August 2021 Update: You Did It To Me

We’ve already started our packing list as we prepare for our upcoming visit to Nicaragua on September 10. This is supposed to be our last visit for 2021 and the first experience TJ will have in our home in Santa Cruz.  There is still room in our suitcases, and we need your help:

  • If you are a Child Sponsor, you should have received an email from Rochelle last week about writing your child. If you did not receive it, please contact Rochelle as there is still time to submit your child’s letter before our September 3 deadline.
  • Unlocked Smartphones – Have you recently upgraded your phone and have your old one in a drawer? We’re seeking unlocked smartphones (& chargers) for students & microbusiness owners. An unlocked smartphone is one that is NOT tied to specific carrier. If you don’t own one, an impactful donation is to purchase a refurbished phone. We have some listed on our charity Amazon Wish list and will direct ship to our address in Cocoa Beach.

Scroll down for an update on the Ometepe microloan projects. We look forward to visiting all of the families in our programs, including the new microbusinesses.

Finally, there are no words to describe the challenges facing the world and in our personal lives in part due to the pandemic. The negativity and judgment are discouraging. Have you felt yourself more reactive these days? One helpful tool is a simple mind-body-spirit practice that Mother Theresa shared years ago. It’s called her five-finger gospel. Each finger represents the words: you – did – it – to – me and is based Matthew 25:45 (see below video). We hope you try it & pass it on.
Love,
Rochelle & TJ

OMETEPE MICROLOANS UPDATE
VICENTE, CHICKENS


Vicente, Alyeris & family. Vicente has already sold the first 50 chickens and purchased another 50! The cycle is approximately 6 weeks, but the market is too slow to expand to a revolving 100 chickens as originally planned. We will work with Vicente to continue to build hope and success in his revived microbusiness. Click on Video for more.
NAHUM, 4 LITTLE PIGS

The piglets have a new house and have grown into healthy pigs! The microbusiness been a blessing to Nahum & his wife Daisy as both have health challenges and pig farming is not as physically demanding as other work on the island. When the economy improves, they will be able to expand the project to 20 pigs. In about three months, Nahum & Daisy will be able to start payments on their loan.

BODY & SPIRIT: OMETEPE MICROLOANS STRUCTURE
You can help improve the living conditions of a family in Ometepe by becoming a microlender. All loans are tailored to small farmers or microbusinesses which will expand a family’s earnings. Each family and business opportunity is vetted through an application process and receives mentoring by OBGM during their business cycle until the loan is repaid. Families will repay their 0%-interest loan over a 1-3 year time period. When the loan is repaid, you can choose another new business to reinvest in here in Nicaragua. See current updates.

RICARDO, BREAD BAKER UPDATE

The rainy season and scarce high-quality oven builders has delayed this project. We anticipate progress in the coming weeks. BACKGROUND: Ricardo’s brick oven recently collapsed and therefore he’s earning no income. Will you help Ricardo re-launch his baking business with a microloan? Click here.

Heat & Humility: Part 2

As promised, this is the second part of the update of our core pillars of Mind, Body & Spirit since our visit to Ometepe.

July has been a heavy month both here in the US and with our extended family in Nicaragua. In uncertain times like these, we are challenged more than ever to reflect God’s light and grace. The fact remains we are ALL the same: imperfectly perfect in God’s eyes. We are called to love Him and love one another every day. Despite the simplicity of how this sounds, our humanity (and ego) gets in the way. How is it working for you? For us, it takes an intentional practice of daily gratitude, bible study, contemplation/meditation, movement and prayer. We fall way short, yet we experience consistent peace and clarity of God’s purpose in our lives.

With this clarity, we will both return to Nicaragua on September 10, with TJ staying through September 30 and Rochelle until October 15. There are a few ways you can help (see below) and they don’t require much resources or time. We hope you’ll join us!

Thanks for your continued prayers and faith in God’s vision for Ometepe.

Keep on loving one another as brothers and sisters. Do not forget to show hospitality to strangers, for by so doing some people have shown hospitality to angels without knowing it. Continue to remember those in prison as if you were together with them in prison, and those who are mistreated as if you yourselves were suffering. – Hebrews 13: 1-3

We are seeking donations of UNLOCKED smartphones to bring to Ometepe in September for students and new microbusiness owners. The phones can be used and might even be sitting in a drawer at home! If it’s in your heart to purchase a refurbished unit, we have some listed on our charity Amazon Wish list and will direct ship to our address in Cocoa Beach, FL.

