Reflections From Launch by the Nicaragua Team

Stories from Launch


“I dreaded getting on the plane, moving away from the comforts of my home and my mom. Thoughts of “Why am I here? What am I doing? Why did I think I could do this?” flew through my head as I rode in the bus to training camp. From there I spent days getting to know eleven other girls that I have already to come love, but something was missing. The sense of peace and purpose that “Yes! I am totally supposed to be here!” was still absent. This was on my mind as I walked into evening worship on Sunday night. From there, worship was led by the amazingly talented Evan (thanks again Evan for all the cool music!) and a session with Mr. Deon. He talked about the Holy Spirit in a way I had never heard before and made me want more. Then he asked us to close our eyes and let our leaders pray for us. I sat and wrestled with God, doubting Him because I could not hear Him. As I sat doubting myself and my faith, Alysa (one of my leaders) came and prayed that all of my doubts would go away. I hadn’t shared with my group about my doubts at all, so I knew this was God speaking to me. Instantly, I wept and started praying harder than I ever had in my life, asking for forgiveness and thanking God for His goodness and His grace and everything that made Him God. The kind of fullness I’m experiencing from that night is something that is truly from the Holy Spirit alone. Thanks to God, I finally feel like I’m in the right place and I’m ready to go hug some people in Nicaragua!”

-Abagail Conyers


Training camp was long. And great.

Coming in from the airport, I was sort of unsure of how things would be: Whether or not I would connect with my group, whether or not I would be a valuable asset in the Kingdom of God, whether or not I would be okay with being away from home for weeks on end. I was tired since I had only 4 hours of sleep from the night previous and slightly irritated with everything around me. It was only the next day (after some sleep) I started feeling more up to the trip. Getting to know my team was an experience (in a good way). Worship was amazing. I could hear and feel the passion the band had for the Lord through their music. Sessions were also amazing, with  speakers and messages all being both impactful and convicting. It was a great way to connect to the Holy Spirit before sending us off to spread word of Himself. I love my team, we each have different personalities and different interests but somehow, God brought us together and now I feel like I have known them for much longer than I have. Training camp was amazing, but now I’m going to go on my craziest adventure yet. Right now I am sitting in an airport, ready to start a new journey in Nicaragua. This day was what I’ve been waiting for all this time. I will not miss the porta-johns or bucket showers. Here’s to Nicaragua and all the amazing new experiences I will experience there!  

To family: Excuse my writing style and grammar. It’s summer,  I’m out of school, and it’s a blog!

Lena Jin and co-authored by Sydney


When I came into launch I was nervous that I wasnt as good of a christian as everyone else. I was feeling like I did not deserve to be here, and this is why launch was great. The speakers at launch really taught me that no matter where I am in my relationship with Jesus I am valuable in this trip because He brought me here for a reason. When I was at training camp I did not want to go to the porta potties because I had a huge phobia of them. Eventually, I HAD to use them so I did and they werent as bad as my prevoius memories. Other than that everything has been great! I am so excited to get to Nicaragua and cannot wait too tell you more about my expirence. I love you Mom, Dad, Taylor, Matt, Jessica, Caleb, Taylor, Bristol, and Henry! <3

Love your favorite family member

Lizibeth Russ <3


Dear Mom, Dad, Stephen and Nathan,

When my parents left me at launch I was very neutral in my emotions. I wasn’t happy, sad, angry, I wasn’t even missing my family I’d left at home. I was just neutral. As the day went on and I began to head towards bed, I was starting to feel anxious and I was beginning to second guess my decision to go on this trip. It took me a few hours to fall asleep and the next day started in the same neutral state. I felt very alone because, although the whole team was very kind and talkative, I hadn’t had enough time to create close friends and was doubting if I was going to or not. The next day all my emotions got to me and I couldn’t control them. I was blessed to have so many supportive people on my team who offered to give me plenty of hugs and prayers. I began to feel a lot better and as I was talking to my leader and team member that night I began to realize what it means to cast my cares and anxieties on the Lord. As a result I am feeling a lot better and I am so thankful to everyone on my team and most of all to God for all this launch has been for me.

Elia Roys


Dear Shaw Family + Izzy,

Just wanted to update you. I miss you guys. The first night after you guys left me at training camp, I had a really bad headache for a while. One of my teamates actually prayed over me and I felt tingly thoughout my body and all of a sudden God took away my headache. It was so amazing. The first couple nights I really felt like I shouldn’t be here on this trip. I spent my quite time praying to God about how I was feeling and He told me that He has great plans for me.

