welcome to the winning ugly podcast, a place where we are real, raw, entertaining, energizing, and encouraging. Come experience real conversations that go deep and relationships that extend through the media to overcome testing times. We can't continue to keep our trials and tragic stories to ourselves. The people you will hear from are facing your ugly, stepping out of their comfort zone and sharing your victory storms, our guarantee in life. And when they come, we want to be right here building you up and empowering you to win ugly
Welcome to the winning ugly podcast. It's your host, Trish. And I have my favorite sidekick, Emery. Hey guys, good to be on another podcast. It's going to be a great show. Yes, thanks for tuning in. We are so happy you are here. You may not be fleeing for your own life, but you may be fleeing from something you think is good, but in reality it is toxic and it may be a relationship or a job or a family home situation. So Marissa, welcome to the show and thanks for joining us. So excited to be here and talk with you guys. Yes, we are so happy you're going to be bold enough to share your story of a winning ugly. And I know we are fairly new friends and I'm, I came to know you through an event where we volunteered at church and we began, we immediately hit it off because of our love for the nations.
Yeah. And My mom came home and was like, she got to meet Trish. You're gonna love them. Your mom was okay. Your mom was super sweet and she really was champion on the, uh, relationship. Um, the friendships and have a great story too. So we're excited to have you share that. Yeah. Thank you. So give us an elevator pitch of who you are. Okay. Well I am from the south, born and raised here, born and raised in the church. And so I always was seeing, um, missionaries come back and forth and that was just something that I knew I was going to do. And so, um, I went on a lot of trips to Africa and different places. That's Africa is where
I thought I was going to be. And, um, one year during college, I decided to take a trip to Nicaragua, um, which is in Central America, and because that's where my home church was going, and my dad was leading the trip. And so I was like, okay, let's go. And I ended up going, I love, you know, I had a good time, but I was, I still gonna go back. I still going to go to Africa. This is not, you know, for me. But while I was there, I worked with somebody. And, um, we stayed in contact after that. And, um, two weeks later, we, after I came back from the trip, he decided to ask me to be his girlfriend. And I said, no, thank you.
No. And I, and, and, um, I, you know, we laugh about that to this day. He was devastated, but I, I, you know, I didn't, I was just, I'm not going back to Nicaragua. I don't know how it's gonna work, you know? And so he, from that time, just started praying and praying and praying, like, it's gonna work. It's gonna work. And, um, we kept in contact and I just had a dream one night that I was, I went back to Nicaragua and I started a feeding center with him and I, it was just so real. I'd never had a dream like that before. Felt so real. And, um, a friend of his from Colorado invited him to come to the United States and it's almost unheard of for anybody from Central America to get a visa to the United States. And so he thought he could reason without a good reason.
Yeah. If you just come into visit, you know. And so he said, why not? You're inviting me, you're paying for it. We'll try, you know. And he went and they, with very little questions, gave him a visa while he was like, all right, this is my opportunity. So he came to Colorado and then he ended up coming out to
Alabama. And, um, at that point again asked me to be his girlfriend. And by that time I was, you know, smitten. And he showed up at [inaudible] and um, and so after that we, it was a bunch of going back and forth. He met, she met my family and it's, he, he met my dad and my brother before me actually they had went the year previously on a mission trip and he had met them. And um, and so I, um, I went back and forth visiting him. We got engaged and then I in May of 2015, packed up, graduated college, packed up my life and moved to Nicaragua and married him. Um, there, yeah, there
it's a lot. What's going on? Your life moves changes in one season. Right. So y'all met when y'all work together in Nicaragua? Yes. And then you came back and of course you liked her a lot and that at some point he came here, he actually to be at, did he do anything special when he actually be his girlfriend or he was like, no, he just, he,
but what was funny, I didn't even say about the beginning, very, very beginning when my dad met him. They were going, um, on a mission trip there. And He, they were just saying, where can we, we're just going to try and find places we can serve, you know, saw a white girl walking down the street and said, hey, I bet she works for somebody. Let's talk to her. And so they talk to her and ends up, he worked with her. This was the friend from Colorado. He worked with her. Um, so that's where they met. He knew no English at that time. Um, and they, but they just hit it off. My Dad and my brother just loved him. And, um, so when I came, they s he came, they found somehow gotten contact with him and found him and he was living two blocks from the hotel and came in. And, um, my dad was like, Morris, I'm Rosie, you gotta come out and meet, meet Gerald. And, um, I wanna introduce you. You know, this was the guy we talked about last year. And I walked out and I was like, hey. And he all, he just looked at me and he said, wow, so beautiful.
