May 2005 Newsletter from Nicaragua

The rains came relatively early this year. It has been raining a lot the last week or so, with more on the way from tropical storms closing in on Central America. We go from dust season to mud season very quickly.

The kidís ministry in Granada got the lunch program off the ground finally. Now that the building in Granada is useable it is good to see the children from the childrenís outreach ministry coming for lunch. After lunch on four days a week there is tutoring, Bible Study and other activities (all indoors this week because of the rain). Also we got started on a small house for the preacher and his family there. They have been renting a house for the past year and we hope to get them into something of their own as soon as possible. There was a baptism two weeks back and two this past Sunday.

The radio broadcast of the New Testament in the tribal language of the east coast is set to begin on 1 June. The population is spread out in small villages and the radio is a good way to reach out with the Word of God especially since so few can read in that area. Pray that this broadcast touches hearts with the Truth.

The big news for this month is that we are coming back to the US. Ann and the children will leave at the end of June and I will follow in mid July. To be honest we do not know what opportunities the Lord has in store for the future. Many factors have come together to bring us to the decision to return to the US at least for a while. An overriding factor is that the major areas of our work here, i.e. the Christian Primary school in Tipitapa and the new church plant in Granada both have qualified Nicaraguans leading them and our continual presence here is not essential for these projects. Our strong point has always been discerning with the Spiritís help, needs and opportunities for ministry and starting from scratch initiatives appropriate to the needs. For the last year and a half we have been praying and exploring various possibilities and have not been able see open doors for starting new works either churches or new ministries within the existing churches. Obviously in a place like Nicaragua we could ďstay busyĒ doing any number of things but we desire to be good stewards of the abilities that God has given us. We have contributed what we can to the growth of the work here. It is seen that the continued growth of the work requires people with more specialized skills in administration and other areas. There is growth in this as qualified Nicaraguans move into these positions of leadership. There is the temptation to stay too long, to try to hold on to projects as if they were an empire and not a ministry that belongs to God and has only been entrusted to you for a time.

Plans for the immediate future include continuing to raise funds for the ongoing projects here, especially the school and street kidís ministry in Granada. These projects in particular are not financially self sufficient, nor apt to become so since they are benevolence programs that seek to glorify Christ by meeting needs in poor communities. We hope to visit Nicaragua three times a year or so leading short term groups. This ongoing contact will facilitate projects that will improve or expand the ministries now underway. Needless to say e-mail and internet telephone make it easier to receive reports and stay in touch with the project directors and preachers than ever before.

Will we ever return as a family and reside here? Donít know. We are willing to return here or to serve on another field if we see that we can be used by God to meet needs. There are areas of service here that we will continue to develop with the contacts made in the tribal areas of the east coast and the general need for leadership training in all the churches. Some plant, some water, God gives the increase.

It is almost ten years to the month that I started out this way driving a school bus full of building materials and donations bound for Nicaragua. Canít say what the next ten years hold but the last ten have not been boring.

In Christ,

Marcus, Ann, Amelia and William

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