I’m still reflecting on the interactions and images during my ten day visit to Nicaragua. One profound moment occurred on day two in Nueva Vida, as I sat beside a group of mothers and their very young children. One child, a little 2 year old boy, was playing with a dilapidated bicycle tied to a baby walker with a tattered rag. I think they were tied together to keep the boy close to his mom and infant siblings.
The little boy was so happy playing with this bicycle. You could tell how much he cherished the bike by the care he was taking in handling the wheels and handle bars. It was precious to him, despite the fact that this bicycle had NO chain, NO seat and NO pedals. In fact, it was covered in rust and dirt. Yet this child adored the broken, pieces-missing, rusted-out shell of a bike.
Through this child at that moment watching, I saw our loving Papa God. Our Father loves us just like this little boy loving on the bike. He loves us despite all of our rusted bits, missing parts, sins and imperfections. We are his precious children and he wants the best for us no matter how battered we are from our journey. He is a loving Father. He is a good Father. In fact, that love runs so deep, He sent His only Son to this earth to die for all of our messy sins. Wow!
I am grateful to be His child. And hope you are too.
My first few days in Nicaragua were spent with our friends from the Beauty for Ashes Project. This ministry shares the love of Jesus with children and families in the heaps of trash in the capital city of Managua. On the day we arrived, the group had plans to visit a family in a community called Nueva Vida to celebrate birthdays of three (3) children. I was honored to be invited to attend with the group.
On our drive into the community, I was overwhelmed by the sheer size of the trash heaps alongside the unpaved roads. They were like mini-mountains of garbage, plastic and rubbish ranging approximately 8ft. to 15 ft. high. Each pile cascaded down to become part of the dirt road beneath the wheels of our truck. It was not your typical Main Street welcome.
However, the real welcome came when we arrived at the home of Salva & Henri, their 11 children and 6 grandchildren. Salva, in particular, was filled with so much joy to see me. I briefly met Salva in April at an event in another town and I had forgotten about our encounter. The interaction in April, however, had meant so much to Salva. She almost squeezed the breath out of my lungs as she hugged me in Nueva Vida. It was such a surprise, and yet her Joy was so pure it brought me to tears! As we continued our greetings, Salva shared her testimony of accepting Jesus fully into her heart and living in relationship with Him. The fruit of that intimacy was obvious in the joyful nature within her family as we spent the afternoon celebrating the birthdays and Jesus’ love.
It did not matter where we were, how many flies swarmed the birthday cake or what smells occasionally floated by with a strong breeze. Nothing compares with Heaps of Joy, Love & Peace I found in Nueva Vida that first day!
May God, the source of hope, fill you with all joy and peace by means of your faith in him, so that your hope will continue to grow by the power of the Holy Spirit – Romans 15:13
One week from today, I return to Nicaragua and I have mixed emotions. Part of me can not contain the excitement, yet there is another part of me that feels anxious. It’s not a fear about safety and those physical aspects of the visit. It’s an anxiety of sharing in the suffering of those families and friends on Ometepe who have been adversely impacted by the civil unrest and economic crisis. Some of the questions that arise include: Will I be able to keep it together? How can I be a source of comfort if I become sad?
When I experience this type of anxiety, I know I can dig into The Word, meditation and the wisdom of my mentors. Recently, I’ve consulted advice from one of the world’s most recognized missionaries and Jesus lover, Mother Theresa. She shares it so wisely in No Greater Love, “when you feel in your own heart the suffering of Christ, remember the resurrection has to come. Never let anything so fill you with sorrow as to make you forget the joy of Christ risen.”
Wow! How could I so easily let myself get in the way and so easily forget the joy of the resurrection? It’s that simple, yet so hard to put into practice in our daily lives. Let’s keep pressing into it to together to find strength, so we may joyfully share His light and keep His commandment “Love each other in the same way I have loved you.” (John 15:12 NLT).