Oh [inaudible] do you know, did you know Spanish? I know he said in English. Oh, I know, but did you know Spanish at that point in college? I'm saying English makes it that much more better, right off a little bit, but that makes it cuter, right? English at that time. And he doesn't know how to cook, but it's the effort. Right? I'm a great cook. He doesn't even make that, but it's okay.
We met, we got married, I moved down. We, he worked for an orphanage. Um, and so I volunteered a little bit with that, but we ended up starting our own, um, community ministry where we, we've fed about 75 children, um, two times a week and offered, um, educational support, trying to help them get into school and, uh, and tutoring them and that kind of thing. And we did that. We started that in October of 2015 and did that, you know, until I left. Um, so, uh, we, we did so many other odds and ends things just so to have a job too. We worked for a hearing aid, um, ministry that gave hearing aids called [inaudible]. And so Gerald learn how to fix hearing aids and fit people for hearing aids. Amazing. Random and awesome. Yeah. Yeah. So we did that. And then we, uh, we also were house parents for college guys or guys that were graduating high school from the orphanage that couldn't live there anymore.
And so we had about six guys living in the house with us, um, at that, you know, for about a year. So we did a lot of different stuff on top of that. Gerald sounds like a great guy, but I just wonder. Yeah, well that's what my next question, so I want to know is, oh, we give us a snapshot of Nicaragua. Like what was housing like the food, um, how did you travel around from point a to point B? Um, give us that daily life snapshot. Well, food, a lot of rice and beans, you know, if you're familiar with any, yes. Latin American country, lots of rice and beans. Um, but there, you know, the food is so fantastic. All the, we talk about Avocados and stuff here, how they're so expensive and there we were like giving crates full and we couldn't even finish them. Yeah.
It's an abundant supply of, yeah, the vegetables and the fruit suit are so good and colorful. Yes, it is. Yeah. Um, but housing, uh, we, our first house was pretty funny. We, Gerald found it before I moved there and it was, it was a mess and then we had a big drain going through the middle of our ceiling that overflowed with the water. So it was like waterfalls coming in. I was just a fun first year of marriage. It sounds very exhilarating with all that stuff and cross cultural and, yeah. So, yeah. And y'all, when, I mean your first year of marriage, y'all spoke English to each other. Spanish, mostly English, mostly English. And then I was trying to learn Spanish since his family didn't speak any English or, yeah, they didn't speak in English. And, um, what about like, did you use, um, taxis, buses, yes, all of them. They had the little, uh, many people see them most popularly I guess in, uh,
yeah. Okay. The little, yeah, the little tech tech that they need. Yes. Oh yeah, yeah. Cool. Did they have them in Columbia? No, no, no, no. It's no, we may need us to go back and start that business. That sounds awesome. It was great. I mean Raga is like nothing is impossible. We fit eight people in one of those things of like three piñatas and it was wow. I remember the days of like, you know, fun. Yeah, buddy would pick you up. I'm like, yeah, we'll pick you up man. We got a big car. Yeah, plenty of space. And it's like a two door Celica and we literally feel like eight people in there and then they show up with 12 people in the car and then they got to pick up me and Trish and all. Yeah. Get in, you know, play around. You're not like your typical small sized Colombian.
So it's more you make it happen and it's a, it's honestly incredible. It's like tetris. Yeah. I mean I wish I would've started like an Instagram page or something of the crazy things that I saw. Oh, we saw people carrying refrigerate two people on a motorcycle with a refrigerator that was impossible. So, you know. Yeah. Oh Man. Okay. What does an an attraction in Nicaragua? Cause I'm not really familiar with that country. Um, I guess the biggest things are the volcanoes, um, are really popular. Uh, there's a lot of them, like the volcanic beaches. Do they have those there? Black sand beaches? Do you guys have that sticky? Yeah, they're not very pretty. But the, um, the volcanoes are amazing and there's, there was one that was the most popular, that was a volcano that imploded and now it was a big crater like, and so it's popular to go swimming there.
