As I mentioned previously all of the families in La Chureca are being moved out. On the day of the Christmas party, I spent some time with one of the families. You may remember Romulo and Jeraldin. They were the couple who had their wedding at the school last year. Well they are in the first group of families to be moved. Is snapped some photos of their house in the process of moving (you can see the army guys in the background of one of the photos).
On a funny note: One of their pigs got away as they were trying to move…I was pretty proud of myself because I found it later on in the day and chased it back to the their house for them! Chachi, the pig catcher hahaha 🙂
Our end of the year Christmas party at Colegio Esperanza was a huge gathering of over 500 people. It was a great time. In the middle of all the commotion in the community with the big move (there were army trucks outside helping to move peoples houses), we celebrated Christmas inside the school with all of our students and their families.
We had a local chef come and create the huge meal, he started the night before! Brinson and I decided to indulge and I can testify, it was really really really good! Before the meal started our students put together a few different acts for their parents and then we had “present time present time open the present and see what’s inside” for every student. Lots of smiles, lots of full bellies…a great way to celebrate Christmas!
We hope to have more Christmas celebrations in the future. It is a fun thought to ponder how different everyone’s lives will be, come this time next year. With the new homes, with the new neighbors, with the new neighborhood…this is a time of lots of changes. The needs in the lives of these children are still very evident when we all gather together. That isn’t going to change just because every family has a new house. Our hope and purpose with Club Esperanza is to stay involved in the lives of all of these students and keep ministering to them. So, next year’s Christmas Party is fun to look forward too!
There aren’t many things to do that are more fun than seeing the look on a child’s face when they see the big Christmas tree and all the presents under the tree…then when they realize their name is on one of them, Priceless! We had all the girls from Casa Havilah and boys from Casa Robles over for a Christmas Party! It was so much fun….Krista said later how she had a blast handing out all the presents to all the kids, it was like a rush of fun and joy. Then when she went back to them with a second present and their little faces lit up with the surprised look of “for me?!?”, those are moments that move you!
Papa Mike put on his chef hat and made Pizza in the oven for everyone, so we got to have a huge meal together as one big family. God really has done something in all of our lives, that when we are together, it does feel like one big family. Hopey led us in an Oreo cookie game where you put it on your face and try to wiggle it into your mouth with no hands…fun photos from that one! The Havilah girls did a special dance, Marcos and Andrew did some break dancing, and our girls did a dance too. Then it was present time!
While the Havilah girls were dancing and I was standing off to the side, I had a moment of reflection. If you walked in you would think this was just a giant family gathering for Christmas. All the children and parents around laughing, eating and carrying on. Sure the adults are a bit outnumbered! But what you would have no clue of, is the difficulty and darkness each of these children has come out of. God has allowed us to be a part of something special that is changing the future and giving hope. That is why we celebrate this time of year. God sent his Son, changed the future and gave us all hope! So as I sat there and watched I had a moment with my Lord and whispered a little Amen.
After present time, you know what we did? Brinson led the charge and all the kids followed into the pool for a crazy night time swim! Certainly a first for most of them!
Merry Christmas from all of us!!!
Thank you for your prayers! Please pray for all of the children; Marcos, Freder, Heyler, Denis, Angel and Andrew; Katherin, Maykelin, Maria Elena, Jaquelin, Pamela, Sofia, Ashley, Naydelin. They will all be going home at one point over the next two months to visit their families. This is great for them emotionally, but there are risks of course. It is an important time so please be in prayer for their protection and also for their time with their families. Thank you again!
The graduation was a very emotional one, but also a great celebration. To see that last class pass through and receive their diplomas and hear parents give thanks with words of appreciation was very encouraging…praise God for all he did at Colegio Esperanza over the last 12 years! We look forward to opening Club Esperanza this coming year and continuing to see God move and change lives of the children from La Chureca!
The cutest graduates from Esperanza Preschool were Elizabeth and Melissa, whom some of you surely have met. No not Krista’s sisters, but their namesakes from La Chureca. They are twins and seven years ago their mother Vilma named them after Elizabeth and Melissa. Krista’s mom Sue and Elizabeth got the honor of escorting them in.
Massiel who used to live at Havilah also graduated. It was really exciting to see her doing well and that she made the efforts to work hard at her schooling and graduate!
A couple of mothers that we know pretty well saw their sons graduate from sixth grade. But what stood our for Erling (above left) and Anthony (on the right of the above picture) is that they were the last of their siblings to go through Colegio Esperanza. Erling is one of four and Anthony one of five. These mothers have seen all of their children graduate from Colegio Esperanza. I think that is Pretty Awesome!
Some of the graduates put together a special dance for all of their classmates. It was really well done and the girls looked so cute in their folkloric dress. Aliyah and her aunts also did a special dance for the celebrations which really rocked the place…it was a really upbeat song and all about Jesus so everyone was moving and clapping…it was awesome!
Please keep Club Esperanza in your prayers for this coming year! We need to assemble a staff for the preschool and tutoring programs. Even more important is that it looks like we are going to need start building on the new land sooner than we thought because all of the people are being moved out of La Chureca in the next few weeks. We need God’s direction and his hand to guild all of the details! Amen.
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Thank you for your prayers and support over the last 12 years!!!
This is the end of the school year in Nicaragua. We’ve been going to a bunch of graduations and end of the year Christmas parties this last week. It is pretty exciting down here this time of year. The year ends and so does everything else, the big two month vacation falls over December and January as well. This is because it is not snowy, cold and dark like most parts of the U.S. so people enjoy themselves. It is a nice time of year.
