This is Daiyton, Faviana and Camila…last Monday they received a home built by a group of high school students from Westminster Christian School in Miami, FL. There is a back story and it is beautiful. Faviana heard about our Mercy Home ministry from a family that had received a home two years ago. They told her to drop a letter off at the gate to share her situation. Well Faviana decided to drop a letter off…ever week…for a over a year! We would sometimes see her at the gate when we were taking Juliette to school, often with Camila (who is probably the cutest 2 year old in Nicaragua). She was always very kind and would give her letter to us and be on her way. She persisted for her family, and she told us later about her constant prayers asking God to provide. Well when it came time for Westminster to build, we visited Faviana to see their situation and everything checked out perfectly…so it was time to build!
Faviana told Krista a sweet detail about the timing of the construction. We have to do some prep work before the team arrives so that we can finish the house during the trip. One day a couple weeks before the team Faviana and Dayton were sitting at her mother’s home where they lived in a single room. They heard trucks on the drive and saw the construction materials were arriving! They were so excited and the sweet part was that it was Camila’s birthday. On her second birthday God was moving and construction was starting on her families home! The house she will grow up in, and probably see her family grow in. Isn’t that awesome? I think so…Amen!
The team worked hard all week long! There was lots of action as you can see in the video above and we are happy to report that there were no major injuries LOL! When you are in a community for a week building a home, there is a chance to meet families and neighbors and build friendships. Lots of little cousins, nieces and neighbors came by and stole the hearts of so many in the group. It was a world view changer for the teens, and it was a week that totally blessed this neighborhood, not just the family we built for!
On dedication day it was special to look into the window and see the team praying over the house before they brought all the furniture in. This home was not just a house made of bricks, it is holy ground. We learned from Daiyton and Faviana about what had happened on that exact spot where we build their house. Three years ago they were married right there on that spot in front of their family and their church family. Two years ago the church gathered together on this same spot and prayed for the land to be a place where they could raise their family. And then this year we prayed over Daiyton Faviana and Camila as we dedicated their new home! Holy Ground. That is our prayer, that for this young family and anyone who visits, that they would get a touch from God even as they enter the front door!
It was an incredible week, Praise God for that! A couple of days after the team left the window and the doors were installed, and in the coming days the family is going to use the construction materials that were left for them to make additions that they decide. These homes are something that would take about 7 years for a family to save materials and build….we love that God makes it happen in about three weeks! Amen again!
This time of year we have a program where we build houses with groups of high schoolers from Miami. Palmer Trinity School was working this week on their house and a local reporter from the National Newspaper stopped by. They interviewed some of the students and came again the next day when we went to Club Esperanza. Some of the students on the team are Nicaraguan and so the connection was even deeper.
Well, this morning their faces were on the front cover of the Nuevo Diario….
…and the story ran to a full page color spread in the back!!!
This is a first for us down here, and I am sure for these young people as well…it was really cool to see a great project reported on in the local paper! Of course we went around town buying copies at every stand so the kids could have a keep sake to take home with them. Here is the link if you would like to read it…it is in Spanish, but maybe Google translate can turn it into English, I haven’t tried that yet.
It’s been a really fun couple of weeks of hard labor…Praise The Lord!
There is a nice video done as well…pretty cool!
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You can also donate to Open Hearts by checks made to “Open Hearts Minsitries”…
Open Hearts Ministries
1308 US Highway 70W
Garner, N.C. 27529
God Bless from Nicaragua!
This video is my favorite and it captures the fun of the night so well! We celebrated a “Noche de Gala” (Prom) with over three hundred people at Verbo Church here in Nicaragua last Friday night! We had one hundred honored guests who were crowned Kings and Queens of the prom…it was an incredible night of fun for many kids who don’t always get to attend something like Prom. In fact, I can say they have never had a night like last Friday before in their lives….dancing, red carpet, being crowned, an elegant dinner, photo booth…it was awesome!
You may remember last year when Krista and I had the incredible experience to get to attend Tim Tebow Foundation‘s Celebrity Golf Classic. “Night to Shine” is an international event organized by the Tebow Foundation to have Prom for special needs young adults on the Friday before Valentines Day. It is held at over 500 sites in 16 different countries! This year we hosted it in Nicaragua and it’s happening was the fruit of our visit last year. We had a chance to say hello to Tim Tebow at that event. He said “How about ‘Night to Shine Nicaragua’?” We said, “Wow, that would be awesome! But you know there are lots of logistics to pull something like that off.” His response, “I like logistics.” And a year later…with lots of hard work from La Iglesia Cristiana Verbo, Tesoros de Dios, Club Cristiana La Esperanza, friends at the Tebow Foundation who love Nicaragua, and all of us here in Nicaragua with Open Hearts…Night to Shine happened for the first time in Nicaragua! Amen!
