May 2006 Newsletter from Nicaragua
We are all getting ready for my trip to Nicaragua in June, I will travel on the 20th and get ready for a work group from Greensburg Indiana which will arrive on the 25th. The group led by Josh Wolford, will be doing some work out in Granada on a new classroom. The class room we built last year became kitchen for the childrenís outreach ministry there so we need to get back to building. Veteran of many trips to Nicaragua, Dennis Dowdall, now newly retired from the USPS, will also be there to help me supervise the groups work. There will be some changes at the church in Granada soon as Luis and Tania Hernandez, who were the founding evangelists have accepted a call to work with an church in Spain. They will join fellow Nicaraguan workers Erik and Sira Gutierrez in the city of Murcia. Spain is a tough place to minister and pray for open doors for them there. It seems likely that we will ask Francisco Garcia, who now heads the childrenís outreach to oversee general pastoral work and I will ask one of the men from the Managua church, Carlos Ordonez, to travel to Granada to preach on Sundays there. There are many new Christians in the church there. We know that this move will be unsettling for the body of believers as most of the members have come to know the Lord through Luis and Taniaís ministry. The impending change underscores the need we see to begin a Bible Institute in Nicaragua dedicated to the training of leaders for the stability and growth of the work.
On 4 July a group from the Harvester Christian Church will arrive in Managua to depart for the Atlantic Coast villages of Wontha Bar and Laya Siksa. These are villages of the Miskitu and Caribe tribes where we will be showing the Jesus Film. There are 19 villages in this region and my goal is to present the film in all of them. To date we have been in 6. The two that we are planning to visit this time are some of the most remote. We ask for prayers for both groups as we all travel and for open doors for service in the communities we will visit. These two groups will be especially challenging since I wont have much time to prepare for their arrival and there is much to be done.
Perry Gabbard of the Harvester Church used a recent marathon that he participated in to collect sponsorship and raise funds for the Christian Elementary School in Tipitapa. It is ironic that when Perry visited the site in 1997 it was just a few posts sticking up out of the ground. Today 300 elementary school children get good primary education in a Christian setting.
Perry running 26 miles to raise money for Nicaraguan children reminds me that for years I have been the self proclaimed all time worst missionary fundraiser. However recent reading in Philippians and 2 Corinthians has knocked me off my pedestal. The Apostle Paul is by far the worst fundraiser; not only does he not update his website or his promotional material but he declares specifically that there will be no offering taken up during his visit to Corinth. He doesnít want anyone checking their ashtray for loose drachmas on the way to church. If the offering isnít important enough to folks for them to plan for it, then God doesnít want it and Paul doesnít want to have to drag it all the way to Jerusalem. He tells the brothers in Philippi that their recent donation really wasnít necessary because he was quite content and well provided for, but that he is glad they sent it because God is going to bless them for their faithfulness. The temptation is to think that it was easy for Paul to say such spiritual things since he had no family to support, no full time employees to meet payroll for, didnít really expect to live long enough to need 401kÖyou get the idea. We donít get off the hook that easily though if we remember that Paul is saying that those numbers at the bottom of the page in red or black ink are not the real bottom line in Godís accounting. ďBut if I had a bigger budget I could help more people, right!Ē The problem with that sentence is that the word ďI ď shows up twice and God not once.
We would like to go back to Nicaragua in Jan of 07 with a big sack of dough to get the Leadership Academy up and running and in a nice little facility quickly. We would like for many young Nicaraguans to get a vision for ministry so that New Testament churches can be planted and the searching masses of young adults can come to know Jesus.(did I mention quickly). What if it doesnít come together as quickly or as neatly as we hope? Are we prepared for the Lord to reveal unexpected twists or for opposition to arise from unexpected quarters?
Glimpses of Managua:
When I was in Managua last Feb there were three of us parked alongside of one of the major streets in Managua haggling with a truck driver over the delivery of some hospital equipment. It would have been a simple negotiation except for some of the equipment was to go one place and some to another. All of it would fit nicely in the one truck but the driver was convinced that since it was going to two places that entailed two separate trips at two times the cost of a single trip. We maintained that since all the stuff would fit in the truck it was in fact a single load and we should pay the cost for one load with an extra ten bucks thrown in for the second stop. I canít remember the exact details of our final arrangement but it is certain that it was neither as much as he wanted nor as little as we wanted. What I do remember is a little train of dirty children that filed by while we argued.
They were five or six in number, the oldest was about ten and the rest followed, single file in descending order of height and probably age. All were boys save one. All were loaded with small bits of scrap metal. I say loaded because the oldest was pushing homemade wheelbarrow made from scraps of wood. Its wheel was solid wood and not round in the conventional sense but it did the job. The rest of the crew was carrying their contribution bound up in the ever present plastic mesh feed sacks that serve for everything in Nicaragua. These kids had obviously been collecting scrap metal to sell in order to buy food. Between all them, they had a little over a hundred pounds. The scrap buyer just up the street would give them about thirty cordobas for this load; the equivalent of about a buck eighty. With this money they could buy three pounds of rice, a couple of pounds of red beans, half a pint of cooking oil, and maybe two or three eggs, maybe a little sugar. I would guess that they all came from one extended family that probably lives in a shack on the edge of town. I donít know how many mouths they have to feed off their labor but from visits to similar homes, the Mother is at home with the younger siblings and probably an elderly grandparent who canít work. In all they probably had enough to provide one simple meal for their household. What didnít register with me until later was the fact that those kids were all smiling as they filed past.! It was payday for them! Give us this day our daily bread.
I wish that I had a picture of that little troop. The joke is on me because I was too busy making sure I didnít get ripped off by the truckers to realize what a great example of people confronting their desperate circumstances with dignity and initiative. Make no mistake, there is critical poverty in Nicaragua. The UN estimates that 8000 children die every year as a result of malnutrition. Another 250,000 live in chronic sub nutrition, not getting the mimimun of calories and proteins they need to be healthy. At least half a million children of elementary school age do not attend school.
A little scene like this reminds me what has always drawn me to Nicaragua, a chance to make a difference for people, especially like our little recycling entrepreneurs. I like to be a part of the chain of events that gives them a chance to go to school and an opportunity to know Jesus.
Marcus and Ann Pearson
4 Wilber Dr
St Charles, MO 63304
636 794 5168
ps I hope that I am giving the small business incubator a boost with the recent purchase of a John Deere 4400 combine, every year a substantial part of the milo and rice harvest is lost due to lack of sufficient harvesting equipment at the critical harvest season. We hope to ship the combine to Nicaragua as a small business opportunity for some of the brothers down there. The thing about combines is that they are really big so the passage about prayer moving mountains comes into mind. Time will tell if this is something that will make a difference or one of my sillier notions. Just want to point out that Ann is behind me on this one, for better or worse, what a woman!