August 2012 - Harvest Initiative

Vocational Training Work

We are pleased to welcome Juan Zelaya to the team. He joins us to reactivate the vocational training shop in Granada. Juan also has a calling for ministry to young people so part of his work will also involve sports outreach in the neighborhood.

Currently he works with apprentices in the afternoons and soon will start with another group in the mornings. Vocational training is a great ministry opportunity. So many young people here have not finished high for any number of reasons and face a pretty dim future without any marketable skills. The chronic unemployment really becomes a challenge for the churches here as a leadership tries to grow and expand an outreach. It is difficult enough to teach the Biblical practice of tithing in the United States where there is still a great deal more economic stability than here. The lack of family stability makes it hard for preachers to budget, make plans and follow through. If half of your congregation is unemployed, well, the tithe of 0 is 0. Worse yet so many young people have never really been in a real work environment where there is discipline and responsibility. As such, they are not only unemployed, but unemployable and at risk of slipping into crime.

“He who has been stealing must steal no longer, but must work, doing something useful with his own hands, that he may have something to share with those in need.” Eph 4:28

Since 1997 we have worked with small groups of young men in these real work settings to give them a chance to learn the basics of metal fabrication. What sets the program apart is that it is a true apprenticeship in a working environment, not a classroom setting. The projects that they work on are real orders from real customers. For example, the group that Juan is working with in the picture is building a prototype yucca peeler for Opportunity International, another Christian group here in Nicaragua. Juan started out as an apprentice himself and now returns to help with a new generation. We are thankful to see that many who have gone through the training in previous years are now stable, employed heads of households active in the local churches.

Km 34 School

The school in the Marvin Salazar barrio, or the Km 34 project as many of us call it is in its third year of operation with an enrollment of almost 200 students. The founding Director Danira Sanchez makes it a real Christ centered ministry and not just an academic institution. So many children in the school are from desperately poor households that Danira and her husband Pedro minister to many children in critical circumstances. This year alone two sets of siblings in the school have had their fathers murdered. It is no exaggeration to say that the school is the best thing in many of these kids lives.

The school is blessed to have many friends in the US that participate in many ways. The Lebanon United Methodist has sent teams do activities with the kids, see pictures below. They also have contributed labor and supplies for new classrooms and the perimeter security wall.

Other Projects
Aluminum cargo boat being constructed at the base site to support the outreach work in the Atlantic coast villages.
One of the tutoring and feeding sites where the Kids vs Hunger food is served

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