The water is like steaming blue is beautiful, so that's, yeah, that's one of the most popular. Okay. Some health benefits, I'm sure. Oh yeah. Yeah. I've heard of the minerals of, yeah. I don't know. 20 years younger. Yeah. Oh Man. All right. Well let's move into a few fun questions before we move into your story. What is, what was your first job as a kid? Okay. My first real job was working at Logan's roadhouse. Oh Nice. And so, you know, were you the peanut picker upper server, but I was a server, but we were still in charge of sweeping up our peanuts at the end of the night. What's the technique involved in that? Like what's the training? Gosh, you know, I, there was no training much, but you had to get, I mean, peanuts are everywhere. You get in, you had to get in the crevices. I mean, every night.
Yes, we [inaudible] you like a, you like music? Yes. I love music. The songs you listening to right now jamming out to, you know, not any songs in particular, but I, I love, I love finding new things. And um, I guess my favorite would be my favorite type of music would be kind of folky anything with a violin. I love it. Like Jim Croce, our guy that likes [inaudible]. I don't, yeah, do not look that up. But he likes to Karaoke to Jim Croce. Honky tonk. Uh, or like Banjo, what do you call it? Oh, not blue grass. Not Blue Grass, but the big old girl that's popular right now. Sure. Lauren Daigle. I like her. She's full of Ky. I just love good harmonies. One of my favorites right now and have been for a long time as Johnny swim. So did I tell you what I've done the musically lately.
I'm very proud of it. I was, I was, uh, at the gym today cause I go to the gym a lot and uh, I was doing my afterwards because a, that's what I do. And uh, I noticed on Facebook you can add a song now to your Facebook page. I think they're taking a page out of my space. You remember my space? Hold on, I'm getting this stuff. So my point is, uh, the song that I picked was by, uh, Carlos Vebas lovesick later. So that's an awesome song. You should go listen to it. Oh Gosh. I wish I could remember the killer song, but it's on my Facebook page now.
It sounds familiar cause he has a song that's something like that. Yeah, I saw him in concert. He's a big deal. He's from Columbia. Yeah, we love our music. Big Deal. And I got to see him in concert in Nicaragua school. Very cool. Well, whenever I had a slight crush on Emery when we were in college, that was when my space was popular and he skin a song on there and that just touched my heart. It was Matt Kearney. That's Gerald's favor. Darn it. You did good marriage. Gerald. Gerald, what was the name of the song? Oh, I knew you were going to ask that. They're already pretty sure that's it. We'll go with that. Okay, so your goto most often used Emoji when texting. Oh, there's a new one that like is on there that I guess within the last month or so and so I, that's the one I've been using all the time.
It's like this little smiley face, but it has these little hearts around it, but it's the one with the little hearts. Then using that as well. Still the best Emoji is a, from the Rondel episode, the Purple Guy. It's like all purple. He's kind of like, he's not really mean, he's just kinda like, you know, he's got a fierce like make it happen. Look, I don't know exactly on me on that. We don't use that in regards to books, hard copy or digital. Definitely hard copy. I love to write and them and highlight and stuff. So I'm the same. I'm the same. Um, but I do kinda rent mine from the library, so kind of have to be cautious. Um, coffee or tea. Oh, that's so hard. I like both of them. Um, I, but I probably drink coffee a lot more often, but I enjoy both.
