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. 

January 2021 Update ✈ Visit

Happy New Year everyone. 2020 was a tough year, yet we saw the Body of Christ come together in creative and new ways to share Hope & Light with our brothers & sisters in Nicaragua. Your generosity impacted so many lives (see this update) and it’s still happening!!! Thank you for your faithfulness.

We welcome 2021 with a renewed commitment of walking in faith and thanksgiving and will visit Nicaragua soon. Rochelle left January 17 and TJ will follow in February. February 1 marks the beginning of a new school year for the 50+ children and college scholarship recipients in Ometepe Island participating with OBGM. Follow our Instagram and Facebook feeds for more frequent updates on our visit. For those of you who wish to write to your sponsored child, send it by email to rochelle@obgm.org

For those of you who donated in 2020, your Tax Summaries were emailed last week. If you would like your 2020 Tax Summary now, login to our system (using your email address) to request a printable copy.

We continue to pray for you and your family’s health as well as for peace in both the USA and Nicaragua.
Love, Rochelle & TJ

“I pray that your hearts will be flooded with light so that you can understand the confident hope he has given to those he called – his holy people who are his rich & glorious inheritance.” - Ephesians 1:18 NLT

HURRICANE RELIEF UPDATE

We were just as shocked as the rest of the world when two Category 5 storms slammed Nicaragua in November. Thank you for your generous support in late 2020. After Hurricane #1, $2,500 was raised for the Cosecha Ometepe Campaign. So far, 13 family bean farmers are receiving sow-to-harvest farm aid. Meeting this URGENT need now will help avoid future hunger on the island.

After Hurricane #2, you responded with $2,700 in 2020 for relief supplies to the Boom Sirpi community which is near Puerto Cabeza, Nicaragua. There are ~ 800 residents in this community and to our knowledge the village has received NO other outside aid. We’re coordinating our efforts with our US-missionary family who joined OBGM in October, Cory & Stacy Martin. They have a long-term relationship with pastors Diego & Esperanza Perez from Amor de Dios Church which serves ~200 residents. We hope to share photos in the future via enews and social media. It’s not too late to help by selecting “Nicaragua Hurricane Relief” campaign at https://obgm.kindful.com/

OMETEPE ARTISANS UPDATE

In 2020, we launched a microbusiness called Ometepe Artisans. Ometepe Artisans fights poverty by offering an ongoing means for well-established, indigenous artisans to connect to the global market and earn a fair income via an Etsy Shop and onsite events
From April to December, our two women artisans earned $1,330 when they otherwise would have earned $0 due to the pandemic! The project has also enabled reinvestment in more raw supplies for their craft and business cards for each artist to share when tourists return to Ometepe Island.

We look forward to fine-tuning this outreach in 2021 with our end goal focused on long-term sustainability. Follow them on Instagram or Facebook for more frequent updates. If you are interested in volunteering with this project in the USA, email us.

A Sincere & Heartfelt Thank You

Happy Thanksgiving everyone. We want to share our heartfelt gratitude to God and to YOU for your prayers, generosity, and unconditional love during this time of unprecedented need. 

THANK YOU FOR

PRAYER – Your tireless prayers for protection and for providing aid to comfort those impacted by two Major Hurricanes:

  • 15 Family Bean Farmers re-sowed & will reap new crops
  • 10 Family Plantain Farmers will regrow their crops from scratch

GENEROSITY – Not giving up on Ometepe Island, Nicaragua despite your own needs during this pandemic to help:

  • 30 Families each month receive a visit & food packets of rice, beans, oil, sugar, coffee, dog food, COVID-19 kits/soap to stay nourished and clean
  • 5 Babies receive milk each month to prevent malnutrition
  • 4 Families receive medical assistance each month to improve their quality of life
  • 2 Families earn an income through the Ometepe Artisans Project

LOVE – Placing others before yourself to empower those with the gift of education:

  • 53 Elementary school children receive supplies, backpacks, uniforms & shoes so they can study
  • 40 Students attend English classes 2x/week to improve their employment options
  • 4 College students receive a monthly scholarship to help end the cycle of poverty

OBGM Oct-Nov ’20 Update

Hello Everyone. We are so grateful to God and to all of YOU who participated in our recent campaigns to expand our outreach in Ometepe through the end of 2020. Thanks to you we met our goals and the impact is incredible (see adjacent infographic)

Each act of giving is an example of how together we can do something beautiful for God.

Speaking of TOGETHER, the Martin Family in Masatepe, Nicaragua (known as Maderas Artisans Mission Collective) fully onboarded to the OBGM family effective October 1. In future posts, we will be sharing more on their hearts for Christ and impressive talents (see video below). Click here for a copy of their most recent e-news.

