Sunday, December 21, 2008

Christmas in Villa Esperanza

Newtown Church &Villa girls singing Silent Night

We all were very blessed to have a special team from New York visit us for this Christmas season. Because of this team, the girls living in Villa Esperanza have had many “firsts” this season. First Christmas lights decorating their houses (we surprised them, you should have heard them scream), first Christmas tree, and first trip to the circus. All in one week!!! The team provided us the opportunity to have a Christmas gathering for all the girls and their families from La Chureca (the garbage dump). There were food baskets given out to the parents, presents for all the brothers and sisters, and gifts for our Villa staff as well. We also enjoyed a program of the New York team and the girls living at the Villa singing ‘Silent Night’ together in English and Spanish, and the little ones dressed up in angel costumes singing and dancing. The blessing of the evening was to see all the families gathered together, enjoying a meal, music, and prayer, truly expressing what the meaning of Christmas really is, Christ coming to earth to make us new. Our little angels
Parents from La Chureca

A few days before our Christmas party, I was honored to have a little surprise party thrown for me in the Villa. I was welcomed by all the girls singing Happy Birthday while holding a huge chocolate cake! The singing was followed by gathering in a circle, praying and having the girls bless me with a foot washing. I cried, of course. To see Gloria and Wilbert lead these girls in the ways of Christ, and to see the girls happily follow is just amazing. You can see the Lord’s work right in front of your eyes.
Birthday foot washing

This wonderful event was then followed by me getting the chicken pox the next day. Apparently you can get them twice….I sit here writing this letter struggling not to scratch. If you are wondering how I got them, about 6 girls at the Villa have been passing ‘varicela’ (Spanish for chicken pox) around for about a month. It was just a matter of time I suppose.
The week before Christmas will be busy with shopping, wrapping and organizing gifts to give to around 300 children and adults from other ministries Forward Edge International works with. What a joy it is to see the happy faces of the kids and the grateful faces of the adults. A special night out with the girls and house mothers is also planned. This will be a chance for them to wear new party dresses a generous couple from Portland offered to buy them while visiting us in Managua.
Thank you all for your prayers and support over the last year. Especially to my family, their words of encouragement and comfort keep me going through good and bad. I miss you more than you know. I love you.
Merry Christmas to all!!!!

Monday, November 24, 2008

Learning In the Villa

It was a wonderful blessing to be able to visit the States once again. It was great to see a lot of you and hear the plans for your return to Nicaragua. Thank you for the support you have provided the last year and a half. It is such a comfort to know the family you left behind prays for you every day.
I returned to Nicaragua with the news that my co-worker’s father passed away suddenly while attending a function in Villa Esperanza. Most of her family and many of her friends were in attendance. Please keep her and her family in your prayers, especially her mother.

We are also in the time of final exams for the school year for the girls living in Villa Esperanza. Mornings are filled with chores and studying. Many are learning to read for the first time with the help of local tutoring. School will finish Friday November 25th and resume again in February 2009. On the schedule for the girls are days filled with native dance classes, tutoring, jewelry and greeting card making, cooking classes and the excitement or teams coming in December and January. All this mixed in with visits with their families. Our December teams will help provide a Christmas celebration for the girls and their families, with gifts for them and their siblings. What fun it will be to see all the kids together with their families on such a special day.

This past week we had a foster care specialist, Denise Gibson, return to visit and asses the Villa and it operation. She was very impressed by the programs in place and to see the girls flourishing in their new environment. She had visited this last February to teach a seminar on foster care. What a blessing to have her back!!!! To have her eyes see the things that we don’t. She was able to talk to the girls’ one on one and really listen to how the girls are adjusting and what their goals are for the future. We were also blessed to have a meeting with the parents of the girls and ask what changes they see in their daughters and to encourage them to tell their daughters they are proud of them. The parents are very grateful to have their girls living in the Villa and seemed to be interested in changing their lives as well. They wanted to know what they can do differently as parents!!!! I was moved by this revelation in them. They were asking for parenting classes!!! This has been one of the goals we have been praying about. And they are asking!! God is Good! I am happy to report Denise sees the girls as adjusting in a very healthy way. We are all hoping to see her return soon.

I have joined a new Bible study with a group of North American women. Most of who are missionaries. Although we are going to break for the holidays, I am happy to meet and fellowship with new friends. Salsa dance classes have filled my Wednesday evenings for the last two weeks as well. I am behind 3 classes, but have picked it up quite quickly (or so they are telling me)!
I am going to miss being home for the holidays, but am looking forward to spending it with friends and my girls at the Villa!!
· Gloria and her family feel the comfort of the Lord during this very difficult time.
· Girls and missing their families during vacation and the parents understanding and open minds.
· Economic and political issues both in Nicaragua and the US.
· Praise God that Denise was able to come and connect with the girls form the Villa. Pray for her return and blessings upon her family.
· For my family and me as this will be the first time I will be away for the Holidays.
Dios les Bendiga!!!

