Hope for the River
Esperanza Del Rio, Hope for the River, started as a project to "Serve the people and Share Jesus" on the Rio Bocay. In 2006 the mission expanded and focused its work on the Rio Coco. The river is part of the Northern border between Honduras and Nicaragua. This largely undeveloped area, estimated to be populated at 10 people per square mile, consists of 51 communities with populations ranging from less than 100 to around 2,000, totaling approximately 48,000 people, over fifty percent of whom are under the age of 17. Below is the 2011 update of the work that has been done, is being done and is planned to be done on the river in the future. I realize it is a bit lengthy buy well worth your time and effort to read.
In 2010, we had to ask ourselves, “Do we continue?” Esperanza del Rio is difficult and expensive. We knew that to continue we had to get in or get out. We could no longer just do what we did with the limited resources we had. We knew that we had to develop additional funds to be able to have a more stable position on the river.
Thanks to the Harvest Sunday contribution of the Saturn Road congregation in Garland, Tex, we were able commit $8,000 to EDR in 2011. Those funds provided the resources to take four additional trips on the river, carrying additional supplies and resources and it gave us the time to prayerfully consider if we could and would continue.
This year, we found that the base and relationships we started in previous visits were stronger than expected, and the congregations planted were continuing to grow. Our reassessment also showed that the need was still great. We decided to continue to develop EDR, focusing first on the six communities in which we have congregations.
In August, thanks to the Metro congregation in Orlando and Harding University, we took a group to those six communities to bring supplies and resources, and to develop a long term plan to maintain the mission’s objective of “Sharing Jesus as We Serve People,” on the river specifically.
On this trip we were able to:
- Deliver more than 4,000 pounds of soup mix (Kids Against Hunger) with an additional 30,000 committed.
- Deliver school supplies to six schools.
- Provide water-purification units to congregations in six communities, with training on how to use the units.
- Administer parasite medicine to 1,000 children.
- The official start of our Bible Institute, The Institute for Preparation of Workers in San Andres. The institute is part of program started six year ago in Jinotega to mature workers in the region for service to the church.
- Show the “Jesus” movie each night in the native Miskito language.
- Provide building supplies for two congregations.
- Purchase land and location for the congregation in San Andres.
- Purchase a coconut tree in Esperanza.
Upon our return, we contemplated our next steps for the river:
Some of the plans to continue to “Share Jesus as we Serve People” on the Rio Coco:
- Meet with the area Director of Education for approval to work directly in six schools to remodel the current locations, fund construction of tables and benches and purchase school books and supplies for the students.
- Provide water-purification units for each community in the area, which would be 75 additional units.
- Expand our Community Health Promoters training on the river to train midwives and provide them with greater resources.
- Build a Casa Materna in San Andres.
- Build a location for the mission, housing for groups and the church in San Andres on the land that was purchased. This would one building with many purposes.
- Help the other congregations finish their buildings.
- Supplemental food distribution, primarily the soup mix (Kids Against Hunger).
- Develop additional Bible material in both Miskito and Sumo, the native languages.
- Continue development of the Institute for Preparation of Workers.
- Rubber boots for 10,000 children.
- Development of Hope for Life, to provide training and resources for sustainable living with goats, chicken and gardens. Hope for Life in new project being developed by three couples moving to Nicaragua in the Fall of 2011. Working to find additional ways for people to help themselves.
- Work with the military and MINSA (Ministry of Health) to help with basic medicine.
- Secure equipment for an FM radio station. The church and community would split the airtime.
- Continue to expand our relationship with the Army for their help with transportation of supplies and people.
- Purchase two boats and motors for transport needed for the full-time workers on the river.
- Purchase land and construct of a small location in Las Peirdas for emergency shelter on return trips on the river.
- Secure four full-time workers for EDR that would include a medical professional, agriculture expert, a teacher and an evangelist.
None of this would be possible without God’s blessings and the partnership of people like you… by you doing something, we doing something and God putting it together we can do something we could have not done apart from each other…
I Cor. 12-13 / Philippians 1:3-5