February 2008 Harvest Center Newsletter
Big news for February is the opening of the “Arco De Bronce” School in Granada. The name means The bronze bow, taken from Psalm 18:34 , “He trains my hands for war, so that my arms can bend a bow of bronze.” We were down to the wire at last notice on the school due to some last minute foot dragging by the government. Thankfully we do have a go ahead to operate as a pre school this year with approval for our primary school license expected in the course of the year. We would like to request prayer for the continuation of the licensing process. Right now we have twenty children in Pre School enrolled. The Director, Patricia Rodriguez and her assistant Gloria are doing a great job of ministering to the kids and their families. Ann comes in and teaches some and helps out in many ways, especially when Patricia has to run errands or be at meetings.
Along with providing a solid primary education in a safe and clean setting, we hope that the school will be a means that the church in Granada can deepen its impact into the immediate community. The transition from the leadership of the founding evangelist to local elders and pastors has been very traumatic for the congregation here. The school will be a positive focus for the church and a visible demonstration of commitment to a basic community need.
I was able to spend a couple of days out in the tribal areas of the Atlantic coast also this month. We met with some local leaders to plan a trip on the river in April with a group from Harvester Christian Church. The Harvester group will come in early April and travel to some remote villages to distribute scripture portions and show the Jesus Film in the local Miskitu language. Short of the Amazon it would be difficult to find more isolated tribal people. It really is a whole different world from the Spanish speaking part of Nicaragua.
Major progress is also being made on the boat we have out there. We hope to launch it within the next 60 days, Lord willing. The goal is to have it serve as regularly scheduled transportation on the river for passengers and cargo. At first this may not seem like the kind of thing a mission group should undertake. We need to point out that the lack of roads into the swampy interior of the area means that the 12,000 inhabitants have no economical means of moving on the rivers. That isolates them from just about everything and means that no one can easily get to the villages to meet any needs. School teachers, cops, preachers, doctors, farmers, you name it, everyone is stalled out by lack of transportation. The transportation project is designed to operate on a break even basis. That is, we will charge enough to cover operating and maintenance costs; even that, as any small businessman knows is optimistic. My projections show a break even point at 60% capacity on one round trip per week. With all the basic costs covered from scheduled service the boat will be available for evangelism, training, medical or other humanitarian use. It is a unique opportunity to make an impact in these river communities. Ours thanks go to International Disaster and Emergency Services (IDES) and Harvester Christian Church.
In new church news, Ann and I were able to attend the inaugural service of a new church in the city of Ciudad Sandino. It is the first city west of Managua and it is exploding in population due to the phenomenal increase in employment in the garment factories located there. This is a strategic location and I am very excited about the work there. Carlos Tercero, a former preacher in the Managua church and also founding evangelist of the church in Masaya, has been working with a nucleus there for several months. I am going to be honest that we have not had much to do with this project other than loaning some equipment and trying to encourage Carlos. Actually it really is encouraging to me to see him strike out on his own in this effort. So many times we missionaries talk a big talk about working ourselves out of a job and encouraging local leadership blah blah blah.. and then when it really happens our first instinct is to say, “Oh my , what if they don’t do it right?” Pray for Carlos, he has been through a rough time in his life and is now taking a great risk personally and financially to see this new work succeed. We are working with Carlos to help organize a children’s outreach ministry there, mobilizing volunteers to provide tutoring, Bible classes and school lunches to the neediest kids in the sector.
No less strategic, but on a much smaller scale is the new work in the community of San Jose, Chontales. Evangelist Camilo Morales is working with cell groups and Sunday services. Some elders and leaders from the Managua Church will be traveling to that community on 20 March to do some baptisms and teaching with Camilo and his leaders. San Jose could not be more different that Ciudad Sandino but the needs are the same. People need to know Jesus as Savior and have a vibrant church community in which to grow in service. Pray for Camillo, too.
In other news, a container with donated goods for various projects arrived in Managua yesterday. We are now in the process of doing the customs paperwork for its release and we hope that is goes quickly so that the supplies can get to the schools and projects that need them. Many articles go to other projects besides our own since the shipment was sponsored by the Nice Foundation, but all are Christian organizations serving the poor. Projects that will benefit from the container’s contents include a vocational training project for ex-prostitutes and a last chance feeding and rehab project for drug addicts in Managua’s infamous east market. We take the lead on the paperwork since we have the tax exempt status here in Nicaragua to allow the goods in tax free. More thanks goes to the Nice Foundation and Harvester volunteers and donors.
In Bible Institute news we did a training seminar up in Rodeo Grande with 34 preachers and leaders from different congregations. Those folks always come through with good attendance that makes the long drive worth it! More about the Bible Institute next month.
Marcus and Ann Pearson