We had two graduates from Casa Robles. Both special stories and I wanted to take some time and share them with you. First we have Marcos who just graduated from Middle School into High School. It is a very very very encouraging to see where Marcos is. He has been with us for almost the entire five year existence of Casa Robles. Out of all the boys he had and even still has La Chureca in him the most. He was older, he remembers things, he knows how to haggle and even panhandle. If you think of one of the little half naked kids running around down there, that was Marcos five years ago.
What you see now is a boy starting to become a young man. He struggles to behave himself at school, but his fire is actually fun to be around. As the Lord gets a hold of him and harnesses this little man…well Nicaragua will be changed for the better. He is so little compared to all his classmates, but I am pretty sure he thinks he is as tall as all of them…and he will catch up. His mom and grandmother came to graduation which meant alot to him. They are in and out, here and there, and still not able to provide safety for him and his lil’ bro Denis, but they were very proud this day. He looked sharp…we were all very proud too. Praise God! Please keep praying for Marcos.
If you have followed our blog you will remember Andrew who had surgery earlier this year to remove the large tumor from his leg. Well talk about remarkable. Andrew graduated from preschool and he was number one in his class! He got a special medal, he gave the opening words of gratitude to the entire auditorium, and got a special sash placed over his shoulders….stinkin’ Awesome! It was a moment of great pride for all of us! But especially Mama Angelica and Papa Yuri….all the work, all the effort, all the sacrifice…to see one of their lil’ guys up there being honored was really something remarkable. Sometimes it is funny how big of a deal a kindergarten graduation is made into down here in Nicaragua, I mean these little guys are fully decked out in all the regalia. Maybe they do this in the States too, I don’t know? But, being there for Andrew’s was something really special.
Andrew also had another very special guest. As we sat through Marcos’ graduation in the morning and then went out to lunch together he told Krista that he was very excited because his mom was going to come to his graduation. Andrew and Hayler’s mom has been in prison for the three years they have been with us at Casa Robles. We visited her several times and it was always pretty hard for them, and for her too. Well she was released last month and has told us how she is going to try and get back on her feet…she is so thankful for what Casa Robles has meant for her sons. Well, she definitely made it to graduation. She came with the boys grandmother too. As Andrew stood there and recited his little speech from memory, she was a wreck as you can imagine. She turned to Krista and told her, “I am not upset, I am so happy, so proud, these are tears of joy.” Amen. Again Praise Jesus for what he is doing! Please keep praying for Andrew.
Here are some bonus pictures of the boys who made the Honor Roll for the year….can you believe they made the wall of fame?!?! Awesome!!! 🙂 Fredder, Heyler, Denis and Andrew all got their names on this special bulletin board in the courtyard!
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Thank you for all of your prayers and support!
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This morning we will be having our last graduation at Colegio Esperanza. It is going to be a very emotional day…this school has meant so much to so many people for so many years. God has used this school to have a huge impact! So today will be a celebration but also have a bit of sadness as our last preschool and 6th grade classes graduate…seeing all the faces in their cap and gowns will be special. A word of thanks from Mr. Buzbee…
I wanted to take this moment to thank all of YOU who have prayed and helped us with El Colegio La Esperanza, God’s school that is located in the dump. Today is our final graduation and it is going to be a tear jerker. We are graduating our final 6th grade class and our pre-school. Sue and Elizabeth are going to walk the two twins that they nursed back to life a few years ago- named Elizabeth and Melissa. So many memories. This school was really a SAFE HOME for all these kids. Wow, it’s all coming to an end and a new beginning.
This neighborhood has been so challenging and life changing for all of us. Personally, it has shown me so much about God’s love for us, His choosing us and in my weak moments choosing sin over life. I will forever be changed by it.
Please be in prayer, the ceremony begins at 4:00pm EST.
May God’s love shine bright in all of our lives. What a trip it’s been!
ps THANK YOU MELISSA FOR YOUR YEARS OF PIONEERING AND SPIRITUAL WORK TO HELP BUILD THIS SCHOOL! love, dad (I wish you were here today)
If you are interested in reading some on the future plans for our ministry in La Chureca our most recent newsletter has some of the information and we will have more on Club Esperanza as the year turns over. Please keep all of this in your prayers. Thank you.
Last month we had Pastor Bill & Lisa White and Greg & Kay Gackle down from Christ Journey Church in Miami. This was a great time for us and a huge blessing to have them here. Christ Journey (formerly University Baptist Church) is the church Chris grew up in and has been supportive of us in Ministry ever since we started together. To spend a week together and dream and pray for the future was awesome.
It was a real honor to have Pastor Bill and Lisa down with that Gackles. We visited the new site for “Club Esperanza” and after a time of sharing raised our hands and Bill prayed over and blessed the new land. It is a clean slate out there…we are anxious and excited to see what sort of mark God makes with Club Esperanza!
We also took an excursion to Ruby Ranch. Brinson has been doing great work out there and after a hike past the tree swing and climbing wall we made it to the top of the hill (its a big hill!) Then Brinson took us for a walk down a small valley and up to an open hill top where Ruby Ranch’s chapel was just completed. It was an awesome moment. Brinson asked Bill to preach the first sermon…it was a small audience…but the presence of the Lord was up there on that high place as Bill shared. It was an emotional time. The future of Ruby Ranch and the lives that are going to be changed by a touch from the Lord at that chapel is a very exciting future to ponder.
We had a great visit….It’s great to be with friends. We even broke out the tomahawks and started a throwing exposition in the Mango Grove…ok maybe it was like a bunch of unskilled city boys throwing axes, but we eventually got a hang of it! In that pic you can see one broken over the top of the other…that really happened. I stuck the black one and then Greg threw and split right over the top…like Robin Hood, but with an ax! The other picture is Aliyah & Caden doing aerial acrobatics at the pool 🙂
We look forward to the future we have in partnership with Christ Journey…It is very exciting to be a part of the things that God is doing!