Monday, May 14, 2012
Tuesday, April 10, 2012
Everyone has their own place in this world, and sometimes it takes a while to find out where that is. For us - the Izzo family - we have been preparing for this next adventure for years.
Jeff and I have travelled on short term mission trips for almost 10 years. We have been to places like Brazil, the Dominican Republic, Germany, Belize, and New Orleans for Katrina relief. We find joy in serving others, especially those who have less. Whether it is painting shutters for a church or playing baseball with kids, we have found that the essence of our faith is at its purest when connecting with and serving others.
A few years ago, we decided it was time to bring the kids with us on a trip abroad. At the time, Sammy was 6, Nate was 9, and Julia was 11. Around that same time, we reconnected with some friends, Wyeth and Wendy Willard, who wanted the same thing for their family. With Wyeth’s family already having a ministry in place in Nicaragua, it seemed like our reconnection was more than just coincidence.
Shortly after that, we started planning a family mission trip to Campo Alegria in Nicaragua. It was amazing to see our kids hang out with kids from a different culture and language. A wise man told us that the language of kids is “fun.” That was certainly apparent when watching the boys, who don’t speak each other’s languages, collect rocks and build friendships. Who needs words?
We took a second trip a little over a year later, during Christmas break. We all put aside our American Christmas of shopping, decorations, and feasts to spend time with some families in Nicaragua who rarely get even a day off of work.
After the second trip people began asking: Where are you going next? Have you thought about going abroad for an extended period of time? The truth is, spending an extended period abroad has been a desire of ours since our first mission trip. It’s something that has always seemed like too much of a stretch from our established lives in the Maryland. But the more often we have served abroad, the more we’ve wanted to go for a longer period of time. After seeing how Julia, Nate, and Sam responded on their first couple of trips to Nicaragua, it seemed that the time was here to make a big decision.
And so it began. Often when we reach one goal, we look ahead to doing more, to extend ourselves. We learn and grow when we are pushed outside of our comfort zone. Sometimes, our comfort zone is further away, that’s why we have to keep extending ourselves. Over the past year and a half, we have had a lot of ups and downs. At times we were extremely confident in everything falling into place to make this move a reality, and other times it seemed like the bottom had dropped out, and it would have to wait for another time. But God seems to always have a way of testing and strengthening our faith in the way He lays plans for us.
So, for about a year now, we have been praying and planning with the Willards, and in July, we will be going to Nicaragua for the 2012 - 2013 school year. We love God and people, and we want to serve the world. Nicaragua is where we are called to be, and we are all so excited about this amazing adventure!!
Stayed tuned for more…
Monday, July 6, 2009
Today was a full day with the kids.
I taught Science.. the life cycle of a butterfly. We read the very hungry caterpillar in Spanish and English. We also did a craft project with pasta. Tiny pasta for the egg, rotini for the caterpillar, shells for the chrysalis, and bowties for the butterfly. So fun!
Jeff taught English. He covered body parts, clothes, and read a Biscuit book in English and Spanish.
We had a couple of swimming sessions. We had trouble keeping track of Sam in the water, he looked like most of the Nica kids!
There is also a playground at the camp that the kids get to hang out on. See-saws, swing, jungle gym, etc.
We watched Alladin at night and the kids loved the sidekick characters!
Julia is being such a big help, stepping up and doing whatever is needed. The girls LOVE her. They keep coming up to me saying... "You are Julia's Mom!"
Nate is hanging out with the kids and making some friends, Engel and Daniel in particular. They all like to collect rocks and are trading, no need to speak the same language for that!
Sam has also bonded with some of the American high school guys. They are playing a lot in the water and having some deep discussions in the hammocks. So cute!
We are all tired, but confident that the kids are learning and felling the love of Christ through us!
Sunday, June 28, 2009
Kids arrived today. I thought I was going to cry just watching them come off of the bus!
They are between 6 and 10 and absolutely adorable.
I taught the science sessions. Today was "The Planets." Julia was a big help.
Nate and Sam were in a group and rotated around with the kids. At first, the kids thought that Sam was one of them. Even the translators spoke to him in Spanish! He fits right in!!!!
Jeff did not teach, so he was on camera duty.
I am trying to learn names, but there are a lot of them!
Today we ate yummy stew with rice for lunch, rice and beans for dinner! And of course tons of fresh fruit!
The kids loved swimming in the lake. The waves were perfect for the kids, not too strong like the ocean. I had a hard time keeping track of Sam since he looks just like the rest of the kids. At home at the pool, I just look for the darkest kid. But here... not so easy.
We watched "Horton Hears a Who" and had popcorn.
It was a full day, and everyone was ready for bed!
Thursday, June 25, 2009
So today we spent some time getting ready for the campers to arrive tomorrow. We also painted the latrine (a bright sunny yellow!) and took plenty of time to swim in the lake.
I think everyone felt much better upon waking up this morning. The sun rises early here (BEFORE 5am!) which means we do too… but then it sets by 6pm. (We are two hours behind our friends and family back home.) The chickens and rooster were gracious enough to wake us, lest we might have missed the beautiful sunrise .
A wonderful storm blew through last night, bringing us a bit cooler weather, and wind to blow away the bugs. They seem to have returned a bit tonight, as the wind has died back down. Everyone who lives here says they’ve never seen the wind this calm for this long. Hmmm… the only downside to that is this: the normal 40-50mph winds blow away the bugs. So, can you send up a few prayers for some wind at Campo Alegria? Thanks!
Our kids really enjoyed swimming, riding the horses here at Campo, swimming, and more swimming. Tonight for dinner, we enjoyed a wonderful Nicaraguan specialty - nakatamale. It’s essentially a tamale with chicken (bones and all), potato, rice, and some other delicious extras, all wrapped in a banana leaf. It was wonderful!
Now we will spend a little more time getting ready for the kids to arrive tomorrow morning. Until then…
oAfter 2 airplane rides. and a long bus ride, we have arrived. We went up tp a volcano crater on our way here to the camp. Very cool, but very hard to breathe! See video below.
Jeff is in route. Because of the Dominican trip, he is coming a little late.
We are all exhausted due to very little sleep. We had leave for the airport at 3 am. The teens were out at the movies, and many adults were up getting ready. Even the ones who did sleep only got a couple of hours.
Well, I think it is safe to say that everyone is shock. With emotions running high, exhaustion set in, and the sweat pouring well need to settle in. It is the buggy season and the wind is not as strong as we expected. Our meal was yummy when we got here, but the bugs liked it too. Use your imagination!
But that's how we grow. If things were going to be easy, then we wouldn't learn as much. I think on every mission trip I have been on, I have doubted my fitness for the task. But, God knows more than me and I trust that. He has provided us with the necessary skills and we can do this!!
We just need to remind ourselves that God is in control and he will take care of us.
I can do all things through Christ who gives me strength.
... Lord, remind us that you chose us to be here and when we are doing your will, only joy can result.