It has been several busy months since we last wrote. We've had several teams and many outreach activities filling our calendar. We've been blessed in so many ways.
Maranatha Prep Academy from Pasadena, California
Shortly after we first moved here in 2002 we had one of those "God appointments" and ended up being blessed to know Brian DeHaan. When we first met him he was just finishing up at Azusa Pacific University with plans to move on to seminary. He came down to stay with us a couple of different times. Once in 2002 and again in 2004. Now he is the Athletic Director at Maranatha Prep and at the beginning of June brought down a team of students to experience Nicaragua, give to the community of Chiquilistagua and the sports center, and to be challenged personally, spiritually and physically. They arrived on a Monday, which was the start of a power outage problem. We were without power all day Monday and Tuesday with the power resuming only at night which, thankfully, was sufficient time to fill our water tank. (The local well and water storage system needs power to pump water to the community). Then from Wednesday to Sunday we were continuously without power. By Friday we were watching the water levels in our storage tanks closely, flushing toilets only when absolutely necessary, and convincing ourselves that we could live without daily showers. The team was one of the most patient and content teams we've ever had under these circumstances. Thankfully we had a couple of really good thunder storms and many took showers in the run-off from the dorm roofs. Sometimes just taking care of our own personal needs amid the trials of life can overwhelm us day to day but this team was able to overcome the discomforts of life without power and worked hard cleaning up construction debris, trimming and cleaning up the grass in the baseball stadium, hosted a clothing sale here for the Chiquilistagua community, played in a community baseball game, and hosted a youth night. They worked hard, played hard and left an impact on the sports center and the youth of this area. We really hope to see this team return again in the future!
Woodinville Community United Methodist Youth Team
There were no power outages to test the Woodinville group – just a nasty 18 hour flu bug that barfed, I mean barged it's way through the group. If there was anything good about it it was that it hit hard but fast and then was gone. Again, this team overcame some serious discomforts and were able to bless the community of Cedro Galan in many significant ways. This team hosted two 3-day Bible camps for boys and girls and had a great opportunity to really get to know the children. After the boy’s 3-day camp ended on Friday the boys were invited to join the group in a community service project picking up trash along the road that winds through their community. Every one of the 15 boys who attended the camp came out to help pick up trash and then joined us at El Farito for a hotdog lunch. The following week, after the girl’s 3-day camp, the team hosted a family movie night at El Farito where they were once again able to connect with both the boys and girls that they had gotten to know. It was really fun to hear the kids from our group greeting the community children by name and watching their faces light up with smiles. This team also hosted a youth night at El Salero. About 30 or so "youth" (which range in age from 14 to mid-20s and include some young mothers and probably fathers, too) showed up to play some crazy games out on the basketball court followed by a time of testimony and sharing in the ranchón. Several of the team members gave a testimony, sharing some difficult but honest things, while the youth really seemed to listen. After the regular group time an invitation was extended for those who might want to stay for a more serious time of worship and prayer. While the majority of the group left the 5 or 6 who stayed joined us in worship in both English and Spanish, prayed with us and were prayed over. It was truly awesome to watch the youth of Woodinville responding obediently to God and putting aside their own fears or discomforts to get up and pray and open themselves and the meeting to the work of the Holy Spirit.
Bethel Christian Church of San Francisco
Returning for the second time this youth group from San Francisco comes with several Spanish speaking participants and so were able to jump right in and participate and play with the youth of our community. They hosted a family movie night and 2 youth nights for the youth and families of Chiquilistagua. With their language abilities they were able to do a couple of prayer walks through the community, talking, sharing and praying with families and individuals. As a part of these prayer walks they looked particularly for families that could benefit from a short message regarding family health and safety and invited the mothers to a short presentation at our ranchón where they discussed important safety and health issues and gave each of them a gift of a first aid kit to be used in their homes. Another special activity was their visit to El Farito preschool where they read to and played with our little preschoolers. Following class they stayed and helped with the feeding program providing a special birthday party complete with cake to celebrate everyone's birthday all at one time. What a fun idea that blesses everyone involved. The children loved the special treat and that reminder of how special their birth is. And the group was blessed with the joy and smiles and instant friendships that are formed. Beside their afternoons of prayer walks and other relational activities this group blessed us and El Salero with their sweat and hard work as they added their part to the never-ending work to keep El Salero looking beautiful. Though they didn't have time in their short week with us to host a clothing sale they brought down numerous suitcases and duffle bags full of shoes and clothes for our next sale. They will continue to bless the community even after they are all back to their normal lives in San Francisco.
Myra and Karel Norman
Our Alongside Ministry team has now officially grown by 2 with the arrival of Myra and Karel Norman. They jumped right in and involved themselves with the team as best they could. Despite the challenges of communication, since they were without phones for several weeks, transportation, since they were car-less for awhile (praise God, they've found a great car to purchase that fits their family needs just perfectly), and that nasty flu bug, which enthusiastically welcomed their family to Nicaragua, they joined us at El Salero for work projects, the Bible clubs and several meals and fellowship times. When we are between teams Karel is generously giving his time and energy to try and keep up with Halle and learn the ropes of the work and maintenance at El Salero. He's been seen walking behind a lawn mower more than once and he's learning his way around the various hardware stores that Halle frequents around Managua. Myra has found her niche with the 3-year-old preschool program which meets on Mondays and Fridays. Addy, their 3 (soon to be 4)-year-old daughter attends preschool with her and is expanding her Spanish language skills. I wonder how soon she'll surpass the rest of us and we'll be asking her to translate or help us with a word here and there!
Please keep us in your prayers!
Thank you so much for your prayers and support. Life just keeps on keeping on down here but we are daily aware that we are not alone in our work. God's presence is with us daily – moment by moment – through your prayers, communications, support, and friendships. It is difficult to communicate just how important that really is to us. As our ministry expands and grows please pray the we will always seek God's will first as we learn to work together as a ministry team and work with the visiting teams and churches that partner with us.
Halle and Kathy August
Thank you for supporting our ministry in Nicaragua.
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