Tuesday, September 30, 2008

New Addition to the Family

Hey everyone!! We just had our last team until December leave on Saturday. And we are all getting back into normal life with out teams. If you call that normal. The girls at the Villa are doing very well. We have a a woman from New York here teaching jewelery making until this Saturday. She has taught the older girls at the Villa and is visiting a small pueblo called Motastepe. All this in hopes that the ones that learn can teach others and start a business. We are also teaching the older girls from the Villa greeting card embroidery. A local woman has held one class with the girls and we will have another class coming up this Friday.
Last Sunday night, we all had dinner together at the Villa with the girls, Gloria, Wilbert and many of the workers from the Villa. After dinner we had a time of prayer led by Wilbert. I was amazed when all the girls, including the little ones were silent during his prayer. Many of them were brought to tears. He prayed for their families, and he prayed for their relationships with each other. The two houses have become somewhat competitive, and it was causing division in among them. We ended in a circle holding hands and hugging each other telling them we love them. These are the moments when you KNOW God is in this place and touching each and every girl. It was truly a special night.

On a personal note, I have a new addition to my family. Her name is Lucy.

She is the cutest thing I have ever seen. She is really good and obedient!!! She has done a lot of learning on her own. I am truly blessed to have her.

Prayer requests:

  • Praise God for the work He has done in the lives of the team members who have visited. And that He gives them wisdom and guidance as to what to do with the experience He has given them.
  • Praise Him for the people He sends to Nicaragua to help.
  • Pray for the health of Gloria and her pregnancy.
  • Pray that He would draw me to His heart and bring me out of the desert I feel I am in.
  • Praise Him that He is a God of Mercy and Forgiveness.
  • Pray for my friend Lisa's adoption of 3 children from Vida Nueva. Pray for quick resolution and that all the children will be ready to go with her at the same time.

Thank you all for your support and prayers.

Love in Christ,


Thursday, September 18, 2008

I know you have a lot of questions concerning how the girls living in Villa Esperanza were chosen. What the age limits are and if we will ever house boys from the dump. The ages for the girls right now are 5 yrs old to 16 yrs old. We have one girl in high school, with another that will graduate from primary school and move on to high school. The girls were chosen by an application and interview process. The announcement went out to families whose children attend the school in the dump (La Chureca). The applications were filled out, Gloria along with the principal of the school, held interviews with the parents to find out what the immediate need was for their daughters. The needs ranged from emergency safety issues, to families who just didn’t want their daughter or could not provide for them. After much prayer and deliberation, the first sixteen were chosen. The parents have agreed to let their girls live in the Villa for a minimum of 3 years, with the possibility of them living there until they graduate high school and/or college. We are hoping to be able to work with local communities, churches, companies and schools to help maximize the education the girls will get and for them to realize their employability. Also by adding a vocational center in the Villa we will be able to teach basic skill sets to help the girls reach their full potential and to give them a chance to not just survive in the outside world but to thrive in the outside world.

I was asked a question by a friend, and she wanted to know how the girls responded to having teams stay at the Villa all summer long. I will tell you that they said over and over again that they missed the teams and wanted to know when then next teams were coming. Some of the older girls help work in the kitchen and do some basic housekeeping. This allows them to learn responsibility and work ethic. All while developing relationships with locals that work in the Villa. They also are able to see positive and healthy relationships between men and women and boys and girls with the youth teams that visit. They are taught boundaries and are held accountable for their behavior. These are all things that they may have only seen while at school in the dump. Now they can live it. Besides all the life skills, they are receiving a ton of love!!!!! And they have made many friends who want to keep in contact with them.

If you are interested in helping and keeping in contact with any of these special girls please visit Forward Edge's website (there is a link above) and click on their Child Sponsorship program.

Here are a few pictures, above and below, of the girls with teams, see for yourself how happy they are!!!

Monday, September 15, 2008

Villa Esperanza's Sweet 16

Hi everyone!!! I am back again with another update! Can you believe it!!! I want to update you all on Villa Esperanza and the first 16 girls who live there.

The girls (pictured above along with their house mothers) moved in July 1, 2008. They were moved into their new homes by their parents. The moms and dads were able to see the brand new houses, bedrooms, bathrooms and kitchens. They slept for the first time in new bunk beds with new sheets. Some of them took showers in a tiled shower for the first time ever. Some had never seen a shower or experienced how a shower works. After a little encouragement, they worked through their fear of the falling water and enjoyed the newness of it all.

The first few days were filled with tears and homesickness as the girls realized the separation from their families was real. But with lots of love and prayer the homesickness has turned in joy and happiness. The girls have many opportunities to see their families as they return to the dump everyday to attend school. If the parents so wish they can visit their daughters everyday. When school is out for a few days there are arranged visits and even overnights scheduled for the girls. Where the girls are allowed to return to the dump and spend the night with their families.

