I just wanted to send you an update on the ministry here in Nicaragua.
First I want to start out with a praise report. We have been approximately 50% underfunded since we arrived here in 2010. It has been amazing watching God move to supply the needs, He has always been faithful. Well, as of the beginning of this year we now have all of our basic budget funded with monthly donations! After several years of labor, we are really beginning to see fruit and it is very encouraging.
While I was with you at the Joshua Generation Conference last May, God planted the concept of building economies in the villages along with discipleship and vocational training. I was not sure how to go about it or what that would look like. Your generous offer for anything from the bookstore resulted in a DVD set by Lance Walnau on the 7 Mountain Mandate. I would have loved to take better advantage of your offer but you know our life revolves around a 50 lb. limit and books are extremely heavy.
As it turns out it was a perfect choice, when I returned to Nicaragua I began watching the series and found his teaching explained in great detail the vision God had given me.
We have partnered with another missionary who shares our vision, working together in a village called El Paraiso(Paradise). The village was created when the government relocated mudslide victims from Hurricane Mitch in 1998. The missionary has been working with the woman of the village teaching them to sew and cosmetology. They have also built a church and Sunday School building in the village. Our heart is for the young men of Nicaragua, most of the mission work here is in the form of aid and feeding to the women and children. While this is important, it is not sustainable and only treats the symptom. Our vision is to help the young men discover their identities and raise them up to become productive young men of God- leaders in their family, church and community. This will solve the problem for the women and children as well.
Together, we are in the process of building a bakery and training locals to run it, as well as purchasing a large building with a lot large enough for 1 or 2 more structures. This building will be utilized as a cabinet shop and classroom for the vocational training. We will employ 4 of the students in the shop. We will train at least one of them to run it and when they are ready finance a buyout (at cost or less). There are a couple of reasons for the buy out: first, between the socialist government here and the way mission work here has been done traditionally, there is a welfare mentality or sense of entitlement that we are trying to change; if they have something invested in it they will have an interest in making it work; also the money can be turned around for other business ventures and in other villages to repeat the process.
There is no hardware store in the area, in fact they have to take a bus ride to Leon to buy any of their needs. It is a 5 hour round trip that costs about 3/4 of a days wage. Since we will have to bring out hardware as well lumber, etc… why not bring it out in bulk and start a hardware store, lumber yard, etc… We will train the young men, once again they will buy it out eventually and own it, employing locals. Besides saving the people time and money by not having to go to Leon, it keeps the money in the local economy to fuel more growth. The main road in front of the village is currently being paved making for easy access, I see the village becoming a shopping destination. The people are beginning to catch the vision and are getting excited.
El Paraiso is a village of about 500, but it is surroounded by many villages- some the same size, some larger. Taken together it is a sizable population. We feel that El Paraiso is strategically located and will impact the region- economically as well as spiritually through the discipleship we combine with the training.
Everything we do here is a process, not an event, and it will likely take a couple of years to become self sustaining. At that point we will seek another strategic community and begin the process once again. Since we will be selling the business and we are training locals ot take over we can have a large inpact on the nation witout a large organization and budget.
Another desire is to begin an instructors class, identifying young men who are called to restore their nation and train them in what we are doing so they can take it back to their communities. This should leverage my time to bring restoration to the nation.
In February I took a month and went to Creston, N.C. to help a friend of mine rebuild a dormitory that burned down. He has a rehab ministry for addicts and alcoholics in the mountains. In November he is bringing some of his guys down here to build a dormitory for a local rehab ministry we are helping to support. It has been operating for 1 year and is the vision of a Nicaraguan named Benjamin who operates it on his farm. Currently the men sleep in a plastic structure on hammocks.
In October we will be hosting our first conference, it will be here in Leon and will be for pastors and leaders. It will be a Friday and Saturday. We will be focusing on equipping with sessions on Inner Healling, prophetic, discipleship and leadership. We are ending the conference with worship and a service in Central park- giving them an opportunity to put into practice what they have learned.
Well there you have some of the highlights of what has been going on here, and what would an update be without a list of needs:
1. We need to install electrical in the cabinet shop and will be raising funds for this.
2. Since arriving in 2010 we have been without a vehicle. This has been an inconvenience but not a problem however, with the shift to going out to the villages a vehicle has become a necessity. Currently we are riding with the other missionary but they only go out Tuesdays and Thursdays for the afternoon. This has worked OK for the vocational class, but to operate the cabinet shop and bring the vision to pass I will need to be out there all day, every day.
3. We have never hosted a conference before so we need wisdom in putting it together.
4. I want to maximize the impact of the teams visit here to build the dormitory, this means having the slab in and materials on hand. I really feel the slab should be funded and installed by local businesses, churches and people. Among other things, it will help to build a support network for Benjamin.