We pray you all remain safe, patient & grateful during this challenging season.
Love, Rochelle & TJ

Hurricane Eta

We urgently ask for immediate prayers for our friends & family in Nicaragua. A Category 3/4 hurricane, named Eta, is expected to hit landfall in the coming hours. Heavy rainfall is expected to last for days inland and across Central America. It will likely cause landslides and crop damage.

Future Visit to Nicaragua . . .

We are praying about a brief visit to Nicaragua in early December. Will you pray with us that doors will open when God’s timing is right?

“Do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your minds, so that you may discern what is the will of God – what is good and acceptable and perfect.”

Romans 12:2 NRSV

Can You Spare a Laptop or Unlocked Smartphone?

Our college scholarship recipients are either sharing or borrowing laptops to continue online learning during the pandemic. This is really challenging given that most of these young adults have tremendous responsibilities in addition to their studies.

WE ARE SEEKING WORKING LAPTOPS and UNLOCKED SMARTPHONES.
If you have an item to donate, please email us.

We’ve reached 50+ sales at the Etsy Shop

Shop small & shop early for the Holidays.

Proceeds from past sales have been a huge blessing to Rosita, Gladys and their families. Please share their Facebook or Instagram feeds with friends and family.

September Update

“The harmful effects of this pandemic will not be distributed equally. They are expected to be most damaging for children in the poorest countries…” – Unicef

Hello Everyone. Thanks to God and those of you who have participated in July’s Campaign 33 to expand our food distribution program through the end of 2020. We reached our initial goal and want to expand the program.

Food and medical assistance have become increasingly urgent in developing nations due to the pandemic’s impact on food systems and livelihoods. We have seen this first hand in Ometepe, with the borders closed around Nicaragua until recently. Families who relied on farming crops for income had little or NO market to sell their August harvests. Also, crop prices plummeted, while the cost of living in Ometepe for other food items and necessities have increased. 
Photos from August Outreach
During August’s outreach, it became obvious that more of our families are in need of baby formula/milk or medicine. We’ve seen children in the village of Sintiope, specifically, under- or malnourished. Eight (8) families have been identified and we can help as the Body of Christ.

What Can You Do?
Will you join us to pray for provision for these hardworking families? If you are in season to give financially, consider participating in our Milk & Medicine Campaign.

We’re already half way to our financial goal! This is only $20 per family from August – December 2020. 100% of your support is directly sent to Ometepe and is tax deductible. 

In August, our kids’ English Program resumed in Sintiope with some modifications due to the pandemic. On the first day, 14 kids showed up eager to learn. The young adult evening program resumes next week.

We’re excited to share that 4th Quarter classroom instruction will be partly conducted online with volunteers providing pronunciation help to the students in Nicaragua from here in the USA.  If YOU are interested in volunteering with us (from your own home), contact us for details. 

No experience is necessary. Just a heart to a serve Jesus and a laptop computer or smartphone

Do you have a spare Chromebook or Laptop?

Our college scholarship recipients are either sharing or borrowing laptops in order to meet the new requirements of online learning during the pandemic. This is really challenging given that most of these young adults have tremendous responsibilities in addition to their studies. If you have an item to donate or you’re a College Scholar Sponsor who wishes to help, please email us.

Thank you First United Methodist Church of Cocoa Beach

On September 20th, FUMCCB will launch it’s Fall Engage Project to help Sponsor the 4th Quarter of our English program. See video for details.
You don’t have to be a member to participate.

New inventory for the Ometepe Artisans Etsy Shop is on the way!.
All of the proceeds from past sales have been a huge blessing to Rosita, Glady and their families during the pandemic.

If you have not already visited, check out the Etsy Shop or help us further empower these artisans by sharing their Facebook or Instagram feeds. 

July Update – Campaign 33

Hello Everyone. We hope this newsletter finds you safe & strong. We are filled with gratitude as our family and friends remain healthy, despite reports from other communities in Ometepe that COVID-19 is rapidly spreading and families are losing loves ones. We are also grateful we live in an age where technology allows for the OBGM team to work and pray together on where we can maximize our gifts to those most in need. We invite you to pray with us for this discernment and the continued strength for those in Ometepe and throughout Nicaragua.

During July, our amazing team of staff and college scholarship recipients coordinated a food package distribution to each child from our Primary Education Sponsorship program (see photos below). This was made possible from the support we received from some of their sponsors. THANK YOU. All the kids are doing well and are continuing with their studies as school remains open in Ometepe.

Unfortunately the need and urgency for food assistance is on the rise in our communities due to mass unemployment and skyrocketing food prices. It’s obvious that the 

expanded food program needs to continue beyond August. Our budget to cover 30 families is $333. This amount provides a family of four with enough rice, beans, oil, sugar, coffee & salt for 7-10 days. One way you can help is by by participating in our Campaign 33. If ten people donate $33, or one person gives $333, it would cover the month of September. If 20 people donated $33, then September & October will be covered, and so on .We will continue this campaign until we can ensure a consistent distribution through the end of 2020 with God’s help.

