Nicaragua Project transforms lives here, abroad - WSFA.com Montgomery Alabama news.

Nicaragua Project transforms lives here, abroad

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NASHVILLE, TN (WSMV) -

It's the time of the year for giving and sharing with those less fortunate.

One post-Christmas Nashville tradition is something called the "Mission Trip."

The Nicaragua Project is now 25 years old. People go talk about transforming lives for generations to come.

This year 4WARN Weather Chief Meteorologist Lisa Spencer will head to one of the poorest countries in the world.

It is an extraordinary commitment that never falters. For 25 years Christ United Methodist Church in Franklin has gone to the same ramshackle part of Nicaragua and made it a better place.

Gene Cotton, a singer, songwriter and activist, was there in year one.

"Every single kid who went on that trip either changed careers, changed direction in their life," said Cotton. "One kid came home, sold all of his Christmas presents and sent money to Nicaragua."

Cotton goes every year. He has seen kindergarten kids destined for poverty go to dental school.

Miracles like that caught the ear and heart of Spencer, who on the day after Christmas takes her children to one of the poorest places in the hemisphere.

"If you can see one child not have to go to work when they are 10 years old and maybe go on and further their education. Wow! What a blessing to be a part of something like that. It's really fantastic," said Spencer. "It's so heartwarming and very inspiring and I want to be a part of that and want my children to be a part of that experience with a community that's so far away."

Spencer has heard about the Nicaragua Project for years. She heard the stories of transformation and now wants it to be part of her family's story.

Cotton understands and has a saying: "You can't change the whole world, but you can change the world for somebody."

The Nicaragua Project has a way of changing those who serve too.

"They have nothing. They have absolutely nothing and yet they're the happiest people in the world," said Cotton. "I've got nothing and I'm not sure where my next meal is coming from and I'm out there with a smile on my face and we're having a good time with people. That's an amazing thing."

Spencer will tell you she is not the tool belt type, but she is ready to paint and hammer and love on these people.

Cotton is bringing in Art Garfunkel to the Franklin Theatre in late January as a fundraiser for the Nicaragua Project. The shows are almost sold out before being announced to the public.

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