Awesome. Black with black with no cream, lots of cream. You guys, I get coughing. Nicaragua, you get spoiled to get coffee quick. Yeah. It really do sweets at all. What's your favorite? Sweet. I'm kind of sweet. You like ice cream? Ice Cream is probably my favorite ice cream. Cake and ice cream or just ice cream, you know, brownies and ice cream. Brown and ice cream, vanilla ice cream. And you know, all the ones with all the chunky stuff in a nail. Like chocolate chip. There's tracks, that kind of stuff. Yeah. You like texture? Yeah. Texture. Okay. Well, Marissa, I'm, we're going to move into your story of fleeing, um, for your safety and possibly your life. So we want, I want you to bring us back to the beginning. You lived in Nicaragua for three years. You served as a missionary, you marry Gerald, and to date y'all have been married for years and you got pregnant. Now you do have your daughter. So bring us back to the beginning and, um, how your story of fleeing came to, to
fruition. Yeah. Um, well, you know, we, we plan, tried to plan out the best we could of, um, you know, when we were going to have a baby. And, um, so we found out we were pregnant in, in December of 2017 and, you know, things were going great. Nicaragua was great. Everything. And then in April of 2018, um, some big thing, political unrest started to happen. Um, there were a few things that the government tr or was trying to put into law and the people didn't like it. And so they started protesting, um, which was normal. That was normal. Um, for the most part, you know, they, there were common protest and things and then, um, but for some reason, one of the protest, uh, the police decided to attack the protesters. And so from since that happened, um, it just spiraled down and there's, there's still pretty much chaos just going on, um, air, you know, it's just boiling at this point and could erupt at any, at any moment.
Um, so that started in April and got pretty intense, uh, up into the time that I needed to leave. And so, okay, April I'm, what, five months pregnant? I don't know. Um, and so I needed to leave the country to, uh, renew my visa and this was planned, like, I don't know, way before, you know. So I, I didn't plan on leaving in the middle of the chaos. Um, and I left in May and we were actually concerned that we were not going to be able to even get me to the airport the day that I needed to leave. Was Gerald going with you? He was gonna take me to the airport and um, because there the protesters had started, uh, basically blocking the roads to shut the country down. So you, and it wasn't all blocked, but then, um, you'd maybe leave the house and try to come back and then a new one would be up and then you couldn't get back and different things like that.
So, um, we got to the airport, everything went well and then Gerald came back to our town and I got to the states. Things continued to get more intense. Yeah. Okay. So you were, so all these things were happening with the government and, but you already had the strip plan for the u s so you came, you were coming to the United States to renew your visa? Yes, cause I had to do that. I had to do that. Um, at that point I had to do it because you only, I, I was on like a visitor visa. So every 90 days you had to renew it by leaving the country. Okay. And then Gerald stayed in Nicaragua. Okay. Got It. Because he can't, he has never been able to since that one time, he miraculously got a visa and that's when we started dating. He has never been able to get another visa.
Got It. Um, and so he ha he couldn't come with me, um, at that time. So he went back to our home town or that his hometown actually. And, um, while I was in the states, things progressively started to get worse. There were, um, kind of armed forces from the government that were attacking and doing, attacking the protesters and doing different things. Okay. So while, while I was in the states, I was trying to, you know, stay in contact with Gerald the best that I could because the blockades were closing down in this, I mean, this was all intentional to put pressure on the government and they, they shut down, um, the country basically. And so, you know, there's the Pan American highway that runs straight through Nicaragua that goes from the bottom of Panama, Colombia, all the way to Canada. I really, um, to transfer things.
So transfer trucks couldn't get through nothing. Um, but also things couldn't get to towns, so you couldn't, that people was running out of food. The towns were running out of food, running out of gas, running out of, you know, everything, all the essentials getting cause this roadway because they were blocking it. So it just continued to get more and more and more intense. And, um, you know, at this moment I'm six, seven months pregnant and I need to, we're trying to make a decision of do I try to get back to Nicaragua? Um, because that's where my doctor is. That's where I plan to have the baby. That's obviously where Gerald is. Um, or am I going to have to stay in the states and have the baby here or, you know, I w we wrestled with it, wrestled with it because it was getting, it was getting really, really dangerous.
I want you to kind of pause there and kind of preface what, what was, why were they protesting? What was that about? Yeah, so the initial protest was about the government wanted to just enact a new bill, um, that affected the social security. Um, so it heavily affected, um, the elderly community. And so they were protesting that and for some reason they, they attacked the people. And um, I mean we're talking about like elderly people protesting. So the students of the universities decided to protest against that and they went back to their university, I guess after they protested and, and they came and attacked them there. Um, a couple got killed at that point. And so, um, then it just spiraled out of control because people didn't like the, you know, that obviously that people were being killed. Um, and so that was, I
guess that was the initial, I mean there were, there, there have always been a lot of things, I guess that they were protesting, but that was the initial big.
