I, along with 10 others from United Church, am traveling in August to Nicaragua for the annual mission trip. This year we are partnering with ANIT, an LBGTQIA+ organization, and will be working on a project with them to fix up a residential shelter for people kicked out of their homes because of sexual identity or preference. We are really excited about this trip.

When I’ve talked to people about the trip, some have expressed concern about the political unrest and violence there, and some have even told me I shouldn’t go. “It’s unsafe,”and  one friend said to me, “it’s irresponsible of you.”

Yes, it’s true, there’s unrest in Nicaragua, but I’m really not afraid. I’m not traveling alone. We will have several native Spanish speakers with us. We won’t leave one another alone. And…truthfully, it’s no more dangerous than life in the U.S. these days, when going to the movies, school, church, mall, concerts, etc…are always under threat.

The John passage tells us to not be “troubled or afraid” for a reason. Imagine living your life in constant fear and anxiety that something dreadful is right around the corner? That’s not a way to live.

Martin Luther King Jr. said “Courage is an inner resolution to go forward in spite of obstacles and frightening situations; cowardice is a submissive surrender to circumstances. Courage faces fear and thereby masters it; cowardice represses fear and is thereby mastered by it.”

It’s not in our spiritual best interest to not try something, because it’s unsafe. Traveling to a place like Nicaragua is not irresponsible, rather it’s a step of faith and of love. It’s about seeking grace in the experience of stepping outside of one’s comfort zone. It’s about listening to the stillspeaking voice from God, saying “this is something you should do. It might not be easy, but it’s where I’m calling you to go. Don’t be afraid.”

Loving God, be with us as we travel in and about places unknown to us. Lead is in love and in courage. Help us put aside our fears, our anxiousness, as well as comfort those who disagree with our chosen journeys, for we know you travel with us always. Amen.

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