Our newest baby, Hannah, less than three weeks old.
For those of you have received the New Life Newsletter over the years, you have no doubt read of how grateful my parent’s are for the years of support towards the work God is doing in Nicaragua. But for the first time, I am both honored and pleased to share my own gratitude. As the holiday season is on us and the new year just around the corner, most of us, use this time to both reflect on the past and look to the future. I, myself, am doing the same.
My family will be celebrating our 14th year in Nicaragua come this May. I can hardly believe it. I still remember my first trip to Nicaragua. At 10 years old, I was elated at the opportunity to live in a strange country. Everything was new and exciting. I remember how sad I was in the airport heading back to the U.S. I, also, remember vividly the day we left the States to move to Nicaragua. I remember taking one last look at our house in South Carolina. Never in my wildest (and I do mean wildest) dreams could I have imagined our lives these past 14 years. It has by no means been easy.
I speak for my brother and myself when I say going through all the experiences of middle and high school in a foreign country was challenging. Nonetheless, as I look to the present, as I look at the person I have become, the person I am still becoming, my heart is overwhelmed with gratitude. I have seen hope in hopeless places. I have seen joy in the most tragic of circumstances. I have seen selflessness where there should otherwise be greed. I have witnessed the unfathomable grace of our God. And still after 14 years I am amazed. The boldness and passion demonstrated by my parent’s on a daily basis can still move me to tears. It has without question inspired me to live boldly and passionately in my own life. And no doubt those of you who have had the opportunity to come to Nicaragua have experienced first hand the love my parents have for its people.
Looking to the future, I can’t help but think of my sisters. They are 4 perfect examples of God’s grace. They will one day grow up to teach their children of the God that saved them. And so will the over 170 kids who have been adopted from the New Life orphanage. And so will the countless other lives that have been touched by this ministry, myself included.
As Christians, we spend this time of year celebrating the birth of Christ. We celebrate God fulfilling the promise He made in the beginning of time. It was His word becoming flesh (John 1:1-4). Working alongside my parents has allowed me to see just that. I have seen the promises of God manifest in the lives of others. I have intimately seen His promises manifest in my own life. And let me just say this: HOW BLESSED AM I!
If you have been inspired by the work my parents have done over the years or if you have seen God move in situations that were too big and out of your control, I ask only this - do not keep it for yourself. Do not quietly say “thanks” and go about your life. Go and “tell it on the mountain.” Shout it in the supermarkets. Share it with your neighbors or your coworkers. Give it back. Because there are few things more rewarding in this life than blessing others when you have been blessed.
So in the spirit of practicing what I preach; to those of you who have in some way supported this ministry in the past decade and a half, thank you. To those who have been constant prayer warriors for our family and for our ministry, thank you. To those who have supported financially, whether large or small or once in an offering or a monthly basis, thank you. To those who have come and help build and pray and sing and paint and feed and witness first hand, thank you. To those who have been kind to our family, from giving us a place to stay to picking us up from the airport, thank you. And for all the other countless ways you have blessed and will continue to bless both the Bagwells and New Life Nicaragua, from the absolute depths of my heart, thank you.
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