Intro to Watsonopolis

There was one who once said crazy things like, give your possessions to the poor, let your light shine, go to the ends of the earth, love God, love your neighbor, serve, pray, die and live. Those words, the words of Jesus, have gripped and shaped our lives.

Because of Jesus’ life, challenge and love we are propelled into an amazing life journey; a journey that most often finds us pitching our tent among the poor and those on the margins of our world, serving, living, teaching, learning and loving there.

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Friday
Mar272009

Surviving & Thriving in Nica

Initially it seemed like a good idea.  Then we weren't so sure.  Then we thought, "it'll be ok".  Then we had our doubts.  

Leading a team of 10 on a mission & humanitarian trip to Nicaragua can be loads of fun mingled with loads of stress.  But the Mrs. and I decided to add a little icing on the fun_stress cake by taking our two boys along.  After all, we'd been there before with the oldest kiddo in 2007.  Granted, it was just the 3 Watsons then.  No team.  No stress really.  Just hanging out at El Samaritano with the Sirkers.  Quite relaxing actually.  

What we hoped to illustrate was that families could actually serve together.  Even in a foreign context.  We wanted to push against any prevailing thought that once you have children then service (outside the home) takes a back seat and missionary work is only for the young and single; or at least the young & married with no children.  But to be honest, we had the thought that, we could actually prove quite the opposite.  We had images in our mind of returning from Nica, looking like ragged Survivor contestants after 40 days on the island WhoopAss and with our boys looking like the 'bad tribe' from Lord of the Flies - all of us warning other families, "Don't do it!  Turn back now!  Danger ahead!".

But that's not our story.  The truth is, we had a really good time.  We traveled with a team that exhibited the beautiful balance of caring for the team (our boys included) and displaying gigantic amounts love and care for the Nicaraguan children.  Our boys opened avenues of ministry and friendship that would otherwise have been closed to us.  They did this just by being themselves, by being cute.  

Sure, nap schedules were a little off.  There were moments of grumpyness. But in some ways that's no different than last tuesday when we had to spend the day shopping at Target AND Costco in the same afternoon.  But those times afforded us an opportunity to teach our oldest lessons on prayer (and teach ourselves lessons on patience).  

I watched our oldest pray for other children who have physical disabilities.  I watched our youngest smile at Nicaraguan school girls.  I watched my wife train other Nicaraguan moms on healthy child discipline.  As a family we prayed over schools and ministries.  We sang Alabare` ("Praise" in spanish) in places where, frankly, it was a little difficult to sing (a neonatal ICU unit, that looked more like a garage than a hospital).  

I have no idea how this trip and others that we may take together as a family will shape our boys (or our family for that matter).  My hope is that it shapes us into really good images of Jesus.  I hope that the saints we meet along the way influence my boys and help them grow into men that reflect their namesakes.  

And if along the way, we happen to look like survivor contestants or Lord of the Flies tribes, I'm attributing that to being parents of a rowdy three year old and an ornery 9 month old.

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