Photo: St. Anne's Hospital Medical Mission

Volunteers anticipated that life was tough in Managua, Nicaragua, but what they witnessed during their service brought them a deeper understanding.

“Today was a very powerful day in seeing Managua for the first time”, said Will Barnweel. “It takes very hard work to provide for a family here, and I’ve realized how blessed I am to live comfortably with all the necessities I need.” 

A successful first day for the St. Anne’s Medical mission included serving over 110 people and making progress repairing desks and building a new lunch area.

Throughout the day, Barnwell continued reflecting on his own life while serving the people of Managua. “I’m … blessed to have this opportunity to help the Nicaraguan people and to answer Jesus’s call to serve His people,” he said.

Volunteers undergo these eye-opening experiences because they are in direct contact with those they serve. Whereas before, it was a picture of poverty, now it is an encounter with people.

“Working with International Samaritan has been both eye-opening and humbling. I’ve never encountered poverty on such a level, and it made me realize how many blessings I have,” remarked Micaela O’Rourke.

A Deeper Understanding of Service

O’Rourke continues in her reflection and accounts how the experience changed her. “It’s easy to take a negative outlook on society in general, but seeing the goodness in helping others reminds me that not everything is awful. By building a foundation for making a difference in the lives of others, we can fully partake in the plans that Jesus has for us. Then, using these experiences, we can become better people.”

Volunteers like Barnwell and O’Rourke will leave and return to their normal lives in a matter of weeks. However, the experiences and the reflections that they shared will stay with them for a lifetime.

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