Saturday, December 30, 2017

The Month of Abundance

December is the month of abundance.  Everything is over the top; community celebrations, festivals, neighborhood parties till 2am, drums, drums and more drums, fireworks that are all hours of the night.  Our wonderful, exciting city is all about traditions and celebrations.  The tall ladies are out nightly in all the barrios starting in November.  And the festive atmosphere is strong in the air the entire month of December. 

December 1st, started with us receiving our business license for the vocational carpentry shop and making the final installment for the corporation process.  It was 7 long months of continuous requests and filing paper after paper of supposedly "necessary" documents.  If we had had children, we would probably have had to offer them up too.  Anyway, it is done and the vocational carpentry shop is officially a Nicaragua corporation called "El Taller Gabinete de Comunidad" or the Community Cabinet Workshop.

The second week, our local church headed to the beach for a day of fun and baptisms.  Two of the guys from the Restoration House along with Noel's wife were baptized.  It was our first time at this particular beach which was beautiful, and now that we have seen it, we'll stick to Las Peñitas which is closer to home.

We made a request for help with the year end festivities of our ministry and many of you responded.  We were able to provide gifts for the 7 of our guys living in the Restoration House.  We were able to buy NEW clothes consisting of 2 shirts, pants, 2 pairs of underwear and shoes for each one.   We told them that people

from the United States paid for the gifts and the boys were SO happy. 

You also made it possible for us to give a love offering to the Pastors, Ken and Wilber who give of their time to help with the bible studies for the boys and instruct them how to live life outside the walls of the Restoration House.

We just finished with our second annual outreach to the homeless.  This year, we also included the elderly in giving meals to them at their homes.  There were 19 of us that traveled by eight triciclos through various barrios in the city to give out a meal and be the hands and feet of Jesus to extend love to those in need, lonely or forgotten.   I'm not sure who receives the most blessing, those that receive, or us that have the privilege of giving. 

We love doing this and you, our partners and friends, are such a big part of this.

I know that you all have been inundated with requests and we really don't like having to add to that.  But we too need your help.  Someone told me once, that God has chosen some people to go out into the world to help and others he has chosen to stay home to provide for the sending.  Helping to send means providing for the needs to be able to carry out the work.  We are $700 a month, yes, I said a MONTH short in our funds right now.  This amounts to $8400 a year shortfall in funding.  It is really affecting what we are able to do.  If you feel led to help, we would appreciate you giving to the work in Nicaragua.  Our donation website is easy and very safe to use.

One of our biggest needs will be equipment for the vocational carpentry shop.  About 18 months ago we were robbed of EVERYTHING we had in the way of tools.  This past year, we were able to purchase a small table saw and planer.   The shop needs clamps, paint sprayer, a larger planer, drill press and various odd hand tools, not to mention an inventory of wood to get the shop started.

We are blessed and privileged to be able to work in Nicaragua and you all make it happen.  Your prayers, your encouragement via calls and emails help to move us on. 

Tuesday, November 28, 2017

Give Thanks Always

We've had an awesome year.  Not to say that it was not without it's challenges and great disappointments.   But I love to look back on the year to see the beauty of what we do.   I  especially like to see and remember  how God brought us through the rough times.  

This year, the rough times have not been so much in our day to day work in Nicaragua, but in matters concerning our family that we left in the States.  We've questioned our initial decision to come to Nica and more recently to remain when members of our family are dealing with crisis issues, divorce,  as well as life and death matters.  In the years we've lived in Nica, we've also missed the birth of all of our great grandchildren.  Two of them we have not met and there is a fourth on the way.

We've never been to the States for the holiday season.  In fact it's been almost three years since we've returned after the last visit.  Since we have received our Nicaragua residency, there is no pressing need by the government to make us travel.      

We have had to put the care of our family in the hands of God.  We preach and teach to the people of Nicaragua ALL THE TIME about trusting God.  And to be honest, some days our teaching did not line up with our current belief system at the moment.    

