It continues to amaze me how our connections can span the world. God's hand is in everything and He is everywhere, so no matter where we go, He will go with us. Just a few examples of His awesomeness:
In our first few weeks working in La Calle Real, our partner, Hal, had an international agriculture intern from UC Davis working with him. We got to know her since she was staying at the same hostel as our group, and one night she was Skyping her friend who is interning in Italy, and told her friend that she had met some OSU kids. The friend then says, "How weird, my roommate here on this internship is from OSU too", and then her OSU roommate walked into the Skype video and it was another member of our Enactus team, Rebekah! From Oregon and California to Nicaragua and Italy -- crazy!
Another time, we were meeting with one of our long-time partners and he brought along a US study abroad student who was staying with him on a homestay. The student's name was David and he was from Indiana, and he mostly just followed our group around all afternoon while we talked to microloan recipients with our partner translating. Then as we're about to leave, David says to me, "Hey, can I ask you a question..." and I turn around and smile, because this is how it always starts. Then he says that he noticed I was wearing a head covering (I was shocked right there that he knew what to call it) and was wondering if it was part of a religious affiliation. After I explained and said he might even know of ACs in his area, he nodded and said yes, and then said he was a branch of conservative Mennonite himself. My jaw completely dropped at that. Midwest ties and we both find ourselves in this tiny barrio of Leon, Nicaragua. God certainly orchestrated that one.
The oddest meeting though was at the Mesaya outdoor market. The Mesaya is a huge, colorful plaza where the best of the best Nicaraguan craftsmen come to sell their goods -- it is definitely a tourist spot. You can get anything from hammocks to sandals to coffee, and all at pretty decent prices after bartering. I was wandering around, wearing an OSU shirt, as always, and this older gentleman passes me and makes some comment like "Oh, you're from OSU", but it was very noncommital and I get that a lot so I agreed but then moved on. About twenty minutes later I run into him again, but this time he takes the conversation another step by saying that he's always wanted to go to Oregon, but he's from Ohio. At that, I said offhand that I know people in Ohio through my church, which of course prompted him to ask what church. His eyes lit up when I said Apostolic Christian, and then he asked me if I knew where the church started. I thought he was just curious since I was from the west but clearly we had churches in the midwest as well, and I answered that it actually started in New York. He nodded and then asked if I knew which was the first church, and I said Croghan. He was all impressed and said he didn't think I'd know AC church history that much;). He then proceeded to tell me that he is in Croghan every few months and knows the church and church people very well. I was very surprised and said that our elder from Croghan actually came to Oregon in the past six months and that my family hosted him. This shocked the guy, who had by then introduced himself as a Lehman, and then he wanted to know what the elder's name was. It completely slipped my mind at that point, but I told him I'd probably remember a few hours later. We talked for a little more before I had to pry myself away since our team was on a time crunch and I was trying to buy gifts for my family. I had only moved on for about fifteen minutes when the guy finds me again, bringing all of the family he was traveling with to meet me. He then tells me that his grandma was a member of the Croghan AC church but then her children left to go to the Mennonite church (I think). He then started listing families in the Croghan area and I remembered the elder's name was Duane Farney. He recognized the last name and then immediately got out a piece of paper to write down my name and said the next time he goes to Croghan he's going to tell Duane he met me, John Wiegand's daughter (I said to say that part because it is more likely Duane will remember me if my dad's name is involved;). Later Annalee told me that he had found her after one of these many encounters and asked where I was because he forgot to tell me that he had a great-aunt that also knew of our church, or something like that. He was clearly thrilled to make the connection;) SMALL WORLD.
Now some unrelated pictures.
Dust storm in Leon. This is the far edge of the bus terminal and that is solid dust -- you can't tell from the picture but it is actually thick in the air everywhere. I had to wear my sunglasses under the tin waiting area roof and if I would have had a bandana I would have covered my mouth. It was that bad. They are in a serious drought right now and so this is the second bad dust storm they've had since we've been there. You really can't do anything because it is hard to see and breathe.
I'm a twenty-something from the Pacific NW making home in new places as I follow where God leads.
My intent is to show Christ's love to the world and use business to solve some of the social problems we face: hunger, illiteracy, healthcare, economic hardship. For now, I'm in a stage of learning. A little adventuring, a few books, some good friends, and a whole lot of prayer and life runs on.