Moving to Nicaragua is a big step off the curb

My cousin, J., her husband and her daughter have just moved to Nicaragua to do missionary work. J. and her husband are going to help teenage boys get vocational training and jobs. The boys have grown up in an orphanage, and J.’s family is living with another family on the orphanage grounds while they get settled.

J.’s latest email said she was doing laundry by hand. I did laundry tonight. It took me two hours using three machines in the laundry room. I can’t imagine how difficult this adjustment will be for them.

J.’s husband wrote in his email that he is scared and spent the first night awake, crying out to God and asking, “Why am I here? What have I done with my family?” I think, C., that God would say you are there because you are needed. He called. You answered.

And yet, it’s also that terrifying. Every time I’ve moved _ and Illinois is my 10th state in 20 years _ there is a moment that is like stepping off a curb. There is no going back. I don’t know what the future holds; I only know that I can’t go back. Nothing will be as it once was. And in J. and C.’s case, it’s more like they jumped off a bridge than stepped into a street.

I have faith though that things will work out. Not in that, “it’s fate, it’s destiny” kind of way. I’m a free will kind of girl. I don’t really believe in fate for theological or practical reasons. I think if I feel like I’m making a decision, I am. God might know what my decision is going to be, but I don’t. So, to me, the choice feels real. If God bursts my bubble later by letting me know it was all pre-ordained, well, I’ll deal with that then. At least we’ll be talking.

But back to J. and C. I am worried about them. I want them to do well. I want them to be safe. I hope they will be happy.

And, being me, the way I worry is by cooking. I still have some tomatillos left, and I’ve been looking at Mexican recipes. I realize that Mexican and Nicaraguan cuisines aren’t the same, but Mexican recipes are easier to find, and I figure both are going to be based on foods native to Central America.

My mom is here this week, and we made Pork Stew in Green Salsa (Guisado de Puerco con Tomatillos), and I am extremely grateful to the person who posted it at


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