As I said, it's been an awesome year.  Our relationships are growing stronger with the guys who come into our lives.  We have local people who recognize what we do and give of their time to help us.  Opportunities are coming forth in the cabinet shop and vocational school.  Preston is teaching regularly in a pastor friend's church and invited to preach in our local home church, as well.   He started a local chapter of the Celebrate Recovery program.     Along with Wilber, they have started a "home church" in the Casa Restauración on Sunday nights and it is open to the public.

Let me briefly share a recent event.  Preston is one of 4 pastors/leaders that teach daily in the Casa Restauración.  After lessons one day, there was casual conversation.  The boys love to hear about what our life was like in the States.   One of the boys made a comment about how much we must miss our family.  Which prompted another to ask how much longer we would be in Nicaragua and when did we expect to return to the States.   Preston told them we were not going back because Nicaragua was our home.   They said, "but missionaries always go back".   He told them about a recent conversation he and I had about a decision we would one day have to make, in case of a natural disaster or government unrest, if the US Embassy informed us that we needed to vacate.   During that conversation we talked about the difficulty of walking away from the people whom we have come to love and the work we do.  We made a decision then and there that leaving would never be an option for us.

While Preston was sharing this conversation with the guys, they became very emotional.  Everyone of them cried, one of them sobbing and Wilber leaned into Preston to hug him.  He said "no one has ever shown us this kind of love".

There are no words to adequately describe the up and down days of our lives in the last couple of years.  Preston once had a customer of ours ask him before we left the States, "do you really have to go?"  He replied to them, "I don't have to go, I GET to go".

So, in this year of ups and downs, we continually have to remind ourselves to GIVE THANKS ALWAYS.  

It's an awesome privilege to have been chosen to be God's hands and feet in Nicaragua.

Saturday, October 28, 2017

First Anniversary of Casa Restauración

Restoration - A return of something or someone to a former, original, normal or unimpaired condition.

The Restoration House or Casa Restauración sp. was a necessity to the young men of our community to provide a safe environment in order for them to work on restoring their lives to the original, intended condition.

At the end of last month, Wilber sold some of  his pigs and used the money to lay a foundation for a room on his property.  I spoke about his passion for the work we do, never did we realize the extent until he was willing to sacrifice his income to help the ministry.

The ministry bought the materials for all the electrical needs including fans and helped with the construction of the room and rewiring of his entire property.  Unless you have been in a third world country you cannot imagine the conditions of wiring in homes and older businesses.  We wanted to make sure that all would be safe.

By October 15th, we had moved the guys from our house and along with one newbie into the Casa.  It was the second anniversary to the day since we launched the Casa Restauración.  We had all of the original beds, kitchen equipment, tables and chairs from the first Casa that will be used in the new Casa.

We will continue to do minimal improvements to the property as funds become available.  There has been a roof installed over the area between Wilber's house and the room.  This provides for a covering of the gathering space.  Currently there is a mud floor, the rainy season is still upon us.  Also, we need to add additional roofing to the kitchen area to divert water run off into the gathering area.

I said that improvements would be minimal to the property to make it habitable for the guys. We have all decided that we need more space in the near future.  Currently, we can house 6 guys.  It crushes Wilber to have to turn guys away for lack of space.  Remember, this is the guy that wants to, no let me rephrase that, has to save the world.

This issue of wanting to take everyone in is something that we have had to wrestle with for years.  We are teaching Wilber, that there has to be a limit and not everyone is a candidate for entry.  We have several meetings and classes every day of the week except Saturday.  We encourage attendance while waiting for space to open within in the Casa.  If they do not make an attempt to attend meetings and work at making life changing choices, they will be denied entry to the Casa when space is available.

During this time of year, it gets cold (well for us 70 degrees is cold) and guys don't like sleeping on the sidewalks or park benches.  They come for food and rest, showers, clean clothes and when they feel better, walk away.  Our resources in staff and finances makes it impossible to allow this to continue.  We try as well as we can to discern the intent of the individuals seeking help.

