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Mission Trip Becomes Personal Journey
Each year, Trinity employees receive a service time allowance to carry out God’s call to serve others. Faculty and staff often take this time to serve locally and overseas.
Ryan Heath, assistant controller, traveled to Nicaragua in June to serve with New Hope Children’s Foundation. New Hope provides education, food, clothing, and medical assistance, and most important, the love of Christ, to orphaned or abused children in Nicaragua. The organization works in partnership with the government agency Mi Familia to rescue many children from homelessness and abuse.
Ryan’s efforts there involved spending time with the children, helping with the organization’s accounting, and translating for the head of construction at the building site of New Hope’s children’s home in the rainforest along the Coco River, a rugged frontier between Nicaragua and Honduras.
Traveling with Ryan was his 17-year-old son Melios. This was the young man’s first trip back to Nicaragua since Ryan and his wife Joslynn adopted their son and his brothers Rosendo (15) and Beto (12) from New Hope Children’s Home in 2010. They had met the boys during their first mission trip to the home in 2008. The brothers, like most of the children at the home, are Miskito Indians, indigenous to the remote eastern forest lands of Nicaragua.
Ryan said that the children at New Hope are orphans or have been brought to the home by family members who aren’t able to care for them. Some of the children have also been rescued from abuse. Melios, who speaks the native language of the indigenous people, had the opportunity to help families in the same situation Melios’s grandparents once found themselves in when they brought their grandsons to the home in 2005.
“It was awesome to see Melios step up and help these families, communicating with them in their native language and comforting them during the process of seeking help from the home,” said Ryan.
Witnessing God work through his son’s experience added to Ryan’s own experience. “I learned that we are called to have a broader world view than just our neighborhood or family or town, and that a global perspective can inform my personal walk with the Lord.”
Ryan and his son also had the opportunity to visit Melios’s grandparents, who had not seen him since 2010, and to deliver gifts to them. Because of the remote location of the Miskito villages, Ryan had to buy air time on the radio station to advertise that Melios was in the area in hopes the message would reach his grandparents, and it did.
Ryan said it was a wonderful reunion, and although the Miskito people aren’t known for outwardly exhibiting affection or deep emotion, tears poured down the face of Melios’s grandmother at the sight of her grandson.
God also opened the door for the new director of Mi Familia—who knows Melios’s grandparents—to see first-hand the fruits of New Hope’s work after hearing Ryan and his son’s story.