Monday, December 14, 2009

I was blessed to be able to come back to the US for Thanksgiving Day and a visit with my family and friends. It was wonderful to come home, rest and relax... a little. Although it was a little chilly, the days were sunny and clear. There are no mountains in Nicaragua like our mountains especially with snow. I miss snow. When the time came to go home to Nica (I like having two homes :) I was ready for the warm weather, shorts and flip flops. I was welcomed by my Nica family and all the girls living at The Village of Hope. I then realized how much I had missed them.

Since being back in Nicaragua we have been busy welcoming a new missionary who is going to work with FEI and The Village of Hope for a three month trial period, looking ahead to a year or two commitment. She is adjusting quite well and the girls are really enjoying her friendship. We have decorated the Village with Christmas lights(thanks Dad!) , a tree, stockings and garland. We all enjoy sitting on the porches of the homes basking in the glow of the lights.

Also, we had two of the older girls graduate from primary school. Monica and Martha, along with their mother and sister had a graduation ceremony much like we have for middle school kids.And two of our younger girls from The Village of Hope danced during the graduation program. It was hard for some as this means they will no longer attend the primary school inside the city garbage dump. They will miss their teachers and their friends next year when they move on to secondary school, which is much like our high school. They know they will go together to school next year, but are nervous to meet new teachers and make new friends. Plus they will be taking the public bus and no longer be driven to school. They are growing up, that is for sure!! We are very proud of them and we are grateful to God that they are maturing and growing in Him.

Thank you to my family for making my time in the states such a great time, I love you. Thank you Summit View for your support, prayerfully and financially. I would not be here if it wasn't for your blessings!!

Thank you all for your support!!

    Maria Celeste as a mermaid

Martha and her mom and teacher.

Monica and her sister and teacher.

Karla (a girl from the dump) and me.

Martha and Monica
my dad and me

Wednesday, September 30, 2009

And the Summer Comes to an End (did I mention the girls LOVE to swim?)

The last teams of the summer had a wonderful time with the girls swimming! Lot's of swimming! We went to a waterpark outside of Managua called Hertylandia. This was built years ago, and now even though it shows a little bit of age, it still has three functioning water slides! The girls had a time going down frontwards, backwards, stomachwards, sidewards, and trainwards (I think at one point there was a train of at least eight people)! And for those who had some fear of the slides it was an opportunity to develop  trust and improve their swimming skills.


We also had the pleasure of going to the beach. A favorite of ours! The water was amazingly warm, and the current was perfect for playing in the waves. I stayed out playing far longer than the team!
We played, we laughed and we ate. There were horse back rides and quad rides as well. But most of all I think the girls just loved being in the pool. The freedom of swimming is something they love to feel. And of course on the way home after a long hard day at the beach, the bus falls asleep. This is one of my favorite sights. The bus is quiet and all you hear are the cobblestones under the bus tires, purring everyone to sleep.


In the middle of the last two teams I had to leave the country for three days to renew my visa. I decided to go to Costa Rica. Specifically a place called Playa Hermosa. I had wanted to drive my own car, but when I got the list of requirements I needed to fulfill to get permission to take it to CR, I decided it was easier to take the bus. It's not a long ride, just the border wait can be annoying. (Next time I will do what I need to do to take my car). Most of my time there was just resting and doing LAUNDRY hahaha! I don't have a washing machine so I took my dirty clothes, because the little casita had a washer and dryer. What a treat!! (I get excited about the strangest things!) It was a good time to rest and rejuvenate!

And as for my life at home, I have moved into a smaller and less expensive house. It is in a development of about 50-60 small homes. The homes here are more 'apartment' size. It is perfect for Lucy and me. There is a good size backyard for her to play and run and, I am now finding out, dig... The homes are guarded 24-7 by 3-4 guards each shift. I feel safe and at peace. I shared a house before and am missing a few creature comforts. One being a washing machine. I have been washing my clothes 'por mano' like the locals. It was fun at first, but I cringe when I have to wash sheets and towels. Have you ever tried to wash sheets and towels by hand? The postive side is that it is exercise and my arms are stronger. I will have to invest in a washing machine soon, bigger muscles or not. As you can see below Lucy is doing great. She really is a sweet blessing. She is very independent, brushing her own teeth (hahaha) and bringing the outside in to help her feel more comfy (yes she dragged that branch in through the little door opening).  I thank God for her everyday! She has been the perfect companion.