Our goal now is to find approximately 2 - 3 manzanas (3 1/2 - 5 acres) that will be a complex for the entire ministry.   This would include the vocational cabinet shop, dormitory for the guys, chapel, barn,  personal and caretaker residences.  It all sounds like a dream but, it was the vision that we were given before we moved to Nicaragua and God has shown the same vision to Wilber.  Now we have the joy of having someone to talk with, plan with and dream about the future other than with ourselves.

All things are possible with God!

Monday, September 25, 2017

How Do You Spell Relief?

H E L P!

I'm not crying out for help.  I'm saying we have HELP in the form of wonderful, passionate, loving, Godly people who are coming alongside to offer long awaited relief to our weary minds and bodies.  You can't imagine the feeling this relief of responsibilities is to us.

Wilber, our very close friend and more like a family member to us, has caught hold of the vision for what we are doing.  He has so much passion, which is giving us a boost of adrenaline.  God comes exactly at the right moment to tend to our minds and bodies and provides what we need.

Wilber is a born evangelist, which I may have mentioned before.  He cannot help himself.  He loves to go out to the highways, byways and neighborhoods that most of us would never step into.  His job and he knows it so well in his spirit, is to reach the lost.  Two years ago, he was in the streets, his life spiraling into eternal hell.   He grasped onto God's outstretched hand and pulled himself out of the gutters.   His life's work is to tell others about the transformed life offered by Jesus.

We also have pastors and a transplanted American paraplegic that are giving their time to help mentor and disciple the guys.   Do you see what I have written - they are giving their time.  There are no requests for financial assistance, they too have a heart and passion for what we are doing.  Weekly they come and each spends 3 hours one day a week with the guys.

Two of the volunteers travel a great distance - 15 plus miles each way.  We feel led to pay for their transportation and just that small gesture has found great appreciation within them.

Preston has been teaching the Friday morning classes.  However, this will be short lived because in January we hope to have the vocational cabinet shop up and functioning.  If God has provided us with the current volunteers, He will provide someone for the Friday classes at the due time.

Oh, the sweetness of relief!  It allows us time to devote to other matters, formulate programs and Preston's expanding teaching opportunities in other churches.  I love to teach English and felt like I never adequately prepared my twice weekly lessons.  Now I can devote more time to that preparation.

Can you hear the relief in my words and the gratitude for the people who have chosen to come alongside us?

Before I leave you, I need to tell you about needs for the ministry.  The expenses for the Restoration House are heavy and once again we are having to pull from my social security,  We have had long term, faithful partners but in the last 2 years as is common with ministries, some have left us because their time has come to an end.  We are now operating with a $700 monthly reduction.  We have never taken a salary, the ministry provides for the operation base which is also our residence; but we pay for personal expenses as well as many of the events associated with our Nica sons.  Now with us having to help with ministry expenses, our personal finances are in poor shape.  Our savings account was emptied for medical costs when Preston nearly lost his finger a year ago and we've not been able to kick-start it again.  Because of  our work load and the exorbitant costs to travel to the States, we have not been able to meet with our partners or potential partners.

Would you prayerfully consider either increasing your donation, become a new partner or share our needs with your friends and your churches?  This entire "adventure", that's what God invited Preston to take, has been totally by faith.  When you no longer have the ability to work and earn money, it puts the meaning of faith to a test.   Before coming to Nicaragua, we always said we had faith, but what we learned was we had faith in our bank account.   We've come to know faith in a different way.

We would now love for HELP and RELIEF to come in another way - increase in available funds for the mission we are on.  Giving is easy and simple using our donation site.  We are always mindful of costs to the ministry and making donations via ACH, costs only 25 cents compared to the almost 4% charged by debit and credit cards.  There are several projects and needs from which to choose to specify your donation allocation.   They are featured in a drop down list on the site.

