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
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.
Thank you to all those who helped us exceed our goal raising $6,723 on #GivingTuesday to empower two villages in Ometepe Island, Nicaragua through education. 100% of the proceeds raised go to Nicaragua to provide:
50 children with uniforms, backpacks & school supplies
Year-round English classes in two villages
School supplies for one village elementary school
Please know the gratitude of the students & families in Ometepe is equally matched by the outpouring of love shown by all who participated, including: direct supporters, volunteers, social media ambassadors, auction sponsors, taco eaters, acution bidders & winners.
We look forward to sharing more on the impact of your giving during our next visit to Nicaragua January 15 – February 18, 2020. In the meantine, we appreciate your continued prayers for this ministry during the Christmas Season. Love, T.J. and Rochelle so we, who are many, are one body in Christ, and individually we are members of one another – Romans 12:5 NRSV
A Final Thank you to our Auction Donors
The Kennedy Space Center Visitor Complex / 4th Street Fillin’ Station / Beachside Grand Prix / Golf n Gator / Preacher Soulful Food & Abbey Ales / The Crayola Experience / Lighthouse Cove Minigolf / Fishlips Restaurant / Sun Bum Sun, Skin & Hair Care / Kula Yoga Merritt Island / Isobe Hair Salon / WonderWorks Orlando / The Tiny Turtle / Michelle Lackore LMT / Exploration Tower at Port Canaveral / Cocoa Beach Helicopter Tours / Junkanoo Island Kitchen & Rum Bar / Rising Tide Tap & Table / Ace Hardware Cocoa Beach (YETI) / Grills Seafood Deck & Tiki Bar / Serenity Spring Massage & Body Work / Shore Lanes Merritt Island / Yoga with Martha / Cocoa Beach Aerial Adventures / Orlando Philharmonic Orchestra / Trent Art Gallery
We hope you are having a good Fall season filled with gratitude and good health. We remain in continual contact with our team in the field on Ometepe Island, Nicaragua and have lots to share. Scroll down for all the updates on each of our core mission pillars of MIND, BODY & SPIRIT.
Our next visit is scheduled for November 6 – 20, 2019. We are also planning for 2020. Some of our goals will be bold, but we have witnessed miracles in the past, especially when the needs were the greatest and met with unconditional love. In the meantime, please continue to pray with us for:
Continued peace for Nicaragua
Recovery of those hospitalized
OBGM ministry, staff & local volunteers
Remaining 2019 funding for:
December Food Distribution Program ($350)
Five (5) Sponsors for Micro Loan Project ($250)
Structural housing projects finish (See below).
Discernment for our 2020 Plan
Love, Peace & Joy T.J. and Rochelle For more frequent updates from the field, follow us on Instagram or Facebook.
MINDS: ENGLISH PROGRAM EXPANDS & NEW ASST. TEACHER
A new evening English program commenced late-September in the classroom space of Iglesia Nueva Jerusalen church led by Hilder Barrios and assisted by Leydi Rios Alverez of Ometepe. This is an exciting milestone for OBGM investing in young adults in the community of Santa Cruz. Leydi Rios Alverez’s new role is a paid student-teaching job. She’s an incredible young mother who works full-time at her church’s program with Compassion International while finishing her college degree in English on Saturdays. We are excited to watch Leydi grow in her new role and our hope is that in the future, Leydi will assume full responsibilities for our Santa Cruz English program. Click here for her full bio.
BODIES & SPIRITS: SEPT & OCT OUTREACH
22 Food Packets (20 lbs. rice, 10 lbs. of beans, 5 lbs sugar, 1 lb coffee, 2 ltrs. oil) were prepared and distributed at the end of September – early October to six communities by our amazing team from Iglesia Nueva Jerusalen church. Earlier this week “Gloria” provided transport for the local mission team to visit & pray with the sick at hospitals – some suffering from dengue fever. In fact, the two hospitals on the island were full. The mission team provided their own donations of food and supplies to the sick as these items are NOT provided in Nicaraguan medical system (not even toilet paper).
BODIES: WORKING TOGETHER FOR THE GOOD We’re delighted to share last month’s construction for Christian and Marisol’s homes are almost complete thanks to generous donations. Unfortunately, both homes had to be 100% demolished and most existing materials could not be reused. Each family now has a firm foundation, posts and a roof that no longer leaks. Our local mission team and the homeowners labored hard with the materials preparation and construction to keep costs down.
Despite this, Marisol needs more help with brick walls, windows and a floor. We believe that anything is possible when “we know all things work together for good, for those who love God, who are called according to His purpose” (Romans 8:28 NRSV).
The current budget to complete: Walls $720 Windows $315 Floor $225 Total: $1,260
If you feel implored to help Marisol’s family, consider gifting all, or part, of the above budget with your tax-deductible donation direct to OBGM or through a future Facebook fundraiser (contact us for more info)
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.
