Hello Everyone. We hope you and your family are well. The recent weeks have been surreal with OBGM’s current outreach efforts (see below) and plans for a future return to Ometepe. As of today, we are sad to hear from many of our friends and extended family that the Covid-19 virus is rapidly spreading throughout Nicaragua with the contagion curve still on the rise. Their government continues to do nothing to help prevent the spread. In fact, there is an effort to cover up the deaths and some health care workers describe it as, “Nicaragua seems like a horror movie, only it is real life.”* Of course, many in Ometepe are jobless because tourism stopped. As a result, we will increase the scope our food assistance program starting in June. If you would like to provide a food packet, donate below. $20 covers a family of four with enough of the basic staples: rice, beans, oil, sugar, coffee & salt for 7-10 days. 100% of your donation is tax deductible and directly benefits the most impoverished in Ometepe Island, Nicaragua.
Thank you always for your continued prayers for Nicaragua and all of the nations during these unprecedented times. As Christians, we are called to unite by choosing to love our neighbors and our enemies. We are called to stop for the one, whether they be in our own family, community or across the globe without barriers. We are ONE BODY in Christ. Are you with us? Rochelle & TJ *Source: (https://trib.al/PbxynjY)https://app.moonclerk.com/pay/3fj3mgy0grs0
GREAT NEWS & NEW ITEMS for GUYS & GALS We are delighted to share that Ometepe Artisans Etsy Shop & project is off to a strong start with orders from friends and strangers throughout the USA. New inventory is being added to the shop each week!
Profits from all sales go directly to Rosa and Gladys. This project provided them nearly $400 of income since April when they would have otherwise earned $0due to crisis. The amount may seem modest, but it is enough provide for their sustenance. This project is not only empowering these women, it is providing much-needed hope in the community.
Help us continue this success. Please share the online Etsy Shop with your friends and family. Purchase a small treasure that will empower these deserving women. Items range from $8 – $55. Also, you can follow new posts and updates on their Instagram or Facebook page.
If you have any questions email or IM us on social media.
Does Your Employer Have a Match Program? OBGM has been vetted and approved as a charity in good standing for many corporate employee-match programs through Benevity. If you work for one of the following companies, your employer may have a matching program through Benevity.
For example, if your employer’s policy is to match 2:1 and you defer $25 each month to OBGM, we will receive $75 each month. The extra $50/month would sponsor a young adult for a college education!
If you have any questions, email us or contact your HR Dept even if your employer is not listed below.
COVID-19 & Community Outreach During May we invited our college scholarship recipients to assist OBGM continue to help with community outreach and education. Our first attempt at DIY disinfectant wipes failed, however the the second attempt was a success. Thank you to Erlin, Hilder, Leydis, Prisila, Cinthia, Escarleth, Joshua and Andres doing all the hard work to pack, organize and distribute the following all while social distancing with masks in the brutal heat: 36 high-risk families 52 disinfectant wipes, soap & COVID-19 prevention handouts 13 family food packets of rice, coffee, oil, salt and sugar 10 dog food packets under our Donations for Dogs program
College Scholarship Recipients
We currently have 13 enrolled on AmazonSmile that generated $42.00 in the first quarter of the year. We we would love to double that number by the end of 2020 Can you help us? Use this link: https://smile.amazon.com/ch/83-084001.
Also, AmazonSmile customers can now support One Body Global Ministries Inc in the Amazon shopping app on iOS and Android mobile phones! Simply follow these instructions to turn on AmazonSmile and start generating donations. Open the Amazon Shopping app on your device Go into the main menu of the Amazon Shopping app and tap into ‘Settings’ Tap ‘AmazonSmile’ and follow the on-screen instructions to complete the process If you do not have the latest version of the Amazon Shopping app, update your app. Click here for instructions.
We’re Starting with some Good News! Introducing an outreach project partially facilitated by students enrolled in the University of Central Florida’s Program in Women’s and Gender Studies. Thank you UCF!