MINDS: SEEKING ONLINE VOLUNTEERS

The July Nicaraguan school break is over and OBGM’s children ESL program has resumed. As you may know, speaking English provides greater employment opportunities for Nicaraguans.

YOU can help change a child’s life by providing online pronunciation support to our English teacher, Hilder, for the Level 3 ESL kids. It’s an amazing feeling to be in a Nicaraguan classroom with the kids and see the difference in them over time. No experience is necessary to participate in this one-hour commitment.

WHEN? 
Wednesdays from 11:30 AM –12:30 PM ET: August 4, 11, 18, 25 & beyond…You can sign up for as little as one class or multiple classes.

HOW?
Please email Rochelle for an assigned date & instructions. A Google email account is required to participate and Rochelle will be on each video call with you. If you have a smart device, we recommend you download the Google Meet app

SPIRIT:  Passing
Pray with us for the souls of Vicente (photo on R) and Mercedes (photo on L) and for their grieving families. We will miss their presence at future home visits in Santa Cruz.

BODY: The Great Chicken Run

Thank you to everyone who sponsored a chicken in the Miskito Coast village of Boom Sirpi. We hope you enjoyed your personal chicken/rooster photos! Our colleagues, Stacy & Cory Martin drove them out there under the cover of darkness in record time. They had to arrive before the sun came up or the chickens would overheat and perish. Cory made the trip in a record 10 hours! The hens started producing eggs within hours of arriving. This egg program will have an enormous impact on the nutrition and development of the children there.  

BODY & SPIRIT: OMETEPE ARTISANS PROJECT We are delighted this project is growing and blessing many families in the Santa Cruz community. Please visit the Ometepe Artisans Etsy Shop containing nearly 50 listings from three indigenous artisans sharing their craft and culture. Items are added weekly. Last week, the shop reached 100 sales! Prices range from $7 – $35, depending on the materials and detail.

In addition to earning a regular income, artisans have also received tools (see below), business cards & packaging materials through the ministry. Our teen ESL & college students are excited to model the jewelry for the rest of the world to enjoy Ometepe’s natural beauty & culture. With the exception of shipping from the USA, our long-term goal for Ometepe Artisans is to be 100% sustainable in Ometepe.

Heat and Humility

Hello Everyone! The June visit to Ometepe Island, Nicaragua was filled with lots of heat (not from hot flashes) and humility. There is much to share in terms of our core pillars of Mind, Body & Spirit that we decided to split this e-newsletter into two parts. Part two will arrive in July.

Current travel to/from Nicaragua is confusing and frustrating due to the country’s rules on Covid-19 testing. We welcomed visitors, Jim & Cady G., from Maryland, but they departed Ometepe early due to these travel restrictions. Their visit was still a success, as their presence & gifts blessed two communities on the island. Meanwhile, we are thankful there is no current Covid-19 outbreak in Ometepe. The same is not true on the mainland, especially near Stacy & Cory’s community of Diriamba (see their e-news).

The physical drain from June’s heat on my middle-aged body & mind (and ability to speak Spanish) was exhausting despite electrolytes. God reminded me that feeling sorry for myself was not an option as my struggle is nothing compared to the reality of the families in Ometepe. Most families here continue small crop farming for basic survival. However weather patterns caused more than a 40% decrease in yield, while at the same time, the wholesalers are paying significantly less for crops like plantains. It’s so unfair. Some of these hardworking families have children who are malnourished and coming to OBGM for temporary food assistance.

Erlin & I revisited the remaining Cosecha Ometepe budget (raised in late-2020) and came up with a plan to invest the remaining balance to help qualified family farmers diversify their business (and skills) through a microlending program. We identified three projects (pigs, chickens & a brick oven for a bread baker) all of which will yield a good “return” especially as tourism returns to Ometepe. See below for specifics. We are seeking support to help fully fund the first three families.

Each and every family we encountered during this visit met us with an outpouring of gratitude, prayer and love for YOUR support. We opened our new personal home in Santa Cruz and I am now 5-lbs “gordita” from all the blessings of avocados, eggs, mangos, lime, gallo pinto (rice & beans), bread, jewelry, cultural dancing and LIVE music from our local community. I am still welled up with tears just thinking about the abundance they shared in thanksgiving to God, despite having so little. I am also humbled by our local staff and volunteers who continually seek out and focus on the interests of others and walk the path of Christ on a daily basis (Philippians 2:3-5).