If you’re not sure of the definition of a cog (not the urban dictionary version), it’s the little piece that projects from the wheel of a gear. It is an integral part of the moving gear or wheal. It engages with all the other projections of the other wheels in motion. Cogs can be big or itty bitty.
What made me appreciate cogs were two recent interactions with people I see as examples as Jesus in action. The first event was a sermon from my pastor, Mark Reynolds (click here to see why Pastor Mark’s sermon spoke to me). The second was a conversation with our beloved friend, Tom Fritz. Tom, his wife, Esther and their family have spent the last 30 years as missionaries in Central America.
I can’t speak for Tom or Mark personally, but I can imagine there must have been seasons, where they felt that God’s purpose for them and their community was at a standstill. I have felt this way before. Have you?
Well maybe it’s just that the cogs on the wheel are moving slower than our expectation, but the gears are still turning to His timing. Or, could it be that some of the cogs between the wheels have broken off, or worn down, because we allow situations in our lives (or the news) to distract us from serving a His purpose?
I can only guess, but one thing I do know is that God IS on the move and it is through us, his little cogs! We can make a choice to not only accept Jesus into our hearts but also practice his teachings in our daily interactions with others. (1 Corinthians 12:12-27) It can be as simple as a smile to a stranger, being more patient/forgiving with others – especially ourselves, or finding more gratitude in your daily life (Matthew 5: 5-7). I suspect God loves the tiniest and most diverse acts of kindness and compassion.
How fast would you like to see God moving in our world and in your life? I invite you to take the “Cog Challenge” (Luke 10:25-27) to make this world a better place. Will you be a little cog with me? The rewards will be amazing!
Which path shall I take? – In this calling that God put in our hearts, we recently struggled with whether or not, when, and how we are to visit Nicaragua in the face of the current political crisis. Questions arise such as: Will I be safe? What about my kids if something should happen to me? and What if … (fill in the blanks)?
We prayed and then God gave us the wisdom during a recent visit from our full-time missionary friends from the Beauty for Ashes project. Our eyes were opened wide that we needed to choose a path of obedience. The questions then changed to: How could we not fol
low in Jesus’ footsteps and walk in love, forgiveness, mercy & peace? How could we not trust in Him? As a result, the decision was made for Rochelle to visit Nicaragua from October 23 – November 1, 2018.
Finally, here’s what’s happened since the August update and what’s planned for the upcoming weeks:
Hygiene Drive (see below)
English Classes grow (see below)
Feeding Project — we plan to conduct another food distribution in the coming weeks. So far, your support has impacted 60+ families in four (4) towns. Financial support is most needed for this initiative. Any gift amount will make a huge impact.
Thank you to First United Methodist Church Cocoa Beach for partnering with us from October 7 through October 21 to sponsor a “Small Items for a Big Mission” drive. We will be collecting the following TRAVEL SIZE hygiene items that will be distributed to those in need during Rochelle’s visit in late-October:
BAR SOAP SHAMPOO
If you wish to participate but live far, email Rochelle to make arrangements. If you live in the Cocoa Beach area, we encourage you visit FUMCCB where ALL are welcome!
A New Class Forming!
We’ve added a third English session for young adults in the village of Sintiope. Our first is a children’s class that meets each Saturday in Sintiope. The second is an young adult evening session in Urbaite. This third class consists of five young adult girls who meet in a home – until it grows large enough for classroom space.
This is very exciting news, as Hilder is not only a gifted English teacher, but a passionate messenger of Jesus. We are delighted to support this initiative and a young man of honor within his community.
Do you have an old Smartphone?
There’s still room in Rochelle’s backpack to squeeze a few more used UNLOCKED smartphones & chargers to take to Nicaragua. Email us to make arrangements.
In between – It’s a phrase that best describes how we feel this month. It’s frustrating NOT to be in the field this summer with our friends on Ometepe Island. However, our inconvenience doesn’t compare to the reality of the socioeconomic crisis & daily struggle that Nicaraguans currently endure.
