I will fight for your dreams.
Friday, June 3rd, 2011.
For I know the plans I have for you,” declares the LORD, “plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future.
(I wrote this blog over an intense month of highs and lows. I have tried to piece together these emotional explosions of my heart. Here it is..)
I cannot put into words the emotions that were turning inside of me as I left the states. Excitement, expectancy, sadness, nervousness but above all these things a completely broken heart.As we drove into the village, I knew that we were going to be passing Anthony’s house. As soon as I spotted his beautiful teal, concrete little home with the wooden barbwire fence it hit me like a wave that he was not here. His presence had been zapped from my life in a single moment, my heart. Though I thought I had been able to accept this in the states, I had not. It hit me like a wave, all my emotions started surfacing. In that moment it was like I heard it for the first time all over again….
Last summer I took my second trip back to Nicaragua, this time around it was for a few months. One of my first days there I was sitting in the main house attempting to write my blog and this beautiful, long haired boy walked up to me with the biggest brightest smile you could ever imagine! This wasn’t the first time I had met Anthony, we had gotten to know each other on my previous trip, and immediately became close. One because Anthony was fairly good at understanding English and because he said we were meant to be friends because we were both crazy, haha so true. Anthony sat down on the floor beside me….
Anthony and Me
My Journal, July 15th 2010
“Yesterday I spent most of my time talking with Anthony (as much as I could considering I don’t speak much Spanish) We talked about School and why he didn’t go, as most boys his age he didn’t like to go and the fact he needs to make money so working instead seemed like a better option. I told him how smart he was. I have always thought this since the first time we met last January. Anthony has the gift to dream, and is driven to accomplish in his own way, its just who he is. He is someone if he puts his mind to it he can do anything. But, he does need an education. The conversation went on with me naming different things I felt he could do with his life, hoping to inspire him. He sat their looking like all my words were just bouncing right off of him. Then he looked up at me and asked me a question “crees en mi?” but I couldn’t understand so I asked Yahaira. She said “He asked if you believe in Him”. I was stunned at the fact that in that moment I was being filled with belief over his life over his dreams over his heart. Filled with excitement for him and the purpose that the Lord had created him for! Of Jesus! I look at him and said “Si, YO CREO EN TI!!”. Lord I have never believed so strongly in all my life, in your dreams for your Children. How can I awaken these kids to the excitement in which you feel for each of their passions and how you desire them to run in that! In a place where its seemingly impossible, FATHER! Teach me to get through to Anthony. To break him free from lies. I choose to always believe in him, and who you alone created him to be!”
From that point on, my passion only grew to see this kids awakened to the adventure and excitement that their lives held and the purpose they were created to walk in! It started with Anthony but from that point on it became my mission to find out what made them come a live, what that spark was in them and pray blessing and direction over it. Jovanny and Anthony were the two that I poured most of my heart and my time into to and stayed committed to even after I was back in the states. Anthony wanted to be a translator and Jovanny a dancer!
Me, Andres, Anthony, Jovanny and Brianna
Anthony called me once a week or more since the day I left. If I didn’t answer, I normally got a message screaming….”CREO EN TI!” We continued to talk about his heart and his dreams and what we needed to do to move in that direction. It was beautiful to be able to hear him grow and mature and how the things that once bothered him or consumed him didn’t matter anymore, he was falling in love with Jesus. Anthony wanted to be a translator for the base, it was happening. He was so gifted in speaking English. I told him if he committed to finishing High School I would support him and do everything I could to see him accomplish this dream! Anthony started going back to High School and he had a new love for it. He also began taking English classes. He was learning how to walk in the fullness that the Lord had created him for!
Sunday, April 17th was the last time I talked with Anthony. It was a silly conversation about music but it was so good just to hear him and be apart of the simple things he loved. And just to hear his joyful self once more.
The following Tuesday, as most of you probably know, Anthony went home to be with Jesus. A group of our youth went to the beach for holy week, the week before Easter. That morning, 8 of them got into the ocean and were caught by a rip tide. All but Anthony were pulled out by surrounding people, other youth or thrown onto the beach by the waves. Emerson, Anthony’s best friend was caught in the tide as well and grabbed on to Anthony’s hair but was unable to save him in the process of trying to save himself. Anthony got pulled farther out and eventually he was gone.