The red carpet entrance to the event is certainly one of the most exciting parts of the night! Every single honored guest got to do a walk of fame. With paparazzi on either side and lots of cheering fans they each walked down the red carpet to enter the Prom.
This is what it felt like!!!
After the entrance our crowning ceremony was also very special. One of the important moments of the night is for every honored guest to be crowned as either King or Queen of the prom. There was a special video we played where Tim Tebow declared each guest King or Queen of the Prom. We also had a special guest to do the crowning. Miss Teen Nicaragua is friends with some of our friends at church who were organizing. She loves the Lord and when she heard about “Night to Shine” she volunteered to help. Each King and Queen was crowned by a pageant queen that they all have seen recently on the local Nicaraguan news reports. It was so cool for the guests and their family…they each got to take a picture that they will never forget!
After the crowning the party started and we opened up the dance floor. Now this by far was the funnest time of the night for many of our honored guests. Like I said, that first video was my favorite. We had a live band come and all the volunteers, invited guests, honored guests and even Miss Teen Nicaragua danced the night away! I loved the salsa flavor that the dancing captured and all of the smiles on EVERYONE’s faces!
This is a picture a friend captured of Krista’s little sister Johanna who had a fun dance with one of the most excited guests of the night. From the moment on the red carpet, the crowning and onto the dance floor this young lady was having an incredible time…excitement just beamed off of her face as she went from moment to moment. She was also a star on the dance floor going from group to group and person to person just wanting to dance dance dance. It was a night of new friendships and a night full of the Lord’s Presence. Faith, Hope and Love in action!
This was such a great night to make happen. Honestly my eyes still tear up days later thinking about how special a night it was for so many people. We’ll share more stories on our blog so please check back….until then we definitely have to close out this post with this little sweet heart as she stole the stage 🙂
Yesterday was the first day of School at Club Esperanza…it was lots of fun! We were able to do a Facebook Live video and i attached it below…hope you have a chance to watch 🙂
This year we have Early Childhood Education, Elementary School Classes, Elementary School tutoring, High School Tutoring and our High School Scholarship Program. Additionally we have Lacrosse The Nations Athletic Program, Music Class with Jordan, and Bible Study with Michael & Rocio Booth. Every child also receives two meals a day, amen! Much more will be going on as well with all these beautiful children and young people God put under our care this year. We are praying for a blessed 2018!!!
We shared a blog recently with information about how you might support the school financially. As you pray for us please consider this as well….
A $25 monthly donation supports one child for the year. If 300 people committed, we could fund Club Esperanza for the year! Amen!
Now, we do know that 300 people is probably everybody we know LOL! So it might be a little unrealistic. But with everyone we know, and everyone YOU know maybe we can get there?!? So, please share our blog and help if you can…Thank you and God Bless from Nicaragua!
(This Paypal button provides an option to create a monthly donation)
Here is the link to the Facebook live video…there is a lot in there, but you can get a good view of the classrooms and dining hall as well as some of the surrounding neighborhood at the end of the video. Also, the future site of our six classroom education building that we are praying for God to provide…we have the land just need the building 🙂 We are so very blessed by your interest in what God is doing in Nicaragua!
We have been back in Nicaragua for a few weeks now, but we wanted to share a little family update from our travels back to the U.S. We went home to Miami for Christmas….it was so much fun to be home at Mema’s house! It is such a blessing for our kids to get to be with all of their cousins who we really really miss all your round…and for Krista and I to see my siblings and their spouses whom we love dearly and miss year round too…plus my momma is my hero…so much fun!!!
We had so much fun together but I forgot to take pictures. You would think with a house full of 10 kids there would be lots of fights and craziness, but it wasn’t that way. Ok well maybe there was lots of craziness, but everyone just has so much fun together, non stop football and nerf guns, swimming in the the pool in winter, candy cane hunts, Mema’s awesome cooking made for soooo many sweet times together. It was awesome!