Thank you for your continued partnership in Restoration of the Nations.  It's an exciting time for the ministry and we need you to join with us to fulfill all that is before us.

Saturday, August 26, 2017

Temporary Restoration House (Casa Restauración)

We've been 7 months with our personal home being the temporary facility for the Casa Restauración.  Did I say it's been 7 months, seems like 7 years!  There's a reason why people tend to have children in their younger years.  To try to take on that responsibility in your golden years, well, let me say, it's a challenge. 

One of the cultural customs in Nicaragua is that families stay together.  The guys take it in stride that we live all in the same house.  However, I've always been an introvert and to have to share my space with another is a real STRETCH for me.  My husband is use to me, but when I seek the refuge of my room, the guys want to know "what's wrong with her".

Let me share a funny moment with you from 2 years ago before there was a Casa Restauración:  I think I will always remember the time when Jack Noel was talking about living with us - FOREVER.  At first, I was not on the same page of conversation with him.  But as I tuned in more, I realized that he was NOT talking about a temporary situation where he could save some money and get on his feet.  When I finally asked the question, "how long do you plan on staying with us", I was not prepared for his answer.  It was a good thing I had not taken a drink of water at that moment, because it certainly would have been projectiled across the room.  "FOREVER", caught me by surprise.  I asked him if he wouldn't like to have his own house one day.  'No, I want to live with you ALWAYS', was his reply.  I told him that families in America do not continue to live with each other after the children become adults.  He reminded me that I was no longer living in America!

Let me get back to our current housing situation.   We moved into our current home because it had two bedrooms and we no longer wanted others living with us.  There was a breakdown in management of the original Casa Restauración, (see March blog - Blindsided), and we had to move the residents in with us.  We have had consistently 2-3 young men living with us since the end of January. 

There is a house next door to us that has been for rent for months.  It would be ideal to rent and place the guys in it.  There is plenty of room to allow for more guys to join the recovery program.  And we could personally manage the facility and keep better watch over everyone.

So what is the problem?  Peace!  Lack of peace about signing a lease for the property.  Everything about it makes sense - it's next door for easy monitoring, there would be more peace and quiet in our home, and it's an opportunity to reach more guys.  BUT, there is no peace in our spirits.  Until God shows a solution, we will continue to make do with the arrangements as they are.

When I agreed to accompany my pastor husband to another country, I certainly was not aware that it would involve me becoming a house parent.  That was not in the original plan, but God's plans are not always our plans.  So many times that fact comes up in our daily lives.  A friend asked me once: 'if before you moved to Nicaragua you knew that your work would involve young men living with you, what would you have done'.   My reply was "stayed behind".  'Exactly', she said, 'God had to get you to Nicaragua first before He could reveal His total plan'.

Don't get me wrong, I love the guys and most of the time they are a delight.  However, let me repeat, I  AM an introvert and I like my privacy and personal space.  My privacy is gone, I've tried to carve out an area in the house that is mine to hide away in, it just does not work out.  They are so needy for time and attention;  someone is always coming to me to either talk or just hang out.   Friends that really know me, find this amusing - I was a mother to girls, and truth is known in our family that the granddaughters got more of time.  So how is it that I am a house mother to BOYS?

Oh, the humor of God!!

Monday, July 31, 2017

A Month of Birthdays

July is traditionally a busy month for us in addition to our regular duties.  We have always made sure that we celebrate the boys birthdays;  not only with our Nica sons, but the boys that are a part of our lives.  So, in July the birthdays are plentiful.  The celebrations, depending on our personal finances, can be as simple as me baking a cake to a full blown celebration of a meal with their favorite foods.

This year, we celebrated Noel's birthday with a family dinner which now consists of a huge extended family.  We prepared spaghetti with meatballs along with garlic knots.  The crowd is getting large so there were 2 cakes, one vanilla - Noel's favorite, and a chocolate.

