As I have been to Nicaragua myself three times and counting, Beverly Lebold’s 2006 book And the Sun Comes Up in Nicaragua grabbed my attention. Anybody who has traveled to Nicaragua on a missions trip has unique sort of bond together, and I felt this bond from the first page of Mrs. Lebold’s writing.

Bev tells the story of how she first found herself on a plane bound for Central America, how it was something she never imagined she would be doing, and how God grew her so much through it all. She tells of how God continually surprised her through those she’s met along the way.

She shares lessons she’s learned from one Nicaraguan boy in particular, a Catholic college student named Wilbur. As her expectations of their differing ways of worship are turned upside down, Wilbur teaches Bev how to connect with God in ways she never imagined… just by the way he lives.

She so perfectly captures the essence of the Nicaraguan people… both in her overall summary of them and of Wilbur personally. How genuine and kind they are. How truly humble and generous.

Imagine being invited into a 1-2 room house made of concrete block and being given the only chair while the people who live there stand. Just because you’re their guest. Imagine the way they glow as they give you a tour of their home, with the few outfits they have hanging on nails in the concrete block wall. Imagine them wanting to share with you whatever they have, even though they have less than what North Americans consider nothing.

This kind of openness and generosity is what Mrs. Lebold shares from her experiences with Wilbur. She’s learned to emphasize finding the good in not-so-good situations and to smile when circumstances are all but ideal. She has learned the importance of not seeing life as a competition.

And she’s discovered how, when we set out to do something with honest humility and care that is a blessing to others, we end up being surprised with a lovely blessing as well.

Have you been to Nicaragua? Are you thinking of going? Would you like a short book of practical life lessons that you could even read as a part of a devotional time? Are you just looking for a good, easy read? I so enjoyed this book and definitely recommend it.. to you all. Whether or not you fall into any of these categories.

sunset at the Quinta in Managua, Nicaragua

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