Okay. Okay. Then bring us back. So you were here and deciding should I, yeah, so you should idea and you know, time is to, and I had already had a return ticket because I, you know, plan this trip way before all this started happening. So I had already bought my ticket and it was counting down to the day, counting down to that day. And Gerald is like, you, you can't come back here. You can't, we can't, I don't even know if I can get you from the airport. Um, you know, I don't know what it's gonna look like and we don't have food and we don't have this, you know, so we know, I don't know if you can come back. So we're just in. So I just decided, okay, we'll, we'll wait it out. I'd still have a little bit more time before I can't travel anymore cause I think you can't travel after like 36 weeks of being pregnant or something.
Um, or they don't advise that. And so I was like, okay, it's county down is county down. I have to go now or it's not gonna work. And so, um, I talked with some friends that I knew, some other missionary friends that lived in another town. I had been in contact with them about what was going on there and they were like, you know, honestly in our town we would have no idea if it wasn't for the news, we would have no idea that anything was going on. It was that normal and it was bizarre. So we decided, okay if, and you can come and stay here while you have the baby and everything. So I was like, okay that's perfect, let's do that. And so Gerald, it was interesting cause he, he actually found a way, somehow at this point the country's still shut down road wise.
He somehow through farm fields or something, found a way to get to um, this people's house. And so it was about, I guess it was about an hour and a half away from where we lived. Um, and you know, I'm still kind of in the dark. He definitely wasn't telling me everything that was going on to protect me cause I'm pregnant and I'm a worrier and so he didn't want me to get, that was my question because I mean, were things happening to him that he maybe, I don't know. Did anyone ever stop him or what was yeah. Is that what he was protecting you from the things that maybe were happening to him? Yeah. Yeah. He didn't, he didn't act fully. Tell me all the things, cause you know, I was there when the protest first started and in our town they were protesting in different things like that.
And um, and so we, I saw that, I saw that and I knew at that point, I don't think a lot of people knew what was going to happen, um, that things were going to get worse in that it was going to eventually be counted as terrorism to, um, to have been protesting. Um, so I don't think people realized it was going to get to that point. And so, you know, they were being involved and things like that. So Gerald gets, Gerald gets to where the houses and um, I fly in like the next day and we get there and that day that I get there, they, the government sent in forces to attack our town. The town that we lived in, uh, may like, it was bad. I think like 40 people were killed, things like that. I don't know what all happened. Um, but it was kind of, that was huge that, you know, we had Gerald had just, just left, otherwise he would've been there in the middle of that.
So because, uh, and then once that happened, they kind of took back over the town. The F um, the actually, you know, they did this a little bit before. They kind of did an initial attack at one point when Gerald was still there, but not like a major, major one. And, um, and that's important because of something that happened to Gerald, um, that he didn't tell me a, which is a reason why we had to flee. Uh, but he, you know, gets there. We get there to the town where waiting for the baby, we're kind of scared. I'm not really sure. You know how it's unpredictable. It is when you're pregnant, when are you going to go into labor? You can't plan those things. And so we were about an hour and a half from the
hospital, um, like windy, windy country roads and not sure how we were going to get, they're kind of concerned that we were gonna get pulled over and everything stolen from us at points.
And, um, ended up, the doctor told me that it'd be better for me to have a subsidiary in any ways because of her measuring big and all these things. So we just decided to do that. We had her, we came back, my mom, um, came to visit us and while she was there, we were trying to have really serious conversation because at that point we still weren't back in our hometown at our house. Um, and I was so frustrated. Why could we couldn't go back? Why can't we go back? Why can't we go back everybody else's up there and it's seeming like it's calming down. Why can we go back? And, um, so Gerald was, I, well, okay, I, you know, I need to tell you some things that happen. And, um, so first of all, he told me that while he was on his way to this house, um, before I flew in, he was pulled over by armed like the paramilitary Aha from I guess from the government, not, you know, that's, it's unclear.
