September 2004 Newsletter

Dear Friends,

This time we want to focus on the church in Granada. The church was started early last year. After a great start last year, this year has seemed to be an uphill battle. The year began with several changes of meeting locations and personal problems, resulting with the dismissal of one member of the leadership team. One of our new “Timothys” from Granada has been carrying on his duties but the whole episode sapped much momentum from the church.

Definitely there have been victories. There have been three baptisms so far this year. Also, the outreach ministry to very poor children has been a success. The purchase of land and start of construction of a meeting place has also helped demonstrate that we are in the community for the long haul

In September the church launched a new effort of a neighborhood census directed at identifying families that would be open to home Bible Studies. Also they are on the lookout for families that could benefit from the Children’s outreach ministry next year.

This survey will in general help us get a feel of what the community sees as the most pressing needs. A survey like this was taken when the church was started but now we see the need to do it again as we have moved several blocks north. In urban ministry several blocks can make a world of difference.

Since purchasing property we have begun planning several changes to the children’s outreach ministry. This year the children receive a scholarship to attend grade school, an allotment of school supplies monthly, and a nutritional supplement of rice and beans. They meet after school for tutoring, Bible study and sports activities. The parents meet monthly and are required to attend a six week Basic Bible study series. Currently 27 children are enrolled. Next year we hope to expand to 35 children and offer a hot meal at the church. This will depend on the parents being willing to volunteer a couple of times a month for kitchen duty for one thing, and on me getting the kitchen built! The building now under construction will house this ministry during the weekday afternoons as well as serve as meeting place for the congregation.

Valeria Lopez has been going on Saturdays to disciple some of the young women who have accepted the Lord. She is a member of the Managua church and quite a dynamo in spite of some rather serious health problems. We want to ask for prayer for her and her family. She is hoping to start a sewing room in Granada next year and has gotten some sewing machines donated to this end. The idea is to offer a basic sewing course for women and give those who have completed the course the opportunity to use the machines at the church for sewing work they can pick up. So many women are single mothers without much means of supporting themselves and their children that we see this as a very important way to reach out in the Lord’s name.

We have been preaching through the book of James on Sundays. We have started a new series of leadership training studies centering on church growth on Tuesday afternoons.

October hopes to see the departure of a truck bound for Nicaragua. In March, Gary Schneider of Grace Hauling came with Kevin Daniel’s group and said, “you need this truck that I’ve got in my yard”. Now those are words that will strike fear into any missionary’s heart because often what’s being offered is a piece of junk that will consume much time and money before being quietly hauled to the scrapyard when the donor is not looking. Folks, Jesus shed no junk blood on the Cross, don’t give your junk to the Lord.

In this case the truck that Gary has given is definitely not junk! It’s a 90’ International tandem axle with a new overhaul on the engine. Mike Mckinney has agreed to drive it to Florida to put it on the slow boat to Nicaragua loaded with supplies and equipment for the work here. So many thanks to Gary, Mike, Nancy, Kevin, Dennis F and who knows who that put in time to make this happen. This truck will work hauling materials for building projects down here. A big truck is expensive to keep as a pet so it will have to earn its keep hauling for other people when it’s not working for us. This will provide employment opportunities and help keep costs down for our projects. Please pray for Mike as he drives it to Florida and for the customs work needed to get the truck into Nicaragua. The doors are open legally for the truck to come in tax free here but this is Nicaragua and any number of difficulties could arise.

This past July we made a trip to a region on the Eastern coast that had been stricken by flooding to distribute relief supplies. In October we hope to make another trip to that same region to bring some seeds and scripture portions. November will mark the start of a new planting cycle there and bean and rice seed will be much needed. A local ministry produces the Gospel of Luke in Miskitu, the native language of that region. The plan is to bring several hundred copies and two tons of seed to distribute. The success of this mission will depend on the Lord bringing us to good contacts in the communities and helping us overcome the logistics of working a long way from home.

The last leadership seminar in Managua went well and so the next one is scheduled for 14 Oct. As always, the harvest is plenty and laborers are few, but it seems that right now there is a real crunch to find spiritually qualified and prepared people to work with new churches here.

As always thanks to all of you who support the work here finiancally and in prayer.

In Christ,
Marcus, Ann, William and Amelia

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