Chanchos

Here is one example of how a small micro loan / grant of $75 can empower others and help many people in a community. The below is how one women’s group from the USA helped another women’s group in Ometepe Island, Nicaragua. We appreciate your prayers and if you feel led, consider making a tax-deductible contribution to us by clicking here. 100% of the proceeds we receive go towards programming to help the impoverished in Nicaragua.

JUST LIKE US

Just Like Us …

Photo of beach day with OBGM kids' English students

It’s been a few weeks since Rochelle and our son, Andrew, returned from their extended visit in Ometepe Island, Nicaragua. We are grateful to have our family reunited and ready to enter a new season as stronger disciples of Christ.

Reflecting on what we experienced in June and July on Ometepe, the biggest surprise was the severity of the desperate economic situation that many of our neighbors, volunteers and friends are adjusting to on Ometepe Island (Scroll down to Micro Loan section below for reasons). The impact of this includes a large amount of families being unable to provide basic needs such as medicine, food, shoes, reading glasses and/or hygiene items. As a result, we are encouraging more teams to serve with us and to bring these items. At the current time, we can NOT ship to Nicaragua. IF YOU ARE INTERESTED IN SERVING IN NICARAGUA CONTACT US

Not a day passed without God showing us His heart while helping families & children on Ometepe. For example, people in the community would show up at our house with eggs, limes, nacatamales (a local dish), cookies, mangoes, avocados, and even a Nicaraguan dress! The extended visit also enabled us more opportunities to share in authentic family moments such as after-school homework time, a day at the beach, or preparing a meal together. These are a people JUST LIKE US seeking unity in family and nation. Unfortunately, they have much less in terms of choice, opportunity or advocacy.
  We remain committed to God’s plans for His people as the living Body of Christ: plans for hope and a prosperous future (Jeremiah 29:11). We thank you for your continued prayers & support. We thank our amazing on-site staff, volunteers & fellow missionaries in Nicaragua who fill in the gaps when we can’t. See below for more details on what’s happening NOW in the field.

add us your charity: https://smile.amazon.com/ch/83-0840019

HOUSING PROJECT UPDATE

As mentioned in last month’s e-news, one of this summer’s visiting mission teams had to reschedule their visit to Ometepe to a future date. However, catalysts for their decision to serve were the stories of two very poor, single-parent families in desperate need of structural housing improvements. In July, this mission team sent $1,600 to OBGM, and we immediately secured budgets. Supplies were delivered and construction is underway. This is a double blessing as the projects will employ people in their local community as well. Each project also requires volunteer hours which both the homeowners and OBGM’s local mission team are contributing.

See below photos for progress. There are NO WORDS to express the gratitude from these local families and OBGM to: Kula Yoga Merritt Island, Kula Yoga Port Orange, Kula Yoga New Smynra Beach and Bula Kava Cocoa Beach for their fundraising efforts and generous hearts. We look forward to hosting them in the future!

MICRO LOAN PILOT PROGRAM

Our extended stay in Ometepe this summer revealed that the economic climate in Nicaragua continues to worsen, due a steep decline in tourism and tax reform imposed by the current government. The tourism industry will likely take years to recover, and tax reform has out-priced most family farmers from getting the needed supplies for their crops. These hard-working men and women are very poor, and therefore have no access to credit. Sometimes the credit needed is a modest $100, $250 or $500 that could be repaid at harvest time.

This is just one example of a very complicated issue that we can NOT solve. However, we can expand peoples choices so that they may have the ability to do what’s best to provide for themselves. See the above video as an example.

Therefore, we will pilot a micro loan program to three to five families in Ometepe. Our goal is to provide & administer a pool of no-interest loans that continually sustain the program for poor on Ometepe. . If you have a heart to help someone help themselves,  Click here to securely donate. We are seeking five $250 Sponsors.

Knowing English provides better long-term job opportunities for rural Nicaraguans. We are honored to announce the official start date of a young-adult English program in the community of Santa Cruz commencing September 18.  

The program will be held in the classroom space of Iglesia Nueva Jerusalen church on Wed & Thurs evenings led by Hilder Barrios and assisted by Leydi Rios Alverez, both whom are young adults and faithful disciples of Christ.

