Raising Andrea: Living, working and parenting in Nicaragua
Four months ago, SuNica Cofounders Josh and Betty Pease made the move to Nicaragua to work full time as our in-country project managers and missionaries. Read on as Josh provides an introspective look at the joys and struggles of his new life.
"Life in Nicaragua is ever changing. Every day brings new challenges and different circumstances. We go from traveling for hours in pursuit of a particular rural community to sitting in a city office waiting for hours to find out the smallest piece of information. It’s near impossible to rush things here — like a constant lesson in patience.
We find ourselves trying more and more to develop rhythms in our life as a family here. Because Betty and I both work on projects for SuNica daily, Andrea, our 15-month old daughter, gets dragged along with us wherever we go. Fortunately, Andrea is an incredibly happy little girl. She loves, I mean LOVES, to dance. Whenever she hears music she stops what she’s doing and starts dancing. We can be walking down the street and a car will drive by with loud music and she’ll start dancing. But even this ball of joy will turn into a raging monster of frustration without her daily nap(s).
You see, our busy, unpredictable schedule makes nap times difficult to come by. And this leads to two stressed out parents struggling to feel like they're raising their daughter well enough. We struggle with feelings of inadequacy and shame when other people see our daughter losing it on days she doesn’t get her naps. Those are the moments when we're gently reminded by a loving Father that we are not judged by the glaring eyes of those around us but by a gracious Savior who put himself in our place and became that obnoxious baby in order to redeem us and this beautiful, messed up life we live.
Creating rhythms like early morning routines with Andrea drinking her milk and playing in bed with Betty and I have become sacred to us. We’ve also begun to establish order in our crazy days so that Andrea can get the sleep she needs to be a happy baby (most of the time).
Another area in which we feel like God is redeeming our lives is that of food and the table. Our table has become a sacred place as well. Every week we host tons of different people for meals. Some days we have college friends come over for lunch between classes and other days we have friends over for dinner. Often we become friends with people who we've just met over a meal. And this week, we’re blessed to share our table with my parents and sister who are visiting from the states.
God has used meals to bring healing and direction both to us and those with whom we share it. Forgiveness has been found and received, and God is even revealing himself slowly to others who don’t yet know Him. Most often what one can find at our table is good food and laughter — two things I’m pretty sure God appreciates as much as we do.
Still, our lives in many ways have been turned upside down since moving here. Betty and I have had to learn how to love each other better (an ongoing process) and how to raise our daughter as Christ would have it. We’re being shaped and molded and all the while are able to pour ourselves out for our friends and family around us. It's been the best and most difficult time of our lives so far, and we can't wait to see what the Lord has for us over the next four months."