Ometepe Artisans fights poverty by offering an ongoing means for well-established and indigenous artisans to connect to the global market and earn a fair income via Etsy. All of the net proceeds from each sale goes directly to the artisan(s). The first two Ometepe residents are female jewelry artists, Gladys & Rosa, who hand craft one-of-kind pendants, bracelets and earrings from organic materials found on the Maderas volcano of Ometepe (items range from $8 – $35). Gladys and Rosa also received a small micro-loan to get started! Go to the online Etsy Shop to view all the items/purchase a small treasure that will empower these deserving women for weeks to come. Also, you can follow new posts and updates on their Instagrampage.
CHILD SPONSOR MATCHES MAILED If you participated in our year-end Education for Ometepe Fundraiser, you should have received a letter including information about your child match and his/her family as well as a photo(s) of your child If you did not receive the packet, please email us. For info on the program, click here.
No Pandemic in Nicaragua? Hello Everyone. So much has happened in the world since our last update of March 11. Some days have been overwhelming with adjusting to work, school and “life” during a global pandemic. The best we can do is offer prayers of thanksgiving for our daily blessings and keep fixing our eyes on Jesus, because we look not at what can be seen but at what cannot be seen; for what can be seen is temporary, but what cannot be seen is eternal. 2 Corinthians 4:18 NRSV
The most diffiult news to share is, that unlike most countries imposing social restrtictions to help prevent the spread of COVID-19 virus, Nicaragua has chosen the opposite approach. In fact, the country is promoting large-scale sporting events, large public gatherings and school is in session. At this time, Nicaragua has only “reported” a handful of COVID-19 cases and only two deaths. Like most developing countries, Nicaragua’s public healthcare system falls well below developed standards, with some reports indicating the entire country has only 10 ventilators.
We expect the impact of COVID-19 in Nica to be severe in the upcoming weeks. How you can help is to PRAY WITH US. Also, we expect the demand for medical and nutrituional support to increase the coming months. Consider sponsoring a family of four ($20) for a 2-week supply of food, or providing a tax-deductible gift of $50 to help with preventative/medical expenses. 100% of your donation directly benefits the improverished in Nicaragua. Donate
Thank you always for your continued support. May you keep your eyes fixed on Him and stay safe during this difficult season. Rochelle & TJ
SEEKING COLLEGE SPONSOR We are currently seeking a College Sponsor for our Hilder Barrios! The commitment is $50/mo for a period of five years. Hilder is enrolled in Rivas college pursing law. In addition to teaching English for OBGM, Hilder is always the first to volunteer in the community. Hilder’s faith in Jesus is unwavering. Despite being 24, he’s the sole provider of his family of 8. Will you help change this man’s life?Our COVID-19 ResponseOur English Program is suspended until further notice. The majority of our students lack the technology to move to an online format. We are praying on an alternate solution so that we may offer continued learning during COVID.
Both Hilder & Leydi transitioned to our “COVID-19” team focused on education and ditribution of santitation supplies in several communities. We acquired 126 bars of soap and 4 gallons of bleach and started visiting immunocompromised families. In addition, the local mission team from Bethel Iglesia Nueva Jeruselen is also distributing these materials to reinforce the urgency of thorough handwashing to prevent the spread of the virus.
A friend of mine recently recommended a crowdfunded TV series called, The Chosen. It’s available FREE via YouTube or App. After the first episode, I was hooked. The series is unlike no other show about Jesus and the disciples. At times you find yourself chuckling and at other times teared up. The show’s creators made the character’s issues real and relatable to today. Whether you are Christian or not, you may find yourself binging on this show. We hope you are blessed by it. #BingJesus #Getusedtodifferent
Our Jan-Feb visit to Ometepe Island was nothing short of amazing. The time we spent together with the locals and other missionaries, it was clear that God is weaving the most splendid & beautiful tapestry for His Kingdom through all of us. (Luke 17:20-21)
We were most encouraged by the progress of the English students enrolled in our three (3) ongoing classes. Many of the students are gaining confidence in their pronunciation and using their skills outside the classroom. Knowing English provides future employment opportunities, as tourism continues to return to the island.