A few days ago Gloria and Wilbert had a family meeting with the parents and shared with them the changes in the girls, the activities planned for them, the help that has been provided for them and so on. The parents shared with Gloria and Wilbert the changes that they see in their daughters and what a blessing it is that their daughters were chosen to live at Villa Esperanza. One father shared with Wilbert that he knew this was the right place for his daughter because she told her dad she has never been happier in her life. And her dad said he knew this was true because he sees her smiling and happy all the time. Something she wasn't before. I know these parents are missing their children, but praise God that they are allowing their loved ones to have the chance a a better life. And through this new life pray the parents in turn want a better life for themselves.

This is a short update...will return with more...feel free to post any questions you may have or email me at and I will happy to incorporate the answers in a new update.

Tuesday, September 02, 2008

Bitter Sweet

The teams have come and gone for the season, and I am finding myself going through withdrawal. FEI in Nicaragua, hosted 14 short term mission teams in 10 weeks. That makes around 300 people. Teams traveled from all over the U.S. Florida, Texas, Washington, Oregon, New York and so on. These teams worked on various projects. From beautifying and ministering to women, helping waterproof houses in the garbage dump, construction work in Villa Esperanza to medical check-ups in Leon, Nicaragua. They were they first to stay in Villa Esperanza and test out the new team home accommodations, they camped in a field, stayed in a very modest and primitive hotel (this time with lights and w/out cockroaches).

In a city called Rio Blanco, 4 hours northeast of Managua, we took a youth team from Edmonds, WA . We were met by the Mayor of the city and had a TV interview for the local news. Our project was helping clean the city. Which consisted mostly of picking up garbage along the city streets. The locals wanted to know why we would come all the way from the US to pick up garbage in their little city. It was our way of helping support a local Verbo Church and to let them know there are people who care for them around the world.

Another team from Gulf Gate Church in Sarasota, FL provided us with a more intimate experience. A small team of five. But what they lacked in numbers they made up for in work!! These men are looking into the new beginnings of an out house that was about 20 ft deep at the time, soon to be 30 ft deep. They say this hole will last around 25 years!!!!! We were in a town called Motastepe, just on the outskirts of Managua, Nicaragua. There is a local church there we are trying to help support. Gulf Gate Church has also donated the money to buy the pastor of this church a house for his family. The photo above is a team member cleaning up after a long day of painting the new house.

We were also blessed to have 2 youth teams come from South Lake Foursquare Church in Westlinn, OR be our last teams of the season. They did an amazing job of waterproofing houses in the garbage dump with sheets of black plastic. Each team finished about 8 houses each with plastic left over to give the locals to help other families in need. These teams also helped with projects in Villa Esperanza to help us get ready to build another children's home and to prepare for the official Villa open house coming up in late September.

Although I am happy to get the much needed rest from hosting and managing the teams, it is bitter sweet not to see my friends from the states and the Nicaraguans I consider family everyday.

I had planned to add more pics of people we worked with this summer but have seem to misplaced them and have since removed them from my memory card, so here are just 2 friends. Mario is an interpreter we have worked with since March, great kid, hard worker and loves to help his people(notice his shirt!!That was sent by a youth team from Portland) The other is my friend Donna who the Lord sent me just when I needed a friend. Thanks Donna.....

That's all for now. Next post I will update you all on Villa Esperanza and the 16 girls that have been living there since July 1. They have told me they miss the teams too.


  • Praise God for the Villa and a safe place for these girls to live.
  • Praise Him that he knows us so well and He provides in His perfect timing.
  • Pray for the Villa girls sponsorship program at Forward Edge International.
  • Pray that we, the field staff would get the rest we need before the next team comes.
  • Pray for the travel of all the visitors who will come to the Villa open house.

Saturday, August 02, 2008

Long time, no blog....

I want to apologize to everyone for not writing to you all since Christmas. I would normally have some sort of excuse, this time, I have none. Except for the fact I am computer illiterate and was having trouble with blogging. This blog site has become much more user friendly. Praise God!!!

I also want to share that we, Forward Edge International, have been EXTREMELY busy here in Nicaragua. As a lot of you who have visited this summer already know. Due to this fact, I will not be able to blog again for awhile. I do have a desire to be more connected with all of you as I have decided to stay in Nicaragua indefinitely. Yes, that's right, I call this home now.

I was blessed to visit the States in June for my nephew Jeff's graduation from high school. It was a surprise to most of my family and friends. I am not sure when I will return, but am blessed to have the opportunity to visit.

I will contact you all when I am able to blog what has been going on this summer. We have a number of new projects that have begun. Our major project, Villa Esperanza, has opened and we have 16 girls living there from la Chureca (the garbage dump). They moved in about a month ago and are doing very well. We are also hosting many FEI teams on the propery as well. It has been a learning experience and thank you to all that have participated in making the Villa a success.

Thank you for your patience and understanding.

Prayer requests:

  • Praise God for the 16 girls now living in Villa Esperanza. He truly has saved their lives.
  • Pray for their spiritual health, mental health and physical health.
  • The father of two of the girls has passed away recently, please pray for their mother who is living in the dump right now.
  • Pray for the FEI home office, there has been many changes and a lot of work added. Prasie God that He is using FEI in a Mighty way.
  • Pray for our staff here in Nicaragua. We are tired.......Priase God He our Strength and Rest.

Love you all,