Dear Family and Friends,
We are back from Nicaragua and most recently from Minneapolis tonight! We received a wonderful gift this weekend - my sister flew from Dallas to Minneapolis for the weekend!!!!! It was a total surprise for my parents and us - only my aunt and her family knew she was coming. Brenda, my sister, was sensitive to the fact that this Mother's Day is the first that my Mom has spent without her Mom and will most likely be the last that she has one of her daughters around to celebrate with for awhile. We also celebrated my cousin Sarah's Home School graduation and had an opportunity to share some Nicaragua pictures with everyone. We had an awesome time - we always laugh a lot when we are all together! I've attached a document highlighting some of Dan and my impressions of our time in Nicaragua. I tried to summarize some of our conversations and things that made an impression on us on one page. You will find this attached to this email.
Thought I would share some quick praise and prayer requests and then should get to bed!
1) The safety of each member of our family this week and for health for all of us.
2) Confirmation of God's call to Nicaragua - we grew in passion and in confidence of this calling through the course of the week.
3) God's consistent communication of His presence and love through the twists and turns of this journey.
4) A great time with family this weekend. These times are so precious and valued.
5) Friends and neighbors who continue to make us feel special and supported and loved!
1) Dan and I meet with New Covenant Bible Church's Mission Board tomorrow night (Monday, May 12) at 7:00 pm. Please pray for Dan and I as we present our calling, mission, and need for support and for the Mission Board to discern God's will in regard to their involvement with us.
2) I'm having a garage sale/bake sale this coming Thursday and Friday (May 15 &16). I have friends and neighbors and my Mom who are planning to help with preparing for and doing the sale which I am very thankful for. My request is that I will be able to sort through the rest of our stuff to put on the garage sale by Wednesday afternoon.
3) Please pray for Dan and I as we work on our presentation for support raising. We have lots of awesome pictures and will be revising our former presentation. We have 6 families in Iowa and one in Indiana who have committed to doing a dinner or two for us. We will be calling to set up the dinners after we have completed the presentation - within the next week or two.
1) Daily life will take effort. Our trip was a good “reality check” for us in terms of giving us a better idea of what our lives may look like on a day to day basis. The heat was an adjustment as it zapped our energy and made it difficult to sleep at night. The power and water “went out” one evening which can happen unexpectedly any time and is also periodically scheduled by the government from 5 to 9 pm to conserve energy. Driving in Managua is something that scares me the most as there are no street signs in this city of 1.3 million and the rules of the road are quite subjective. It is very dirty, especially during the dry season and missionary wives told me that surfaces of counters and tables and floors collect dirt (as windows always are open for ventilation) within minutes after cleaning them. (Hence, it is recommended that we hire a Nicaraguan woman to help us clean in order to give her a job and to help us maintain a home that will need constant attention). The final adjustment I will mention is the emotional impact of daily being confronted with extreme poverty and the overwhelming needs of the people. It was the children that at times brought tears to our eyes as we felt a sense of helplessness in regard to our ability to make a difference in every child’s life. Our focus quite obviously needs to be on the children we can reach and to trust God with the destiny of all the other children.
2) Living in Nicaragua is more expensive than we had anticipated. Dan and I walked around a grocery store one afternoon checking out the prices of food and later we both shared the same thought – “how will this work for our family financially?” It doesn’t seem fair that in such a poor country it costs $4.00 for a gallon of gas, $3.00 for a small bottle of syrup, $8.00 for a bottle of liquid soap, and $5.00 for a package of coffee. Furniture is also just as expensive as in the U.S. So, this was a significant adjustment in our thinking and a very good thing for us to anticipate. God, however, did bring us back to the time when we decided that I would leave a career to stay home full time with our kids. We remember doing all the math on paper and found that there was no logical way that we could make it on one income. But, we took the step anyway believing that God was leading us in that direction and have found that He has provided exceedingly, abundantly, beyond all that we can ask or imagine. As we look back on that experience, we have faith in God’s future provision for our family.
3) God’s call to Nicaragua grew stronger throughout the course of the week. There were several times throughout the week that we heard from several different people that Dan’s presence at the school is critical to the growth and administration of both the English speaking and Spanish speaking campuses of Nicaragua Christian Academy. Dan and the director, Liam, seem to blend well in personality and in the way that they approach things. Dan also learned that much has already been done in the area of Development which will be one of his primary responsibilities. This was good for him to hear as this is something that is very new for him. It sounds like he will be working with a committee and have lots of support. It was good for me to talk with many missionaries during the course of the week about opportunities for ministry. It is by design that I have not committed to anything ministry-wise yet. My first priority is to discern Will’s comfort level with attending NCA in the fall. He has lately been saying that he thinks he would like to attend the school, but knows that I am also available to home school him for second grade if he would like me to. There are several things that interest me such as working with the school psychologist to teach classes to NCA parents on parenting and also to work with kids at the school; working with an orphanage that we visited; and working as a therapist (my former career) with women who are coming out of prostitution to follow Christ and learn skills to support themselves financially. This ministry “The House of Hope” also serves to house girls age 10 – 18 to prevent them from using prostitution as a means to survive financially.