Through Christ Who Strengthens Me

Abigail’s leadership philosophy statement and reflection, that she wrote and shared during the 2020 Seattle Institute Graduation Ceremony:

My name is Abigail Hernandez from NPH Nicaragua, and I am a university graduate with a degree in sustainable tourism.

I still remember the first moments in Seattle when I stepped into SeaTac airport together with Alexis, Jazmin and David; we all were sooo tired after our long journey, yet we were excited for the start of our next chapter in our lives here. Time has flown by so quickly!!! In these past, short, ten months, I have learned so much and I am so happy for the knowledge and experience I have gained.

I wish we were having this celebration together in person, I guess that was not God’s plans for us. He knew better and He had his reasons. I am just grateful to God for this rewarding, enriching, life giving, and just unforgettable opportunity in my life. I have learned so many valuable life lessons, from my homestay parents Mona and John Fonseca, our coordinator Erin Egge, Perennial instructors, Priti, Izumi and Britt, my mentor, Kay Bodmer and last but not the least my peers, Alexis, Jazmin and David. I am taking with me all these life lessons because I am quite sure they will contribute to my growth as a person and as a professional as well.

I would like to share one such life lesson with you today.  One day, in one of our workshops we were asked to define the vision we had for each of our respective lives. That question made me reflect on how preoccupied I am in trying to achieve short-term goals without connecting them to the vision that I had for my future-self.  Warren Bennis once said, “Leadership is the capacity to translate vision into reality,’’ when I heard this quote, it made me think as a person and as a leader I need to better define my vision in life. So, I decided to write my thoughts down and I would like to share it with you today. I see myself as a woman willing to serve God and others, resilient, independent, enterprising, never forgetting where I come from and always preserving the values ​​that my parents and my NPH family instilled in me. I have discovered that I also want to be the type of leader who cares about the well-being of others and always seeks to bring out the best version of those who matter to me.

One of the places that I will be putting my vision into practice is in NPH Nicaragua, since I will be supporting my NPH family in the department of communication and wherever else I am needed. I also plan on supporting my little brothers and sisters by developing relationships with them by listening, understanding, and advising them to help them grow and navigate problems. I am glad that I am returning to Nicaragua with new perspective on my future plans.

Before I close, I especially want to thank my homestay family, the Fonsecas, who have been my mentors, best friends, and without the tiniest doubt, my parents here, in Seattle. You two have taken care of me as your own daughter. John, Mona, Joplin, and Aries, I love you sooo much.

I also want to thank Erin for all the work she has done for us and all the people who supported me and encouraged me to apply for this program. My parents, Elias and Damaris, my bother Joel, my best friend Xochitl and my confidant Luis Alejandro.

Thanks for joining us today and celebrate our graduation this way. I would like to end by sharing my favorite verse from the bible,

I Can Do All Things Through Christ Who Strengthens Me! ~ Philippians 4:13

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