April 2005 Newsletter from Nicaragua

Dear Friends,

A lot has happened since we last wrote. If anyone has ever had problems with their sewer line you know that life stops until the potty flushes again! Well, we had a bout of that at the Christian primary school in Tipitapa. The old septic tanks caved in leaving the school without bathroom facilities.

The old system was way beyond its capacity .It was installed when the school had less than one hundred students. Now that it has 270 it was time to install an adequate system. That is all done now and life can go on as normal at the school. Over the Easter holiday the tank itself was placed and the following weekend the drain field was laid. I am glad to have that done.

In March a group from the Crossroads Christian Church in California came down and did a great amount of work on the church site in Granada. They worked on the entry gates and perimeter fence. They also erected a water tower and did the basic wiring in the church building itself. After their departure the church members continued to work on the floor and roof for the kitchen annex. The concrete floor is all poured now and some of the interior walls are plastered. Our goal is to begin serving meals to the 30 children’s ministry kids on 17 May. This will be a big step forward for the program and its director Francisco “ Pancho” Garcia. Francisco is a “Timothy” of the Granada church and has really developed as a leader in the past couple of years. Lois Tomlinson and a small group from Moreno Valley, CA will come at the end of April and they are going to do a lot of odds and ends necessary for the feeding program to begin. The Church body there celebrated three baptisms in March and also three rededications. The founding evangelist, Luis Hernandez and I take turns preaching on Sunday. Now we are in a series of sermons from the Old Testament. So many of the members of the church are new Believers or have had very little exposure to the content of the Word we have since the congregation’s beginning preached through books of the Bible.

Chris McConn visited us from Minnesota also in March. He and I made a trip up to the Alamikamba area to show the Jesus Film and work on getting a radio ministry started there. There is a public service FM radio that reaches quite a bit of this remote region and one of the goals for this year is getting a radio broadcast of the New Testament read in the local language.(Miskitu) The region is home to about 11,000 people but they are scattered in small villages over a vast roadless swampy area. Radio seems to be an effective way to reach out as the International Bible Society is completing a set of cassettes of the New Testament in Miskitu. The area was evangelized by the Moravian Church in the late 1800’s but due to its remoteness and very low literacy rates (20% is a very generous guess) most inhabitants have had very little opportunity to learn much of God’s word. As a result many old tribal beliefs and practices still prevail in the region and as with most tribal religions, border on the occult. It may seem a small thing, getting the New Testament broadcast on the air, but this will have a great impact for the Kingdom. We met with some of the preachers and leaders from the area during our trip to try to build a consensus for the broadcast. As the radio is theoretically a public service, if a significant number of people want it, the Canadian social do-gooder outfit that runs the station has to allow access for the broadcast. There was general agreement that the program was definitely needed and so we hope that as soon as the tapes are ready for distribution the broadcasts can begin.

After Easter every year there is “Riot and Protest Season”. It is kind of a grim joke that before Easter no one wants to riot because they are looking forward to the Easter holiday. Of course no one wants to riot during rainy season which begins in May because it is no fun to riot in the rain. This leaves a roughly six week window for anyone who has a beef with the government to organize a protest. This year they have been at it in force with the students burning city busses and government trucks to protest a hike in bus fares. It has become a real charade as the police immediately direct traffic away from the area so the demonstrators can shout slogans and brandish Molotov cocktails(homemade gasoline bombs) for the sole benefit of the news media(including CNN, they can film a pile of burning rubbish from so many angles that you would think that the whole country was up in flames). These protes ts cause only horrendous traffic jams and little sympathy for the causes that drove the protestors to the streets. We can only pray that there are no injuries or loss of life among protestors or police this year.

Abdahly Lopez will begin working with the Street Kids Ministry in Managua taking over pastoral and Christian Education duties from Jonatan Acevedo who resigned recently. We pray that she can get up to speed quickly in this ministry as there really are some very needy families served by this project. Also this year we have two young people who have gone through the primary school at the Street Kids Ministry working as assistant instructors at the project. Filipe is in the wood shop and Haydalis is in the computer lab. They both are attending High School at the “Cuerpo de Cristo” high school next door to the Street Kids project. It is heartening to see how the Lord has used the ministry to bring them though very hard chi ldhood to become fine Christian young people, active in the church and working to help those coming up.

This last part lands goes right into the “Lord, where is this going to lead?” section:

Some members of the Managua church had many moons ago asked for a medical exam bed for a little medical clinic they opened as a service to the 4000 or so residents of the Managua garbage dump. The dump is just that, a dump, not a “sanitary landfill”, it is a 4 mile long peninsula of garbage that extends out into Lake Managua. There for decades the trash that the city collects gets its Doctorate degree, that is, Piled higher and Deeper.

NICE Foundation of Glen Carbon IL donated an exam bed and we went to deliver it to the clinic. The scene is without description. A couple thousand of the poorest folks you can imagine of all ages scramble around collecting glass, aluminum, steel and plastic to sell to earn a living. Tires are burned in great piles to collect the steel out of them. This casts a pall of smoke over the whole area driven by the fetid breeze off of the lake. Stay tuned since we are going back, I don’t know what we will do, but we will be back.

Prayer Requests include:

College age group from Harvester Christian Church in June

Other June Visitors Claire Henderson and Cara Noeson(her last visit as Noeson, she gets married in July, congratulations)

Thanksgiving for Co workers that share the Kingdom vision for the work here.

In Christ,

Marcus, Ann, Amelia and William

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