Prayer Requests:
Please pray for OBGM’s staff (Erlin, Hilder & Leydi), their families, Stacy & Cory Martin & family, Francisco Valverde (late-stage cancer), families in our food, medicine & milk programs, peace for the November elections in Nicaragua and continued protection from the pandemic. We hope to see some of you in July. Thanks for your continued prayers and faith in God’s vision for Ometepe.
Love,
Rochelle & TJ

Do nothing from selfish ambition or conceit, but in humility regard others as better than yourselves. Let each of you look not to your own interests, but to the interests of others. Let the same mind be in you that was in Christ Jesus. 

Philippians 2:3-5

BODY & SPIRIT: OMETEPE MICROLOANS

You can help improve the living conditions of a family in Ometepe by becoming a microlender. All loans are tailored to small farmers or microbusinesses which will expand a family’s earnings. Each family and business opportunity is vetted through an application process and receives mentoring by OBGM during their business cycle until the loan is repaid. You can help supply a healthy piglet for as little as $50, or to start a basic farm of four (structure, 4 piglets, food, vitamins & vet care) for $1,500, however any amount helps. Families will repay their 0%-interest loan over a 1-3 year time period. When the loan is repaid, you can choose another new business to reinvest in here in Nicaragua. See below profiles.

VICENTE, CHICKENS

Meet Vicente, Alyeris & family. Vicente already has 2 years’ experience successfully running a small chicken farm (100 chickens) until he was forced to sell during the political crisis of 2018. Will you help Vicente re-launch his chicken business with a microloan? Click here.

RICARDO, BREAD BAKER

Ricardo bakes bread in the community. He lives with his wife and elderly mother. His brick oven recently collapsed and therefore is earning no income. Will you help Ricardo re-launch his baking business with a microloan? Click here.
4 LITTLE PIGS

Two “machos” (male) and two “embras” (female) piglets need a new chiquero (pig house) and young family to raise the best pigs in Ometepe.  Will you help a family farmer launch a pig business with a microloan? Click here.

MINDS: Earlier this year OBGM installed fiberoptic internet & wifi to a community school to enhance learning for the 130+ students, grades pre-K to 6. This also enables OBGM supporters to volunteer in our children’s English program providing pronunciation support to Hilder, our amazing English teacher, who is native to Ometepe. The kids are on BREAK early July and we’ll advise when sign-ups for online class instruction resumes.

BODY:  Welcome. Take a tour of Marta’s new home! Thank you to all who made this possible to keep her family safe during rainy season. A special thanks to Tom Fritz of Island Breeze Ministries who provided a lot of hard work, donated supplies and construction oversight. Thank you also to Maderas Artisans Mission Collective (Cory & Stacy Martin) for extra support and love. We are united as One Body in Christ.

Nail it this year for Father’s Day . . .

Are you wondering what to get Dad for Father’s Day this year? This is the man who BUILT a beautiful life for you and your family! He DRILLED values into you over and over again. What WOODWORK to express gratitude for his love and dedication all of those years, but to pay it forward. You could sponsor a tool or lumber to be used in the woodshop for boys who don’t have a father. Then you’d be proud of YOURSHELF and know that you’d NAILED it this year by making a real difference…even if took years before you SAW all that you had done in their lives. Too many dad jokes?

The boys from Arms of Love International Home of Protection are desperately in need of guidance and mentorship. They also need a useful skill to help them earn a living once they leave the home at the age of 18. The woodshop meets both of these needs in their lives. It’s a safe space for them to experience God’s love in their lives.

Maderas Artisans Woodshop program at Arms of Love Home in Jinotepe, Carazo, Nicaragua

Shop our tool catalog and sponsor a gift for Dad at all price points in the Maderas Artisans Woodshop!

https://obgm.kindful.com/?campaign=1132007

April – May 2021 Update

Christ has no body but yours, No hands, no feet on earth but yours,
Yours are the eyes with which he looks compassion on this world,

Yours are the feet with which he walks to do good,
Yours are the hands, with which he blesses all the world.
Yours are the hands, yours are the feet, Yours are the eyes, you are his body.
Christ has no body now but yours, No hands, no feet on earth but yours,
Yours are the eyes with which he looks compassion on this world.
Christ has no body now on earth but yours
. – Teresa of Avila (1515–1582)


Thank you to everyone for your prayers and support during a difficult month for our family. As April comes to a close, we’re grateful to share God’s progress and future plans for Ometepe and beyond (see below). In case you missed it, here is a link to the early April newsletter on the Miskito Coast. At the timing of this writing, the village of Boom Sirpi just received seed and they are distributing them now for planting. In the coming weeks, we look forward to the delivery of chickens to help feed the kids (below). How amazing it is when we unify with Christ’s compassion to be His hands, feet, eyes and body. Also, this was only possible because of the countless hours of multi-ministry coordination by our colleagues, Stacy & Cory Martin. Their selfless servitude and faith are an inspiration.

