Special time in Nicaragua

Tommy Isel of Tampa, right, shares his favorite ball cap with Herman, who became his friend during a mission trip to Mount Sinai, Nicaragua. Herman's gift was a hand-carved bat. Photo from Hyde Park UMC, Tampa.

TAMPA – I love baseball. I watch baseball on TV.  I play in Tampa Bay Little League. I play catch every day with my dad. When I got to Nicaragua, I saw that I am not the only kid who loves baseball this much.

When I saw the boys playing catch in Mount Sinai, I remembered that I didn’t pack my glove. I actually didn’t think they would have baseball gloves. When I walked over to see if I could play, the boys immediately gave me a glove and one of them played bare-handed. We played for about an hour and just took turns switching out gloves. The next day I came to Mount Sinai, they had their gloves ready and let me pick first the glove I wanted to use. I never picked the best one, even though they would have let me. We just played baseball together every chance we could during the entire week.
It’s amazing how we were able to communicate without saying a word. It’s like they communicated through their hearts. They became my best friends for life. I felt like I was in heaven. Even though they didn’t have the "stuff” that I have at home, they made me feel so happy and I felt like I was at home there.

I only brought one baseball hat to Nicaragua. I chose to bring my favorite hat – the one that has the most sentimental value to me. I wore it all week. On the last day at Mount Sinai, I knew I had to give away my hat to my friend named Herman. He didn’t have a hat. When we were saying our goodbyes, I gave it to him, and he gave me a bat that he had carved out of wood for me. We both cried. I will never forget his face. I will never forget Nicaragua. Nicaragua is the best thing that has ever happened to me.

– Tommy Isel is an 11-year-old who traveled last month with a Hyde Park UMC mission team from Tampa to El Ayudante, a Christian humanitarian organization in Leon, Nicaragua. Mount Sinai is a nearby community being settled by local people with the aid of a partnership between government and El Ayudante.

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