Since the team season has been over, we have been winding down with the girls. Getting back to a regular schedule of homework, chores and fun. We have begun to embroider Christmas cards again. The older giirls have been teaching the little girls how to make the cards all on their own. This has been a prayer of mine. That the girls would reach out to one another without prompting. The have really grown into a family.
We have another girl moving into the Villa, taking Rosa's place. Rosa decided to leave and go back home a few months ago. It was a challenge for her to have structure and discipline in her life. I am sure she missed her home too. We miss her very much.
Maria is due to move in any day now. She has visited the Villa with her mom and has spent a weekend with us. The older girls took her under their wing, especially Sara and Karina. They reached out and really tried to help her feel welcome. I just found out that she slept on the floor for the nights she stayed. Simply because she is not used to sleeping in a bed. This is just one example of challenges some of the girls face when they move in with us.We are excited to have Maria and anticipating what the Lord will do in her life.
During the slow times without teams, I have been able to rest and get caught up with paperwork and communication. To spend more time with friends nurturing those relationships the Lord has blessed me with. Most of all it has been a time to catch up with the Lord. It is hard when the 'busyness' gets in the way, or rather I let it get in the way, to have that intimate time with Him with no time restraints. I desire more of this in my daily life. Please pray for this time with Him for me.
The girls will be ending their school year in November. We are going to begin a vocational program at the Villa for the girls during their vacation. I will keep you updated on this program. I am excited to see what talents and gifts each girl has and what they will find joy in doing.

  • Pray for Maria and her family, as well as the girls living in the Villa, as Maria moves in a joins our family.
  • Praise Him for the changes He has made in the hearts of girls already. Pray their hearts would be softened more and open to His love and healing.
  • Pray the vocational program would be successful, wisdom for myself as I take the lead of this program.
  • Pray for Forward Edge International as they move forward with funding campaigns.
  • Pray for our staff at Villa Esperanza. That our team would be united in Christ, lead by God and prayer would be our priority.
Thank you all for your prayers!!!

Monday, September 07, 2009

All in a Summer's Work II

After my brother David left to go back to the States, our team season began. It started later than usual due to teams having to drop out due to the economy. Yes, we feel the pinch, or rather punch down here as well. We had teams from the North West, Texas, Virginia, Florida and New York. Nine teams in seven weeks...not bad at all. Our first teams worked here in Managua. We often work with a church called El Faro, a church that ministers specifically to the community of people that live and work in the city's garbage dump. Most of our work involved covering family homes with plastic to help keep the rain out during rainy season, serving food at a feeding center El Faro has established inside the dump, and working on the church property itself. The Pastor and his team have an amazing ministry coming out of this church. In the past year and a half they have encouraged the people of this community that they have worth and are children of God. They have begun home groups, job training, and micro business just to name a few programs available to these church members. Forward Edge is blessed to be able to be a part of this ministry.
We also worked at a local public school called Cama de Piedras or "Chiquilistagua". They have recently been given ownership of the property the school is on and it is much need of repairs and maintenance. A team from Canada earlier this year donated enough money to put new glass in the windows, new plumbing outdoors, and to replace two toilets and sinks so the students would not have to go to the bathroom behind the building in a ditch. One of our first teams painted a colorful mural in one of the classrooms, dug ditches to lay new pipe for clean water, trimmed bushes, cut grass and moved yard debris. Of course saving time in the afternoon to play with the kids.
July came and that meant four days of camping in Leon, Nicaragua. Leon is about an hour outside of the main city Managua. If you know me, you know I am not a camper! Ohhhh the sacrifice!  But I loved every minute! Camping with a team full of Texans is an experience like never (in a good way), and the rewards that came out of it made every dirty, dusty excruciatingly hot day worth it! We offered a medical clinic, working with two Nicaraguan doctors with a pharmacy, attending to around 100-120 people per day. We cut hair (okay, Mark cut hair), expanded the church building using good old fashioned construction techniques, did crafts with hundreds of kids, washed and styled hair and gave out school shoes. At the end of every day we took bucket showers, ate dinner prepared by a professional chef :), and had fellowship with kids and neighbors that attend the church. Then went to bed on our tent city (my tent broke the first hour we were there!! but still worked). The bonds that come out of an experience like this are amazing and I am truly blessed to be a part of this work.

At least someone enjoyed my tent!
These were the adventures of the first few teams. I was not with every team as we had scheduled multiple teams during the same time. This year I missed my dear friends from Edmunds WA, as a good friend Katie McGrew and her family came down and lived in Nica for two months to help with teams. She was taking care of the teams I was not able to be with. Thank you McGrew family! You all were a true blessing to our ministry.
                                                Josh and Maggie McGrew playing at he Villa.

  • Praise God for all the volunteers He sent to help Nicaragua.
  • Pray HE reveals the purpose of their short term mission trip to all the servants this summer.
  • Pray churches, teams and individuals step out in Faith to send or join teams for next year.
Next installment coming soon!!

