we had a experienced a minor bump in the road, but God always has a plan. First lesson learned, customs is not happy when twelve large bags full of glasses go through their system. Because we were going on an eyeglasses mission trip, each team member had to have one extremely large suitcase full of glasses and all of the necessary materials needed for the clinic. I will admit our bags did look rather suspicious, but nevertheless, we made it into the country. After exiting the airport, though, we were in for a big surprise.

Culture shock. Everything was different. Trash was everywhere. Safety was not an issue. Traffic was insane. Graffiti was on every wall and sign. There were no houses, only shacks. Nothing looked familiar. It wasn't until this moment that I understood why I was there.

I wasn't in another country to travel or to experience another culture, I was there to make a difference. There were people there who needed me. They needed hope. They needed assurance. And most importantly, they needed God.

For our short time there, my team helped bring the gift of sight to over 1500 people, but the Word of God touched the hearts of thousands more.

Have you ever heard the saying, "seeing is believing"? It definitely applies here.

I did not understand the impact I was having on the country of Nicaragua until I saw the tears of joy running down their faces upon receiving their own glasses. Some wanted glasses to sew clothing. Others wanted glasses to read the Bible. But some wanted glasses so desperately simply to see their loved one's face.

Could you imagine living a life without seeing your closest companions faces? I can't.

Watching their faces light up after putting on the glasses is an image I will carry with me forever. Even though we did not look the same, speak the same language, or have the same way of life, we were connected on a much deeper level, a spiritual level.

The glasses helped them see the Word of God and the promise of hope He brings. For me, the glasses gave me a deeper appreciation for the blessings bestowed upon me and my relationship I have with God.

Before going to Nicaragua, I had never understood what it was like to go without. I realized I had taken so much for granted throughout my life like a hot shower, filtered water to brush my teeth, ice, fruits and vegetables, toilets, healthy looking animals, and the list goes on and on. I had also realized I had not take my relationship with God as seriously as I should. The people of Nicaragua literally had nothing, but they still gave what they did have to the Church. They put all of their faith in Him no matter the circumstance and it truly was a beautiful sight to see. They were some of the most passionate and thankful people I have ever met and I only hope to be as grateful as them one day.

Before going on this trip, I thought the people of Nicaragua needed me. After going on this trip, I realized I needed them just as much.

God surely does work in mysterious ways.

Cover Image Credit: Kayla Ratajczak

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8 Reasons Why My Dad Is the Most Important Man In My Life

Forever my number one guy.

Growing up, there's been one consistent man I can always count on, my father. In any aspect of my life, my dad has always been there, showing me unconditional love and respect every day. No matter what, I know that my dad will always be the most important man in my life for many reasons.

1. He has always been there.

Literally. From the day I was born until today, I have never not been able to count on my dad to be there for me, uplift me and be the best dad he can be.

2. He learned to adapt and suffer through girly trends to make me happy.

I'm sure when my dad was younger and pictured his future, he didn't think about the Barbie pretend pageants, dressing up as a princess, perfecting my pigtails and enduring other countless girly events. My dad never turned me down when I wanted to play a game, no matter what and was always willing to help me pick out cute outfits and do my hair before preschool.

3. He sends the cutest texts.

Random text messages since I have gotten my own cell phone have always come my way from my dad. Those randoms "I love you so much" and "I am so proud of you" never fail to make me smile, and I can always count on my dad for an adorable text message when I'm feeling down.

4. He taught me how to be brave.

When I needed to learn how to swim, he threw me in the pool. When I needed to learn how to ride a bike, he went alongside me and made sure I didn't fall too badly. When I needed to learn how to drive, he was there next to me, making sure I didn't crash.

5. He encourages me to best the best I can be.

My dad sees the best in me, no matter how much I fail. He's always there to support me and turn my failures into successes. He can sit on the phone with me for hours, talking future career stuff and listening to me lay out my future plans and goals. He wants the absolute best for me, and no is never an option, he is always willing to do whatever it takes to get me where I need to be.

6. He gets sentimental way too often, but it's cute.

Whether you're sitting down at the kitchen table, reminiscing about your childhood, or that one song comes on that your dad insists you will dance to together on your wedding day, your dad's emotions often come out in the cutest possible way, forever reminding you how loved you are.

7. He supports you, emotionally and financially.

Need to vent about a guy in your life that isn't treating you well? My dad is there. Need some extra cash to help fund spring break? He's there for that, too.

8. He shows me how I should be treated.

Yes, my dad treats me like a princess, and I don't expect every guy I meet to wait on me hand and foot, but I do expect respect, and that's exactly what my dad showed I deserve. From the way he loves, admires, and respects me, he shows me that there are guys out there who will one day come along and treat me like that. My dad always advises me to not put up with less than I deserve and assures me that the right guy will come along one day.

For these reasons and more, my dad will forever be my No. 1 man. I love you!

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6 Reasons Traveling Is Good For Your Mind, Body, And Soul

Wherever you go, go with all your heart.


Have you ever traveled to a new destination and felt your mood instantly improve? Are you like me and feel happiest when you're on vacation? This is because traveling is a way for you to renew your soul and step out of your comfort zone. It keeps you happy and allows you to experience new things.

Visiting new destinations can open your mind to experiences you didn't even know were possible. You can meet new people, fall in love, try new foods, and see remarkable sites all while traveling. There are no limits to the places you can visit, and the things you can see. Currently, I am on a mini weekend trip to Arizona, and being here has opened my eyes and made me realize how impactful traveling really is on your mind, body, and soul. Traveling should be something you do as often as possible and whenever you get the chance. Here's why:

1. Traveling makes your heart happy 

Traveling is something that most people enjoy. It keeps the heart young and childlike. Traveling brings people joy because they get to experience new things that they love with the people they love.

2. It teaches you to embrace every moment 

Traveling can be unpredictable, especially because you are experiencing new things. Although it can be challenging, we learn best from these unpredictable moments. When we travel we learn to embrace every situation that is thrown at us.

3. Traveling relieves stress and improves mental health 

Traveling reduces stress and allows you to relax. More often than not, you take off work when you go on vacation and you focus on renewing your self. You get away from all the crazy things going on in your life, and you can just relax and focus on your own happiness.

4. It broadens your horizons 

Traveling lets you branch out and experience different cultures. You can try new foods, new activities, and meet all different types of people. You learn diversity, and you learn respect for other people and their culture's. Traveling helps you learn other perspectives around the world and lets your mind think in ways it never has before.

5. It keeps you healthy 

Traveling actually plays a big part in your physical health as well. During vacations, you often walk a lot to destinations and participate in calorie burning activities like hiking and swimming. Activities like these are often why you still are able to get your workout in while on vacation.

6. Traveling reminds you what is important 

Most importantly, traveling reminds you of the important things in life. We live day by day forgetting that every moment is remarkable. Sometimes, we get stuck in the same old boring routine and take for granted the life we have been given. Traveling reminds us that memories are valuable and that our lives should be cherished.

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