Um, but they pulled him over hilled a k rifles at him and they were gonna steal everything from him, like the car. At that point I had told him bring everything valuable from the house that you can think of. Right. Cause you don't know if you're gonna ever go back. Yeah. I didn't know. You know, I didn't know. And because too, because it was blocked, people were, they weren't even allowing people to get to the hospital. So babies, at least four babies were born in our town at the blockade in the road. I was like not going to go there and get stuck and get to the hospital. Yeah. It was intense. So, um, so because I had sent, I had wired him some money, um, at some point right before I came for gas and stuff because of Ed. The, it was food was running out, all the things, it was getting expensive, everything.
So, um, he, he needed some money to be able to purchase food and for the feeding center that we were still trying to run at this point. The grocery stores running out of food. Yeah. Empty like empty shelves, everything, all of them. Um, so we, and then they somehow, I guess Gerald was like, well look, I've got $300 in my pocket and they took it and let him take the car and leave. Like it was a miracle. Wow. It was a miracle that they let him get away ticket. Yeah. And it was just and see, cause then I get there and I'm like, Hey, you still have some money left, right. Let's do the end. He like didn't have many. And I'm frustrated like, well where did you,
why did you spend that money on the radios? I know. And so I was like, what happened? You know, and he wouldn't tell me,
well they took it. So, um, so he was protecting. Yeah. And so he told us that happened and I was like, all right, well that's something you know to, that puts us in danger.
I was going to say your mom was with you at that point. Okay. Cause I was wondering were you telling your parents this, cause they're over here, but she was with you in a Nicaragua? Yeah. Okay. She was with
me and um, at that point and so Gerald told us about that. And then he also told us that one time when the forces came in, they, as soon as ace attacked, they were, they took over the hospitals. And so they were not allowing people who were being injured to go into the hospital for medical care. And so Gerald, um, helped out with, you know, getting people who were injured and, uh, helped them out. And so that put him in involvement against the government, you know. So because of that, he, um, was unsure about if he was going to be safe cause I was his hometown and everybody knew him. And after they had taken over the town, they had rent, they started coming door to door. And honestly, if you
didn't, even if it got to the point of theirs taking anybody, if you didn't like your neighbor, you could have said, I saw them, I saw them participating, and then they'd come and take you.
So everybody was kind of a spy. Yeah. You gotta watch out for it. So,
and take you and take you to who knows where. And you just don't feel that. They don't know where a lot of people are. So, you know, they, so Gerald was concerned, you know, and so when he got pulled over, he was, I think that was for him, was the tipping point of I cannot let my daughter and my wife be here because this is, um, this is potentially can happen. You know, it's not worth it. Yeah. And so that was a big reason. Um, we had to leave and I, I fought him and fought him and fought him, um, saying, no, we can stay, we can stay. And, you know, of course my parents, um, they, they, I don't know how to explain that, but they, uh, they're very supportive, very supportive. They always, you know, they, my mom always said, I prayed when you were little, you know.
Okay, Lord, she's yours. She's not mine. So wherever you take her, you know, it's, she's yours. Yeah. And so, um, they were supportive, but at the same time I knew that they were freaking out, obviously as parents predicament to be in. Yeah. And because my mom was there and she was, she saw some things that happened and heard about a lot and obviously had been seeing all the news on Facebook because, you know, following people, friends from Nicaragua and things. Um, so they were not encouraging me but encouraging me as well to, to leave. And, um, so he, he finally was like, look, I, I just, for my peace of mind, I need you guys to, to go back to the states and, and for anything for, for Amelia, for our daughter. That was so hard for him to even say that to you. Um, I can't imagine.
Um, what was your internal struggle, your emotions during this, when he told you that? And we'll, and you know, I mean postpartum, I'm already all over the place emotionally. And so, um, it was so hard because I keep, you know, I'm running everything, playing out every situation and saying, well, you know, maybe we won't be separated for that long. Cause we had been in process, we had been in the process for his residency in the United States since, um, to a year at that point already. So we knew we were coming close to the end. And so I thought, okay, it's not surely he'll be with me by Christmas and that was August. Surely He'll be with me by Christmas, so we will, it'll be okay and we'll figure it out. And you know, we'll facetime as much as we can so he can see Amelia and, and honestly for, for her safety.