One Month and Still Going

It’s just over one month since we arrived in Nicaragua on June 6th and it’s been a roller-coaster adventure in this #summerofglory.

First, we would like to thank our June short-term mission volunteers, Matt & Margareth Hoey from Wilmington, DE and Mike Palmer from First United Methodist Church, Cocoa Beach.  Their presence and donations continue to bless Ometepe Island today. Scroll down for detail & photos on each visit.

Next, continue to pray with us and for us. This journey has been filled with challenges, but in all the situations, we remain grateful to God’s faithfulness in providing exactly what is needed.The JOY far outweighs the challenges and we would not change a thing.

Matt & Margareth present one of the new students with his own dictionary.
The most profound moments have been serving in relationship with the local mission team when we distribute food, donations, visit and pray with families in need. Some of the stories are heart wrenching. Last year’s sociopolitical crisis continues to hit families hard today. People who previously worked in tourism-related jobs are still un- or under-employed. There is no room in a family’s budget for “extras” like shoes, medicines, clothes, etc.

The people of Ometepe and throughout Nicaragua are teaching me so much about keeping a heart of trust and grace. In outreach, we encounter aging, sickand/or single-mother families — some who have to choose between receiving assistance for food or medicine from us. OBGM does not yet receive enough financial donations to provide both at this time. 

We had our own personal emergency a few weeks ago, when our youngest son, Jake, had a severe allergic reaction. He is 100% recovered now, but we were officially baptized in the Nica emergency medical “system” where the conditions (and smells) were deplorable by US-standards. However, the clinic supplied the ample IV-medications and care. Also, accompanying us was our amazing local friends who helped us manage the language barrier. We had to put our trust in the hands and feet helping us, even though it did not look or feel normal to us.

Recently, one young father came to visit seeking only 200 Cords (~U$6.00) for asthma medication for his 12-month old baby.  I could see the panic in his eyes and body – just like ME during my son’s recent allergic episode.  The dad was so grateful for the medical assistance and promised to visit us when his son was well!

In each example, it is apparent that the physical presence, support, prayers and donations coming through OBGM (down to the last penny or donated pencil) is a blessing to our deserving brothers, sisters &children here in Ometepe. We are so grateful forGod’s faithfulness for bringing us to this place and opening our eyes. Last, please join us in prayer for: OBGM ministry & staff
mission team & remaining stay this summer
Continued peace for Nicaragua
Remaining 2019 funding for: Payroll for ongoing English program & new Santa Cruz English Class program commencing in the weeks to come ($350/mo)
Food Distribution Program ($350/mo)
Medical Assistance ($100/mo)
Funding for structural housing upgrades for two young families (See below previous e-news). 
Love, Peace & Joy
T.J. and Rochelle

For more frequent updates from the field, follow us on Instagram or Facebook.

JUNE VISIT
Matt and Margareth Hoey came to Ometepe with such servant hearts and a ton of fun-filled surprises for our kids in the Saturday English program. They brought the remaining supplies for making our “You are So Loved” personal photos, dictionaries, loads of field toys and a full tray of Ferror Roche chocolates. Matt & Margareth took charge of both English class lessons with such confidence and fun. The kids’ LOVED it (see photos below). It was also a joy to watch the kids decorate their photos & taste fine chocolate for the first time! Thank you so much Matt & Margareth. We hope you were as blessed as the people on Ometepe Island.

ARE YOU INTERESTED IN SERVING WITH US IN NICARAGUA? CONTACT US FOR MORE INFO.

SOS – The rainy season is here — Marisol & Christian’ Families (see previous enews) are struggling to stay safe & dry during the rough downpours. Below is a 26-second video clip showing Marisol’s family (with their permission). We are seeking only $1,600 for both families to ensure structural repairs to keep these families safe & dry.
Click here to securely donate.

Mike & First United Methodist Church Cocoa Beach

Mike Palmer of First United Methodist Church in Cocoa Beach (FUMCCB) enjoyed meeting his primary education scholarship recipients, teaching multiple English classes and serving with our local mission team. So many families were blessed by the food packages that were sponsored this month by FUMCCB. It was an honor to have Mike there to help secure the bulk food supplies, assemble the packages as well as distribute the food and pray with families in three (3) different communities. 