We were told that finding his body was most likely impossible but that Thursday after hours of searching his body was found on the beach of a near by island. His Daddy found him. Anthony’s father was someone who was never around for his song but Anthony always believed he was going to come through for him…
It was been a month now since Anthony’s death. I came here two weeks after he was killed, praise Jesus and his merciful timing. The World race team that was here through it all were able to stay an extra month which brought me so much comfort. I thought the Lord had allowed me to stay in the states so that I would come here to be able to comfort having been spared from being here during the actual incident. However, I was a complete mess when I got here and the youth have been so encouraging through all of this, their incredible.
I have spent most of my time with Anthony’s Mom and Family. The second day I was here Lisa and I went to her house. I walked in the door and that’s about as far as I got before I was completely melting down on his mother. I sat in the floor and laid my head on her lap. I cried so deeply, I felt like I couldn’t breathe…I have never felt so much emotion in all my life. Since then the tears come in waves. Sometimes I go there and we laugh and talk about Anthony, Other days I lay in bed with her as she cries on his clothes or we just sit in silence…Everyone says I need to grieve and I need to process. I have no idea what that looks like or how to even comfort a woman that lost her son…but I am just going to keep doing what I am doing because I want to. I need her and maybe she needs me too. My friend Chris from the World Race team was reading to me from Job about when he lost his family, they just sat with him for 7 days and said nothing…healing is such a personal thing and I am trying to release myself from my own expectations of what this is going to look like. Just to know that it is ok to grieve and to cry but to remember its ok to choose Joy…Because it is my strength.
So here I am in this day, finally writing. Before now, I could not even begin to put into words what I felt. I’ve just been trying to get my head above water so that I can see things a little more from the Lord prospective. And what I have realized lately is that in the midst of brokenness there is so much beauty to unfold. Anthony is the closest person I have ever lost, so this feeling is so new to me. In the middle of all of the crying out before the Lord….Its so incredible in which we are able to receive during brokenness. More so then any other times in our lives. We all have this big gaping hole in our hearts right now and we are aching for it be filled. I feel like we are all just laying all over the ground here before the Lord, and he is pouring and mending. Most of the ones who are hurting are being drawn into the realization that the Lord can fill those wounds, and they are hungry for it. Others are in the middle of a tug a war fight within their hearts. Hungry, but letting the lies and guilt take over their minds. Pray that the Lord will give us wisdom in how to pull those children into his heart…
I have reached my one month mark, its been such a slow process getting settled here…but so good. We are all moving like snail it seems…just soaking in what surrounds us. Taking time before making any sudden moves. Just soaking and healing.
But, its time for me to get started :)
Before I left the states, my friend Andrew asked me what my top three goals were in coming here. I thought for a second and then numbered them off.
1. The Dance Ministry
2. The Sponsor a Student program
3. I believe what I said was “ Finding out the passions of the youth and do what I can to see those dream become reality in their lives”."Creo en ti"
The Third one I stated, the Lord has been amplifying in my heart since I arrived in Nicaragua. I like to call it “Creo en Ti”. Over the past few months I have come to realization that this is such a huge part of my calling in life. To believe in people in what makes them come alive. The last 6 years I have spent in Boone the Lord has been surrounding me with people who are incredible in music, art, singing, dance etc…This atmosphere has been filling me with passion for all sorts of things. No, I am not great at any specific one and so I wondered what direction I should go…. Now, I feel like the Lord has just been equipping me to be able to jump on the same page with peoples hearts and what they love. He has kind of made me into this “jack of all trades”, to be able to support people and run after their passion with them.
Anthony is who the Lord use to awaken this in my heart with his one simple question, “Crees en mi?”. Now he is gone, but I know with all of my heart that this was planted so deeply in my heart and is only going to continue to grow. So here I go Jesus, I don’t know what I am doing or what this is going to look like but I trust you and believe in you..I choose to get behind your children and push them into who you created them to be. To protect and nurture their passions! I choose to fight for your dreams for their lives!
Photo taken by Brianna on our trip to the Beach
I love and miss you my sweet brother, Anthony. Thank you for who you were, thank you for your life and the way that you lived it. Thank you for your smile, crazyness and your Joy. I miss you. Creo en Ti amor.