Despite all of this, the will of God is prospering on Ometepe and throughout Nicaragua. A prime example is illustrated in the below video. It demonstrates how we CAN be in one place, or situation, but still have the ability to connect and share the Love of Jesus in another. Here’s what’s happened since our July update:
Formalized our 501(c)(3) nonprofit structure which enables more transparency and partnership opportunities for long-term sustainability
English Classes continue to THRIVE (see below)
Food Project (see video) – 63 Families in 4 towns
This stunning video depicts God’s Hope and Love delivered to 63 familiies through our Feeding Project earlier this month. The local community and churches have really stepped up to reach those most in need: the sick, blind and poor.
An Update from Hilder …
English classes with the kids are running very well as we enjoy the peace that Lord Jesús gives us, no matter the current political and national situation. We are confident under the Love of the Almighty. It is very visible how the classes are of invaluable importance for the kids, along with their parents, who express their gratitude to the ministry.
The adult group continues strong attendance as we discover the love of Jesus and ask for your prayers in these young adults’ spiritual life. I trust the Lord that they will discover a new, different way of life. It is through Jesús and your love that make it all possible. – Hilder
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One Body Global Ministries Inc.
179 Jamaica Drive
Cocoa Beach, FL 32931 USA
THANK YOU for your continued prayers and support. Please subscribe to our blog or our like page on Facebook for more frequent updates, photos & videos.
For the second month, One Body Global Ministries Inc. along with local friends and pastors feed 60+ families in the barrios of Sintiope, Urbaite, Santa Cruz and Madroñal in Ometepe Island, Nicaragua. A special thank you to the churches of Nueva Jerusalen (Santa Cruz) and Bethel (Sintiope). Photos: magdielalvarezjimenez
July is a time when most of us Americans celebrate freedom and family at a summer barbecue or vacation. It’s hard to imagine there are other places in the world that don’t enjoy the same. This is especially true in Nicaragua. The sociopolitical situation has continued to decline and many innocent lives have been affected by this urgent crisis. According to human rights officials, the death toll now exceeds 300. Many people are now jobless and finding it difficult to buy basic food & supplies for their families.
Not much is being reported in the U.S., but YOU can help by joining us in prayer and by spreading awareness (please share this) of the crisis. Scroll down for more details on how One Body Global Ministries has been helping in the field. We ask for your continued prayers for this ministry and the beautiful people of Nicaragua.
Rochelle & TJ
Feeding the Hungry
Thanks to your generosity and the hard work of over a dozen of OBGM’s local friends, families, pastors and church members on Ometepe Island, 60 families received a package from our Food Assistance Project in June. Each family received: 20 pounds of rice, 5 pounds of beans, 5 pounds of sugar, 2 liters of oil and 1 pound of coffee. The package is estimated to last each family 7-10 days. Our in-depth blog & photo gallery best illustrates the scope of this initiative. It is an inspiring demonstration of Jesus in action.
Our goal is to continue this program for as long as the need exists. Please consider a tax-deductible gift towards this project.
But if anyone has the world’s goods and sees his brother in need, yet closes his heart against him, how does God’s love abide in him? Little children, let us not love in word or talk but in deed and in truth. – 1 John 3:17-18
Eyes for Hope Project
Thank you everyone – especially our friends at Rockledge United Methodist Church for your donations to our Eyes for Hope project and unlocked smartphones. We’re making arrangements for some of these items to get down to Nicaragua soon. We’re still collecting them, so if you have these items, please email us.
We are now a 501 (c)(3) non-profit charity!
When we started this journey last year, we never imagined that God would align the exact people, resources, circumstances, and protection that currently operate under One Body Global Ministries. Although we are grateful for our affiliation with CMN to get started, we are now an independent 501(c)(3) non-profit charity. We felt this next step was essential to optimize efficiency, transparency, and of course continue to provide you with a tax deduction(s) for your financial support.
