January 20, 2011....
On this day, one year ago, I left for Leon, Nicaragua. I thought I was going to stay for two years but God had other plans. Wonderful plans. Plans that exceeded anything I could hope for or imagine. I spent so much time dwelling on the past, so much time trying to control my future, so many years saying "no, I think this sounds better." I had been hurt, I had been lost, I had made the wrong choices. Let me say that good can come when you feel hopeless and broken. God had something big planned for me and when he saw that I was finally willing to let him lead, he took me on the greatest adventure of my life.
It started in 2009 when I left for a mission trip to Nicaragua Christian School. I had been on several mission trips but this one was different. This one changed my life. This one haunted me everyday after, in a good way. It redefined and reminded me of the woman God wanted me to be and where my real passion lies: Children in need. After graduation in May of 2010 I decided there was a reason nothing made sense to me anymore, a reason my "next plans" no longer appealed to me, a reason I was beginning to feel real uncomfortable with myself. But, I knew something was coming. I felt a stirring. God had laid something on my heart and I did not know what to do with it. I didn't think God would really want to send ME? Why would he want me there? I couldn't do anything to help? As I struggled to understand what I was being told, I began talking to my parents and praying about this idea. I then set up a meeting with the US directors of Nicaragua Christian School. Still not sure if this was even possible, I asked if I could move to the school and work.
For the next six months I watched in amazement as everything fell in to its perfect little place, as I prepared to move to Nicaragua in January of 2011. I sent out my letters in August and by the end of September I had all the money I needed for the two years I had planned to work down there. When November rolled around, due to some obviously God-planned happenstances, I went on a first date with Ryan Bush. Although I was excited about the opportunity to get to know him, I could not help but feel confusion about the timing. I felt like I had finally accepted the fact I was going to do this alone. I never thought a man would care to date someone with countries between them. Meanwhile, during all these thoughts, God was saying, "Oh ye of little Faith.. Watch this."
January 20, 2011 comes along quickly and I am saying goodbye to everything I know and love to head toward my new life. Landing in Nicaragua, I was quickly reminded of the reason for my passion. I was there to let God show me how I could help the poor, innocent, abused, broken, dirty, beautiful, hands and feet of God's little children.
For the next 9 months I began a healing process. I wrestled with God, I was broken and he healed me, I was lost and found, I learned from him, and I fell in love with God along with 206 precious children. I learned and was filled with God's never ending, faithful, and ever so redeeming love. I was able to watch first hand as he transformed lives and I saw him make beautiful things out of the dust.
During my time in Nicaragua I also fell in love with a man. Although it was very difficult for us to be so far apart, I am thankful for these unique and incredible chapters God wrote in the beginning of our love story. God allowed Ryan and I to get to know each other in such a special way. Ryan was my constant encouragement and support system, as well as my reminder that God's plan is the only plan that I want to be a part of. Not only did God send Ryan to help me through this past year, but God gave me a man who shares the same passions and dreams as I do.
In July of 2012, Ryan was able to spend a month with me in Nicaragua. After his trip we couldn't stop talking about it which led us to discuss doing mission work together some day. My heart was so full. I was in a country I love, surrounded by children I love and whom I learned from daily. I also had so much love and support back home that my two worlds (or countries) couldn't have felt more perfect.
In October I came home (and at a perfect time I might add, just another sign of God's faithfulness) to work a golf tournament my father and I were doing for the school in Nicaragua. It was awesome to see all the people involved in the tournament and the money raised for the school. I also really enjoyed visiting with my loved ones.. Especially with Ryan..
On November 2, 2011 Ryan asked me to marry him. We decided that since we both wanted to be doing work in Nicaragua, we should get married and then I could complete my last year and (Lord willing) many more after, working together, with Ryan.
And now, here I am, one year later, healed, preparing to take on a new journey, as a wife, and starting a new adventure where God is calling US, in Leon, Nicaragua. I look forward to being back in my new country with the ones I love, sharing a desire to serve the people of Nicaragua with the man I love.
I could never have dreamed how perfect my love story was going to turn out. I am thankful that God is the author, and that he had a plan for us that was greater than we could have ever imagined. It has been the best year of my life and I can not wait to see what God has in store for the future, Mr. and Mrs. Bush.
I have found the one whom my soul loves. Song of Solomon 3:4
Thank you for always thinking of me. Thank for forgiving me daily even though I do not deserve it. Thank you for Ryan and for the blessing he is in my life. Thank you for the best family and friends anyone could ask for. Thank you for the children in Nicaragua. And thank you for the opportunity to see your love and beauty in every day life. You are the creator and the sustainer. Thank you for being the bread of life to those that are hungry. Thank you for blessing a sinner like me. I love you.