The guys have always LOVED my cakes.  The usual cake in this country is more like a dense pound cake with meringue icing.  I use the always faithful Duncan Hines mixes - expensive here, but well worth the effort.  They like the soft, moist cakes and some remember them fondly throughout the year.

A gentleman always offers his arm.

For Aroldo, we told him that we would take him out to dinner; anywhere he wanted to go.  He's never been to a "fancy" restaurant and was hesitant to ask.  But as we encouraged him to ask for what he wanted (that's what we always say to them - ask for what you want) he sheepishly said "but it's expensive".  I said to him, "let me be the judge of that, what is it?"  He - "El Carbon"   Me - "We can make that happen"   He - "Really?"

El Carbon is a steakhouse and by US standards very inexpensive, but still a stretch for us.  This is the first birthday that Aroldo has not been in the streets, so we wanted to give him his birthday wish.  We included Nelson to join us since he too is living in our home.

We had the most awesome time.  It was a wonderful, rare treat for us, but it was so much more enjoyable to watch the guys partake of something that they may have only dreamed about.

Finally, we finished the month with a lunch for James' birthday.  We went to McDonald's for the best fried chicken, EVER.  It's crispy and moist and always the meal of choice with Nicaraguenses.   For those who don't know, James is now a married man.  This means we have to share him with his wife and in-laws and we don't get to spend as much time as we would like.  He's such a joy to us and we cherish every moment with him.  He's also fluent in English, so conversation comes so much easier because our Spanish still needs a lot of work.

Why do we make a big deal of birthdays?  Because no one else does or never did for most of the guys.  We want to celebrate their lives, their uniqueness and let them know they are important to us.

Friday, June 30, 2017

A Long Ago Dream

From the beginning of the ministry, we knew God had given us a vision to have a cabinet shop along with the carpentry vocational training.

We tried to start the shop in the village of El Paraiso which was located 30 miles from Leon.  Jobs are scarce in that area.  We spoke with another ministry who is very involved in the village and they felt it would be a perfect opportunity for the men in the area who were mostly jobless.   There was one young man who in the beginning showed himself to be more ambitious than all the others.  After two years of working with him, it was decided that he would not continue to pursue learning the concept of business management.

We continued training others in a small space close to our home.  At the end of a year, our lease was not going to be renewed.  Where to put the shop was a dilemma.   Space that is affordable and sufficient in size for our needs generally don't go together.

The pastor of our local church loves carpentry.  He also has a heart for the youth of the community and cares very much about the work that we do in Nica.  For several years he lived in the States thus he is familiar with American ways.   His experience in both cultures is an asset to our friendship and working relationship.  He came to us one day and offered a portion of his church for us to use for the carpentry training.  God always has our backside.

The business concept associated with the vocational training is of interest to Pastor Pedro.  Together we have formed a Nicaragua corporation for the purpose of manufacturing and sales of cabinets.   The cabinet shop would have a dual purpose, create jobs for the community and help provide additional funding for our ministry and his church.

Currently we are training the guys that are in the Restoration program along with local young men from the community.   They are learning how to build various types of wall and base cabinets along with wardrobes and vanities.   We have no plans now to expand into any type of furniture making.  For now it will be all about building "boxes".  It's easy and it's new in the this marketplace.

Nicaragua is growing and the economy is thriving.    In the last 3 years, it consistently is rated as one of the top 10 retirement destinations in the world.  There is need for better housing and that will require cabinets and wardrobes.

We have our first commercial client and the guys are excited.  A local hostel with a coffee shop needed a new bar counter for their coffee and drink preparations. The guys received a small wage for the construction and installation of the project.

We are super excited about this program, it's been a long time coming.  We think we are positioned at the right time in the marketplace.    At this time, we work half a day in the carpentry shop since we need to share the space with the church afternoon programs.  We also have the Restoration program that requires our attention in the afternoons.

The church and our ministry will each receive a portion of the profits.   Our first payment to ourselves was $27 each for the month.  Not too bad for our first job.