Prayer Requests 
We’re requesting continued prayers of comfort & peace for our immediate and extended families. We also ask for continued prayers for the people of Nicaragua who are dealing with a resurgence of the Covid-19 virus as well as those suffering on the Miskito Coast.

Lastly, we are finishing construction of our personal residence in Ometepe. It’s a small living quarters with lots of outside space for hosting future ministry activities with the children and families in OBGM’s programs. We hope to share photos soon. Pray the remaining construction goes smooth, as Rochelle will be in Nicaragua June 1 – June 27, 2021 and hopes to stay at the house. Of course, travel protection prayers are also appreciated.

Love & Peace,
T.J. and Rochelle Scott


BODY: Home for Marta Update
“Yours are the hands, with which he blesses all the world “ – Teresa of Avila

Thank you – we reached the fundraising goal for a new home for Marta! Construction is still in progress of the new bedroom attached to her mother’s house. As you recall, Marta’s home was falling down and would not survive the upcoming rainy season (click for video). Thank you to Tom Fritz of Island Breeze Ministries for his major contributions and overseeing this entire project during THE HOTTEST season in Nicaragua. We look forward to sharing more photos of the house and Marta when Rochelle returns in June.

Not Your Ordinary Mother’s Day Gifts …
If you want to honor a Mom this Mother’s Day with something unique that supports sustainability and other deserving moms, we have two great idea
Shop new items in the Ometepe Artisans Etsy Shop.
The Spring Collection is here! Many one-of-a-kind creations represent Ometepe Island life and culture. Many items are proudly modeled by some of our college scholars and family,
If you can’t purchase anything, will you help these artisans by SHARING the Etsy link with your friends & family on social media?
Sponsor a Hen in Boom Sirpi

Sponsor and gift a hen in honor of your mother, mother-in-law, or grandma this Mother’s Day and name it after her. It’s $20 to sponsor one fertile egg-laying hen. We promise to send you reports as to your hen’s productivity in her new coop.
MIND: English Program
In April, we launched our ESL remote pronunciation lessons via Google Meet with the Level 3 children in Sintiope, Ometepe Island. It was a huge success! Volunteers of ALL ages participated, and no previous teaching or Spanish experience is required. See a brief video example below. Will you volunteer with us? Your participation is a huge blessing to these students. 
HOW?
Please email Rochelle for an assigned date & instructions. A Google email account is required to participate. If you have a smart device, we recommend you download the Google Meet app
WHEN? 
Wednesdays from 11:30 AM –12:30 PM ET or Fridays from 8:00 PM ET – 9:00 PM ET Christ has no body now on earth but yours – Teresa of Avila
Amazon Smile & Facebook Donations
We are grateful for every penny donated to OBGM. We promise that 100% of all donations OBGM receives go to programming in Ometepe Island, Nicaragua. Two anonymous streams are from Amazon Smile and Facebook donations. Thank you to those who participate! This quarter we received $46.61 from Amazon Smile and $155 from Facebook Fundraisers. If you do not have OBGM as your designated charity on AmazonSmile, will you add us as your charity of choice to help increase our quarterly donations?Now Amazon Smile is available in the app. How it works:
1. Open the Amazon app on your phone
2. Select the main menu (=) & tap on “AmazonSmile” within Programs & Features
3. Select “One Body Global Ministries Inc” as your charity
4. Follow the on-screen instructions to activate AmazonSmile in the mobile app

A Miskito Coast Story

An account of the real people, places, and events that took place after two Category-5 hurricanes hit the east coast of Nicaragua in November 2020. Some of the individual names have been changed, but God’s truth & light continue to shine in the darkness as a collaboration of the following:

Iglesia El Amor de Dios
One Body Global Ministries, Inc.
Maderas Artisans Mission Collective
Island Breeze Ministries
Baptist Medical Dental Mission International

“The lights are back on, Josefina!” The children tell me the news as they dance along the dirt road in our village of Boom Sirpi, Nicaragua. I don’t know why this matters so much. We don’t have a lightbulb in our home. The only one broke during the first hurricane and then the power went out for three long months. The darkness just means that people feel invisible, invisible enough to steal the little that their neighbors have in the pitch blackness. No one wants to steal anything I have left anyway. All I have are hungry little mouths to feed, like Baby Jimena howling at my feet again.

