Wednesday, June 11, 2014

May 29, 2014

A Schooling Mix

So I think we can all agree that I may fall short of updating the blog as much as I should...since it's been almost a year since I've updated this one. All of you who regularly read know that I became a homeschooling mother when we moved to Nicaragua. I do love all the homeschooling moments a mother gets...all the time I get to spend with my kids. It's incredibly rewarding and difficult all in one. Well, we decided to put our kids in the public school here in our community. Let's be honest here folks, the more time my children spend around JUST Preston, me and each other, the weirder they get. I mean, I tell them they're being weird, but who wants to hear that from their parent every day of their life? No one! It's not like we live in the States and there are things that we can take them to with other kids. Activities like that cost upwards of $30 per kid per month...who has that kind of money? So one day as I was pondering what I could do with the kids that is free, where they could have fun with other kids...I realized...the solution is right under my nose. PUBLIC SCHOOL! So, now, in the mornings we do homeschool and in the afternoon (from 100-5:00) the kids go to school. Let me just say they LOVE it. Sure the first day Preston and I had to stick around for an hour in Caroline's line of sight...but after that first hour she was hooked. She couldn't care less if we were there. The kids Spanish is getting better and they all have friends. In this four hour free time I have I am able to do things like update blogs and about a million and one secretarial jobs I now have. We have also gained information in this experience, like, the government gives free backpacks, pens, pencils, notebooks, rulers, and shoes to the kids in public school (or in our kids public school, I'm not sure if it's in all of them). Also, the kids eat at school every day. The teacher is given the food for a parent to cook and the parent brings the cooked food the next day. I have made lunch for Raymond's class. A parent is expected to cook for the class once a month.

Beans, Rice, Tortillas and a Drink for lunch :)
Mother's Day Celebration
A little song for all the mothers

Monday, May 20, 2013

The Next Step...

So here's the scoop...about a month ago Preston stumbled upon a house for rent in our neighborhood. It's literally right down the street, but the street it's on is safer than where we are right now. As soon as Preston told me about it I had a feeling that we would be moving into it. We didn't see eye to eye at first, but the longer we thought and prayed about it, the more we wanted to move. So we spoke to the owner, who let us know it would be more than the house we are currently living in by about $20. We had a couple of people offer to help with that cost and decided that this was it. We plan on moving in the first week of June and were so excited!
Enter Bluefields, after our visit to Bluefields God really gave us a clear vision for the church. He really spoke to us through Norman and Marta! Here are some major things God spoke to us about. We hope to get started in the next couple of months.
First of all the Lord reminded us that we are a church focused on community. So we officially have our name for the church The Vineyard Community Church (A Bilingual Church). We decided since we are bilingual and there are many different types of La Vinas here in Nicaragua, that we would stick with the Vineyard name in English. The name of our church will also be the name of all of the ministries the Lord has called us to start.
Second, the Lord reminded us about the community that we have been called to, which is the neighborhood we live in. Right now we are meeting at the Isaiah House for church services, but He let us know it's time to move. When we moved to this neighborhood, we felt very strongly that this is where we would be ministering to people. After seeing this new house that we are about to move into we thought that would be the perfect place for our church. The owner however, did not agree. After much prayer and talking to the leaders of our church we decided it would be best to find something around the neighborhood. We are actively looking for a slab of land or building we can meet in ONLY on Sundays. Since our church is small there is no need for an actual building at this point. We figure it might be an option we can afford as a church if we only use the building or slab of land for a couple hours a week. Las Palmas was so gracious to let us use the property when we needed a place to meet, but we feel called to this neighborhood and know that we are supposed to have the church here. We are very excited about this move and the possibility of our neighbors joining us. We are called to this community and God keeps opening our eyes to more that needs to be done.
We as a church would like to be able to provide jobs and training to the people who attend. We also would like the church to be able to support itself and a pastor. We believe it's the churches job to help by providing in any way they can, in other words being culturally and communally relevant. So here are the ministries we are starting to help with that. Again, we plan on having most of these up and running within the next couple of months.
The Vineyard Community English Academy
This has already been started. Right now we just have various English classes, but the hope is to grow it into an Academy. From this we hope to teach people English as well as provide jobs. Right now the students pay $100 cords a month (about $5). We believe that it's important for people to have the mindset that the teachers time is valuable and they should be paid for their work. We hope the classes will grow and be able to pay the teachers while teaching people a second language. This has so many advantages, one of which is people can get better jobs.
The Vineyard Community Thrift Store
Before we ever left the U.S. Preston had a desire to open a thrift store. He even started looking at clothing lots on ebay. Then, while making a visa run in Cost Rica we met Cindy and Rodney Lafrance, who are doing this there. It got us thinking about what we might be able to do here. This thrift store will be selling "Ropa Americana" at a cost low enough for low income families to be able to buy clothes. Our desire is that it will also be able to employ people and make a little extra money for the church. This ministry will be HIGHLY dependent on donations. What does that mean for you? Many of you have asked us what we need in the past and here it is...if you are visiting Nicaragua we would ask if you could pack some gently used clothes. Clothes without holes or stains. You could also pack things that you plan on wearing while you're here, but leaving with us when you go back to the States. We are looking at what the cost would be to ship something from the States, but I'm assuming that will be pricy and am not sure if that will work out well for us. We are also looking into buying a pallet here in Nicaragua, but they are well over $200 and not all of the clothes are always good (i.e. smell moldy, have holes, not good quality, out of style...so nobody wants them
)
The Vineyard Community Bakery
You all know that we just can't get away from baking...it's in our blood. We want to train Nicaraguans to bake American pastries and sell them to surrounding eateries. We will be mainly focused on things like cookies, muffins and breads. Again, we will be training as well as providing jobs and supporting the church through this ministry.
The Lord showed us that we are to serve our community and what better way to do that but through education, clothing, and food? We are about to really be engulfed in everything community...lol! There are some start-up costs for all of this. Even just getting into the house is going to take a chunk of change. Please continue praying about everything happening here in Nicaragua. Also, if you would like to send a one time donation to help us with these costs, that would also be appreciated. Just to get in the house we are looking at a cost of around $1,000.00. Thank you so much for your continued prayers and support.
Update: Literally right after I wrote this (before it was posted) someone sent a donation that covers the cost of our move. The Lord is so good! We do still have the cost of the start up of the ministries and our homeschooling curriculum which will be around $600 for this school year. Thank you again.