100% of your donation is tax deductible and directly benefits the most impoverished in Ometepe Island, Nicaragua. If you can not financially give at this time, please pray for Nicaragua. “Be strong and bold; have no fear or dread of them, because it is the Lord your God who goes with you; He will not fail you nor forsake you.: Deuteronomy 31:6

July’s distribution covered families in our Primary Education Sponsor Program. We have 53 kids in the program.

God VS Everything
Sometimes we don’t know how & when God is working through us to impact others. We were honored when TJ’s high school friend sent us these (and other) T-shirts in gratitude for helping him during a difficult season. We love these comfy God-centered T-shirts and the inspiration behind them: He is greater than any battle in this world. There is no easier way to spread that message, and hopefully impact, than wearing it on your shirt. Check out GOD VS EVERYTHING.

OMETEPE ARTISANS “ON LOCATION” & ETSY

We continue to be amazed with how God is moving in the Ometepe Artisans project despite this challenging season. Both Rosa & Gladys have earned a consistent income since April, empowering each woman to support their families by selling their handmade jewelry. In addition to the online Etsy shop, there are now two (2) Space Coast, FL businesses carrying these handmade treasures! (see below). We hope you visit these “local” small businesses in the near future. No matter where you shop,100% of all profits go our deserving artists. If you have any questions email or message us on social media @Ometepeartisans.

AmazonSmile can now support One Body Global Ministries Inc in the Amazon shopping app on iOS and Android mobile phones! Click here for instructions.

May & June Update

Hello Everyone. We hope you and your family are well. The recent weeks have been surreal with OBGM’s current outreach efforts (see below) and plans for a future return to Ometepe. As of today, we are sad to hear from many of our friends and extended family that the Covid-19 virus is rapidly spreading throughout Nicaragua with the contagion curve still on the rise. Their government continues to do nothing to help prevent the spread. In fact, there is an effort to cover up the deaths and some health care workers describe it as, “Nicaragua seems like a horror movie, only it is real life.”* Of course, many in Ometepe are jobless because tourism stopped. As a result, we will increase the scope our food assistance program starting in June. If you would like to provide a food packet, donate below. $20 covers a family of four with enough of the basic staples: rice, beans, oil, sugar, coffee & salt for 7-10 days. 100% of your donation is tax deductible and directly benefits the most impoverished in Ometepe Island, Nicaragua.

Thank you always for your continued prayers for Nicaragua and all of the nations during these unprecedented times. As Christians, we are called to unite by choosing to love our neighbors and our enemies. We are called to stop for the one, whether they be in our own family, community or across the globe without barriers. We are ONE BODY in Christ. Are you with us?
Rochelle & TJ
*Source: (https://trib.al/PbxynjY)https://app.moonclerk.com/pay/3fj3mgy0grs0

GREAT NEWS & NEW ITEMS for GUYS & GALS
 We are delighted to share that Ometepe Artisans Etsy Shop & project is off to a strong start with orders from friends and strangers throughout the USA. New inventory is being added to the shop each week!

Profits from all sales go directly to Rosa and Gladys. This project provided them nearly $400 of income since April when they would have otherwise earned $0due to crisis. The amount may seem modest, but it is enough provide for their sustenance. This project is not only empowering these women, it is providing much-needed hope in the community.

Help us continue this success. Please share the online Etsy Shop with your friends and family. Purchase a small treasure that will empower these deserving women. Items range from $8 – $55. Also, you can follow new posts and updates on their Instagram or Facebook page.

If you have any questions email or IM us on social media.
Does Your Employer Have a Match Program?
OBGM has been vetted and approved as a charity in good standing for many corporate employee-match programs through Benevity.  If you work for one of the following companies, your employer may have a matching program through Benevity. 
logos for ADP, Apple, Google, Microsoft, Cargill, Ameriprise Financial, CocaCola, Honda, CP, Purdential, Samsung, AstraZeneca, Johnson & Johnson
For example, if your employer’s policy is to match 2:1 and you defer $25 each month to OBGM, we will receive $75 each month. The extra $50/month would sponsor a young adult for a college education! 

If you have any questions, email us or contact your HR Dept even if your employer is not listed below.
COVID-19 & Community Outreach
During May we invited our college scholarship recipients to assist OBGM continue to help with community outreach and education. Our first attempt at DIY disinfectant wipes failed, however the the second attempt was a success.
Thank you to Erlin, Hilder, Leydis, Prisila, Cinthia, Escarleth, Joshua and Andres doing all the hard work to pack, organize and distribute the following all while social distancing with masks in the brutal heat:
36 high-risk families 52 disinfectant wipes, soap & COVID-19 prevention handouts
13 family food packets of rice, coffee, oil, salt and sugar
10 dog food packets under our Donations for Dogs program
College Scholarship Recipients
We currently have 13 enrolled on AmazonSmile that generated $42.00 in the first quarter of the year. We we would love to double that number by the end of 2020 Can you help us?  Use this linkhttps://smile.amazon.com/ch/83-084001.

