I am writing in an airplane between Miami and Boston, American Airlines seat 11A with the broken seat so I can’t lean back, drinking water, no peanuts supplied. It’s funny how things have changed, but I’m not complainin, cause I am still surprised how easily we can get back and forth between countries, between continents even, by just going online, searching a few of the common travel sites, picking the cheapest and best flight, giving them your credit card info and voila (I should be using Spanish since I just came from Central America but I don’t know the Spanish word, and southerners don’t know French or the queens English so they won’t get it either), you get a ticket, a seat, and an adventure. It really is pretty cool. That’s not how it is everywhere, Nicaragua being a good example. Some people never leave their home village, staying near family, working a small country farm with a few horses, cattle, pigs, and chickens (which means they have to have them dang roosters too), as well as dogs and even a few rabbits. The one thing we did not see that was surprising was wildlife. For a tropical country, there are almost no wild animals or birds. Our hosts said it was because of the lack of hunting regulations that allowed people to hunt with no restrictions, causing unsustainable pressure on the birds and animals. Hopefully that can change soon as they enact some restrictions. I have nothing against hunting, other than coming back empty handed when I go, but there does have to be limits. Now I do have to hand it to the southern girls on our team, most of them hunt, both bow and rifle or shotgun, and they actually get deer, ducks, geeses, and they think it’s weird that around me in Massachusettes, hardly anyone hunts. I may pick on their accents, but I really think that’s pretty cool. Maybe I will go back to Gardner and see if any of the ladies at work want to go a huntin. I think I know the answer and I can’t print it, but you never know, sometimes you can’t predict which dawgs will hunt, as they say in Texas. 
We had to come to the airport in an old flatbed truck, that had temporary seats in the back, enough room for 10 people, because the van, which seats 18 people (unless you are in Mongolia, where you could stuff in 25, but that story was blogged 3 years ago and I hate to repeat myself because I might make up a new number) had broken down the day before on our way to the volcano. There are no tow trucks in Nicaragua, so they just called up Oscars brother and voila, a flatbed showed up. They are very resourceful people, and they always seem to find a solution regardless of their means. That is another reason I really like the people, they find a way, no matter the limits. I wish we could do the same with less, as we have become a disposable society, and we sometimes don’t value things rightly. I will miss them.
I was talking with our group about the things I do and do not like about Nicaragua. In the no list are things like roosters, Nicaraguan dogs when the sun goes down, bugs in the outhouse, and not knowing the language. It is frustrating not to be able to talk with the people, but on the other hand, sometimes a smile can go a long way to bridging the gap between languages. It is a universal connector, something everyone understands, and it does connect us in a real and personal way. The people smiled a lot while we were there. I will miss that. As for the things I did like, besides seeing Gods creation from another perspective, like the birds eye view from the top of a volcano, was the excitement and joy on the students faces as they placed their first catheter, anesthetized a horse for the first time, and especially when they finished their first spay or neuter. It was a joy and honor to be part of it, and I will not forget it. Most of all I will miss our prayer and devotion time as we circled each night to talk and pray and sing. It is not common to have a group of people together without cell phones, homework, emergency calls, home and kid chores, tv, and all the other distractions of modern American life. We were unencumbered by time and distractions, free to listen and pray and participate, the way I wish it could always be. We come back and resume the old, but we have been changed by something new, something good, something God. My hope and prayer is that the mission trip is not over, but would start when we get home, where God has planted us. We live in the now, and the not yet; 2 kingdoms, one here on earth, another to come, but not yet here. So what do you say we look for the next opportunity, a divine appointment, a chance to be a funnel, a light, to someone who doesn’t know the answer. Since we know the end of the story, let’s fill in some empty spots here and now, using what God has graciously given us. 
Well thats all for now, till the next mission trip. Until then, adios amigo, Bon jour baca verde, and bye bye all y’all!
Many more Blessings

Dr Mike