My first trip to Nicaragua was in 2011. And it is true: when you go to a third world country, you are never the same. I could share so much of the trip’s impact on my life, but what I want to share today is the story of Enoc.

Towards the end of this first trip, we went to the village of Ojoche. I separated myself from the others and began to walk down the main street — I was struck by how clean the road was (yes, dirt roads can be “clean”) and how beautiful the trees and flowers were. Poinsettias growing in the wild are quite different from our traditional Christmas poinsettias–free and airy and lovely. I was taking pictures when I heard a rustle behind me. I turned and saw this face:

My heart melted. Since returning in 2011, this photo has been on my desk–reminding me of Nicaragua every day. He is my FACE of Nica.

When I returned to Nica ini 2013, I began the search for this child, but we didn’t go to his village that year so I couldn’t find him. Then, in 2015, two women from Ojoche who worked in the kitchen at the mission identified him for me. And joyfully we went to his village where I sought him out. I know he was overwhelmed by this crazy white woman who cried when she saw him.

Kim became my courier, and when he would go to Nica, he would carry a backpack or a gym bag filled with school supplies, clothes, and little toys for Enoc. And then Enoc and I began to write to one another, stumbling at first since we don’t know each other’s language–waiting for translators to help us. When I made my fourth and last trip in 2017, I delivered the supplies personally–he knew we were coming and was waiting for the truck.

There is no mail service to Nicaragua, so the letters have stopped. But my love for Enoc and the people of Nicaragua has not stopped. Kim sent out an appeal last week, and I’m adding my two-cents. These people do not ask for much–a hot meal filled with nutrition and vitamins is a luxury for them (see the bowl Enoc is holding in the top photo? That’s what each villager brings to the big pot of stew the missionaries prepare). And your contribution to Because We Care Ministries will see that they continue to get these meals during the pandemic even though mission teams can’t help. There are native Nicaraguans who will carry on this mission in our absence. Please consider giving what you can even though the appeal is a little earlier this year.Whatever you contribute will help. It’s pretty astounding that $150 will feed a village for a week! [The food is 100 pounds of beans, 100 pounds of rice, and 5 gallons of cooking oil. ] If you wish, you can make out a check to Bethany UMC with “BWCM Food Distribution” on the memo line.

“And do not forget to do good and to share with others, for with such sacrifices God is pleased.” Hebrews 13:16