Below is another student’s journal entry, this one from Elise.
My family’s Christian faith has been evident to me since day one. They are very active members of their church, and they make spiritual disciplines an important part of each day. My mother’s commitment to reading her Bible and praying for hours each day has amazed me. This kind of spiritual commitment has raised several questions for me these past few weeks.
Why is it that these people are so much more excited about their faith than the majority of the Christians I know in the U.S. (myself included)? Why are they so much more willing to devote their time to praying, reading the Bible, and talking with other believers and nonbelievers about their faith? For most of my life it has been a struggle for me to find the desire to commit time to such spiritual practices on a daily basis. I really wish that I had a stronger desire to do this, but I always find myself making excuses for doing something else more ‘important’ instead. My Nica family’s example has been a constant reminder for me that my excuses really aren’t legitimate.
I have wondered if the slower pace of life that the Nicaraguans have is part of the reason why they are more willing to make time for their religion. But recently it crossed my mind that perhaps it is also because they are not as ‘well off,’ per se, as we are in the U.S. Over the years I have realized that when life is going along as normal, I tend to neglect spending time with God. It’s during the difficult times that I turn to God and remember my faith. Perhaps the more difficult life circumstances that so many of these people live with each day have strengthened their faith. Instead of turning to religion only when it is convenient, they make it a central part of their lives because it is what brings them hope.