November 2004 Newsletter
There is good news to report. As some know, last month the director of the school in Tipitapa told us that she would not be able to continue working for us next year citing health reasons. This hit hard as the Christian primary school is a major ministry in progress down here. Without the right person in charge of a work like this, a lot of money can get spent without any real ministry happening. After a few weeks of praying, looking and interviewing, Alejandra Mendoza has accepted the job. We are very content that the Lord has brought her to us and that she is willing to accept the challenge. I wish I could say that I never worried about it, that I knew all along that God would bring the right person around; the truth is that I lost a lot of sleep going over in my mind Plan A, Plan B etc..
The transition will still not be easy and we request prayer for the whole process. The Director of the Street Kids ministry in Managua is also retiring this year so there is a change of director there too. Danira Sanchez will be taking over. She has been in training for some time now.
These events remind us that we need to strive to be faithful to the call to serve and not build an empire. It astounds me that the various ongoing projects here account for almost 40 full time employees. At this stage it is important to keep asking: Is this activity for God’s glory or because it’s what we’ve always done?
There are three baptisms to report at the church in Granada; a young lady named Jessica, and a middle age couple, parents of a young woman who is already a member of the church. We are preaching through the Gospel of Mark on Sundays. Jose Adan Vega has been coming on Sundays from Managua to help with music. His piano playing has helped the service out a lot.
In May, Reynaldo Arias, who has worked for us since ’98 as truck driver, purchaser, and general “Radar O’Rielly” type, shot and wounded a man in his barrio. As the guy was chasing Rey and his daughter with a machete at the time, it was clearly a case of self defense but the legal junk has taken until now to clear everything up. Rey was acquitted this past week in court. A child that was injured in the incident has made a full recovery.
Last week we were able to make another trip to the Atlantic coast area to bring more relief supplies to areas affected by flooding earlier in the year. As planting season in the region is approaching in Dec we brought up 2 tons of bean seed for the farmers. We also brought up Bibles and the Gospel of Luke in Miskitu, the local language. To get to this area requires a two day drive over bad roads (had yer SUV in 4wd lately?). The church leaders there intend to use the seed to start a local seed bank to insure seed for the planting cycle that will follow this one. Therefore, the seed we delivered will be a loan to be paid back in kind at harvest in March, dried, stored and available for the following season. I respect the church leaders greatly for their willingness to undertake this as it exposes them to a great amount o f criticism. I hope to return to the area in February ‘05 for some follow up work and present the Jesus film in Miskitu. Thanks to Crossroads CC in Corona CA and Christian Church of Eustis, FL for financial backing for this effort.
The big truck that was donated for the work here left St Louis bound for Miami Fl. to be shipped down to us. Big thanks to Mike Mckinney, Dennis Ferguson, Nancy and Bill Schulz for a lot of work to get it on its way. Pray that it can get through customs here quickly.
We will be in the US from 8 Dec through 8 Jan. It will be nice to see everyone and spend the holidays with family and friends.
Also on the table these days are plans for next year. With the Granada Church well under way we are seriously considering what the open doors are for 2005. We have done some very preliminary visits to the cities of Sebaco and Rivas to get a feel for the possibility of a new church plant. Sebaco looks better at this point though we need to do a bit more survey work and try to make some more contacts in the neighborhood.
The Leadership training session with the Managua Church was well attended. It was good to be able to do some teaching on basic Biblical leadership principles. My desire is to do at least one similar training session a month next year. We are also taking a survey of all the members of the churches here (7 independent congregations) to determine if there is sufficient interest in forming a Bible Institute here in Nicaragua in the near future. This is not something I want to undertake alone and we are also praying that if this type of project is in the Lord’s will that we will be led to a co-worker who would be adequate to the task. That’s the difference between a ministry and an empire!
Marcus, Ann, William and Amelia