Also, AmazonSmile customers can now support One Body Global Ministries Inc in the Amazon shopping app on iOS and Android mobile phones! Simply follow these instructions to turn on AmazonSmile and start generating donations.
Open the Amazon Shopping app on your device
Go into the main menu of the Amazon Shopping app and tap into ‘Settings’
Tap ‘AmazonSmile’ and follow the on-screen instructions to complete the process
If you do not have the latest version of the Amazon Shopping app, update your app. Click here for instructions.

April’s Update (published May)

We’re Starting with some Good News! Introducing an outreach project partially facilitated by students enrolled in the University of Central Florida’s Program in Women’s and Gender Studies. Thank you UCF!
This image has an empty alt attribute; its file name is img_5265.png
Ometepe Artisans fights poverty by offering an ongoing means for well-established and indigenous artisans to connect to the global market and earn a fair income via Etsy. All of the net proceeds from each sale goes directly to the artisan(s). The first two Ometepe residents are female jewelry artists, Gladys & Rosa, who hand craft one-of-kind pendants, bracelets and earrings from organic materials found on the Maderas volcano of Ometepe (items range from $8 – $35). Gladys and Rosa also received a small micro-loan to get started! Go to the online Etsy Shop to view all the items/purchase a small treasure that will empower these deserving women for weeks to come. Also, you can follow new posts and updates on their Instagram page.


CHILD SPONSOR MATCHES MAILED
If you participated in our year-end Education for Ometepe Fundraiser, you should have received a letter including information about your child match and his/her family as well as a photo(s) of your child  If you did not receive the packet, please email us.  For info on the program, click here.

No Pandemic in Nicaragua?
Hello Everyone. So much has happened in the world since our last update of March 11. Some days have been overwhelming with adjusting to work, school and “life” during a global pandemic. The best we can do is offer prayers of thanksgiving for our daily blessings and keep fixing our eyes on Jesus, because we look not at what can be seen but at what cannot be seen; for what can be seen is temporary, but what cannot be seen is eternal. 2 Corinthians 4:18 NRSV

The most diffiult news to share is, that unlike most countries imposing social restrtictions to help prevent the spread of COVID-19 virus, Nicaragua has chosen the opposite approach. In fact, the country is promoting large-scale sporting events, large public gatherings and school is in session. At this time, Nicaragua has only “reported” a handful of COVID-19 cases and only two deaths. Like most developing countries, Nicaragua’s public healthcare system falls well below developed standards, with some reports indicating the entire country has only 10 ventilators.

We expect the impact of COVID-19 in Nica to be severe in the upcoming weeks. How you can help is to PRAY WITH US. Also, we expect the demand for medical and nutrituional support to increase the coming months. Consider sponsoring a family of four ($20) for a 2-week supply of food, or providing a tax-deductible gift of $50 to help with preventative/medical expenses. 100% of your donation directly benefits the improverished in Nicaragua. Donate

Thank you always for your continued support. May you keep your eyes fixed on Him and stay safe during this difficult season.
Rochelle & TJ


SEEKING COLLEGE SPONSOR
We are currently seeking a College Sponsor for our Hilder Barrios! The commitment is $50/mo for a period of five years. Hilder is enrolled in Rivas college pursing law. In addition to teaching English for OBGM, Hilder is always the first to volunteer in the community. Hilder’s faith in Jesus is unwavering. Despite being 24, he’s the sole provider of his family of 8.  Will you help change this man’s life?Our COVID-19 ResponseOur English Program is suspended until further notice. The majority of our students lack the technology to move to an online format. We are praying on an alternate solution so that we may offer continued learning during COVID.

Both Hilder & Leydi transitioned to our “COVID-19” team focused on education and ditribution of santitation supplies in several communities. We acquired 126 bars of soap and 4 gallons of bleach and started visiting immunocompromised families. In addition, the local mission team from Bethel Iglesia Nueva Jeruselen is also distributing these materials to reinforce the urgency of thorough handwashing to prevent the spread of the virus.
 
A friend of mine recently recommended a crowdfunded TV series called, The Chosen. It’s available FREE via YouTube or App. After the first episode, I was hooked. The series is unlike no other show about Jesus and the disciples. At times you find yourself chuckling and at other times teared up. The show’s creators made the character’s issues real and relatable to today. Whether you are Christian or not, you may find yourself binging on this show. We hope you are blessed by it.  #BingJesus #Getusedtodifferent