In a Heartbeat

Nick gives us a look into his experience this week...  These stories just never get old! 

Nick and Nolan 

Nick and Nolan 

Hello all,

Today started off like any obnoxious bus honking his horn at roughly 5:45. We then spent the rest of the morning spending quality time with each other, then it was time to head up to the pavilion for breakfast.

Breakfast included pancakes, mango, watermelon, and rice and beans. There was plenty of coffee to go around as everybody fueled up for the long day ahead. The food has been absolutely phenomenal every single meal. It’s really hard to pinpoint a favorite meal that we have had this week.

After getting to the church, we were given our daily debriefing on the work that will be performed today, which included; finishing the walls for the children’s center, leveling the sidewalk, and stacking the last 100lb blocks in the septic tank. Norvin and I sure spent a good majority of our time in that hole. We were very grateful to have seen that last block in place. It just seemed that we each gave that look of exhaustion to each other any time we had to stand another block up, which then resulted in a laugh as we continued on our project.


Before we even arrived, I wondered how these tasks would be completed if we couldn’t even understand each other. I was very nervous that a lack of communication would cause lots of issues and be a headache. We slowly learned that language wasn’t much of a barrier at all. With the help of our translators we were able to adapt to the new situations we found ourselves in. I think it was a great learning experience for us gringos and the Nicaraguans to exchange words and learn quite a bit from each other. I have learned many words and the meanings to go with them, that it makes working hand in hand with the Nicaraguans a breeze, most of the time anyway. We started to understand the processes and at certain parts I found myself a few steps ahead of my work partner and it made everything easier. The relationships that we have made with each other, both us from Fox River, and the Nicaraguans is like a family.


Beyond all that, this trip has done nothing but humble each and every one of us. I doubt any man on this trip is walking away unaffected. To know the reasons behind what we were doing, the amount of people we will help is absolutely tear jerking. You think of problems we have at home, and they are nothing compared to the things they deal with here.

Keith, Nick and Nolan Runnells.  So cool to see this this Dad and son trio serve together!

Keith, Nick and Nolan Runnells.  So cool to see this this Dad and son trio serve together!


If anybody were to ask me if I would do this again, I would say yes in a heartbeat. To know I’m doing so much for other people that I will probably never meet, or even hear of that are 2500+ miles away from home is an amazing feeling. This is something I will never forget.

So far, one of my favorite moments I had was getting to ride one of the motorcycles with Olvin to church Sunday morning. I never thought I would travel so far from home and have an opportunity to not only ride a motorcycle, but fix them up for Pastor Dennis and anybody else who uses them. Motorcycles are not only a means of transportation but they also can be a life saving measure. So to make sure that these bikes will be in a great functional condition for them was a real treat. We replaced a clutch, changed and adjusted the brakes and replaced a tire. We also did some general maintenance on them to make sure they were in tip-top condition when we left.


 Now it’s off to church for Thursday night service.

-Nick Runnells


The wonderful ladies making sure the guys are taken care of and translating so the teams can communicate!  Thanks Kerri and Donna!