Um, that's, that was the reason that I agreed to license. Yeah. Right. Yeah. And y'all have been apart how many months so far? So now, uh, since, since September we left September, 2018 and so it's now been eight months I guess since, so yeah. Yeah, I know. So what, what, what are you doing? What are some things you're doing to help you to, like while you're waiting? Um, um, well, you know, it's, it's been very, very difficult, um, to be here alone and honestly because Gerald has been kind of all over the place, he still hasn't gone back. The hardest thing for us was for me, I couldn't go back to my house and pack things up and leave and, and leave the ministry in a good place with a nice wrap box with a bow on the top, like I, and for me, that was very hard.
And so, and he couldn't go back and had to at, I guess at the beginning, after, as soon as we left, he pretty much got on a bus and went to Costa Rica, um, too with a lot of other people who were fleeing the country. Um, too, just for safety and Costa Rica. A common place for people to escape. Yes, because it was, it's right there. Yeah. We honestly lived like two hours from the border. It wasn't very, very far as a lot of new Nicaraguans and that has been, that has been very difficult on Costa Rica. And because I think they have like 25,000 documented Nicaraguans but that doesn't count the sure many, many that didn't, aren't documented. Um, but we, yeah, so since I've been here in the states, I've been living with
my parents, um, which has been a blessing and honestly for them too, because they actually get to be close to their granddaughter, which wouldn't have been the case.
Um, and so we, you know, honestly just taking care of her has been what I've been doing because that's, you have to, you can't just neglect your child, you know, and I had, that's the reason I have to get out of the bed and to motivation. Yeah. Yeah. Were you able, I mean today that is all your, are all your things still in that home in Nicaragua? I'm, no, they, so my mother in law and I think some of Gerald's family members helped move all the stuff out of that house and they put it in, um, storage at his, one of his family's houses. And then we, so my actually our ministry was in the house in my mother in Law's house. It was out of her house that we had it. So we had all of our ministry stuff there that, you know, the food, the books that we had to help the kids, the clothes that we had.
And then of course all of her belongings. And then now some of our belongings. And um, about a month after I left her house caught on fire and they lost all of it, all of it. And so it think it was a target or, no, it was just a, it was just, uh, I mean if people know anything about houses there and stuff, electric electric work isn't their forte and it caused a electric fire happen. And um, we lost everything. So it was all of this, all of this is like, okay, we are really not going back to this mean we, everything has happened to push us out of this community. And so I'm still even today, like why, you know, why did this happen? Why, you know?
Yeah, yeah. And yeah, I cannot imagine when it was going so well, you know, as well. And then all of a sudden everything just gone. Your personal items and the ministry stuff was kind of not all of it. All of our personal items, thank goodness. Which ended up being a blessing to my mother in law because when she ended up getting a house rebuilt, um, which a lot of art or, um, supporters helped fund now, which was so incredible. Um, we were able to pretty much build her her dream house, which was great. I mean, she was living in a plastic house with dirt floors. Um, and so this was, now she has a concrete floor and block house and um, and now she is using a lot of our stuff, like our bed and couch and you know, yeah. So, well, five or 10 years from now, how do you want to look back on this and how do you want to remember it?
Yeah. Um, I, and a no, and that's, I wish I would have thought of that question in the beginning of this because I would have said, you know, I'm going to, I'm going to take advantage of this time and make sure that it's something even though negative, positive or, you know, take it as a learning experience. Um, because now I'm looking back, since it has been so long and it didn't go as planned. So now I, I hope to in five or 10 years, look back on this, just like many other experiences that I've had, especially with living in Nicaragua. Like in the very beginning, we had nothing. We didn't know if we were going to eat the next day. And then my mom would give me a phone call and say, Hey, so-and-so wrote you a check for this as, oh my gosh, what? You know, and, and learning at that moment, um, looking back at that time and saying, wow, I, I didn't, I didn't trust the Lord to provide for me.
