Well, we’re all here at NiCasa!  Both flights got in and were processed with our two “flights” of vans heading in this direction within an hour of each other.  We gathered for a quick orientation to the dorms and the bathroom processes and learned about the Kitchen (hours, expectations, etc).  Then we went to the Pavilion where we got to know which Star Groups we are a part of and how they were comprised.  Catching up on a few other items, all heard that the piñatas around the perimeter are being made by local women who are learning this vocation.  They are proud, and rightfully so, of their creations which will be available for sale to the community beginning next week.

We then enjoyed our first meal together: Nora’s Valencia rice, mixed vegetables and her rice pudding (yum-yum!).

Sister Debbie gathered us together for our first evening meeting.  She welcomed us, completely, to Mission #71, a unique group, the anniversary group of the 20th year of the Mission. She then asked us to introduce ourselves, quickly, as there are 48 of us!

“Hopefully,” she said, “before the week’s end, you’ll be able to look around the circle and see how your life has unfolded.”

Sally thanked those who helped after dinner for cleanup as it was the fastest turnaround ever.

Sister then asked the PREP Team, followed by the Leadership Team, to stand and be acknowledged.

She then spoke of the multitude of Facebook reactions to last night’s photos from Mission #2, #29 and so on – she reminded us we aren’t the first and won’t be the last!

Sophia and Sr. Debbie had our Closing Prayer and asked us to reflect on why we are here – why did we sign up for this Mission.  Sister asked us to reflect on all of the paperwork, training, fundraising and volunteering we have done.  The expectations have been many…but, there was a spark with which it began for each of  us. “There’s a lot of effort to snuff out the light of those you will meet this week: with poverty, injustice, greed,” she said. “But there are people like yourselves who will reignite the light.  Think about your light.”  

We listened to “Carry Your Candle – Go Light Your World,” by Kathy Troccoli.  Sister asked each of us to take a flashlight or phone light and join together as Sophia interpreted the words we sang.  I hae posted the video of that experience on our Facebook page, if you’d like to see your loved one(s) this evening.

“Carry your candle, go light the world,” concluded Sister.

Tomorrow’s Kitchen Crew met with Sally after the meeting and the Assignment Board people began their work.  Being that half the day will be Orientation to our site, our neighborhood and what we do, the assignment task took about half the time it usually does!

I hope this gives you a glimpse into the first few hours of Mission #71 – more to come throughout our week here in Nicaragua!