We had a awesome “Noche Buena” at Aunt Reina and Uncle Matt’s house, and then Christmas morning at Mema’s, and then more Christmas a couple days later with Tia and Tio when they drove down for the New Year with their gang. Check it out, the girls got these crazy little birds that hatch out of an egg! Hatchables, I think?!? Hatch-a-really-cool-invention is what I call them! Again I am missing too many pictures. But, God blessed us with an incredible Christmas time!
Juju lost a tooth on Christmas Eve….so the tooth fairy and Santa combined LOL!
We had a chance to drive through Florida and visit friends along the way. We are so thankful to friends and family who open their doors to us to crash in guest rooms and on couches, visit with us, bless us, pray for us and give us a great time while home!
On the West Coast you get to go to the beach in Winter and we got to go out on a boat and visit with great friends! And we found sooo many beautiful shells too, incredible. We also stopped through Celebration, FL to visit friends who had recently visited Nicaragua from Illuminate Church. We even saw snow in downtown Celebration that night! (ok it was fake hahaha, but so cool!) Not only that, we got to go to Disney World! It was soooo much fun and we are very very very thankful for that blessing! We also ate lots of Chick-Fil-A along the way thanks to friends there too…such a blessing! Praise Jesus!
We made it up to Tallahassee and stayed with Aunt Kris (who our kids all call Aunt Grammies). She took great care of us, as she always does. Guess who else we got to see? Andrew and Angel from Casa Robles! (You may remember this story about the Cloud family and the boys). This was definitely a highlight of our trip! Seeing them doing so well and having dinner with the Clouds and their family was great, it was wild to speak to them in English! We also took the boys out for the day to visit Wakeenah where Krista was born. They got to see where the Buzbees used to live and meet Don Michael’s family. Another special moment, was when we got there. We brought fresh treats from Mama Angelica that she packed up special for them, and notes from all the other boys. Angel snuck away to read his letters, Andrew enjoyed the Nica food! LOL. They are doing well…so fun to see them! Please keep on praying for both of them.
Our home church Christ Journey Church in Miami is such a blessing to us as well, and takes such good care of us! We had fun at the church sharing some testimonies from Nicaragua, meeting with some of the youth from a team coming down in the Spring, we loved being home for the Christmas Eve service, and even more we loved being welcomed into friends homes, being prayed for, being loved on and having a great time! Speaking of having a great time, some dear friends got us tickets to the Orange bowl! It was a tough loss for The U, but it was really cool to take Mason to a big bowl game! God is good to us and the support from Christ Journey into our lives and ministry here is so incredible! We love you all and look forward to seeing some of you soon!
This last picture is what I woke up to on our wall in our bedroom after the first night back home in Nicaragua. After such a blessed, refreshing and fulfilling time in Miami, Jesus woke me up with this. We have a purpose, we have a fulfilled life, and it is all wrapped up in this cross. It is everything for us. Amen.
Thank you for keeping up with us!
Love, Chris & Krista and our gang.
We hope the year has turned over well for you and your family. As 2018 kicks off we want share a huge way you can help our ministry financially this year. Club Cristiana La Esperanza is one of our major ministry centers with Open Hearts Ministries. We are able to have a large impact on so many families’ lives and we love that! But to keep it operating we need partnerships from individuals and organizations.
The Club is a beacon of light in a community that is full of darkness, strife, and difficulty. Everyday, 275 children come to Club Esperanza. The Club is a day to day ministry center, and the children are our focus. With everything centered around Jesus and God’s love for them, we provide early childhood and elementary education; middle school and high school tutoring; and a feeding program with two meals a day for every child. We also do a number of extracurricular activities like Bible study groups, Club for nursing and pregnant mothers, Lacrosse, Guitar class, outreach to children with special needs, art class, dance class and much more, if you can imagine!
Would you please consider supporting Club Esperanza in 2018?
A classroom of 30 students costs $750 a month to operate.
We have 9 different classrooms set to operate for 2018. If your church or organization or even you personally could help support a classroom, we would be incredibly blessed. Our email address is email@example.com …please email us with any questions or ways you can further be involved! To donate by check click here or use the paypal link below to donate online. (Also if an entire classroom is out of reach, a $25 monthly donation would fund one of our children at Club Esperanza, through paypal you can now do recurring monthly donations…thank you!)
Thank you and God Bless You!
Here are some fun photos from our 2017 Christmas Party and Graduation ceremonies…as you look through them please pray for all of these precious little ones. Nicaragua has a great future and we are working to make an impact!