Saturday, May 27, 2017

Learning to Yield to HIS Plans

When we arrived in Nicaragua, we came with a plan.  Habakkuk 2:2 says: 'The Lord answered me, Write down what I show you. Write it clearly on a sign so that the message will be easy to read.'   And we did write it down because the vision was so clear in our heads it was like watching it on video.

We immediately went to work on the vocational training all the while waiting for the rest of the fulfillment of the vision.  We did not doubt that it would come because we had a promise, "all that we would need was ready and waiting".   However, six months went by and nothing of the other things in our plan were coming about.

What we were experiencing however, was boys and young men coming to our door.  We did not seek this out, but if they were showing up, it must be from God. 

And for years they have been coming.  Some come for a day, some for a meal, some for months.  All the while, we kept saying 'this isn't what we came to do'.  Mentoring and parenting young men in our house was not part of "our plan".

But, how do you turn away a hungry child, an orphan, a rejected young man or an addict?  Matthew 25:40 'The King will say anything you did for the least of my brothers, you did it for me'.  That scripture always stayed with us whenever we were feeling like maybe we were missing the mark of THE plan.

We have gone back to review the written plan a lot lately and we have discovered that we are not far off of our plan.   We are doing the vocational, we are providing education, we are discipling, we are changing their lives in ways we never dreamed about doing.    

No, we don't have the land that we dreamt of buying, or the large facility built with which to do the work in and be able to sleep those that need a place to rest.   We don't have it all YET, but we know that one day we will.  Six months or six years of waiting is not a long time to the LORD 

In the mean time, we will continue to work at what God has placed right in front of us.  We believe that in His time, He will weave what we are doing now with the original vision He gave us.  It will all come together in a way we would never have imagined and it will be perfect.

Friday, April 28, 2017

The Gift of Family

It's HOT, it's dry, it's windy and it's dirty.  Such is life during March and April in Nicaragua.  Just when we think we can't possibly get up and go forward another day, we get a call from family stateside to say they are coming to visit.  It is the first time that family members have visited us - 7 years of "loneliness".

Our oldest daughter had made a trip to Nica with us a year before we moved here.   At that time, she had been drafted by her siblings to accompany us on a trip to do reconnaissance and determine if mom and dad should be admitted to a mental institution.  This year however, she wanted to be able to spend her 50th birthday with us.

Nicaragua does not use the term Easter, it is called Semana Santa (Holy Week) and resurrection day is Holy Sunday.   It was a wonderful time of year for our daughter and her husband to visit and experience the festive life of Nicaraguans.  Even the streets are decorated with colored sand portraits.  

Life comes to a halt on Wednesday evening of Holy Week and the city empties out because everyone heads to the beach.  Buses are loaded down with campers and supplies; pickup trucks are riding on their axles because of overcrowding.   The tradition here is so different from what we experienced in the U.S.   In Nica, Easter Sunday is no different than any other Sunday.  They seem to acknowledge the death of Christ more than His resurrection.   Life for the average Nicaraguense returns to it's usual pattern on Sunday.

We ventured out to the beach but only on Wednesday afternoon for lunch; any time after that would have been foolish.  Las Peñitas and Poneloya are small fishing villages on the ocean that experience a tourist explosion of tens of thousands of people during the 4 days.  We love the fact that we practically live on the Pacific and look forward to showing it to anyone who comes to visit, just not during those days.

Our Nica sons and the other guys we are involved with have wondered for years about our children. They were excited that they would finally be able to meet one of our daughters.  We had lots of gatherings so everyone had a chance to get to know our American family.

We live on a cul-de-sac with a park out our front door and an old Catholic Church across the street from there.  The church is very active and there were continual events the entire week with lots of beautiful fireworks in the evening..   We love that we have a front row seat, but the noise can be deafening and spent bottle rockets landing on our roof or patio is more than our dogs can take. They hide in our room in fear.

