Wednesday, May 14, 2014

For he was looking forward to the city with foundations, whose architect and builder is God.-Hebrews 11:10

Construction of the new building for the vocational school at Betania Iglesia where Cory will be teaching is well under way. The work has been extremely hard since the beginning stages of the work has been done during hottest time of the year. The men have worked diligently in order to get the cement poured before the impending rains come, which will be a welcome relief. Many people from the church are volunteering their time to help, including Carlito, who is around 80 years old.
Deep footings have been placed in order to protect from future earthquakes.
Early stages of the shop
We recently held swimming classes in the farm's cistern for women and children who wanted to learn. This is crucial because many Nicaraguans are afraid of the water. They experience flash flooding on a regular basis and almost every family has lost a relative or friend to drowning. We were able to give the students in our class some comic relief by teaching them they didn't need to panic, because in two feet of water, all they had to do was stand up! Five of the students learned to swim for the first time and many others overcame their fears.  

Alexandra, age 19, with her daughters age 3 and 4 and their friends.
The farm's cistern has been a great
place to cool off during the hottest
part of the year.  Especially for those that
haven't had running water all month!

This month Cory has started to teach 
both Gavin and Caleb how to drive. 
 Please pray for everyone's safety!

In Nicaragua, an average family of five spends about $1 day to purchase their firewood, up to 20% of their income. Other families cut down trees and carry the wood long distances on their backs. Children are often burned by the exposed fires and women spend their days in the hot, smoke-filled kitchens that have no chimneys or other forms of exhaust from the smoke. Around the world, over 2 million women and children die yearly from inhaling the smoke from cooking fires. 

The Coci-Nica uses one-third of the amount firewood, vs. a traditional cooking fire; it emits very little smoke, cooks much faster; it is protected from the wind and is safer for children.  It can burn firewood of any size, from large chunks to small twigs and cooks up to 5 gallons of food.  The Coci-Nica last for many years and saves the average family about $150 each year. We want to introduce the Coci-Nica into our community and other rural communities.  In order to accomplish this we will need your help. Please consider donating $10 to buy two Coci-Nicas for us to distribute to a deserving family.

An average cooking fire
As many of you know, last month hundreds of earthquakes rattled Nicaragua.  In the Los Brasiles area, the damage was severe.  Because this is already an impoverished area, buildings often aren't made with proper reinforcements.   We are working with the #104 Compassion site and The Summit Church to get help to those that have lost their homes completely. We toured the site earlier this week, in order to assess the damage.  Below are a few pictures of what we saw there.  
The walls of these houses now sway back and forth, like a cardboard house. Another quake could send them toppling over on whomever is inside. 
Many families are sleeping outside.
Last month, we featured a Compassion child named Victor. He is sponsored by Amber, a member of The Summit Church, and she had the privilege of meeting him in person last month. His home was completely leveled during the quakes. He was sleeping outside in this shelter, but because he is a Compassion child, the project was able to build his family a more stable temporary shelter. The rainy season began May 1 and they needed to stay dry. They hope to rebuild their former home one day soon, but for the moment they are safe.

Only one wall remains of the former house.

The new shelter Compassion built is large enough for two beds.

The grandma still sleeps outside at night when it is not raining.

At Compassion: classes are held outside for fear of unsafe
building conditions at the school.
Ways to help this month:

Contribute to construction costs! Phase 1 is complete on the new vocational school, but we are waiting on funding before we move on to Phase 2.

Equip the woodshop with tools! Cory needs funds to buy a table saw before the shop can be fully operational.

Sponsor a coci-nica for a Mother's Day gift for a local woman at $5 each. (Mother's Day is May 30 in Nicaragua.)

Sponsor a Compassion child or make a one time donation to the rebuilding effort in Los Brasiles. Contact us for more details on how to do either option.

Please keep our community in your prayers. There is a very bad stomach flu which has put many of our students in the hospital this week.

Saturday, April 12, 2014

Do not be afraid...

We were so excited last month to host the second team from The Summit Church. It encourages us so much to have our home church share our passion for Nicaragua.

