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Mission of Hope

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Daily Journal: Thursday, February 24, 2011

By Bonnie Black
We had no meeting this morning - our 'day off' - because the 28 people going to the Mombacho Cloudforest left NiCasa at 6:15am. They arrived there in time for a trip up through the canopy in newer mini-vans…no more Soviet transport vehicles! The cloud cover was very dense today, but the flora was extremely vibrant. Most all wore their sweatshirts in this cooler clime.

Thirteen of the other left in one of the vans around 8am for a trip into Managua to take a boat tour on Lake Managua - a little rocky, but still quite enjoyable. They then continued the history of Managua and Nicaragua in the Plaza of the Revolution and from the van along the way to lunch. Afterward, they went to the Roberto Huembes Market, named after a martyr of the last Revolution.

That left Bill, Bev G., Nancy Cronin and Sister Stephanie decided to stay back to organize the suitcases for the morning as well as shut down the kitchen.

Tonight we had our semi-annual Pizza Party for our closest compatriots here in Chiquilistagua. Conversation abounded among all and having Hawai'ian pizza in addition to the plain cheese and the veggie was delightful.

This evening's meeting began with a review of logistics for the airport in Managua in the morning for all but 8 of us and also what is necessary upon landing in Houston.

Especially thanked Bev G., Bill, Nancy and Sister Stephanie who stayed behind today to work on the closure procedures.

Bev G. reviewed the suitcase lists and responsibilities and will meet with anyone having a problem with space needs to see her after the meeting.

Bill explained the process of removing linen from the beds. We also spoke about cell phone returns and wearing our Mission #41 t-shirts tomorrow for the entire trip…so you will all be looking for the green t-shirts when everyone arrives at their designated airports!

Sister Stephanie thanked everyone who worked in the kitchen this week.

Sister and Nancy were in Managua this afternoon and saw a demonstration of workers who are trying to petition for a fair wage from $30 per month for hard labor to $40 per month. Think about that. There were several different groups from all around the country petitioning for the fair wage.

Then Sister moved to closing this mission. "Hopefully you did more than survive - you've thrived so that your heart is changed. Remember to think of the one thing you can change in your personal life - and do it. The honest and intense sharing was a blessing."

In a very real way, our mission begins when we land back home. Three women 12 years ago had a dream. But, it was the others who nurtured the dream - including everyone on Mission #41. "You are part of the legacy - the Mission does not belong to the 3 co-founders, but to all who have been on Mission and support the Mission."

She thanked Sister Stephanie, Sister Claire and Gwen for sharing this mission making it very special for her personally. She also thanked the Leadership Team on this Mission and the Leadership back home for all they do…and then there was applause.

Sister then asked Ilona and Justin to stand saying that they represent the Flores family very well and they will

Roger asked that Bev and Bill to stand - he then spoke of the sticking to task and getting it done - "These Schroonies get it done!"

MaryKate is the first Clemson graduate and resident of Tennessee mission team member.

We then acknowledged the Sante Fe School contingent, the New Hampshire team and the solo rep from Vancouver (WA).

Tom then thanked Sister for all she does - and everyone gave a standing ovation.

Joy L. and Hillary then presented our final closing prayer. "In a short 6-7 days, we have made a family," said Joy. "It's not just Mission that's our family, but it's also those at Parajito Azul, on Rice & Beans and everywhere we went." She then asked us to hold hands and each of us to turn to the person on our left, one at a time, saying, "May the love of my heart flow from hands to yours." She concluded acknowledging that even though we will part tomorrow, we will remain family. Hillary then played, "You Raised Me Up." Joy finished with, "Let's not cry because it's over, but smile because it happened."

Mission #41, the Transition Mission, will be ending by Noon on Friday when the last 8 arrive in Plattsburgh from Ft. Lauderdale. See you all on the other side!

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