Sisters Quinn Berry and Reese Berry left their hearts in Nicaragua during their church mission trip


Courtesy of Reese Berry

Coated in dirt, junior Reese Berry poses with people in her mission group, Amigos for Christ, and with a child from the village of Espavel. This was Berry’s first mission trip, but she wants to do more in the future. “I think one of the things that really made my heart melt was when one of the Nicaraguans said to us, ‘you dig as though the water will be yours’,” Berry said.

On a service trip to the village of El Espavel, Nicaragua, junior Reese Berry and senior Quinn Berry climbed volcanoes, created a new water system, participated in dance circles and bonded with local children.

After learning about this opportunity from their church, the sisters decided to go on the trip with a group called Amigos for Christ. The community of El Espavel welcomed the group when they arrived. 

“In El Espavel, as soon as we stepped off the bus, we were greeted with hugs, love and celebration. There were people hugging us that we had never met before,” Quinn said. “It felt very selfless. They didn’t even know who we were or what they were getting into, but they knew we were coming to create a change.” 

Each day, the volunteers on the mission trip had a theme they focused on. Reese experienced the theme of Juntos (together) as she climbed the youngest active volcano in Nicaragua, Cerro Negro.

“When we were about halfway up the volcano, my calves were burning, and I could hear the cheers of the people who had already made it to the top, but I just felt like dying. Then when I needed it most and was thinking of turning back, two girls encouraged me,” Reese said. “At that moment, I think I realized for the first time that you can never do anything alone. You can try as much as you want, but you will never get anywhere far without the love and support of your friends. Those two girls are what helped me finally make it to the top.” 

Quinn found it physically challenging to provide service for the community, but making connections with the people made it easier. 

It made me realize what truly matters in life isn’t the things that you have, it’s the things that you give to others,”

— junior Reese Berry

“Digging was certainly difficult, especially in the dry heat and direct sun, but it was all about connecting with the people you were working with, whether it was with members of the El Espavel community in broken Spanglish or with others from the States,” Quinn said. 

Aside from building a new water system, volunteers also interacted with the people of El Espavel. Most days, the group performed their services, then hung out with the kids of the village. 

“It was a really eye-opening experience to be able to hang out with [the kids] for the week,” Reese said. “It was so amazing to see how vulnerable the kids were and how much they just wanted to play with you, wanted you to hold them or dance.”

Although the sisters were on the same trip, they got to experience independence. 

“I think one of the best parts was that we got to be our own people and have such wonderful but different experiences doing the same things,” Reese said. 

Reese now feels very connected with the community. 

“I feel like we made a great bond with Espavel. I now know that a piece of my heart is forever there with them, and I think [the Nicaraguans] can say the same about us. I think that it was truly incredible how open they were with us, and how they wholeheartedly jumped into working alongside us,” Reese said. 

Reese encourages other students to participate in a mission trip experience.

“The experiences you will have there are unlike anything else you could ever imagine. It really made me think about all the things that I take advantage of on a day to day basis, and it made me realize what truly matters in life isn’t the things that you have, it’s the things that you give to others,” Reese said. “I now live my life in a way where I am open to others and willing to love them first. I try to give without even thinking which is what the Nicaraguans always did and what God wants for us to do.”