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 nobody wants them
The Vineyard Community Bakery
You all know that we just can't get away from'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! 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.