February 2007 News from Nicaragua
Back to the Brair Patch
Ann and the children arrived safe and sound two nights ago. It is good to be all together again as a family. We are in the process of settling in to
The house rent blues
We have decided to live in or near the city of Granada. As a city of 100,000 or so people it is one of the larger towns in Nicaragua. It offers some good options for schooling for the kids without the hassle of Managua traffic, pollution, crime and general chaos. The church that we helped to start four years ago is alive and looking forward to a growing year.(more about that later) and we want to be a part of that. I looked at a lot of houses and really wasn’t too impressed with any of them. One that we thought would have suited us was actually the house we rented to start the church services in four years ago! The present tenants were to have moved out in mid Jan but seemed to be making no effort at all to vacate so with time not on my side I chose the second choice house which is close to the lake but on the opposite corner of the city from our church site. It takes only about 15-20 minutes to cross town so it is not really that far and it is relatively quiet and secure compared with houses in the more populated barrios of the center of town. Ann seems to agree that it will be a good home for us.
The Church in Granada
Four years ago we worked with a team of Nicaraguans to start a church here in Granada. Things went well until last year when the founding evangelist Luis Hernandez began to pursue an opportunity to work with a mission outreach in Spain. I encouraged him in this initially as it seemed to be a good opportunity. Unfortunately as the year and the process to acquire a visa to reside in Spain dragged on the “lame duck” effect took hold and really sapped his initiative. Worse yet all of the main families of the church were dealing with serious issues almost simultaneously, relapses into drunkenness, marital problems, fornication, health problems. I do not believe that it was coincidence that so many members of one church were dealing with so much at the same time; it was the work of the Adversary.
However Luis has taken a job in Managua. The two young men that were working under him are carrying on quite well and the two elders that were installed last year also seem to be really fired up. Now that we are living in Granada I can work more closely with them and I am confident that this year will see growth. Juan, one of the young leaders has made a real contact with the directors of a residential drug rehabilitation program that has a group home close to the church. The directors are allowing the residents to attend church services and for us to come in and do devotions twice a week. So far two of the men have rededicated their lives and one has made a new confession of faith and is going to be baptized this Sunday.
Both the street kid’s ministry in Managua and the School in Tipitapa are poised for the new school year. In Tipitapa we have two young women who came up through the scholarship program there who graduated sixth grade last year. These two girls are going to be attending a local Christian High school under the scholarship program but with the agreement that they work as teachers aids in our primary school three days a week. We will see how this works out as we are really serious about requiring a reasonable effort from the people we are helping. 326 students registered for class this year, the biggest year so far.
We want to thank everyone who helped us pack and get relocated down here, so many helped in many ways and it is much appreciated. We ask that you all continue to pray for our transition. The kids have to get used to a new school and language. Some new projects for this year need to get rolling quickly. Also we need to get Ann and the children’s legal immigration status updated.
The John Deere 4400 Combine that we shipped down here in pieces last year is assembled and operational. It cut grain sorghum last week, catching the very end of this harvest season. A group of Christian men from the town of Sabana Grande are organizing themselves into a legally recognized cooperative and as such are seeking financing to purchase the combine from us. These are some hard working men and I would be proud to see this machine in their hands. They are using an old International 715(?) they have cobbled up from parts of several different machines of different brands, it is a wonder it works at all. I would wear body armor if I had to be around it much as it looks like big pieces of steel might fly off at any time.
Harvest Center-Leadership Training
We are looking forward to kicking off the leadership training series for the year with the visit of Richard and Carol Gasser. They will spend four days teaching our preachers, elders and leaders about pastoral care for marriages in trouble. Please pray for them as they travel and teach here.
Also this week we got started on some of the vocational training activities planned for the Harvest Center. As we work to train leaders for the churches we need to take seriously the poverty that most Nicaraguans live with. Part of the work of preparing people for ministry here often means teaching people a trade. Noah Cutshall, who is here for 3 months, started getting the computers at the computer lab dusted off and back into action. Also a crew got started on the metal shop structure. Noah is here studying Spanish and getting hands on experience with the work of the church and other projects here. There is opportunity for other young people from the US to do internships with us, learning and serving.
Marcus and Ann Pearson