National Avenue has attracted people for a lot of different reasons. We’re accepting of all ideas, beliefs, and people. We continually have a close community, which is shown every Sunday during Passing of the Peace or in the Coffee time following services. And we continually work with a large multitude of charity organizations, making sure we not only talk about our beliefs, but act on them. All of these things put together make us a unique church by itself. But yet again, we break out of another mold through the work we have done in Hilapo Dos, Nicaragua. This time, breaking the mold of everything we have done in the past.
What we have done in Nicaragua was no small feat for us. We, as a church that has less membership compared to some, were able to raise over $100,000. And while that was a hard number to get to, we’ve changed the lives of so many people irrevocably. On my trip down to Hilapo Dos last fall, I fully understood one part of how amazing this is. Throughout the years we’ve partnered with Hilapo Dos, we’ve tried to make it clear that that’s what it is; a partnership. We understand that when we are sending money, or building houses for the people Hilapo Dos, we’re not just sending money, but we’re continuing a partnership, or in essence, a friendship. And once we understand that we’re helping people just like us, people who have just been born in a different part of the world, it opens up a new level of caring that many people, including anyone who has been down to Nicaragua understands.
For example, the fourth day of my trip to Nicaragua will always stand out to me. That afternoon we stayed in Hilapo Dos, wanting to spend some time with the people and the kids there. And with us, we brought some baseballs and kick balls. I had the time of my life playing kickball with those kids. Even though I’m terrible at kickball, and they surely enjoyed laughing at me, it was so much fun. To see them smile as they played, to hear them cheer when Neil would kick yet another home run, or to watch them all give high fives to each other and us. Later that same day, I was pushed into dancing in front of the village, with a girl around my age, Karen. And even though they enjoyed watching me struggle, it made me realize one important thing. We aren’t people that are better than them. Instead, it was our population at National Avenue helping our friends in Hilapo Dos, Nicaragua. Not because we feel like we have to, but instead because we understand that we should, and that we are simply helping human beings, who need it.
So as we look at this huge triumph our church has completed, building 25 homes for families who are used to mud floors and plastic roofs, we need to look towards the future just as much as we should celebrate. Because what we did in Nicaragua was groundbreaking and changed the lives of tons of people. But at the same time, this shows us what we’re capable of. As a congregation, as one working church body, we have the ability to instill change in the world. This amazing housing project has shown us that we have the ability to do amazing things in the world. So as we look forward, we must continue to be a church that breaks the mold, and continues to promote justice throughout the area, not because we feel like we must, but because we should.