Tuesday, May 14, 2013

Bluefields

The partnership sent us to Bluefields Friday so we could secure reservations for the pastors conference in August and handle some business. Preston and I left the kids with Sam, Sarah, Nathan, and Keyla from Isaiah House and flew to Bluefields. It was the first time in 7 months that we went somewhere without our kids and it was AMAZING! When we arrived in Bluefields we went to a hotel that Glenn Schroeder told us about. Unfortunately they were full, so they told us to go to another hotel. This one had no a/c and LOTS of mosquitos...lol...but it was a night without children so I am definitely NOT complaining. We were able to get most of the business done right away and then went to visit with Pastor Norman and his wife Marta. These are some of the most amazing people I have EVER had the pleasure of meeting. We hadn't called them to let them know we were coming, but due to the fact that they wake up every morning at 3am to pray, the Lord had told them to be expecting some unexpected visitors 2 weeks prior to our arrival. We sat and spoke to them for HOURS and it was so refreshing and wonderful. The next day before we came back to Managua the Lord had revealed to them that I was having horrible back pain and pain in my spine...which I do! They prayed for healing and they prayed for Preston too. I have not had one headache since our visit and that prayer. They sent us home with coconut oil and a bunch of pastry's from Bluefields...they were all fabulous! We shared the loot with the Isaiah House folks and were excited to tell them all about our trip. This post is mainly to tell you what is going on in Bluefiels.
First of all you should know Bluefields a.k.a. the Mosquito Coast is on the Caribbean side of Nicaragua. This side of the cost is COMPLETELY different from where we live in Managua. The Lord knew what He was doing not having us go there before our church was planted, because I would have moved there in a heartbeat. I think there is one grocery store in all of Bluefields and this is not the place to come if you're looking for a movie theater. It's really laid back. There are 6 different types of ethnic groups which is a mix of African, Mestizo, and Indigenous Tribes (Rama, Miskito, Creole, Garifuna, Ulwas, and the Mestizos). Here in Nicaragua cultures don't often mix. There is a lot of racism, especially against black people. Bluefields is more of it's own entity, due to the fact that at one time they weren't even a part of Nicaragua. You should look up the History...it's amazing.
We have our tickets to Bluefields!
Here is the little plane we took
There were enough seats for 12 passengers. We could see EVERYTHING the pilot was doing...even when he was sending a text, while the co-pilot was reading the paper
Okay, everyone meet Norman and Marta.
Norman and Marta wake up EVERY morning at 3am to have a prayer meeting with their leaders and teachers. They started a pretty small day care which ended up growing into a school. At first they moved around a lot, but then Marta's Aunt gave them some property for their ministry when she passed away. Everything they have and do they have done with the blessing of the Lord and through their church. They have unending and incredible faith...NOTHING shakes these people.
This is their church/school right now. This used to be just a slab but through much prayer and support they have been able to build it into a building. The Louisianan Vineyard came out a put a roof on, which they were working towards getting at the time. They ALWAYS praised the Lord, even when they were getting rained on during a church service, they knew that the Lord would provide, and he did. Right now the school has about 300 kids who attend. They are the ONLY completely private school in Bluefields. They take absolutely no help from the Government. They pay their teachers and feed the kids 3 meals a day. School starts at around 6am and with after school programs ends around 6pm. These people work HARD! Buying and preparing the food is a task in itself. They have day care, and Pre-K through 6th grade. These are people who believe in their community. They pray with the kids every day and teach them how to pray and about the Lord. Since there are so many different cultures and languages some of the children in their school speak 4 languages. A lot of the kids who go to the school don't go to church and neither to their families, but they have been thanked repeatedly for the pouring out of love and grace onto the children. Their theory is better to learn in the house of the Lord, than get taught on the streets in Bluefields.
Expanding the school (this is the front of the building). This will be the new Elementary School.
This is the inside. While they were building this a horrible rain came and destroyed all the wood. They had to rip most of it out and are working on replacing it now. They have faith this will be done by July.
Here it is from the back
This area is where the Secondary School (High School) will go. There used to be a river that ran through it, but they filled it in so they could build the school.
Here are the teacher offices
The septic tank dug by hand...this took a month to do.
The well, also dug by hand.
Norman and Preston talking about the school.
Nieghbor kids.
The workers cutting wood
Norman and Martas granchildren.
On Saturdays they have drum practice. In September they have Carnival and are practicing. They will be drumming nonstop for at least 3 hours.
Here is the bay and market
The shower head fell off in our hotel room. Also, please notice the window in the shower...hahaha
Apparently this officer made the wrong person mad
The streets of Bluefields