When Sue Fann and Angela Faircloth joined a team of over 50 people on a mission trip to Nicaragua this past February, they had no idea how much going to serve would give them in return.
The two traveled to Leon, Nicaragua with Missionary Friends, a Christian-based organization that sends missionary teams all across the U.S. and abroad to serve others and spread the love of God.
“You go to give but you get so much from being there,” shared Faircloth. “If I had known it would change me this much, I would have gone a long time ago. It changes you for the rest of your entire life. Needless to say, we’re kind of hooked.”
The team the ladies traveled and served with had four focuses — medical care, construction work, Vacation Bible School ministry, and veterinary care.
“This team actually started the veterinary focus,” Fann said, explaining that livestock are very important to the Nicaraguans’ livelihood. “The team saw how they (the farm animals) were in such poor condition and began vaccinating them.”
During their week-long stay, the team also visited schools each day, worshiped with the native people in their church, led Vacation Bible School classes, handed out flip-flops and clothes, and gave out food bags which included staples such as coffee, tea, sugar, beans, oil, salt, pasta, matches, soap, and toilet paper.
“It cost us maybe ten dollars,” said Fann of the food bags, “but enough food is placed in each bag to feed a family of four for a week.”
Water purification buckets were also distributed, noted Fann. “A lot of people there are sick from being dehydrated because they don’t drink the water or they’re sick from drinking the water because it is so nasty.”
As they worked among the Nicaraguan people and helped to meet some of their needs, both Fann and Faircloth were touched by their grateful spirit.
“To see how they live and to know that the smallest little gesture is so appreciated, it just makes you want to work harder,” noted Faircloth. “You just want to see how much you can do and keep doing for these unselfish people.”
“When people come back from mission trips and tell you that people are excited about getting a tube of toothpaste, it’s because the really are that excited. They’re just so appreciative and full of love,” she continued.
“It’s really something that you just can’t express,” Fann added.
Reflecting on the Nicaraguans’ thankfulness made the mission team’s evening worship time particularly special.
“Every service was opened up with one question, ‘Have you seen Jesus today?’ recalled Fann, “and then everyone would start sharing their ‘God moments.’ It was quite powerful.”
For Fann, her ‘God moment’ came when she visited a family to deliver a water purification bucket. “We asked (the mother) if we could pray for her and her family and she said ‘yes, but only if I can pray for you too.’”
Faircloth added that a little boy’s sensitivity was just one of the ways she saw God during the trip, recalling how the little boy wiped the tears off her face when she began crying near the the trip as she thought about having to leave.
“We have no AC or hot water while we are there but it doesn’t even matter,” shared Faircloth of how the challenges that the team faces pale in comparison to those of the Nicaraguan people. “The real challenge for us is coming back home, coming back to reality when you’ve been away from every trouble and care you have here. You just earnestly want to be able to give to those people who have problems but you’d never know it. They’re that appreciative.”
These moments, along with Fann and Faircloth’s enthusiasm, is what led their friend Chris Senger to decide to join them next year when they return to Nicaragua for another mission trip in February.
“I’ve always enjoyed ministries like that,” shared Senger, adding that she has some mission trip experiences under her belt, serving in the U.S. in places like Tennessee and West Virgina.
“Chris is such a giving person…she will absolutely fit right in,” assured Fann.
“I’m hoping I can Skype with the kids while I’m there,” interjected Senger, a fifth grade teacher at Sunset Avenue School. “I want them to have a part in it too.”
As they prepare to return to Nicaragua next year for another mission trip, the ladies also want others in the community to have a part in their work as well whether it is just through hearing of their experience, praying for the mission team, or making a donation to help with the cost of the trip and the supplies that the team needs to do its work.
“We do everything off donations and fundraisers,” noted Faircloth.”First, we would love to share our story. After that, if you feel led to make a contribution great, but if not, we still want to share our story.”
“We also need all the prayers we can have,” stressed Fann, ” It work miracles. It’s the answer to it all.”
If churches, groups, or organizations are interested in learning more about the mission trip and having the ladies come speak, please contact Angela Faircloth at 592-4653 or 249-3900, Sue Fann at 385-0878 or 564-4031, or Chris at 214-2101 or 592-5623, ext. 4242. They can also direct interested persons in the right direction if someone wishes to join them on the next mission trip.
Lauren Williams can be reached at 910-592-8137, ext. 117 or via email at firstname.lastname@example.org.