The hardest aspect of our visit were the family interviews for our primary school scholarship program. This program now covers 53 children in 9 communities. Many of these families are surviving on less than $1 a day, with a handful reporting no income altogether. All of the children were not ready for the new school year and thanks to the Body of Christ, they started on Feb 3! We will continue to monitor each child’s progress, and family situation, throughout the year. We will also be in touch with you shortly about your child if you are participating in this program.
Finally, you will continue to see a shift of our activities away from strict programming into a model of community development. Instead of doing for others, our focus will continue to build on doing with others through our core pillars of MIND, BODY & SPIRIT. Like the tapestry, our end goal is sustainability weaved into the fabric of these communities yoked with Christ’s unconditional love.
Will you be a thread in this tapestry? We have some fun ways to participate including soon-to-launch online indigenous jewelry store in which the proceeds support local women. We are also seeking school & teacher supplies for Rochelle’s next visit on April 6. If you would like to come to Ometepe in the future, send us an email. Scroll down for updates on each of our core pillars of Body, Mind & Spirit.
Peace & Love of Christ be with you, Rochelle & TJ
Follow us Facebook, Instagram or Twitter for almost daily updates from the field. See below for some of those details if you’re not on social media.
MINDS: SUPPLIES NEEDED by MARCH 31 Our Saturday children’s English classes migrated to Monday & Wednesday mornings at the Sintiope primary school (Pre-K- 6th), concurrent with the regular learning day. During the process, we discovered the school had NO supplies. We were able to secure some during our visit but the needs are so great. Consequently, we’re holding a school & classroom supply drive UNTIL MARCH 31, seeking the following items (gently used is fine). Many of these items can be purchased on our AmazonSmile Charity Wish list and dropped shipped to us:Reusable plastic cups, dishes & utensils Wooden Puzzles & pre-school toys Games, Baseball Bats & Gloves, Soccer Balls (size 4). legos, blocks Pens, pencils, paper, notebooks, crayons & colored pencils Whiteboard markers & other classroom supplies (check dollar store) Chess Sets (plastic)
BODIESPilot Water Filter Project with the Cocoa Beach Daybreak Rotary Club. These Sawyer bucket adapters (see above) eliminate 99.999999% of bacteria, protozoa & cysts like e.coli, cholera & typhoid. Each recipient was trained on how to maintain & clean the filters as they can last 10+ years & filter 300 gallons/day. This past visit a total of 8 kits were granted to 2 schools & 3 households giving clean water access to 300+ individuals. All the recipients were so happy to access clean water & surprised at how easy to use & maintain. We will be closely monitoring this project & keep you posted.
YOUR INVITED Do you live near Cocoa Beach, FL? Join us on March 21 from 3:30pm – 5:30pm for casual tea, lite snacks and preview of the handmade master artisan jewerly from Ometepe Island, Nicaragua. The earrings, necklaces & bracelets are made by Rosita & Gladys, two indigenous women from the community of Santa Cruz. Both artists use natural materials found in Ometepe, including fossils, stones, seeds and amber found around the Maderas Volcano. ALL of the profits will directly benefit Rosita & Gladys, which in turn will help their families, church & community.
This is a prelude to the creation of an online Esty platform designed to provide an ongoing, sustainable income for these deserving & faithful women. Click below button for event details & more photos of the goodies! March 21 Jewelry Event
BODIES A note from TJ: On this trip I met Maria Antonia a precious little girl who seemed very sick. Her parents were told she had hepatitis and couldn’t go back to school until she was well. And the new school year started the following week. We had lots of questions. Was it A, B or C? How contagious was she? We took her to a private clinic to find out. The cost for the visit and blood tests was greater than the average monthly wage in the village Maria lived.
