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They “Came Not To Be Served,” But It Happened Anyway
Br. David Barton LC shares the experience of missionaries from San Jose to Nicaragua

Sharing joy with a child in Nicaragua
A missionary shares a little joy with a child from a local village in Nicaragua.

During Easter week, a group of young people and some of their parents from San Jose, California, visited several villages in Nicaragua for a mission trip. Their goal was to assist the local pastor in visiting people, sharing the love and closeness of the Church and assisting with the liturgy and catechesis, as well as providing material support to the needy.

Following is a testimony about that experience from Br. David Barton LC.

As I sat in a state of semi-consciousness on my flight back to Rome after having completed our third annual mission trip to Nicaragua, it occurred to me how funny it is that when the boys and girls arrive to Managua airport from California, these “heroes” who gave up their Spring Break to serve the poor will give testimonies at the end of the trip about how they anticipated being the ones serving others, but ended up taking away
Mass in Nicaragua
The turnout for the Mass was "incredible," with hundreds of families.
more than they were able to give.

With the generous help of the Callejas family from Atlanta, Georgia, we have been able to organize missions to Chinandega, Nicaragua for the past three years.  The first year, our group built a house for the local parish priest (the chapel which he uses now had previously been build by students of Pinecrest Academy in Cumming, Georgia), and last year we were able to build an outdoor classroom so that the priest could catechize the local children. This year, we set out to spend more time with the people in the area, as well as to help the local pastor tend to those who live a bit further away from the parishes.

The missionaries spent a day visiting various small towns, and those who live in or near the local garbage dump, inviting all they met to attend a Mass to be celebrated the following day by Fr. Joshua West LC.

The turnout for the Mass was incredible (hundreds of families), and afterwards, we held games for the children and gave out food and clothing.  The missionary girls also spent the better part of a day helping in an orphanage for young girls who have been removed from
The young men get to work.
The young men get ready to work.
abusive family situations.  The boys painted a newly constructed classroom. 

It was striking for all of us to see how a country that was once very Catholic has almost completely regressed into a missionary territory – the parents don’t know the faith, and there is nobody to catechize the children.  For many who attended the Mass, it was the first they have been to in over a decade.

On the last night of the trip, one of the missionaries from Los Angeles summed up the trip by saying: “I have never liked to serve others in the past, and on this trip I learned that I never really knew what true service was.  What I learned during this week is that I actually love to serve. 
The missionary group from San Jose.
The missionary group from San Jose.
Yet I know that from this week, I am taking away much more than I was able to give.”



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