Stories of Transformation: Leah Sweetman

Stories of Transformation: Leah Sweetman

Nehemiah Center Blogs

Nehemiah Center Blogs

Blog_Gift of Nicaragua-1

“And my God will meet all your needs according to the riches of his glory in Christ Jesus” 

Philippians 4:19

My name is Leah Sweetman and I was a member of Resonate Global Mission’s Cohort of Missioners Program, a one year volunteer placement in Central America for young adults to expand their worldview and discern their call in ministry.

 

I first heard about Nicaragua when my church in North America had one of our supported missionaries come to visit and share stories of ministry where they were serving in Managua. As the years went on my church continued in relationship with the missionary in Nicaragua and sent teams down to serve alongside the missionary for a short time. I longed for the day I myself could go and visit and see for myself the places they talked about and meet the people they mentioned. Finally, my turn came in January of 2015. I learned so much in the whirlwind of 10 days and left knowing I would return one day but not knowing when or how that would be possible. 

 

Then upon finishing college classes a semester early, the opportunity presented itself to join Resonate’s Cohort program and move to Central America for a year. I knew this would be the perfect time to go back to Nicaragua and really invest in the place that inspired a desire for missions years ago. 

 

God quickly affirmed my call to Nicaragua as He graciously guided me across borders despite missed flights and complicated travel restrictions amidst the COVID 19 pandemic. At moments throughout the year, however, I became unsure of this call or found myself frustrated as I encountered life’s struggles and navigated culture and language shock while enduring life in the heat of April in Nicaragua. 

 

Yet, time and time again whenever doubt would linger in my mind about where I was or what my call was, the Lord would open another door or remind me He is working. It wasn’t always in the ways I expected or wanted and it made me learn to trust God in new ways even when it went against my North American nature to want a busy schedule and a full task list. Yet, with setbacks and adjustments, changes and flexibility, I saw a small but constant path of assurance and God’s provision. I began to see the way God was working in my own heart as well as I learned more about Him, His people, and the way He has called and equipped me for ministry. 

 

The Lord has provided me with the opportunity to see and understand ministry in a new light. I have learned not only what ministry entails, but also how to better communicate the message of missions. I was able to share the way God is active and working in Nicaragua and report that as encouragement to my North American supporting churches. At the same time, the Nicaraguan churches were encouraged by the support I received that enabled me to be with them and how God is working there as well. This testimony of mutual encouragement and God’s expansive Kingdom on earth is exactly what the Lord has called each believer to engage in and this past year has been a blessing for me as I have personally experienced it each day.

 

The Lord also opened my eyes more to my context of ministry and helped me to see His heart for the people of Nicaragua. I saw the gospel preached in a new language and was amazed by the testimony of incredible faith from my own Nicaraguan host mom. I learned about the challenges that face countries in Central America, but I also saw the enthusiasm and equipping of leaders in their own homes that desire to show the love of God to their neighbors.

 

Through it all, God showed me just how big, steadfast, and reliable He is. In a year when many things didn’t go according to plan, He was gracious to make things happen nonetheless and gracious enough to give us patience in the process. In a year when I was challenged with life thousands of miles away from familiarity, the Lord granted me companionship and provision. The Lord has in so many ways welcomed my shortcomings and lovingly picked me up, provided for me each day, and called me to daily surrender to His guidance. 

I am thankful for the opportunity to be a part of the Cohort of Missioners program with Resonate, to serve at the Nehemiah Center, and I pray God continues to work in amazing ways in Nicaragua. 

Leah Sweetman, Nehemiah Center Volunteer

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