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.
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
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.
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!
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.
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)
Wow Ometepe is all we can say since our return from Nicaragua on February 12. We were greatly encouraged by the continued stability of the nation since 2018’s civil & economic unrest – the biggest surprise was a strong return of tourism to Ometepe.
There is still room for caution, but the situation has brought increased cooperation and partnership among the Nicaraguan people, churches and other ministries, including OBGM. This IS the body of Christ in action and it’s so good! Just as Paul, shares in Romans 12:5 SO IN CHRIST, WE WHO ARE MANY ARE ONE BODY, AND EACH MEMBER BELONGS TO ONE ANOTHER.
Scroll down for more details of our recent visit and program updates. We are currently praying for for the following needs:
Sustainable support to 2019’s nutrition program
Pre-owned 4-wheel drive truck for transportation of bulk nutrition supplies, materials, outreach team members, visiting team members and general needs. The vehicle must be purchased in Nicaragua.
Walking Shoes & Ponchos for Outreach Team
Start of a 2nd English Class program in Santa Cruz
Also pray for travel safety as Rochelle returns to Nicaragua March 21 – April 4. Her travel is possible thanks to frequent flyer miles TJ receives via American Airlines. We will do our best to keep you updated (including shenanigans) via our Facebook Page, Instagram orblog.Love, Peace & Joy T.J. and Rochelle
Thank You Tom Davis
Thank you to Tom Davis of Grand Junction, CO for joining us in Nicaragua from February 2 – 12, 2019. The people of Ometepe were so blessed with his presence and contributions throughout his visit on the island.
We especially appreciate Tom’s input with our children’s English school program, including lesson planning and materials given to our English teacher, Hilder. With 30+ years as a professional educator, his experience was invaluable and timely since the new school year in Nicaragua commenced February 4.
Tom managed to have some fun, too! We squeezed in a waterfall hike and a fishing on two afternoons. Best, of all, he plans to return to Ometepe in the future with two his grown daughters and son-in-law! We look forward to his return and how each of his family members bless the beautiful people of Ometepe.
ARE YOU INTERESTED IN SERVING WITH US THIS SUMMER IN NICARAGUA? CONTACT US FOR MORE INFO.
MINDS: College Scholar Receives Laptop
Thank you Cocoa Beach Daybreak Rotary Club for the Toshiba laptop awarded to Lisbeth Issamar Bravo Garcia, age 19. Lisbeth is a deserving student attending her 3rd year at the University of Managua (UNAN) majoring in architecture. She was both humbled and thrilled with receipt of this assistance as she had NO computer to complete her upcoming coursework! She plans to graduate in 2021.
Fully-functioning laptops and unlocked smartphones are in great need. If you would like to donate one of your own items, please contact us.
MINDS: 21 Kids Start English Classes!
Words can not describe the sight of 21 kids crammed into a classroom on a hot Saturday morning eager to learn English! The below video is from February 9th’s first day of school and celebration. We hope you can see the value and love this program brings to the children in Sintiope. Please consider helping us expand this program which helps the community seek better employment.
BODIES: Your generosity helps to nourish ~ 80 bodies/month – many in some of the hard-to-reach communities and with family members who are very sick.
BODIES & SPIRITS: Nutrition Program & Outreach Team Needs
One of the most humbling & educational moments during our visit was the time we spent with the local mission/outreach team from God’s Assembly church in Santa Cruz, Ometepe. This team of 10 dedicated volunteers go out into the “mission field” 2x/week from 5am – 6pm, seeking residents in under-served communities as far as 10km away from their homes. Many of those reached include the extremely sick and/or poor farmers who have no access to a church, bible study, healing prayer or simply in sharing in God’s word.
In addition to a small travel stipend they receive from OBGM, the team hosts their own fundraisers to support their program. We are honored to have this dedicated team help us sort, weigh, pack and deliver food kits to those most in need. Each kit feeds a family of four (4) for 1.5 weeks, and on average 20 families receive the aid per month according to our current budget.
But it’s not about the food. This is really about working together as the Body of Christ to share God’s relentless love…providing comfort, peace, healing, joy…all of the gifts available to us by His sheer grace.
NEEDS – We need help outfitting each team member with appropriate walking shoes and rain ponchos during our next visit. To accomplish this, we’ve set up an Amazon Wish Listwith specific shoe sizes for each team member as well a link for the rain ponchos. If you chose to donate, please order before March 15 to ensure timely delivery to us, prior to our visit. Prices range from $15.99 – $41.
MINDS: 7 primary school students were fully sponsored last month to supply school uniforms, backpacks, shoes & supplies for the 2019 school year.