The children’s English classes in Sintiope continue to THRIVE. While regular school enjoys a mini-vacation in July, these amazing kids choose to learn about Jesus & the English language under the leadership of our local teacher, Hilder. So far, access to the classroom has not be an issue since the sociopolitical crisis began in April. Please pray that safety continues & thank you for your support to this project!
60 is the number of families who received a package from One Body Global Ministries’ Food Assistance Project this week. When we started on this journey, we never imagined the need for basic food would be so HUGE. Why? Due to the sociopolitical crisis that started on April 18, many hardworking Nicaraguans now find themselves jobless. The number of people living at the poverty level (defined as living on $2/day) has exploded and continues to grow.
I have to admit that some days, it seems overwhelming and almost impossible. For example, how can we be here in the U.S. and feed all these hungry people? It’s not just about buying food, it’s about getting the money there when the banks are not open, and other considerations including sorting, weighing, bagging, distribution and transportation around road blocks.
Every time we have our doubts, God shows us that with Him all things are possible. In early June, we received unexpectedly generous donations, and we knew exactly where He wanted us to use them. We immediately contacted our trusted local friends, Erlin & Yovelsi Alvarez, whom we have known since 2009. Both are shining examples of professionalism and have dedicated their lives to Jesus Christ.
Thanks to Erlin, Yovelsi and over a dozen of local friends, families, pastors and church members on Ometepe Island, His great plan unfolded. Many of the recipients were the poorest and sickest in the three “barrios” of Santa Cruz, Madroñal and Sintiope. Erlin shared, “We have seen much need, some women have cried when we delivered the food.” The pictures tell most of the story.
Each of the 60 families received: 20 pounds of rice, 5 pounds of beans, 5 pounds of sugar, 2 liters of oil and 1 pound of coffee.
We plan to continue to provide food each month and are praying for more unexpectedly generous donations. You can donate online as outlined below or mail your gift to One Body Global Ministries Inc., 179 Jamaica Drive, Cocoa Beach, FL 32931:
1: One-time or recurring gift:
2. PayPal to: email@example.com
3. Venmo to: @Rochelle-Scott-4
And looking at them Jesus said to them, “With people this is impossible, but with God all things are possible.” Matthew 19:26
Since our last update, there have been a lot of changes (most good and some very challenging) in Nicaragua. As you may be aware, the political climate in Nicaragua is rapidly changing. Students were peacefully demonstrating for a democratic government, but Ortega and the Sandinistas responded with force. Sadly, there have been 100+ deaths and 1,000+ injured. As of this date, one American is confirmed dead. This is adversely affecting many of the faithful and poor throughout Nicaragua. It has also impacted our ability to physically go to Ometepe Island in July.
However, our commitment and ability to help our impoverished brothers & sisters on Ometepe continues here from the USA! We are in daily contact with trusted locals (some whom we have known since 2009) who are stepping up to help meet growing and urgent needs (see below – we need your help).
We are honored and grateful that God has called us into this ministry. We ask for your continued prayers for the beautiful people of Nicaragua and our ministry as a we continue to answer God’s call.
Food Assistance Project
Many people on Ometepe are now unemployed due to the stoppage in tourism and economic decline. Food prices are on the rise. We are working to set up a food distribution/feeding program in the two “barrios” of Santa Cruz and Sintiope with the help of local friends and church pastors.
We need YOUR help. For example, $25 could provide a family of four (4) with enough rice & beans for ~ month. You can donate online in one of three ways:
1: Our secure, encrypted online portal.
2. PayPal to: firstname.lastname@example.org 3. Venmo to: @Rochelle-Scott-4
English Classes Approach 50 Students
35 children are now attending one of two sessions offered each Saturday in Sintiope. Ten (10) students, ages 15-39, learn English at our evening young adult classes offered twice a week in Urbaite. These classes are core to the education pillar of our mission. The classes have continued to run uninterrupted thanks to the dedication of our local teacher, Hilder, and your support to this project.
It takes many parts of the Body of Christ to minister to these brothers, sisters & children. Thank you God!!!!