The Things We Carried

We’ve arrived safely in Antigua, Guatemala, where Eric and the girls will spend 6 weeks in intensive language school and I will volunteer with a partner organization. Fresh off the plane/van ride to Antigua, I couldn’t stop thinking about this trip in terms of our stuff. This blog post is an homage to Tim O’Brien’s phenomenal book about the Vietnam War (which I highly recommend if you haven’t yet read it).

We carried everything we thought we should bring for 2.5 years in Central America.

We carried too much, of course. We knew it when we had to redistribute stuff in our checked baggage to remain under the 50 lb weight limit, and we really knew it when we lined up all of our bags on the sidewalk together.



We carried plenty of clothes, but not as many as you might think from glimpsing our bags.

We carried a suitcase filled entirely with prescription medications (mostly asthma medication for Kiara), which I worried might be stopped at customs but which breezed right through.

We carried just one Spanish language Bible to be shared by the four of us, because we procrastinated too long in placing our Amazon order.

We carried my expensive face cream, because -at 33 years old- I am battling both acne and wrinkles, and that just seems unfair.

We carried stuffies, blankies, and “Frozen” jammies, because they make the girls feel safer.

We carried a pharmacy’s worth of vitamins, because they make me feel safer.

We carried my old iPhone 4, which seems impossibly slow and outdated but which provides easier communication than we ever used to imagine was possible.

We carried The Hobbit, because Bilbo’s voyage makes our own seem a little bit less intimidating.

We carried two large bottles of my favorite sunscreen, but we didn’t carry them far, because I accidentally packed them in my carry-on and they were confiscated at airport security.

We carried the anticipation of adventure and the anxiety of struggles yet-unknown.

We carried profound gratitude for everyone who donated to our mission fund and made this journey possible.

And we carried love… for each other, for all of you, and for God who called us to this work and who we know will sustain us throughout our mission.

11 thoughts on “The Things We Carried

  1. Thank you for your update!!! We are praying for you and your mission work. Please let us know if you need more Frozen PJ’s or vitamins so you will always feel safe!!! Mary and Bill Bush

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Nicole, you and your family are in our prayers 🙏. I look forward to reading all about your adventures. May God bless and keep you safe 💝


  3. I’m so excited for your family’s adventure! I get a large discount at FedEx, not to mention flight benefits, so please let me know if you or your new home has need of any supplies!


  4. Wanting to know how you all are has forced me to new challenges. Not being great at this computer
    stuff, but want to let you know you are thought of and prayed for, and am looking forward to your
    next adventure story. Bye, Adriana


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