Often we are asked, “How can you do so much in Nicaragua?” The answer is very simple: God’s gracious provisions, that gives us the blessings of a tremendous staff and the financial and physical partnership we have with so many of you. Never have the blessings of partnership been seen more than in the start of 2011. February continued what was happening in January and more.
The month started with Olive Branch’s 14th trip to Nicaragua since 2004. This was to have been a river trip. However, due to low water in the river they could not make that trip. An alternate location of El Bote was selected. El Bote is about 3.5 hours northeast of Jinotega. It was not a river trip but it was a remote trip. The brigade was the first brigade to ever visit the community and they were very excited to see us. In addition to seeing people in El Bote they saw people from 17 communities around El Bote. During the four and half days they saw 1,285 medical patients and fitted 392 pair of glasses for a total of 1,677 people served. 8 patients were sent to Jinotega for follow-up and additional care. Food and other supplies were distributed to all the 17 communities in the area. Four evangelists were with the team helping care for the spiritual needs of the people. It was an encouragement to see the evangelists touching the people daily.
Pictured here are the Nicaraguans working with the group. It takes a team to make it work with all our groups that come to Nicaragua. Very special thanks to Mike Faris who takes care of the details of all the groups.
In February of 2005 Larry and Jan Cruse from Huntsville, TX, a contact through Olive Branch, came to Nicaragua and spent a month with us. Larry was part of those that dug the holes for the building in Apanas. Now they come yearly to bring a group to do what is needed to be done. This year their effort focused mainly on turning the school in Tumayanca from
What a blessing for the children as they returned to school this month
February saw the start of the 2011 school year in Nicaragua. We will start this year with 30 schools. Alberto says that the official count of students will not be competed for a couple more weeks but this year the number of students will be over 1,500. We are excited about the growth of school but remain very concerned that over 14,000 children in our region are not in school and the over 500,000 children that are not in school in Nicaragua. “Just One More…” continues to be our goal of opening new schools. Besides the continued growth of our schools and the number of students served, this year we have added Character Compass to be taught in our schools, changing a life one word at a time. The new material was introduced at the Teacher Meeting to our 32 teachers and six representatives of the Ministry of Education. Our prayer and goal is to be able to introduce the Character material to all the MINED’s regional schools later this year.
Our region in Nicaragua is blessed to have a large number of Peace Corp workers. Over the last two months I have been able to meet and visit with a number of them. We are looking for ways to be able to help them and they help us serve the physical needs of the people of our regions. This month we hosted a luncheon for that purpose. And as Wardens for the Embassy we wanted them to know we are there to help and we want to be an encouragement to them. These are a very special group of young adults that most people know very little about the commitment they make to serve.
For a couple years we have been asked about the possibilities of bringing a surgical team to Nicaragua. Dr. J.C. Bailey, Dr. Cody Mihill and Bob Langston came this month to visit with Dr. Canales and the hospital director on the possibility of bringing a team in the fall or the first of next year. They also visited with a clinic in San Rafael Del Norte about using their clinic for surgery. Be in touch with us if you would have interest in being part of this team.
In February a group of the students came to help Rene Rocha and the church in La Dalia with a campaign. These students are part of a Bible training program, BICA, in Jinotepe. Dr. Erick Garcia is the director of the school. They came last year and help with the campaign in Matagalpa.
Last year Rene Rocha started working with Rehab Center south La Dalia as their chaplain. He goes to the center twice a week for the purpose of spiritual encouragement and growth. On the 16th of February I was able to be at the center and witness the baptisms of 30 new brothers and sisters. It was very special day of God’s providing the increase of Rene’s work at the center. We are looking at additional ways we can help serve the center both physically and spiritually.
For the last six years Donna has help hosted a Valentine Banquet. (Last year Marina and others surprised her with the banquet when she returned from knee surgery). This year we had 12 couples in attendance of those that work with the mission and other couples of the congregation in Jinotega. This year we showed the film, Fire Proof. Since the banquet one of the ministers has showed the film to another couple that is struggling and getting them to make the 40 day commitment to their marriage as the couple did in the movie.
The List for your prayers and consideration:
1. Eden Brooks, granddaughter of Ben and Susan Brooks, who continues to battle major health issues in Little Rock, AR.
2. Dra Judith Pena, our Medical Director. Please keep her in your prayers as she continues to go through physical therapy.
3. The family of Malena Rampy in the death of her father.
4. The family of Ronnie Dennis on his death. Ronnie has been a long-time supporter and encourager of the church in Nicaragua helping provide support to many evangelists through the Bible School program in Managua.
5. Prayers for our teachers and students as they start this school year. Alberto has an additional five schools for us to strive to help. $350 a month supports a school with 35 to 45 students with a teacher, supplies, food, parasite medicine and vitamins. We also have the request for need of construction or the remodeling of schools in a number of schools: new construction cost $6,500 and the cost of remodeling is $3,000.
6. We have the opportunity to open a temporary location for a Casa Materna in Pantasma. The mayor’s office is providing a location for us to use until we can secure all the funding necessary for a permanent location. The building needs some remodeling but we can take care of 10 to 12 ladies as they wait to have their babies in a safe location.
7. Last month we mentioned the family in Pantasma we have been asked to help. There are six children; four of them are severely mentally challenged. The parents and their two other children work hard to keep them at home. There are no placement possibilities for them in Nicaragua. There is not much we can do for the children but we can do something for the family. Build a kitchen ($1,800), concert all floors in the house to help keep the children cleaner ($600), help the two other children with their education (that was their only request) ($50 a month for both), purchase a manual washing machine ($200) and help with the support of the mother so that she does not have to leave the children and go to the streets to sell food ($80.00 a month). Ismael has been there to help plant a garden and we are helping two of the children go to school. But more is needed. All the help we are giving to the family is being coordinate by Angel, the minister of the church in Pantasma.
8. CONSTRUCTION TEAMS---could you help by putting together a team of 6 – 10 and come to help with the project with the family in Pantasma, the Casa Materna, another school or house that is needed to be built.
9. We need the funding for two additional containers. One of supplies that includes Spanish Literature material, parasite medicine, vitamins, and a new baptistery for the church in Jinotega. We also have confirmed the offer of 40,000 pounds of food (soup mix). $16,000 is needed for both containers.
10. $18,500 is needed to purchase an additional van.
11. Character Compass…$3,600 is needed in 2011 for us to add Character First material to the curriculum in our schools. We have been given permission for free use of the material; the cost is to cover the printing of the hand-out material for the children. With the growth of the schools and the addition of Character Compass we need to add an additional person to work with Alberto and Edwin. $350 a month is needed for that person.
12. Bible Material: Ann Faris has developed our material for our schools, with over 1,500 students and over 500 children in the congregations we serve; we need $250 a month to cover the cost of the printing of the Bible material.
13. Plans are being made to plant three new congregations in 2011: San Juan, Yali and Naranja. Contact us today about the support needed for these new congregations. $300 a month is needed for each of these new congregations.
Thanks for all your support and encouragement.
Because of Him:
Benny and Donna Baker