Secruity at the airport was really difficult for me, I got really anxieous and couldn’t breath. I didn’t have my usual support system. I really was about to have a panic attack until we got all the way through.

Here at the airport, I’m very excited and ready for what God has in store for me.

I love you guys so much! Please pray for safe travels and God throughout our trip to fill our hearts. I miss y’all.



Dear Stowers family and more,

I have had many amazing experiences with the Lord in the past weekend, than I have in a long time. I would like to thank ya’ll for everything that ya’ll have done for my journey to God. Last night was the last night at launch. I had an experience with the Holy Spirit coming through me when one of my leaders, Alysa prayed over me and I recieved chills all over my body and I felt Him close to me. The closest I’ve ever been to Him. And I thank y’all for helping me on this journey and helping and teaching me in my faith.

-Love Leah


Hola Hebenstreits-

Out of my time in training camp the main thing that really stuck with me was that I was born to be loved by God and thats it. So I hope that while I am iin Nicaragua I can show that love to others and help them understand that they too were born to do the same thing as me, to be loved by God. Also travel day was a success (it was my favorite so far!) and I am here in Nicaragua more happy and excited than I can explain.

Love You Guys! – Jasmine  


Entering into this weekend I had a lot of nervousness. In just a few days I would be travelling to a foreign country on my first missions trip with a group of girls I have never met before in my life. I had no idea what to expect. Some people would call me crazy, but even though I was nervous I knew this was what God had in mind for me this summer. So after a long flight delay and a load of Atlanta traffic, I finally made it to base at 7:12 pm… and I am so glad I did. This weekend was a full of firsts. New friendships, first bucket shower – which was interesting in itself (never take a bucket shower at night), and much more. I could go on about how great it was, but I wouldn’t be telling the whole truth if I didn’t say it was difficult. Even though I was stretched and challenged, God taught me some very important truths. After this weekend I now know that I am so loved by God and I can be bold in His name. I even got to practice this new boldness when God gave my friend and I the opportunity to pray over an airport staff member who was really struggling. God is so good. Even though this weekend was great, I am now sitting in an airport ready to start a new journey in Nicaragua. I am so excited. Based on what God has shown me in these past few days, I can only imagine what He has in store for me these next few weeks. Nicaragua I’m coming for ya!

Sydney Robertson



This weekend was honestly kind of rough. I feel like training was the most emotional rollercoaster I’ve ever experienced. I was sad one moment, then happy and comforted the next. At the beginning of the weekend I was being self focused, but switched my focus over and it made me feel so much better. Some moments I felt lost while searching after God, but I experienced him in a different way than in the past, and that I am grateful for. But I am so thankful that training camp is over though, because I was a little done with those porter-potties. The airport’s real toilets were such a blessing. At the airport we had some changes and flight delays but all was well because we were upgraded to comfort class. But anyways, the first day in Nicaragua has been great and I feel so confortable. Thank you for praying (because I already know you are). Love you!!!

Anna Delgado


Hola amigos!

Yes, thats one of the only things I’ve figured out how to say here in Nicaragua. Looking back on launch, I wouldn’t say that it prepared me but I would say that it encouraged me. It’s good to know you can never really be prepared for what the Lord’s about to do. I think that training camp showed me overall that your relience on the Lord; whether you’re going to the north, east, south or west, is what stays most important. Diving into the Word consistently and constantly gave me a big sense of peace with my trip and communion with the Lord. I’ve gotten to know my teammates in a remarkable way- proving that God can take a handful of anything, no matter where, and make it dazzle. That’s my hope and prayer for the upcoming weeks in Nicaragua-that these beautiful people can taste a glimpse of how sweet the love of Jesus really is. (I think thats the only thing sweeter than fresh coconut…total yum.) In conclusion, please keep this group in your thoughts and prayers. Also the iguanas we’re cooking up. Loads of love,



Dear Family,

I’m so grateful to say that I made to Atlanta safely and have a wonderful group to go to Nicaragua with. I would even venture out to say that they are family and it’s only been three days together. Don’t worry though they will never replace the spot I have for your wonderful faces in my heart, including Chester! I love you guys so so much and just wanted to let you know I’m safe and having a wonderful time.

Sincerely, Lysle Nelson


Dear Mom and Dad,

We have made it to the Atlanta aiport! I am so excited for the next three weeks and what they will hold for us. God has blessed us in many ways in the past couple of days, which shows that he is looking out for us and guiding us through this trip. Every day will be an adventure, and I cannot wait. I miss you both so much but I know that I am supposed to be here and wouldn’t choose to be anywhere else. Thank you for the unending love and support.

Love, Sonia.






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