The last day of their  visit, we rented  two tricyclos and toured the city.  Our goal was to visit each of the major Catholic Churches - 14 of them.  We took pictures inside and out of all 14. Who would have guessed we'd have had such fun touring our city.   The sites that are so familiar to us everyday,  I hope we never take for granted.

A week was too short, but being able to share our life with a member of our family was priceless.   The time off from the usual routine was a welcome break.  They talked of coming back at Christmas, it is something to look forward to.

Tuesday, March 28, 2017


I don't think there was anything that could have prepared us for what we have experienced this last month. Everything seemed normal, the guys are loving school, new guys are adjusting well to life in the Restoration House; everyone seemed to be in harmony with one another.  Or so we thought.  Since we do not live in the House or relatively near it, we rely on the house manager to keep us informed.  We make several daily visits for either lessons or personally interacting with the guys.

I had to make a trip to Managua and I do not like traveling alone to that city so I asked for Noel to accompany me.  When I picked him up at the House, it was so evident that he was distraught.  We rode mostly in silence while I waited for him to tell me what was bothering him.  When we returned back to the House later in the day, things began to unravel.  By that time, all the guys were willing to talk.

It seems that the house manager, was allowing the guys to have more freedom than was allowed in order to "buy" their silence.  When it was all said, we found that the manager was not doing his duties at the house, he was frequently away and he was stealing the money that was allotted for food.  The stealing of the money was something that the guys did not know about.   The guys have always known that we encourage good nutrition.   When we heard they were eating only beans and rice at most all the meals, it was a red flag to us that something was not right.    The manager was using the majority of the grocery money for his own gain.

None of this behavior is unusual for all that we have experienced while living in Nicaragua.  What hurt so badly is that the house manager was one of our Nica sons whom we had trusted explicitly.  He himself had grown up in Remar and knew the duties of a house manager.  He knew the vision and scope of our work.   In our minds, he was the obvious choice for the job.  He was young, but the job was not difficult; he was strong in the Lord AND he had our trust.   Now because of his selfishness and greed, he would be out of a job and out of a place to live.

It is extremely difficult to find reliable, trusting individuals to do any type of work. The only remedy for this problem, until we could find responsible persons to help us,  was to divide the guys to live in our home and Wilber's until we could find a better solution.  We found understanding with the owner and was able to terminate the lease on the dwelling.  To  move the guys into our home was not ideal for us for two reasons:  we had downsized a year ago so that we would no longer have others living with us and our home is the mission base.  Everything happens at the base along with constant interruptions,  leaving us with little to no privacy.   Luckily we have room for 2 sets of bunk beds.

Not only were we blindsided, but this took the wind totally out of our sails.  Trying to recuperate without the time and privacy is difficult.  The work goes on, the demand is never ending.  We have two evening meetings a week in our home and one evening outside for teaching, in addition to our daily schedule.   Our days are long, beginning at 5AM and now they are crowded with extra bodies in our "sanctuary".

I have to laugh when I think about our time in Nicaragua.  It has been all about adjustments.  As Americans, we are so structured and rigid.  More times than we can count over the years, the guys have said to us "calmate" which means - take it easy.  We'll learn to adjust to the new living arrangements.  For how long? Who knows.   It's important that the guys have stability and feel welcome in our home.  Their is an upside to this, we no longer have to make multiple daily trips over to the Restoration House.  Maybe we can save a few minutes a day for ourselves.


Nicaragua is a beautiful country, it is our adopted home.  The people are warm, friendly, but they are proud and which sometimes means difficult.  We are still learning that fine line between preserving the rich cultural heritage and educating them to be able to exist in this developing world.  Every day is a challenge and we are always in a battle.   Yet as we look back, we have learned a lot and developed personally in such a way as to be able to live in this culture.   

We cannot do it alone however, we need your continual prayers to strengthen us and provide wisdom for the decisions that need to be made concerning the well-being of the guys and the future of the Restoration House as well as the other ministry programs.