Long story short, it was Hep A – thank God. We prayed over her. Her symptoms subsided, and she was in school the next week. But now her brother had it. And I suspect nearly everyone she came in contact would eventually have it. My dilemma now is, how do you get people to frequently wash their hands with soap, when very few in that community have soap. The school didn’t even have any. We had a great response to the immediate need and were able to supply Maria’s family and the school with soap. We are moving forward with the school to ensure it has ongoing access to clean water, supplies, utensils and soap. Stay tuned…
$37.67 We recently received a quarterly disbursement from the AmazonSmile Foundation for $37.67. It may not seem like a lot, but we stretch these dollars to help cover bus fares or a water filtration kit capable of filtering 300 gallons per day.
Thank you to the 13 people supporting our charity. Imagine the impact if this number was doubled or tripled? Please consider adding us to your Amazon purchases by going to: https://smile.amazon.com/ch/83-0840019.
Do you have an extra musical instrument & willing to donate it?
We’ve been approached by two different groups seeking worship instruments. Please contact us if you’re interested. You can also make a designated financial gift by clicking below. All gifts are tax-deductible. Donate Now
If you are in the Greater Philadelphia/South Jersey area this week, we invite you to join us on Sunday, December 29, 2019 at 10 AM-11:30 AM at Holy Trinity Episcopal Church located at 11 N. Monroe Ave. Wenonah, NJ 08090 for NINE LESSONS & CAROLS: A WOODBURY CONVOCATION EVENT – A Service of Readings, Music & Communion.
Holy Trinity’s congregation, choirs, and musicians will gather for this traditional Anglican service, including Holy Communion. Let’s pack the house and sing our hearts out as we remember the joy and hope of the Nativity of Our Lord! All are welcome.
After the service, stick around for a potluck coffee hour. During the coffee hour, we will talk about our work on Ometepe Island in Nicaragua with ample time for Q&A.
Nine Lessons and Carols is a service of Christian worship traditionally celebrated on or near Christmas Eve. Originating in the early 20th century out of the Church of England, the story of the fall of humanity, the promise of the Messiah, and the birth of Jesus is told in nine short Bible readings or lessons from Genesis, the prophetic books and the Gospels, interspersed with the singing of Christmas carols, hymns, and choir anthems. It’s a powerful service that speaks to God’s divine plan for the redemption of the world and the mystery of God’s incarnation 2000 years ago in Bethlehem. You won’t want to miss it!
Thank you to all those who helped us exceed our goal raising $6,723 on #GivingTuesday to empower two villages in Ometepe Island, Nicaragua through education. 100% of the proceeds raised go to Nicaragua to provide:
50 children with uniforms, backpacks & school supplies
Year-round English classes in two villages
School supplies for one village elementary school
Please know the gratitude of the students & families in Ometepe is equally matched by the outpouring of love shown by all who participated, including: direct supporters, volunteers, social media ambassadors, auction sponsors, taco eaters, acution bidders & winners.
We look forward to sharing more on the impact of your giving during our next visit to Nicaragua January 15 – February 18, 2020. In the meantine, we appreciate your continued prayers for this ministry during the Christmas Season. Love, T.J. and Rochelle so we, who are many, are one body in Christ, and individually we are members of one another – Romans 12:5 NRSV
A Final Thank you to our Auction Donors
The Kennedy Space Center Visitor Complex / 4th Street Fillin’ Station / Beachside Grand Prix / Golf n Gator / Preacher Soulful Food & Abbey Ales / The Crayola Experience / Lighthouse Cove Minigolf / Fishlips Restaurant / Sun Bum Sun, Skin & Hair Care / Kula Yoga Merritt Island / Isobe Hair Salon / WonderWorks Orlando / The Tiny Turtle / Michelle Lackore LMT / Exploration Tower at Port Canaveral / Cocoa Beach Helicopter Tours / Junkanoo Island Kitchen & Rum Bar / Rising Tide Tap & Table / Ace Hardware Cocoa Beach (YETI) / Grills Seafood Deck & Tiki Bar / Serenity Spring Massage & Body Work / Shore Lanes Merritt Island / Yoga with Martha / Cocoa Beach Aerial Adventures / Orlando Philharmonic Orchestra / Trent Art Gallery
We believe that education is a universal human right and a pathway out of poverty. You can help us to send 50 kids to school with the uniforms and supplies they need and to provide English classes on Ometepe Island Nicaragua for an ENTIRE YEAR to help young people participate in the growing tourist-based economy. Are you with us?