Those two black rolling beasts blew in from the sea one right after the other in November. I’ve never seen anything like it. Abuelita Melva told me stories of storms like them, but I always thought those stories much exaggerated. It was beyond terrifying the way the sky changed colors and swirled in on itself. We all stumbled into the church, dragging our little ones and grabbing what we could on the way. Then we waited, huddled on the floor for hours and hours, listening to the wind howl and wondering if we would survive. It was unimaginable when we had to repeat the whole thing again two weeks later.

The winds peeled back more than half of the roofs and carried them off to who knows where. The winds even blew away the poor chickens as they flapped and squawked their protests. And now there are no eggs, which were the one thing we used to always count on. But it’s not like there is anything to feed a chicken anyway. The cows and pigs that remained after the storms were eaten quickly before they starved as well.

The hurricane-force winds blew away the entire harvest. If only we had known and had brought it all in a few weeks earlier-that crop of plantains, rice, and yucca. Now we have nothing to eat. The farmers walked 2 hours to get to their fields during the planting season and stayed for days at a time. The men would take turns tending the crops until harvest. Now all of that hard work was in vain. There weren’t even any seeds saved to replant for the next year. How will we ever survive?

A few trucks pulled in the week after the storm. They came with emergency supplies to mend the injured. They gave a small piece of metal roofing to each house so there could be a sheltered corner to hide from the rain. They gave a small food bag to each family to help sustain them for a few weeks. But that was 3 months ago when the hurricanes were big news.  No one remembers us now.

Abuelita Melva says that we should all be thankful to God. God sent the missionaries from Pennsylvania to build the big church and some stone houses more than 5 years ago. If it weren’t for them, the people would have had nowhere to take shelter during the hurricanes. They all would have been blown away. Yet it’s hard to feel thankful when everyone is so miserable. The missionaries built things and then left. Now it feels as though God left too.

t’s been 3 long months and everyone is sick because the flooding contaminated the wells. We must boil the water if we don’t want to become more sick from parasites. But boiling the water means that we have to collect wood to make a fire, which means we need to walk several kilometers and then carry the wood home. That is hard to do when we haven’t eaten and feel weak from sickness. It’s easier to just lay in a hammock and give up.

Pastor Diego and Esperanza live in the village with us even though they don’t have to stay. They could leave and go back to their home near the city where there is power, clean water, and food. They tell us that God loves us and to trust in him. My children go to their house to beg for a little rice each day and they give them a small handful. I know they don’t have much to eat themselves and still they share. I know there are dozens of children begging at their door. Maybe there is some truth to what they teach about God loving others. This is the name of their church after all “El Amor de Dios”. I boil a pot of grass for my babies so they won’t bother the pastor and his wife anymore today.

Then there is a bit of hope. There is news of another group of visitors coming. They say they are friends of the pastor and his wife. They are working on a plan to help Boom Sirpi, but I am trying not to expect too much. Then a truck arrives with over 2 tons of food in the middle of the night. I have never seen so much food in my life! It also has medication that my babies desperately need for their hurting stomachs. There is even clothing, shoes, and blankets on this truck. All of ours is mildewed and stinking.

I accept my food bag when my name is called and try to maintain my look of irritation. A small smile sneaks out anyway when I’m surprised by its weight. That’s a lot of grain!  In fact, I can hardly carry it back to my home. I have to balance it on my head or it will slip out of my arms. The little ones will be so happy tonight. Baby Jimena will sleep well with a full stomach. Abuelita Melva was right, God hasn’t forgotten us. Maybe there is hope coming.

In the coming weeks, there is news of more yet to come. A foundation from the city is donating water filters to each family in the village and the first shipment has already arrived. An agriculture and farming specialist is coming later this year to teach us how to grow better grain and raise healthier cattle. The planting season begins in May when the rains return. Of course, we have no seed, but our visitors said they will try to send us some. I think I believe them. They talked about sending us chickens too, but that’s a lot to hope for.

And then there is the best news of all. Compassion International is coming to the Miskito Coast next year. They want to speak with Pastor Diego and Esperanza about opening a project in Boom Sirpi. My babies may actually get an education one day and a chance to see a real doctor! There is a light in this darkness after all.

