I am on a plane at 33,000 ft somewhere over the east coast, but it is dark so I cannot even guess where. You get such a different perspective up here, even big things look small, like mountains that look flat, and cities that look like villages, and rivers that look like ribbons, it looks different, but it is the same. Sort of like going to another country, where you see new things and notice that some things are different, and some are the same. Like people; they speak a different language and have different color skin and eat different food, but they still have the same heart and soul, still want the best for their family, the joy of simple things. When you take away the stuff that distracts us, the technology that gives us so much information and entertainment but at the cost of building relationships, of true communication, the art of talking and caring and being human, we are better for it. We all desire the same things, but are derailed by the bombardment of information. At 33,000 ft, it looks clearer, simpler, purer. So we spend 11 days in a new culture, and we see people through a different lens, we help in a different way, not to receive but to share. We teach, and we are taught, we help, and we are helped, we love and we are loved. It is the way God planned it. And it makes us more fully alive, more fully human. It has been a great trip, part of our lifelong mission, to love God and serve Him thru loving and serving others. It is win – win, as it is said that we are the people of the incredibly happy ending. We are not sure when, we are just sure that in the end if we have faith in Him who gives life and in His son who died to save us, we will have that happy ending with Him forever. And there will be many others that we don’t know yet, people from other places and different cultures and we will be together, and there will not be this separation of culture and language and distance. That will be something to behold.

When you look back at a trip there are many things you remember, some good, some not so good, and here are a few of them.

I like the shorter trip to Nicaragua compared to Mongolia; anytime the shortcut takes you over the North Pole, the trip is just too long.

I like the Nicaraguan people, I did not like not understanding their language.

I like the culture, very strong in family and in relationships, and although the people do not have a lot of material possessions, they are not poor. In many ways, they are richer than us.

I like the warmth, but I do not like the hot; 90 is ok, but 95 or hotter no no.

I like the countryside and all the volcanoes and lagoons and green trees, I do not like all the skinny animals fighting to survive.

I like fresh fruit juice and banana smoothies, I do not like instant coffee and lukewarm water.

I like sleeping under the stars, I did not like all the noise.

I like parades and fireworks, I do not like them at 4am.

I like chicken, I do not like roosters.

I like Nicaraguan dogs by day, I do not like them at night.

I like all our hardworking vet students, I do not like working in the dirt and wet.

I like rice and beans, I do not like rice and beans 3 times a day for 11 days.

I like riding in the back of a pickup on smooth roads; Rebecca, Kate, and Patty did not like riding in the back on rough rutted country roads for hours, but they never complained. They make them tough in Texas and Oklahoma, I like that.

I like our hosts Oscar and Tamy, there is nothing I did not like about them.

I like our CVM veterinary team, everyone worked hard and played hard, and I would love to work with them again.

I liked being with Caitlin and Emily, I did not like not being with Nancy, Jaime or Meggie.

I like going on mission trips and meeting new people and learning new things and using what God gives you to help people you don’t know. I am looking forward to serving again next year. And if I go, I may just write about it again, because deep down, I like writing these little blogs, and deep down, somewhere, you must like reading them too, because no one forced you to. So until the next time,

Many blessings
Dr Mike