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I Saw My First Dead Body

Last week I saw my first dead body. I attended a Nicaraguan funeral. The 21-year-old boy and had died the day before. When I looked at his devastated family, I could see the pain twisted across their faces. I will never forget the mother’s cry as we marched behind the truck in the pouring rain to the gravesite. It was my last day in Nicaragua.

On that three mile trek to the graveyard, my fast-paced whirlwind of a life began to catch up with me. If I died tomorrow, would I have done enough? There was so much left that I wanted to do, but in the end what are the things that really mattered? An entire onslaught of the typical funeral thought-provoking questions began to pelt my brain. Maybe an on foot funeral procession from the house to the grave wasn’t such a bad idea.

Since March I have been to the Dominican Republic twice, Nepal, Charlotte, Raleigh, Greenville, Montana, and finally Nicaragua this past week. My brain has scarcely had time to catch up with the people I’ve seen and the places I’ve been. All working for the Lord. My job is working for the Lord, technically.

But that is what matters, right?

I had spent my whole summer doing mission work, but last week in Nicaragua it all came to a grinding halt. I was there visiting our long term base in Granada. I had no team, I had no ministry schedule, and all I had to communicate with was my poor Spanish with which I could generally ask a person’s name, about their siblings and their favorite futbol team (and everyone has the same one, Barcelona).

On top of that one of my hosts was sick and could not get out of bed. There were many days when I felt completely and utterly useless. I would never want to go to my grave having been useless. This fear of insignificance has crept up behind me at the most unlikely times.

I hardly knew what to do with myself if I was not running around organizing or doing ministry. I couldn’t function.

Since there weren’t a million people to talk to as I was used to I was finally able to spend time with the Lord. Out in the beautiful Nicaraguan courtyard filled with palm trees and flowers the Lord asked me if I was working like a crazy person for Him or myself. I began to realize something.

 My actions were leading my heart, when it should have been the other way around.

The next morning I had a long conversation with Scott, my host for the week. We talked about our significance on earth and how our actions needed to come from a place of loving the Lord.

The week progressively became easier and I began to see life all around me. Life at the prison we visited and talked with the women, life at the children’s Bible study where I watched them excitedly open Christmas shoe boxes and then playing soccer with them in the field, life in sharing a meal with friends and seeing old squad mates.

There was even life in this funeral procession as we walked along in the pouring rain.

The entire community had come together to support this family. As I gave my condolences to the brother, he held on to my hand and asked me to pray with him because he wanted to start living for Jesus. As we prayed, tears poured down his face as he confessed his sins and begged God to give him strength and to not leave his broken family.

I stood up with tears in my eyes. God had redeemed me, and I knew he would redeem this family.

This is what life is, accepting what God has given to us so we can give it to others.

I will never forget that day in Nicaragua and I will never forget what the Lord has done for me as long as I live.

What I do is an opportunity, not a burden. I want to serve the Lord with all my heart because I love him not because I feel guilty or it makes me feel important.

I have value not because of  what I do for Him, but because of what Jesus did for me.



As many of you know, my fundraising deadline for the year is October 1. This has always been a struggle for me, and I knew I was way over my head this time.

At the beginning of August, I was behind nearly $4000.  The Lord has never let me down before, but somehow I still find it hard to trust sometimes. After launching a campaign and asking many people for their help, I now only need $700! 

I have been so blown away by the Lord’s provision and the support of family and friends. I thank all of you who donated.  If you would still like to make a contribution, please go to  by Monday night.  


Thank you!


  1. So proud of you! I love the journey you’re on, the way you share it with us, and that I get to be a part…

    • Profound experience and story.

      You’re doing great, Caitlin. I shared my apple pie w/ the CGA this afternoon and they were all singing your praises!

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