From Honduras to Nashville
A TRIP OF COURAGE AND LOVE
In January 2006, Nuria Rosa began her pre-med studies at Lipscomb University. She had dreamed of this day for years, but had often wondered if her dreams could ever become reality. Her first step into a Lipscomb classroom represented a new direction in her journey of hope and love-her journey from Catacamas, Honduras, to Nashville, Tennessee. The hope began when her older brother received a Lipscomb brochure from a Bible teacher in their Christian high school in Honduras. The details for his studies abroad never fully worked out. But instead of throwing it away, he left the brochure in his room. One day Nuria picked it up and knew that Lipscomb University was a place she wanted to study.
The love began with a single mother who struggled to make sure her three children could study in a bilingual Christian school. Nuria did her share to help out her mother. Being the middle child, Nuria knew the struggles of a family trying to survive after the death of her father at a young age. She did her share to help out her mother. She and a friend began a pizza-making business during their spare time. "My friend had a recipe," Nuria explains, "and we sold the pizza to our family and our teachers. We did it for years. We earned a lot of money. I wanted to help out my mother."
That determination to succeed despite her circumstances paid off for her in school. Nuria wanted to be able to continue her high school studies in a Christian school in her community. She knew that her mother struggled financially, so Nuria studied diligently to keep up her grades and maintain one of the two scholarships awarded each year to promising students. She even earned a scholarship to study in Norway for one year only to return and have to repeat the coursework when her school would not accept credits from a foreign institution.
Even after completing high school, Nuria wondered if her dream of college work in the United States would ever come true. She studied for one semester at the local state university but found only discouragement and despair there. "There weren't enough chairs there for the students," Nuria recalls. "There may be ten chairs in a room and sixty students. I took notes standing up most of the time." She also remembers the distress caused by the faculty members. "Teachers would ask for money. There was a lot of corruption in the school. Some teachers said bad words in front of the students." Nuria also remembers being discouraged because of her faith. "Some teachers are atheists and made fun of you if you were a Christian."
Nuria never gave up her dream of studying in a Christian university. That's where the hope and love of others met the hope and love of Nuria. "Our stories are woven together," says Dick Peugeot, a Lipscomb board member and a sponsor for Nuria's studies in Nashville. Peugeot still marvels at the way God brought so many people together to help bring Nuria to Nashville. She had already met John Pettit, an associate professor of electrical and computer engineering at Lipscomb, and his wife Linda in Honduras. They had been instrumental in encouraging her to apply for her scholarship to Norway and in encouraging her mother to allow her to study abroad to deepen her educational experience.
Peugeot met Nuria when he traveled to Honduras on an engineering-based mission with Lipscomb. Because she attended a bilingual school, Nuria was eligible to serve as an interpreter for mission workers who came to her community. She often worked with Predisan, a Christian mission in Catacamas that offers physical and spiritual healing to the more than 90,000 residents in the area. Peugeot had hoped to go on a mission trip through Brentwood Hills Church of Christ, but had been unable to travel due to health complications. His wife, Mary Ann, suggested that he travel with the Lipscomb team. Nuria served as an interpreter for his group. While on the trip, he heard Nuria talk about her educational dreams. He found out that she wanted to study medicine and come back to her country to serve others. He eventually asked her to write essays and compile her transcripts for him to use to check into the possibility of her studying at Lipscomb. Peugeot and his wife wrote letters hoping to officially sponsor her studies. The Peugeots set up a financial scholarship for her education at Lipscomb.
"Getting my visa was the final piece of the puzzle for me," Nuria states. "I went with my Mom and we were nervous because a lot of people in Honduras can't get them. Three people in front of me in line were denied. When it was my turn, I just told the man about my goals and my studies. I got it." Nuria remembers her mother crying at the news. Nuria was not surprised, however, that the visa came through. "It was the Lord's will and no one can stop him."
Peugeot recalls the sequence of events that occurred in order for Nuria's dream to come true. "I am in Nashville because my first wife, Margaret, was diagnosed with Lou Gehrig's disease." They moved to be closer to their children and grandchildren during her illness. Then, his second wife, Mary Ann, encouraged him to go on a mission trip with Lipscomb where he met Nuria. The Pettit family, among others, had developed a relationship with Nuria and laid the foundation for her studies abroad. "Then the pieces just fell right into place," Peugeot adds. "It is amazing to see how it all came together."
The faith of the Peugeot family led them to sponsor Nuria's studies at Lipscomb. She hopes to complete her degree at Lipscomb University and enter medical school. "I want to be a gynecologist," Nuria states with certainty. "I want to go back to Honduras and work with Predisan if they accept me. I want to go into the mountains and help women there. Women in Honduras are the last people in the family to get medical treatment. If a family can afford it, children can see a doctor. Then men get treatment because they are the workers. Women don't get much medical attention."
"The Good Lord has blessed us materially," Peugeot acknowledges. "It's wonderful to be able to give back. This is a life for Nuria." He realizes that by sponsoring Nuria, he is not only giving her a chance for an education, but he is giving hope and love to all of the people in her community. He is sponsoring someone who will in turn give back to hundreds of people in her own way. "I wish it was happening right now," Nuria excitedly adds, "but I know I have lots of studies ahead of me."
Peugeot hopes to see all of Nuria's dreams come true. "She has blessed us more than words can say," Peugeot proclaims. "It is a privilege for us to sponsor her."
Nuria adds, "This is a blessing for me. It is a dream come true. I never really thought it would happen." She courageously accepted the opportunity to come to a city that she had never seen before and study at a campus that she had only dreamed of. Many people at Lipscomb have heard her story and been inspired to become a part of her journey through prayers and financial support. Their love and faith have become woven together with her courage and hope. Together Nuria and those who support her in her dream have joined together on a journey from Catacamas to Nashville in an ongoing mission for Nuria, for her family, and for her community.