The Estrada Family

A Nica-Canadian family, living in Nicaragua and starting a family!

Part 3: Eleven years, His voice, His plan = My Story

on October 27, 2014

When I came back from my second trip, I decided I needed to learn Spanish. I was going to live in Nicaragua after all. So when I picked my first semester classes for my 3rd year Spanish 101 was on my timetable.

Spanish class was torture. I barely passed. I am evidence that languages are better learned in the field. I remember thinking to myself “well, I’ll just have to hire a translator when I live in Nicaragua”. Haha.

Summer 2006 and 2007 I was back at the ranch as the Rec Coordinator, and in the off-season I spent every weekend there. During my second semester of third year I began to realize that I wasn’t as driven as the other students in my program. Some of my friends were already sending in applications to grad school programs, and I just wasn’t motivated.

By the beginning of my 4th year I had an epiphany: I don’t like school.

I know, I’m slow,  it took 3 years of university to figure that out. All I could think about was Nicaragua. Instead of studying I was googling ministries in Nicaragua, and day dreaming about going back. Med school was out of the question. I couldn’t imagine having to wait another 4 years to go back. After a lot of prayer, I made a final decision. I changed the courses I was taking to the last 3 credits I needed to graduate with a general BSc, and applied to graduate in December. At the same time I started looking more seriously at ministries in Nicaragua. I had 4 months free, and money that I wasn’t going to be spending on tuition, so I started looking for a place where I could volunteer for a few months.

I decided to do a short solo trip because I was a little nervous about committing to anything longer. What if I couldn’t handle it? I wanted enough time that it wouldn’t feel like a short-term trip, but short enough that if I realized I couldn’t do it, I wouldn’t have to change my ticket. I decided to go for 2 months.

There was one website the I kept going back to in all my searches. I must have read it 50 times. It wasn’t a big ministry, and the website wasn’t fancy, but it called to me. It was a little school in Managua. So I emailed, “Hey, I have two months and I want to know if you could use some help.”  and got the response “Ya! sure!”

January 21st 2008 I was back in Nicaragua for the 3rd time. The beginning was hard. I still struggled (hard) with the language, but I loved the little school and the neighbourhood I worked in. I was picked up at the airport by a woman and her husband. She was the director of the school, and we instantly got along really well. At the time she had a beautiful baby boy who was 2 months old (He’ll be turning 7 in November!)

About half way into my second week she suggested I start taking Spanish classes (I couldn’t spend my entire 2 months here only speaking to her!), and she suggested a great teacher: her younger brother, David.

February 8th, 2008

February 8th, 2008

David and I hit it off really well, and soon we were “novios”. I knew pretty soon after we started dating that I would marry him one day.

During my two months here I helped out at an orphanage for three weeks. I think it was during that time when I was really sure I would be moving permanently to Nicaragua. I had been working with kids for almost eight years at the Ranch, so working in an orphanage seemed like a was a logical next step for me.

2008 was my last summer as Recreation Coordinator, and boy it was a hard one! I look back on that summer and know that God was preparing me to leave my home and the place I loved the most. It was the hardest job I have every done, but the job I loved the most. I am still so grateful for the time I worked there. It helped shape me into who I am.

As I prepared for the big move I started getting anxious about the language barrier. Thanks to David I spoke a lot more Spanish then I did before, but I was going to be living in an orphanage where there were no other staff who spoke English. I prayed (and prayed and prayed and prayed) that God would help me. “I need some supernatural Spanish here, God!

And let me tell you, He answered.

I think my high school teachers and university professors can attest to the fact that I’m not the smartest kid out there. I think 5 years of French, and Spanish 101 can show you that I do not learn languages easily (ask me to count to 10 in French… I can’t). But when I moved here, the Spanish just started flowing. There were times that I opened my mouth and words I didn’t even know I knew came out. It. was. a. miracle.  There is no other way to explain it.

Moving to Nicaragua in October 2008 was the fulfillment of a plan that God called me to 5 years earlier, but it didn’t end there. Now David, Bethany and I are in it together and I never get tired of hearing little whispers and hints from God about whats to come.

I know now that when ever I hear silence, it not because Gods not there, or he doesn’t care, it’s because he is waiting for just the right moment to tell me the next step.

I know now that even though I can’t see where the path is taking me, I need to enjoy every twist, turn and bump, because each step in the journey is important, not just the destination.



2 responses to “Part 3: Eleven years, His voice, His plan = My Story

  1. Jessica says:

    Hi! I loved reading your story of how you came to Nicaragua. I was wondering if your husband still teaches Spanish? My family and I are tentatively planning on being in Nicaragua from January to July this coming year. We have four kids (ages 5 months-6 years) and cannot attend a regular school. Could he come to our house in Masaya to teach us? About how much would this cost? There are some months that we will be travelling and busy with mission groups, but we would love to be near fluent by the end of July!

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