In the mid 1960’s my parents moved our family of eight to the jungles of Colombia. Dad’s vision, which was actually our family vision, was to plant tribal churches up and down the Orinoco river. We were the first white family in this recently civilized part of Colombia. Times were challenging as we set up housekeeping in our hut and battled insects, snakes and beasts large and small. As the oldest child I was included in decisions and ministry to the children and women of our village. I developed a love for the lost and especially for the wonderful people of our tribe. I so admired the way my parents ministered to the people with whom we lived. Yes, there was lots of preaching and discipleship training, but the practical side of our outreach was also emphasized. Dad taught the tribal men many new skills. I started a school for the children of our village. I taught in Spanish which I was still learning. Being able to work beside my parents in this challenging environment was life changing for me. It was also formative: I came to know then I was called to be a career missionary.
When I turned eighteen, I reluctantly returned to the USA to attend Bible College. Years later I was involved in church planting in the USA, Germany and Russia. In 1997 we were asked to raise funds for the construction of a large Home for abandoned and orphaned children in the mountains of Nicaragua. We moved with our then, two children to Managua in February of 1998. For two years we raised the funds and oversaw the construction with help from visiting teams from the USA. Two years later we opened our doors and accepted seven orphans. For over twenty-two years our home consistently cared for approximately thirty permanent children. Also, at any given time, we provided a home for up to seven foster children who were entrusted to our care by the government. We worked closely with Nicaragua Social Services. Our unspoken agreement with them: “You give us the children, we take quality care of them and expect no financial help from you”. Our relationship with the government was excellent. We have worked very hard to maintain their respect and they often introduced visitors to us as the best home for children in Nicaragua.
Over the past several years, the government slowly started closing children’s homes throughout the country… imagine our surprise when it happened to us! Since most of our children were reaching their late teens and would soon be adults and beginning a new life, we decided to take a huge step forward and open our doors not only to our former resident children, but to the community children by converting our home into the Jinotega Vocational Community Center. We are now teaching vocational trade classes to the community children so they will eventually be able to work at a trade and make a decent living. We hope to see these children be able to rise up out of poverty and make a difference in their lives and communities. This is such a huge turn for us and for the communities but we know God has His hand in it with us.
My challenge over the past few years and now, is to keep up with the growing financial demands that come with caring for these children. We have a large Nicaraguan staff and educators who care for them daily. We greatly value our staff but they are employees and must be paid. We not only teach the children at no cost, feed them nutritious lunches and supply all of their school needs and supplies, we also have classes to teach local adults to read and write. Outside of the center, we help the families in the surrounding communities with food, day to day amenities and some home construction needs. I am so blessed to be able to oversee this ministry and I am convinced we are investing in children who will one day be a part of changing their country and the world!
previously recorded October 2020
Our vision is to bring the love of Christ to the children of Nicaragua through loving care and quality education; giving them the best possible hope for their future!
Our ministry goal is to share God's holy word and the love of Jesus Christ to Nicaragua’s impoverished and orphaned children and to raise and disciple these children in the ways of the Lord.
All of our ministry support comes from donors like you. Your support allows us to feed, clothe, and educate the children and their families involved with our vocational center.