The light shines in the darkness, and the darkness has not overcome it.
John 1:5

Next Steps: Community Self-Sufficiency

We would like to bring back the chicken population of Boom Sirpi, Nicaragua after they tragically blew away during the last storm.  This focused, community-centric plan, includes a centralized hen house next to the village church. Our hope is that one day soon, the children could come to the church to eat eggs daily. In the developing world, eggs are the most efficient method to consistently deliver animal protein, which is so important to developing brains. Maderas Artisans Mission Collective will commit to purchasing the chicken feed for the current year until future community harvests can replenish their own supply.

It’s Miskito not Mosquito … March Update 🌷

Two are better than one, because they have a good reward for their toil. For it they fall, one will lift up the other; but woe to one who is alone and falls and does not have another to help. 

Ecclesiastes 4:9 NRSV

It’s been a few weeks since Rochelle returned from Nicaragua on March 10. We are grateful to have amazing staff (Erlin and Hilder) on the island who continue to oversee OBGM’s outreach and English programs. See below for an update on some specifics and exciting news on how YOU can participate in the mission field from the comfort of your home.

If we had to summarize this past visit in one word, it would be “community.” Life in the field is so much better when we do it with others in the unity of Christ. In addition to many locals and staff, we spent time with the Martin Family, who joined OBGM’s canopy in October 2020. We were eager to learn more about each other and visit our respective communities since we serve different geographic areas. What happened was incredible! From co-teaching each other’s English classes to planning a hurricane relief trip to the Miskito Coast (see below). With God’s help & community, we accomplish more, we share our burdens, and we share the celebrations. We are so encouraged to see the Mission of OBGM come together so seamlessly with them and old friends, Tom & Esther Fritz, of Island Breeze Ministries, on two special projects (below).

A Prayer Request

At the time of this writing, Rochelle’s father, Blase Cinque, went home to Jesus. He was 88 years old and surrounded by family at his death. Please pray for Roe’s mom, Patricia, and her siblings. We also ask for continued prayers for the people of Nicaragua, especially on the Miskito Coast, for a resolution to the hunger, clean water and shelter crisis.

MIND: English Program
On March 7, we enjoyed a fun beach picnic with our Sintiope English students and their families at San Juan beach in Ometepe. In addition to swimming and games, the kids received their hard-earned Level I and Level II certificates. We are so proud of the hard work these kids put in 2x/week to attend English class and study in between.

What’s next? YOU are invited to participate in the mission field from the comfort of your home! No teaching or Spanish experience is necessary!
WHEN & HOW?  On Wednesdays from 11:30 AM ET – 12:30 PM ET we’re hosting pronunciation lessons with our Level 3 English students via Google Meet. You will work in a small group, or 1 on 1, over your computer, smartphone or tablet. The session will be facilitated by our local teacher, Hilder and Rochelle who will be there to assist. A Google email account is required to participate. If you have a smart device, we recommend you download the Google Meet app. Please email Rochelle for an assigned date & instructions to take part. The first available date is April 7.  It is so fun for us, and very valuable to the students.

A Home for Marta

Marta is our next-door neighbor in Santa Cruz, Ometepe Island, Nicaragua. Her home is falling down and will not survive the next rainy season (click video). With the help of Island Breeze Ministries, OBGM would like to finish the construction of a new bedroom onto her mother’s adjacent brick home which is only 30 yards away. Our budget of $1,200 includes labor, cement, bricks and roof. Will you help build a Home for Marta?

BODY, MIND & SPIRIT:  Miskito Coast Hurricane Relief

As you recall, the east coast of Nicaragua was hit by two major hurricanes in November 2020. This geographic area is called “The Miskito Coast” not because of the insects, but because it remains home to the pre-colonial, indigenous Miskito Indians who originally inhabited, and continue to populate, this region. It is a remote area with little institutional presence. However, the Martin Family’s ministry has ties with a Nicaraguan-based mission church and family in the village of Boom Sirpi (population ~ 300) near Puerto Cabeza, Nicaragua, and they’ve been sending aid since December.

Since that time, we’ve received several more donations. In a March 7 meeting, we learned that hunger and lack of clean water remain an urgent problem in Boom Sirpi. The Martins and Tom Fritz, of Island Breeze Ministries, will travel to Puerto Cabeza (March 28 – April 3) to visit and minister to those impacted by the hurricanes. On March 25, a large truck with the food aid and other supplies donated by other churches and BMDMI (Baptist Medical Dental Mission International) made the 20-hour drive to the Miskito coast. (INSERT VIDEO)

Please keep all of the above in your continued prayers, especially those indigenous to the Miskito Coast.

