It is hard to believe that we are already into the second month of 2018. Still trying to figure out where 2017 went. Time seems to move at a faster pace than ever. I am 22sure that has nothing to do with age.
As we look back over 2017, we stand amazed at God’s blessings in so many ways. As with every year we seem to say, it was the best year ever as He continues to do more than we can ask or imagine.
Some of the highlights of 2017:
- Our first group of the year arrived on January 1st from Lipscomb University. They would be the first of over 30 teams that came to Nicaragua to SERVE OTHERS and SHARE JESUS with us. Our last group was in December with the Harding University baseball team. (Our first group for 2018 arrived on December 30 and 31).
- The February’s issue of the Christian Chronicle had a featured story about the work of the mission and church. Thanks to Bobby Ross for that blessing.
- January 1st marked the official transition to Kingdom Kids - For Kids, For Kingdom, For Eternity, from One Child Matters. We are thankful for three years of working with OCM and the great foundation they gave us in serving children. A very special thanks to Angela Brooks, Angela Bentley, Myra Huston, and Christian Ross for their help with the transition and Donna’s new responsibility as Sponsor Coordinator for Kingdom Kids.
- In January with the transition to Kingdom Kids, we were able to accept the oversight responsibility of The School of the Good Samaritan in Catacamas, Honduras. GSS has been serving children and families in Catacamas for over 30 years. We are thankful that God has blest us to be part of their continued history. www.kingdomkidshonduras.com
- Kingdom Kids ended 2017 with 836 children in Nicaragua and Honduras with the blessing of 646 of those children with sponsors. Sponsors are needed, change a life of a child and their family today and for eternity.
- In March (do not call this a highlight) David, Caryn and the boys moved back to the states after being in Nicaragua over five years. The foundation that the Hennigers, Browns, and Counts gave us with Hope4Life will always be a big part of the history of the mission in Nicaragua. David and Caryn are both working with Sunset International in Lubbock, TX. The Counts are in South Carolina, and the Browns continue to live in Jinotega.
- Hope4Life named was changed to Sustainable Living - MPC. Oscar continued as the director until January of 2018. We are very thankful for the work he did during the transition. Ricardo has accept the position of Director-Sustainable Living. The players are an excellent source of information and encouragement the preachers we work with and that serve in stressful and demanding situations.
- Thanks to the College Avenue congregation we were able to finish a location for the church in San Andres on the Rio Coco. Hope for the River (Esperanza del Rio) continues to be a blessing and a challenge. Thanks to the Saturn Road for their support of the efforts on the river. In 2018 we would like to secure to two evangelists to travel the river to work and encourage the congregations. There are six congregations on the river.
- IPO (Institute for Preparation of Workers) continued to expand with seven locations over 260 students in 2017. In 2018 will be adding a new site in La Dalia. Thanks for Edwin, Alberto, Fernando, and Efrain for the leadership they provide for IPO. We are also thankful for Mike Faris who comes back to teach in each of the sessions of IPO in Jinotega.
- We were blest with a great set of interns for the summer. Thanks to Colette who worked closely with the interns each year. For seven weeks in the summer we had with us Travis Steward, as his name tag said, “he was not an intern.” He was just a blessing. In May of 2018, Travis and his wife Mindy are going to come to work with us.
- Groups were with us from May 15 through August 15. A full summer.
- Uplift 2017 was another significant activity for the year with over 1,600 in attendance. Thanks to Nicaragua Christian School in Leon that allow us to use their facility again this year.
- In July our youth baseball team were able to travel to the states. Remember in 2016 we had Team Arkansas come to Nicaragua. The trip allowed them to play a little baseball but many other things: meet the governor of Arkansas, be the guest of the Arkansas Travelers in Little Rock and be the guest of the Kansas City Royals. Thanks to all that made the trip possible and especially to Collette, Felipe and Ana who traveled with the team. And to the US Embassy who approved all but one of the Visas for the trip.
- In July with the Good Samaritan School, we hosted the area-wide worship in Catacamas with 14 congregations and 1,400 in attendance. A great day.
- In August (again not a highlight) the Hollands transitioned back to the states after six years with Sheila expecting (Maggie arrived in January). They are now working with the College Avenue congregation in El Dorado where Jonathan serves as the Children’s Minister. Jonathan and Sheila had an enormous impact on lives in so many ways but none more than with their work with children and Sight for Sore Eyes. Both Children’s programs continue in Jinotega and Apanas thanks to Felipe, Juan Carlos and the youth that help them. The vision care continues with Waleska Cuadra (Felipe’s sister) who is an optometrist and is also a phycologist serving children and families. Thanks, Jonathan, Sheila, and Alejandro for the blessings you left in Nicaragua.
- In September we again were able to co-sponsor a National Preacher’s conference with over 400 preachers and their wives in attendance.
- Lyndah Drum with New Life Behavioral came and did a two-day seminar to prepare better those working with Youth at Risk, those in Prison and rehab centers. We continue to work with the Youth Judge, Waswili Prison and with the rehab center in La Dalia.
- We are thankful for UT Southwestern and Dr. Carlos Timaran who arranged and performed Xiomara Garcia’s surgery, and we are also thankful to all who helped with the connections for the surgery, housing, prayers, transportation and financial support for her journey to healing. She continues to do well seven months after her surgery.
- In November we had our first graduation of the 6th graders at the Good Samaritan School. Seeing the interchange of the teachers and students was a blessing.
- “A Smile for Child at Christmas” sent over 13,000 Smiles to Nicaragua in 2017. Thanks to everyone that had a part in blessing the lives of the children. A special thanks to Joe Smith and Healing Hands for their help with the shipping.
- The Highlight of the year would have to have been that on October 29 the mission celebrated 20 years of serving people and sharing Jesus in Nicaragua and Honduras. Thanks to our God for the blessings of everyone that has had a part of the history of the mission. For those that have come, those that have given, those that have encouraged and those that have prayed we say thank you. Your support, encouragement, and prayers are the foundation for what has been accomplished and look we forward to in 2018.
- Completion of the building for a congregation in the south part of Jinotega: $10.500
- Funds for shipping of a soup container: $10,000 - The soup is free we just must pay for the shipping and distribution. The cost comes out to 3 cents a serving.
- Bibles – we are working on the purchase of additional 10,000 Bibles – total cost is $4.00 per Bible. That cost covers personalize contact information on the front cover of the Bible, printing and shipping to Nicaragua. This printing will also honor Glen Owens who worked throughout Latin America.
- Funds needed to reprint 10,000 of the first lesson of World Bible School with personalized contact information- $3,500
- Specific needs for Kingdom Kids Honduras – The School of the Good Samaritan:
- Funds to hire a minister to serve the children, family, and staff – Salary and supplies -$600 a month
- 6 computers for the computer lab - $375 per computer. Have received funds to receive to purchase four.
- Additional funds needed for new textbooks for the 3rd to 6th grade - $6,200. We have received over $3,000 toward this need.
- Sponsors – www.kingdomkidshonduras.com
- School is out in Nicaragua and Honduras has started. The beginning of the year brings the need for school supplies. Could you have a school supply drive at your school or congregation?
- Children are one of our primary objective and support is needed to hire a full-time psychologist/counselor to work with the children and families in all our different outreach programs: Kingdom Kids, Hijos del Rey, etc. – Salary and supplies --$500
- General contributions: Above are things we can do with your support. But we also need general contribution to the mission as we end this year.
- Be a Kingdom Kid sponsor: www.kingdomkidsnicaragua.com or www.kingdomkidshonduras.com. Changing a life today and for eternity.
- And most all we need your prayers that we can continue to Share Jesus as We Serve Others…