And that was him saying, look, you can trust me. And you know, looking back on that and say, wow, I learned that from there. And so I hope that in five or 10 years, I can see was the reason that we went through this. Um, and I all, I already see little things I already see. You know, the fact that I myself, I can be, I can be independent. I can take care of a million by myself. I can, um, do things that I didn't think that I could do, that I'm stronger than I thought. And then also to see Gerald and his transformation and, um, he's just growing and growing, especially in his relationship with the Lord. And then because of that, ultimately our relationship, even though we've been a part, has just been strong and getting stronger and stronger. Um, and so, you know, those little, big, little things at glimpses at this point.
Um, kind of give me hope, I guess that yeah, it wasn't all for nothing, you know. Yeah. I mean that, that is hopeful. I mean, you know, I do believe that, you know, sometimes when we go through hard things, it does make us stronger in the end. So, um, knowing what you know now, this is a hard question to ask. I mean, do you wish you would've stayed? Yeah, I, you know, I, I go back and forth every day, every day because I have friends, uh, missionary friends that are there, that stayed. I've missionary friends that left that went back. Um, and, and as far as I can see on, you know, Facebook or whatever, or their updates, thanks. Seems so normal and I, and there's no danger, even though I know that that's not true. Um, but I think we could have stayed and we could have made it work.
And, and so many times I struggle with that. Um, and through that, the feeling of failing, like we, we just gave up. This was a copout we failed, um, our missionary or our, our ministry, um, just failed and, and fell apart and you feel like a failure. Um, and so, which I know is not true. You know, I, but your mind does those things to you and, and the enemy attacks you and says, you know, this is, this is your failure and it's hard. And then some days I think about the day that I got here to the states, um, after I left with my one month old baby and just how I felt like I could breathe and I didn't realize how tense and stressed I was all the time and that I felt, oh my gosh, I don't have to worry when I get in the car to drive somewhere.
I don't have to worry when I'm out in public that a riots going to happen. I don't have to worry, you know, that, you know, that for those reasons, I'm thankful that we left, but it's just different every day. Every day's a different. Yeah. So it's a roller coaster. Um, and what, what do you feel most proud of with your story? Hmm, I guess that's a good question. Um, you know how man, I guess that Amelia Dis my daughter to see her thriving and she's so smart and just the way that, you know, I, I was like, there's no way I can take care of her by myself. I can't do this. I can't do this. I can't do this. And she's alive. She's still alive and she isn't. She's a chunky little girl. So, you know, she's healthy and she's not lacking or anything. And I think for that reason and the most proud, I know my, my mom always tells me, you know, my, my, her mom pretty much raised them as a single mom because my grandfather was in the military.
My Dad's mom raised her kids as a seen as a single mom, um, generationally. And even back to great grandparents and all that, women raising kids by themselves because of horrible situations, you know, conflict guard. Yeah. Like, and to say I'm a part of that too and I can do it. Yeah. Um, it's kind of a cool thing I guess to be a part of that legacy of yeah. You do a good job. I mean I see you all the time and you're doing it. You're an awesome mom. So, um, well lastly, lastly, I want to know what would you say to someone who is going through a similar path and maybe they're fleeing from an abusive relationship or from their home or just general life experience, what would you say to them? Yeah, and it's so, it's so hard in my mind to even come to compare my situation to some of those situations because I know that they're so calm, so completely different.
Um, but I do think that like when I finally took a step out of where I was, um, and I felt like I was at peace and I could breathe it, I saw clearly this is the reason why, why I left. This is the reason, um, that I, you know, I needed to for myself, for my daughter. You can definitely see it more clearly because when you're in that, you're fighting yourself, you're fighting other people saying, trying to make excuses of why it's gonna be okay, why it's gonna work and then, but you're, you're, you just can't see clearly. It's like a fog. Yeah. You're not thinking straight. I want you to step away. You can actually observe the situation and see maybe what you were in when you step away. So. Well, great advice. Well, thank you so much for joining us today. We, it's been, um, just a good experience just to hear your story. Um, and
we want to thank our audience as well for listening. Yeah, it was a great story. Very powerful. So make sure you subscribe to the podcast. Right?
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