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".
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.