Sarah Guides Mom …
In 2008, Sarah (my daughter, who lives in Nicaragua) encouraged me to choose the Tolas, Rivas area as a location for our medical missions. She explained that there were many remote communities that fit our criteria; needed our help; could greatly benefit from clean water projects; had no health post, and most of all, she believed they would embrace Missions of Grace, with our relationship style of missions.
(Mind you, this is my daughter suggesting to her mother what I should do). I am embarrassed to admit that I said, “it sounds good Sarah, but…” because, well, who knows why… because Mother knows best? Or, because I had my own agenda?
So, I decided to meet her halfway – I did bring a medical team to the pueblos near the town where she lives (San Juan del Sur). But this was not the area where she suggested – it was close but not it.
That year, the mission was good, but I was not satisfied. our criteria; they needed our help, they could greatly benefit from clean water projects, they had no health post, and most of all, she believed that they would embrace Missions of Grace, with our relationship style of missions.
In 2009, Sarah gently reminded me of the Tola area and offered to take and introduce me to the regional health officials and especially to Martita Romero, the head nurse at Las Salinas, Tola. Finally I agreed. I set the annual December WHSO medical mission to be held in Las Salinas and a few of the surrounding remote villages. I live in Texas and set up most of the logistics from here (with lots of help from Sarah and a few of my other children).
What, Indians, you say?
I was getting excited. Sarah was right (again). This location fit so well! In the fall of 2009, Sarah informed me that Las Salinas was one of only 23 official Indigenous Communities in Nicaragua and that I had to meet with the Leaders and obtain their approval or it was a no-go. I have an active imagination, even at my age.
I laugh now, but back in 2009, I had no idea what to expect! Are these people real Indians? Am I to meet with ‘tribal leaders’ and sit around a circle with a peace pipe? (I didn’t really think that, but close to it!) I had heard some slightly scary stories about some Indigenous groups who were taking stands, etc.
I flew to Nicaragua and prepared for my meeting. I traveled by public bus for three hours to Las Salinas, leaving the Pan American Highway and going toward the Pacific Ocean, further and further away from the city of Rivas and where there are only villages – no grocery stores, hospitals, banks, not even a gas station. I was nervous and crowded in with many, many other travelers, and I spent much of my time trying to imagine what I was getting myself into. The bus driver was kind enough to tell me when I was to disembark, otherwise, I would have just kept going.
I first met Martita, who has become a very integral part of the MOG team. She started telling me about the leaders – their names; their positions. I remember my eyes glazing over a few times, trying to take it all in. Then she and I walked for what seemed a long time to the next small community, Virgen Morena, and to the house of the President of the Community.
And, there they were. In the front yard of a humble home, there was a circle of chairs and many people waiting for us. They were not dressed differently than anyone else. I could tell they were Indigenous by their sharp features and their proud erect posture. The meeting went well. I was so impressed because they were very concerned and protective about what I wanted to do in their community, with their people!
Now, it is 2013. MOG has chosen Las Salinas for our long-term medical mission base and we partner with the Indigenous Leaders on a long-term basis.
There is no way that we could accomplish all that we do without them. They are not takers, they are givers. It is amazing. I am so thankful to God and to my daughter, Sarah, who knows how to work with her momma!
Yours in faith, Cheri Mauldin
P.S. Be sure to visit the MOG Facebook page, our site, and this blog often. We want you to feel truly connected to and a part of MOG. Please, join the conversation! We sincerely ask that you consider a donation to Phase Two, or to support Cheri, or simply to the General Fund… and even better, a recurring monthly commitment to allow us to continue our work and move forward. If you have any questions or concerns about donations to MOG, never hesitate to inquire. With your help, we can accomplish something very special.