March 2008

As we start this month I want to ask your prayers for the family of Dr. Ray Ferguson in his passing. Dr. Ray was a major encouragement in the starting of the work in Nicaragua. Many have heard us say we made it to Nicaragua through Mexico, thanks to the work of Rick Owen, it was Dr. Ray that introduced us to Rick and the congregation in Dardanelle, AR made their first mission trip to Mexico in 1995. As we tell the story of this mission in Nicaragua, Dr. Ray always has to be part of that story. Please keep his wife Twyla and his children, Todd and Sabra, and the church in Dardanelle in your prayers.

In Nicaragua, March started where we left off in February with the group from Harding with us. In March we had three groups …Harding, ACU and a group from Utica, NY. Utica is where we worked with the church for five years in mid-80s. George Carpenter from Utica made an interesting point in one of our nightly meetings with the Harding group, when he told them that three of them from Utica were baptized before anyone in the college group was born. George produced the radio program we had in Utica before he was baptized and now serves as one of the elders in the church in Utica. We were in New York, 25 years ago, their presence here was an encouragement to us in striving in all that we do to make an eternal difference…

Harding…14 came as part of the Spring Break Campaigns and 3 others from the School of Nursing. They dug foundations and started construction on a new school building at Santa Barbara, painted the mission's school building at Barranco Blanco, dug ditches, worked in Mobile Medical Clinics, conducted Health Promoters Training for local communities health promoters and prepared seed packages for distribution. For additional photos…

The group from Utica, New York worked in Nicaragua from March 4th through March 14th. They worked in Mobile Medical Clinics, distributed school materials to several mission schools, taught at Casa Materna, distributed last of "Smile" boxes, visited the Children's Nutritional Center in Matagalpa and taught a two-day Marriage Seminar in Jinotega. For additional photos…
ACU continued with the construction of the new school Santa Barbara, they started the construction of latrine at the mission’s school in Pueblo Nuevo and dug ditches in Apanas. Also they painted new murals in the children’s wing of the hospital in Jinotega. For additional photos…

Ishmael was on the river this month in establishing a new congregation in Raiti; this is the last community on the Rio Coco in the Jinotega Region. Also on this trip he was delivering water filters and seed for planting. We have been delayed a little on the distribution of the water filters because of the supplier. Because of that we have been offered the ability to make our own filters. That would include many factors but it would give us a great opportunity in our efforts to provide Clean Water through the Encouraging Water Project. Please keep Mike in your prayers as he looks at all aspect of the water project and the best direction for us to move.

March we were able to take a major step in learning Spanish. We started a learning program with a school in San Juan del Sur that had been recommended to us. As much as we tried in Jinotega there were always so many distractions. Our first set of classes went well and we will return for additional classes in April.

As we look at the list for March…

1. We continue to need to find new resources for medicine. Clinics remain closed in Pantasma (and because of that we lost our location for the church) and Wiwili. Supplies for our Community Health Promoters are limited
2. We have a great need for vehicles. For us to continue to function as we are, we must secure at least one 4x4 pick-up and another van. We found a 2007 pick-up this week for $18,250 with a six month warranty. The cost of a van will be in the same range as the pick-up.
3. Last month we mentioned the need for 13,000 Bibles for Bible Bowl, congregations we serve and for the new literacy program that is already in place in Yankea. We have some that are responding to this need but we could use your help.
4. In your prayers…in Nicaragua the cost of everything is going up. In the last year the price of basic food items have tripled (rice, beans, oil, salt and sugar). The price of fuel is up a $1.00 a gallon in one year. The challenge is that the people that serve with us in Nicaragua (evangelist, doctors, nurses, teachers, translators and others) make the same salary they did four years ago. Please keep this in your prayers. To help those that help us serve we need to help them. We need to secure additional $1,280 a month to help them with the basic needs of their families. We presently have 64 working with us in some aspect of the mission
5. Also in your prayers is the Ladies Day, May 1st. The original budget for the day was for a 1,000 ladies, last count for those wanting to come is 1,450. Please share this with your ladies classes and others, an additional $3,000 is needed for the day.

*** Please help us by letting others know about this Mission for Christ.

To all we want to express our thanks for all your continued support and encouragement of the work in Nicaragua. Without God’s blessings and your support none of this is possible. Blessings in His name….

Benny and Donna Baker