MINDS: College Scholarship Awarded
Meet Prisila Rios from Santa Cruz, Ometepe Island. Prisila will assume a full course load of classes in Rivas, Nicaragua commencing this month. She will commute from Ometepe & attend classes on Saturdays.
In addition to her other responsibilities, Prisila is a dedicated volunteer in her community in Santa Cruz, including serving on her church’s mission team twice per month.
If you would like to sponsor a college student like Prisila, we are seeking financial support of $50 per month,or $500 per year per scholarship. When donating, please specify “college scholar” on the designation line.
SPIRIT: Youth In Training Graduates Congratulations to Denis and Hilder of Ometepe who completed Youth With a Mission’s (YWAM) two-week training program in Managua on January 31, 2019. The program, Save to Serve and Transform (SST), is specifically for young people who want to make God known with their lifestyle, families, community, nation and the world. This is accomplished through not only study and reflection, but also through outreach.
Rochelle had the privilege of serving along side these two young men in an outreach day in the trash dumps near Managua. We are delighted to watch them transform and grow in their relationship with Jesus. We look forward to helping each of them continue in their journey and we ask for your prayers.
“SO IN CHRIST, WE WHO ARE MANY ARE ONE BODY, AND EACH MEMBER BELONGS TO ONE ANOTHER” – ROMANS 12:5.
2019 Off & Running! We hope you all had a meaningful Christmas season and Happy New Year. Since we returned home from visiting family and friends in NJ & PA, it’s been nonstop planning for 2019. Rochelle leaves for Nicaragua on January 28th to prepare for our first visiting short-term missionary, Mr. Tom Davis, of Grand Junction, CO (see below), who arrives with T.J. from Feb 2 – 12.
Scroll down for more details since December’s update. Please continue to pray with us and for travel safety as we team up with our partner ministries, friends and staff in Nicaragua. We will do our best to keep you updated via our Facebook Page, Instagram but sometimes online access is not consistently paired with our busy schedule in the field. Love, Peace & Joy T.J. and Rochelle
Welcome Tom Davis!We are overjoyed to have Tom Davis of Grand Junction, CO join us in Nicaragua from February 2 – 12! Tom’s passion for youth and 30+ years in education will be a huge blessing to our ministry, especially with our English students and teaching staff. Tom currently works as an adjunct professor at Colorado Mesa University in Grand Junction,teaching education to prospective teachers.He also works in his church with middle school, high school and young adult age students. He holds Bachelor’s degrees in Theology and Education as well as a Master degree in Music Education. Tom has traveled the world and loves serving in missions. He has two adult daughters who also love serving the Lord. We can’t wait to see the impact of Tom’s contributions on Ometepe Island in February.
BODIES: Your generosity helped to nourish ~1,100 bodies in 2018. The economic crisis is slowly improving, but food assistance and outreach to the elderly & sick is still needed in 2019. Can you help us?
Minds: Cocoa Beach Daybreak Rotary Club
Thank you Cocoa Beach Daybreak Rotary Club for the Toshiba laptop donation for our scholarship program. The recipient is a female college student from the University of Managua majoring in architecture. Fully-functioning laptops and unlocked smartphones are in great need. If you would like to donate one of your own items, please contact us.
MINDS: Thanks to your support in 2018, each and every one of our English class students will have their own textbook in 2019.
Also, February is back-to-school time in Ometepe. It’s not too late to help us fill our suitcase BEFORE JAN 31, we need children’s (sizes 13 – 3) black school shoes. They can be gently USED or or purchased via our Amazon Wish List and shipped to:179 Jamaica Drive Cocoa Beach, FL 32931
Spirit: Youth In Training Jan 19 – 30, 2019 Please pray for Denis and Hilder of Ometepe who will start Youth With a Mission’s (YWAM) two-week training program in Managua, commencing January 19. The program, Save to Serve and Transform (SST), is specifically for young people from ages 13 to 20 who want to know God and make him known with their lifestyle, families, community, nation and the world.
We are delighted to invest in these young men and look forward to watching their relationship with Jesus grow and flourish for years to come! Stay tuned for more details as Rochelle will meet up with Denis and Hilder in Managua before the end of the month.
Santa Suitcase Update! Below are some images from the Santa Suitcase distribution in December. The art supplies and Barbies were a huge hit! We look forward to visiting with many of these children in February and hope to share more stories with your via our blog, Instagram and/or Facebook page. It is so amazing to see the Body of Christ working together to help fill & deliver Santa’s Suitcase!
On a day when most kids enjoy a break from school, there are poor children in Sintiope Ometepe Island in Nicaragua who flock to a classroom for three hours every Saturday to learn English.
What started out as seven children in the Saturday morning class has now grown to 21 students. As Jesus taught us, let the little children come…, we plan to split the class into two Saturday sessions (AM/PM). Let’s see how many more come! For some of these kids, this may be their only opportunity to hear about Jesus and His unconditional love for them.