Ometepe Artisans (“OA”) Project

The Spring handcrafted jewelry collection is coming to the Ometepe Artisans’ Etsy shop in mid-April. The rollout will include a new indigenous artisan who blends native seeds, stones, metal work and macramé to his jewelry. 100% of the sale profits are passed along to each artisan, with a small percentage reinvested back into raw supplies, business cards or small tools for the artisans. Follow the OA Instagram or Facebook page for more frequent updates and a sneak peek at the Spring collection!

Introducing Maderas Microloans …

Post by Cory & Stacy Martin, Maderas Artisans Mission Collective in Masatepe, Nicaragua

It’s time to dream big. We want to help families break out of the poverty cycle and find sustainable ways to support themselves for the future. We are introducing our Microloan Program for new small businesses. There are never enough jobs in Nicaragua and people have to get creative in order to earn a living. It’s smart to start up a small business, especially when people don’t want to travel to the big city where Covid is more prevalent. However, the banks charge enormous interest rates on new loans, if one could get approved in the first place.

How It Works

We are beginning small with two (2) women-owned businesses, with hardworking & trusted members in our community (see below). We plan to add more small businesses in the future as we are currently evaluating business plans from other trusted Nicaraguan friends/students. We will loan money, interest-free so that a new business can have a decent chance for success. We are also teaching young people about how to properly run a business.

Will you help us? When you make a donation to this campaign you choose a borrower to receive your funds. That borrower pays monthly for 1-3 years on their loan. Once that loan is repaid, we will contact you and you will choose a new small business with your original gift amount. Your money will be recycled to help many new businesses get started over the next few years. You can loan as little or as much as you want towards the business of your choice until they reach their maximum request.

WendyMart was the idea of our college scholar, Wendy, and her mama, Maria. Wendy’s mama had just returned from Costa Rica where she’s been working for the past few years as a maid. She was only allowed one week off a year to visit the family. Her father is currently working as a janitor at the factory making only $10 a day. They were afraid mama would need to go back to Costa Rica again so they could eat, but then Wendy had an idea.

There was a storefront space available to rent only a block away. Their vision is a little store that will sell groceries, school supplies, and clothes. They also make fresh tortillas, hot coffee, and homemade coconut ice cream. Wendy’s brother helps at the store when she is at the university. Maderas Artisans has already helped them rent and paint the space, purchase a freezer, coffee pot, and griddle. They are asking for up to 2,000 total to buy inventory for the store and add a sandwich shop. Would you consider loaning money to WendyMart?

Mary’s Cafe is the idea of Mary, another college scholar in our program. She wants to start a small business in her home with her mama, Ana. (They don’t live near Wendy and wouldn’t be in competition.) Ana has been working in the city as a live-in maid and only gets one weekend a month off to visit her husband and children. This would allow the family to stay together all of the time. They need a propane griddle to make tortillas and a small freezer to make homemade ice cream. The total for these two items would be $250, but they would be interested in borrowing up to $500 in order to expand their menu to include plantain chips and local cheese. Would you consider loaning to Mary’s Cafe?

Unexpected: Feb 2021 Update

The human mind plans the way, but the Lord directs the steps” 

Proverbs 16:9 NRSV. 

UNEXPECTED

Greetings from Nicaragua, everyone. This visit has been all about the unexpected. It has included many challenging including losing expected days to truck repairs or minor illnesses. We remain grateful, as these experiences are shaping our hearts to God’s path for OBGM. 

The best part of the “unexpected” are stories like this one about our friend, Marlon (see below video). Marlon is the husband of a good friend who was hosting the mission house when Rochelle arrived in January. He’s also a pastor and bean farmer in his village, which is near the Costa Rican border. The entire village goes to sleep around 7pm because it has no electricity. Prior to leaving the US, TJ sent a message to some local church friends asking if anyone had an extra men’s wristwatch (a gift for Marlon) that would be of great use to him. When no watches emerged, TJ went to the Goodwill but found only ladies’ wrist watches there. As TJ was leaving the store, a church member texted TJ saying he had a watch. It was a diving watch that, when new, cost $500. WOW! We were so honored to deliver this unexpected treasure to Marlon.

