This letter was originally written for the FUMC/OOTBWC December newsletter, but there are many people who care about this cause who aren’t on the newsletter list — so we wanted to share it with you too!
Hi Church Family,
On behalf of the entire Nicaragua Mission Team, I’d like to ask for your prayers as we anxiously await our departure for our second trip to Nicaragua. We will be serving Thursday December 27 through Saturday January 5th.
Nicaragua’s distribution of wealth is one of the most unequal in the world. Over 2 million Nicaraguans live in poverty. The majority of Nicaraguans live on less the $2 a day and more than 800,000 live in extreme poverty, less than $1/day. 1 in every 3 Nicaraguan children has some degree of malnutrition. 1 of every 4 Nicaraguan children is born to a teenage mother. Less than 30% of all Nicaraguan children complete an elementary education, and on average, Nicaraguans complete fewer than 4 years of schooling.
Our primary mission work will be in the same location as last year, a community called Nueva Vida. Nueva Vida is located outside the capital city of Managua, and was originally established in 1998 after 10 long days of wrath that came from Hurricane Mitch. The hurricane caused Lake Managua to overspill its banks, forcing residents to flee to higher ground. Displaced families were sheltered in a refugee camp – which later became Nueva Vida. Today, more than 3,000 people live in the community, and because of it’s original purpose as a temporary location, they are faced with very poor infrastructure of roads, water systems, electricity and sanitation. Most people in Nueva Vida are unemployed. Our work in Nueva Vida is primarily with Pastor Berman Valerio, who is the pastor at Iglesia Verbo church and feeding center. This church has become a central cornerstone of the faith community in Nueva Vida.
Trip members include Peggy Burcham, Wendy Burcham, Laura Edmonds, Ray Edmonds, Corynn Godwin, Brenda Harmon, Ty Harrison, Tammy Horton, Kris Musser, Lauren Roper, Molly Williams, Brandon Winesett and our good friend and Nicaraguan local, Juan Carlos Diaz.
Brandon Winesett is helping organize a set-list for “talent night” on Wednesday January 2nd. Our team will lead worship for the children in Nueva Vida. Brandon and Kris are learning songs in Spanish to sing with the children and of course, we’ll be dancing and teaching them motions as well. :)
Wendy Burcham is organizing a tie-dye event that will be a great opportunity to teach the children about Matthew 5:14 “You are here to be light, bringing our the God-colors in the world.” Most of the children we work with have only a handful of clothing items, so it would not be feasible for us to ask them to bring an “old white t-shirt” for the tie-dying. We’ll be collecting shirts during the month of December if you’d like to help with this project.
One of the activities we are particularly excited about is the opportunity to take family portraits for the people if Nueva Vida. On Sunday afternoon we will set up a small photography studio at Pastor Berman’s church and invite people in the community to bring their families to have their photo taken together. In most cases, this will be the only family photo these generations will have. After the death of my grandparents this past year, family photos from years past have become more special to me than ever before. And as many of you know, family photos are treasured and passed down through many many generations. We are excited to be able to offer this service to the people in Nueva Vida.
We’re going to be blogging at www.fumcmissionsinnicaragua.wordpress.com during our trip — make sure you bookmark that page!! Each night a different team member will post photos, stories, prayer requests and thoughts on that day’s activities. Church members will be invited to post comments on our blog leaving words of encouragement, and prayers for the team. One of the COOLEST parts of our trip last year was reading your comments on our blog posts every evening.
How you can help:
- Pray. This is our greatest need. Pray for our team during the week, and pray for the people of Nicaragua.
- Give. Consider sponsoring a project. We have sponsorship opportunities at all price-points! These can be great Christmas present for loved ones – sponsor a project in honor or memory of a family member.
- Donate. We’re collecting white t-shirts and bright colored rolls of yarn. Boxes will be set up at FUMC and OOTBWC for these collections.
- Talk. Tell your friends! The more people who know about our Nicaraguan children the better! Share our site link on your facebook, twitter, tumblr, blog, email – anywhere! If you tweet, share your prayers during the week with the hashtag #Nica12
Much love, Laura Edmonds
Nicaragua Trip Sponsorship Opportunities:
- $300 for a Christmas Dinner with the members of the church in Nueva Vida
- or $8 to sponsor one plate
- $200 for field-trip with the kids to a water park.
- or $20 to sponsor 5 kid’s admission to the water park
- $150 for transportation for kids and team to/from waterpark
- $200 for food
- or $20 to sponsor 6 kid’s meals
- $200 for game day celebration with Nueva Vida kids on our last day
- or $15 for one game activity
- $500 for family portrait developing
- or $10 for family portraits for one family
- $1500 to sponsor the remodeling of the church’s bathrooms. Right now they have one toilet and no place for people to wash their hands.
- White t-shirts for tie-dying activity
- Rolls of bright colored yarn