While they were here, we hosted an event for the youth that included baseball, swimming, pizza, and a time to worship together. Bradley Fulp and Amber Mowery shared the story of what God is doing in their life with their new friends.


Chris formed a new relationship with Saul,
a youth from the church. He persuaded him
to begin studying English and maybe even
finish secondary school one day.

We also hosted an event for the children in the community after church. My English students had a chance to try out their new vocabulary with the team. I was very proud of them!

The men cleared the trees and stumps on Monday morning and broke ground for the new building. The women helped with the preschool classes.

The official ground breaking ceremony of the new classroom building was sponsored by Coca-Cola, according to some of the boys on the job. 
The foundation materials for building have been delivered! The construction will begin after Holy Week.

The church ladies cooked a large dinner for a party at our house on the last night. Mary was always surprised at the adventurous meat choices.

Machismo crosses cultural lines. 

The whole team with Pastor Emilio and his wife, Mayra.

On the final day, the team visited a Compassion project in Los Brasiles, a very poor community outside the capital city. Two of the team members have sponsored children at the site who were able to meet them that day. We had the privilege of delivering several gift bags from sponsors at The Summit Church to their children as well.

Amy also met her Compassion child, Devlin. She was just in time for his birthday.
We took the children and their families to lunch at a chicken restaurant. They had never been to a restaurant before and were very excited. We let them order as much chicken as they could eat, along with ice cream and Coke. The sponsors even sent home "to go" bags of chicken for the rest of the family.

Amber with her sponsored child, Victor, and his family.

 The story of Victor's family was particularly heart wrenching. He lives with his 19 year old mother, grandmother, baby brother, and 10 year old "uncle". The grandmother works so hard for the whole family that you can see the proof of this when you look at her hands. Her fingernails are almost nonexistent after years of scrubbing and cleaning as an occupation. The daughter's occupation was questionable considering what she was wearing and the fact that her oldest child was 8 years old. They live a life of pure survival.

We saw this name painted on the back of their house and asked about the significance of it. It was done by the grandmother's 14 year old son before he was tragically killed. At this point, she started to cry and so did the rest of us who were there. Despite the struggles Victor's family endures daily, they picked jocotes and green mangoes from their trees and offered them to us to show their hospitality and gratefulness, a perfect example of Nicaraguan culture.

Their story is tragic, but there is hope at the end of it. Victor and his 10 year old uncle, Felix, are in the Compassion project. The youngest boy, who has hair the color of a malnourished child, is being registered to the project now and Amber is hoping to work out the details to sponsor him too.  Compassion is working in this community and changing the story for these families one child at a time.  To read more about Amber's story, check out her blog: 

Thanks to The Summit Church and the tools they sent down to us, Cory spent the past week building closets for the girls' home.
Angela is the youngest resident of the girls' home.

April is the hottest month in Nicaragua and so it is considered to be their "summer". Stacy invited all of the preschoolers and their mothers to the farm to swim in our cistern. Many of these children don't have water during this month and it must be saved in barrels or carried into their homes from outside locations. They don't have the luxury to "play" with the water at their houses. The children sang some songs in English for their mamas and showed off their new knowledge. It was a great time to reach out and get to know the mothers of our preschoolers better.

You may have heard that the last 48 hours have been very shaky in Nicaragua. We have had 2 large earthquakes of 6.2 and 6.6 and over 400 aftershocks. The ground seems to be constantly moving. It feels as though we live on a boat at times. Many of the quakes are originating in an area just a few miles from Los Brasiles. We have been in contact with the Compassion director there and she told us that the people are very frightened. The houses are already of a poor quality and there are many that have fallen down.

Many people in this area and in the city of Managua are sleeping outside at night. They are afraid of an earthquake collapsing their roof on them during the night.

Please keep Nicaragua in your prayers and especially the community of Los Brasiles where these beautiful Compassion children live.

We are excited to announce that we are now allying our efforts with Commission To Every Nation or CTEN.  Please prayerfully consider partnering with us monthly in order to fulfill this commission in Masatepe, Nicaragua.

You can go to and read more about what we are doing and how you can help with some of our underfunded projects.