At the time of this newsletter, TJ returned to the USA while Rochelle stayed in Nicaragua until March 10, to meet personally with all the families in our programs. Scroll below for an update on the steps we’re taking to deliver on our core pillars of Mind & Body and HOW you can help. There is LOTS more to share about what’s happening here – we suggest you subscribe to and follow our Instagram/Facebook feeds for more stories, videos & updates. On this trip, we were also happy to have some in-person time for planning with our colleagues, Cory & Stacy Martin, who are currently serving in Masatepe, Nicaragua. They’re already an essential part of the OBGM team on Ometepe (see Stacy below) and hope to be on the island one weekend a month to help out. Click here for their latest newsletter. We’re also grateful to Tom & Esther Fritz of Island Breeze Nicaragua for opening their home to us in this phase of OBGM’s ministry.

Thank you for your ongoing prayers for OBGM. Please continue to pray for provision and wellness for our communities in Ometepe. THEY are praying for YOU! We hear it from their lips during our visits. Their unshakable faith touches our hearts.

We hope it moves your heart like God moves the wind.
Love, Rochelle & TJ

Ometepe school children started the new school year on February 1. In three days, we managed to get the majority of the 53 kids, who were enrolled in our primary & secondary scholarship program, “ready” with the required uniforms, shoes backpacks and supplies. It was a whirlwind, but the kids had a blast riding in the truck & shopping with their parents! During our interview process, we’re able to determine if certain children have specific needs. For example, one student will receive 1:1 tutoring for reading & writing to help ensure his long-term success. We still have some students who are not yet sponsored, click here for more info on this program.

MINDS – ENGLISH PROGRAM & VILLAGE SCHOOL

Our kids’ English classes resumed on February 15, and the adult evening classes in Santa Cruz will follow soon. For a taste of a typical class, join our Facebook Live Stream on Wednesday, February 24, from approximately 9:30-10:00 AM ET. During the stream, we’re seeking donations to help pay for the fiberoptic internet for the school which serves 130 children and four teachers. This will HUGELY impact learning in the Primary School. The wifi connection will also bless the secondary school students & college kids in the entire village by providing a place to conduct online research. OBGM will use the wifi in future English classes to enhance learning AND engage volunteers abroad. Our Facebook Address is: https://www.facebook.com/onebodyglobalministries

Level Two Kids’ English Class: Lesson on can and can not / can’t

MINDS: COLLEGE SCHOLARS

Our 5 college scholars & staff met the other day to discuss challenges during this pandemdic. Online learning is not natural for most Americans, but add the challenge of having to navigate computer programs like Word, Excel or online conferencing with ZERO computer experience. All of the students had to find, borrow & share computers while learning on the fly. They DID it, and we are proud of their endurance. In addition, these dedicated young adults work all week & currently attend in-person classes on Saturdays (4am-7pm incl. travel). They are all disciples of Christ through their humble service to their families & church community. Each student is required to achieve good grades, set goals & volunteer.

OBGM is still seeking monthly sponsors for one existing student & one wait-listed student.- See below – It’s a $50/mo commitment to cover tuition, travel, supplies & food. There is also a $250 upfront cost for the Chromebook laptop which is a necessity and not a luxury. If you can only sponsor a Chromebook, you can direct purchase it from our Amazon Charity List

Cynthia is 19 years old living in Santa Cruz and is starting her second year majoring in Accounting. Click here for a video update as Cynthia shares her dreams to use her education as a professional to further Ometepe Island. She attends college on Saturdays, starting her day at 4:30 am to catch the bus & ferry to Rivas (mainland) attending day-long classes returning home by 7/8pm.
Heydi is 23 years old and has already finished two years of college. She is studying Tourism and hopes to help manage hotels in Ometepe one day. Tourism is the #1 source of employment on the island. She had to stop her studies in 2018 when she had her daughter, Alison. If Heydi is able to attend college from 4:30 AM -7PM on Saturdays, her mother has agreed to babysit Alison. In addition to caring for her daughter, Heydi also helps her family in the fields with farming.

BODIES: FOOD PACKAGE PROGRAM

Many of our friends on Ometepe Island have returned to farming since the onset of the pandemic. We’re seeing lots of small crops of rice, wheat, beans, plantain and even veggies to help meet their most basic needs. Despite this, we continue to see malnutrition amongst the very young, sick and elderly. These are the people our 2021 food & baby milk distribution program will continue to reach. We are always seeking monthly support for this program. A donation of $20 provides a family of 4 food package of rice, beans, oil, sugar, salt & coffee for 7-10 days.