Below is a link to our Online Silent Auction that opens today and runs through #GivingTuesday, December 3. Participating is a great way to “give” a gift for the holidays but also to make a difference in the lives of children, teens and parents (like Jeyson below) who benefit from our educational programming in Ometepe: https://www.biddingowl.com/OBGM You don’t have to be present at the #GivingTacoTuesday event to win or to give.
In early November, we started packing our suitcases with donations and supplies for our November 6 – 20th visit to Ometepe, Nicaragua. T.J. was excited about the start of a pilot water filtration project, co-sponsored by our local Rotary club. In addition to the physical work planned for Ometepe, we were setting up for our 2020 goals and future visits.
On November 2, all our plans came to a HALT, when TJ fell off a ladder helping friends trim trees at our pastor’s house. His body was cut and bruised, a finger was broken and his wrist was shattered. Immediately following the accident, we thanked God that the injuries were not worse, considering he was using a chainsaw at the tme. Next, we explained to the physcian, ‘We’re leaving for Nicaragua on Thursday!’ Uhm…not so fast.
This has been a humbling lesson on many levels. Most importantly, in all the busyness of what we think is our plan, it is not. Neither is Plan B or Plan C in our control. It’s always God’s plan, (“Plan G”) and we need to trust His plan and know He has our backs. For my thoughts are not your thoughts, neither are your ways my ways. Isaiah 55:8
So now, we seek your prayers as TJ has surgery on Friday, November 8 to repair his wrist. We also seek your prayers for the people of Ometepe and “Plan G” for this beautiful island. Are you with us? Love, Peace & Joy T.J. and Rochelle For more frequent updates from the field, follow us on Instagram or Facebook.
#GIVINGTUESDAY – EDUCATION FOR OMETEPE #GivingTuesday is an international day of charitable giving that occurs at the beginning of the holiday season. This year the date falls on December 3. OBGM is participating with a fun Taco Tuesday event, including a silent auction to help raise the funds to sustain our 2020 educational goals & budget. We believe that education is a universal human right and a pathway out of poverty. You can help us:
Supply 50 children with uniforms, backpacks and school supplies
Provide year-round English Classes (teachers, supplies & dictionaries) in two villages to:
40 Children on Saturdays (Sintiope)
20 Young Adults in Evenings (Santa Cruz)
Provide school supplies to one Primary School (Sintiope) and to 5 teachers serving 116 children (ages 3-14)
Stay tuned in the coming weeks to see how you can help make this happen. We’re lining up some great items for our Online Silent Auction featuring restaurants, services, tickets and gifts for the holidays. As always, 100% of funds we raise are applied to programming.
As always, you can make your tax-deductible contributions at any time the year. You can set up your secure, encrypted donation online as a one-time gift or a monthly-recurring gift that you may cancel at any time. Donations can be made in Tribute or Memory of a loved one.
We hope you are having a good Fall season filled with gratitude and good health. We remain in continual contact with our team in the field on Ometepe Island, Nicaragua and have lots to share. Scroll down for all the updates on each of our core mission pillars of MIND, BODY & SPIRIT.
Our next visit is scheduled for November 6 – 20, 2019. We are also planning for 2020. Some of our goals will be bold, but we have witnessed miracles in the past, especially when the needs were the greatest and met with unconditional love. In the meantime, please continue to pray with us for:
Continued peace for Nicaragua
Recovery of those hospitalized
OBGM ministry, staff & local volunteers
Remaining 2019 funding for:
December Food Distribution Program ($350)
Five (5) Sponsors for Micro Loan Project ($250)
Structural housing projects finish (See below).