Friday, September 04, 2009

All in a Summer's Work

 The summer started with a visit from my brother David. He came to finish building the kitchen in our Rancho and the kitchens in the two new girls homes at Villa Esperanza. He originally came to stay for two weeks, little did he know he would live here for a month. He finished the kitchen in the Rancho just in time for our first team to arrive. And let me tell you how happy our kitchen staff was!! He also built a bathroom with two new stalls in the Rancho, helped build and finish two kitchen islands in the new girls homes. All the while teaching and mentoring Reynaldo, one of our workers here at the Villa. What a blessing it was to have David here at the Villa for a long visit. We did have a few days off to go sight seeing and visit some places that are not on the usual short term mission team schedule. He got to taste a little of the daily life here in Nica.
David w/ Cori and Flor de Lis in their new kitchen.
Also during David's stay we hosted a Family Day celebration in Villa Esperanza as well. We partnered with El Faro church, a church that ministers to the community that lives in and around Managua's city dump.We expected almost 400 people to fill our village to help celebrate. And almost all showed up!! We had great time of worship, a message was presented on family values, lunch and fellowship, games and fun for the kids. But I think the adults had just as much fun!
Girls living at Villa Esperanza dancing in worship.
We took pics of ourselves...
 played on the playground...
 ate together... (Pastor Ramon and his wife Miriam)
We raced in potato sacks...
and walked blindfolded learning to trust.
 We made friends (Gloria's nephew Alex and my bro Dave)..
 and we gave out Coke's as prizes!!
We had a wonderful time just laughing and being together. The summer season was coming soon and we were preparing for 3 months of hosting God sent visitors. Now I know summer is over, but this is mi time to get caught up and update you all on the last four months of happenings for me in Nica. Please forgive the late  but, better late than never, updates.The next installment coming soon!
  • Praise God for the moments He gives to spend time with our friends and family.
  • Praise Him for every new day of life.
  • Pray for FEI's field staff in Nica for wisdom and guidance as we choose a new girl to move into the Villa.
  • Pray the Lord would prepare her heart as well as her family's.

Wednesday, March 04, 2009

In the Future

It was nice to travel back to Nicaragua with two friends from the Forward Edge home office that were joining us down in Village of Hope to help plan for the future. We arrived at the Village and we were greeted by the wind blowing and the sun shining. A team from New York was holding teacher training classes for the teachers from the dump school. All the girls were off school and playing on the playground. And a back- hoe, yes, I said back-hoe clearing the land for the next two girls homes!! The Village was bustling with all types of activity. Since there was no school, children from the dump were bused in for afternoons of sports camps help in the open field near the back of the property. It was wonderful to hear the shouts and the laughter coming from the kids all day, knowing that the possibility of some of the girls who came to visit for the day will soon call the Village their home.
Our future planning involves the possibility of buying an adjacent property to the Village which will have a medical clinic, vocational center, missionary training and housing and a small guest home. The idea of opening this area to the community is a great vision FEI has for the Village of Hope. To offer training and education for those that live around the Village will fill a great need in the community.
New construction on girl's home #3.

Thank you to all who wrote letters and sent pictures to the girls of the Village. They have enjoyed receiving greetings and treats from all of you, especially the ones they have met before. They really feel special and are realizing there is a possibility for future relationships. They love to see pictures of your families and, of course, of themselves. This, I believe, boosts their self-esteem every day.

Martha reading a letter from my home church.

This week its back to school and a daily routine for us all as we anticipate and plan for our next team March 10th. A group of fourteen women ages 23 -69, are coming to minister to women. Women here Nicaragua love their girl time too.
Please pray with me:
· Preparation for the next 16 girls moving into the Village and their family’s hearts.
· Construction would be smooth and timely.
· Gloria’s health as she comes into the final 2 months of her pregnancy.
· A re-invigorated relationship with the Lord for all of us serving him here in Nicaragua.

Monday, January 19, 2009

A Look Back At 2008

I don't want to use many words, the pictures speak for themselves. Thank you to all who helped support this wonderful project and who helped support me personally these last two years.
God Bless you!

The first homes in Villa Esperanza are built.

The first 16 girls moved in to their new homes July 1, 2008.

A day at the beach for the girls: Maria Celeste, Alondra,
Julieth, Betty, Ana, Erminia, Brittany, Xochilt.

Dance class at Villa Esperanza.
Homework time with Alondra and Xochilt.
Ana, Brittany Perla, Erminia and Karina.

Washing the Villa dog, Milo with Wilbert, Monica Scarleth and Betty.

Brittany and me.

Baptisms: Karina and Pastor Ron and Ramon




Graduation from primary school: Roberto, Perla and Gloria.

Making new friends: Jose Ramon and girls from Motastepe.

Privilege of the girls washing my feet for my birthday.
New Christmas dresses for everyone!! Thank you Nick and Johnna.

Christmas caroling with Newtown Church!!!

Lights at every rotunda.

Out searching for Christmas lights with Hazel, Hope and Elizabeth.

Maria Celeste, Alondra, and Brittany our angels.

Christmas time in Quinta Malu, my home.

My new home.

My new puppy Lucy.