A huge thanks to Mike for his generosity, time and sharing his testimony at our home church.  Mike hopes to return to Ometepe one day on a future short-term mission trip.

MINDS:  FIRST MALE COLLEGE SCHOLAR

Congratulations to Jeysin Alvarez Gonzalez who is our first male college scholar program recipient. OBGM now has a total of four (4) young adults participating in this program. Jeysin attends the Universidad Hispanoamerica Recinto in Rivas. He is grateful to God, foremost, for the opportunity to stay enrolled in college. He promises to work hard and volunteer with OBGM when available. Please pray for Jeysin and his family.

It’s simple. Education reduces poverty. Consider becoming a Sponsor to a native Ometepe Island college student. It’s typically a 5-year commitment of $50/month.  Contact us with any questions, or set up your online recurring monthly donation today.

Jeysin receives his first scholarship payment. He has since volunteered many hours and hard work helping others on Ometepe.

Summer of Glory – May Update

In last month’s e-news, we reflected on Jesus washing the feet of his disciples as a reminder of His humble servanthood and precursor to the cross. This month, we are preparing to host a roster of four (4) short-term mission teams visiting Ometepe this summer, representing the body of Christ to “wash another’s feet.” (John 13:14 NIV). Scroll down for more info on who is joining us for a #summerofglory. We look forward to sharing many examples of His glory showering down on the poorest communities we serve on Ometepe Island, Nicaragua.

Speaking of Glory, we would like to introduce you to “Gloria,” the ministry’s pre-owned truck in Nicaragua and answer to many of your prayers. The day after Rochelle’s return from Ometepe in April, our tax service advised us that the State of Illinois owed us a sizable refund! This refund provided much-needed transportation that is already being used to help others in Ometepe.

The last tidbit of glory news is we plan to launch a young-adult English program in the barrio of Santa Cruz. Joining Hilder will be our new assistant teacher, Leydi, who is a fourth year English university student and Jesus lover. We look forward to watching Leydi grow in her new role in the Santa Cruz classroom.

T.J., Rochelle and family depart for Nicaragua on June 6. Rochelle and her oldest son, Andrew, plan to stay through July 28.  While there, we expect to share many updates on social media as internet is available. Follow us on Instagram or Facebook.
 

Last, please join us in prayer this Season for:

  • Our OBGM ministry & stay this summer
  • Continued peace for Nicaragua
  • Visiting mission teams for June & July (see below)
  • Supplies & payroll for new Santa Cruz English Class program commencing in June
  • Structural housing upgrades for two young families (See previous e-news). 
  • Safety rails for our pre-owned truck
    Love, Peace & Joy
    T.J. and Rochelle

JUNE
Matt & Margareth Hoey have been supportive of our vision for the people of Ometepe when we first helped as short-term missionaries from our NJ church over ten years ago. We are humbled by their their ongoing support and now honored they will join us to serve for one week all the way from Wilmington, Delaware.

Matt & Margareth Hoey – June Missionaries

JUNE
Welcome Mike Palmer of First United Methodist Church in Cocoa Beach. We are thrilled to have a member from our home church to serve as God’s faithful steward in Ometepe.
Mike has participated on many on short-term mission trips, including serving in Uganda, Tanzania, Mexico and the Amazon. He’s a current sponsor to five (5) of our primary education scholarship recipients. We look forward to see Mike experience Ometepe and the many blessings he will bring to those we serve on the island!

Mike Palmer – June Missionary

JUNE
Welcome Julie Isobe of @isobe salon in Indian Harbor Beach, FL While cutting hair during her stay in Ometepe, Julie will be exploring options for a permanent trade school to teach hair styling and technique, with a major emphasis on sustainable living. As part of the curriculum, she she will teach locals how to treat hair with oils derived from the natural produce found in Nicaragua.

Julie Isobe and Rochelle at Julie’s FL salon hatching plans for a Nicaragua school

JULY
A team of three young families from Kula Yoga will spend a week in Ometepe this July. Kula means “family” or “community” and we are honored by their passion to share their time and talent to help raise much-needed funds for our programming and their visit serving the poorest of the poor. We will share more info about them in future e-news. In the meantime, you can support their efforts by attending donation yoga classes (in Florida)

Kula’s Fundraiser Poster