Discernment for our 2020 Plan
Love, Peace & Joy T.J. and Rochelle For more frequent updates from the field, follow us on Instagram or Facebook.
MINDS: ENGLISH PROGRAM EXPANDS & NEW ASST. TEACHER
A new evening English program commenced late-September in the classroom space of Iglesia Nueva Jerusalen church led by Hilder Barrios and assisted by Leydi Rios Alverez of Ometepe. This is an exciting milestone for OBGM investing in young adults in the community of Santa Cruz. Leydi Rios Alverez’s new role is a paid student-teaching job. She’s an incredible young mother who works full-time at her church’s program with Compassion International while finishing her college degree in English on Saturdays. We are excited to watch Leydi grow in her new role and our hope is that in the future, Leydi will assume full responsibilities for our Santa Cruz English program. Click here for her full bio.
BODIES & SPIRITS: SEPT & OCT OUTREACH
22 Food Packets (20 lbs. rice, 10 lbs. of beans, 5 lbs sugar, 1 lb coffee, 2 ltrs. oil) were prepared and distributed at the end of September – early October to six communities by our amazing team from Iglesia Nueva Jerusalen church. Earlier this week “Gloria” provided transport for the local mission team to visit & pray with the sick at hospitals – some suffering from dengue fever. In fact, the two hospitals on the island were full. The mission team provided their own donations of food and supplies to the sick as these items are NOT provided in Nicaraguan medical system (not even toilet paper).
BODIES: WORKING TOGETHER FOR THE GOOD We’re delighted to share last month’s construction for Christian and Marisol’s homes are almost complete thanks to generous donations. Unfortunately, both homes had to be 100% demolished and most existing materials could not be reused. Each family now has a firm foundation, posts and a roof that no longer leaks. Our local mission team and the homeowners labored hard with the materials preparation and construction to keep costs down.
Despite this, Marisol needs more help with brick walls, windows and a floor. We believe that anything is possible when “we know all things work together for good, for those who love God, who are called according to His purpose” (Romans 8:28 NRSV).
The current budget to complete: Walls $720 Windows $315 Floor $225 Total: $1,260
If you feel implored to help Marisol’s family, consider gifting all, or part, of the above budget with your tax-deductible donation direct to OBGM or through a future Facebook fundraiser (contact us for more info)
‘…I was thirsty and you gave me something to drink.” Matthew 25:35
When we visit Ometepe, we are exposed daily to how the locals struggle to have the basics, such as clean water to drink. In June, we “trialed” one (1) family with a lightweight water filtration kit and the feedback has been amazing.
Thanks to the Cocoa Beach Daybreak Rotary Club for co-sponsoring a small-scale water filtration project with us in Ometepe. Rotary’s motto is Service above Self and the Club’s Mission Statement is to make lasting improvements to people’s lives through service.
The project will kick-off in November 2019 when 12 families will be equipped with a Sawyer PointOne Filter kit, a 5-gallon bucket and a food packet. Each family will receive training on how to use and maintain this lightweight system that filters up to 300 gallons per day and can last 10+ years. Our goal is to help improve the health of families and children as the filters are certified to prevent harmful microplastics, bacteria, protozoa, or cysts like E. coli, Giradia, Vibrio cholerae and Salmonella typhi (which cause Cholera and Typhoid) to pass through.
We’ll keep you posted in the coming months on this project’s impact and future plans.
Here is one example of how a small micro loan / grant of $75 can empower others and help many people in a community. The below is how one women’s group from the USA helped another women’s group in Ometepe Island, Nicaragua. We appreciate your prayers and if you feel led, consider making a tax-deductible contribution to us by clicking here. 100% of the proceeds we receive go towards programming to help the impoverished in Nicaragua.