Today marks our first day back at work in 2014 after spending five days on retreat with the other VMM volunteers in La Garnacha, a rural community in the northern mountains of Nicaragua known for its cold winds and diverse agricultural products…some of my favorite including cheese and coffee which we consumed at nearly every meal. Along with beans of course (the staple food of el campo) and a variety of fresh fruits and vegetables. It was great to reunite with some of the volunteers we hadn’t seen since our entry retreat as well as meeting a few new faces. The theme of the retreat was transitions, a theme that seems to be easy to relate to for all of us since in reality we are all constantly in transition. Each of the volunteers helped prepare for one of the sessions which reflected a wide variety of spiritual practices including song, prayer, art, scripture, yoga, dance and more. Yet most importantly we all had the chance to listen to each other’s experiences of transition and explore how we can continue supporting each other as fellow missioners.
One of the highlights of the retreat was taking a trip to nearby Esteli where we hiked to a waterfall and then ate dinner at La Casita (a place I would highly recommend if you are ever traveling through Esteli!). Yet one of the best parts of this trip was the ride back to La Garnacha with seven of us in the back of the pick-up truck, wearing scarfs and stocking caps while enjoying the chilly night air and the mountain scenery under the stars. It was that moment that we realized the most essential part of the retreat, simply spending time together.
If you would like to see more photos check out my Flickr sight at the bottom of the page!