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.
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 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.
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.
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.
Since our last update, there have been a lot of changes (most good and some very challenging) in Nicaragua. As you may be aware, the political climate in Nicaragua is rapidly changing. Students were peacefully demonstrating for a democratic government, but Ortega and the Sandinistas responded with force. Sadly, there have been 100+ deaths and 1,000+ injured. As of this date, one American is confirmed dead. This is adversely affecting many of the faithful and poor throughout Nicaragua. It has also impacted our ability to physically go to Ometepe Island in July.
However, our commitment and ability to help our impoverished brothers & sisters on Ometepe continues here from the USA! We are in daily contact with trusted locals (some whom we have known since 2009) who are stepping up to help meet growing and urgent needs (see below – we need your help).
We are honored and grateful that God has called us into this ministry. We ask for your continued prayers for the beautiful people of Nicaragua and our ministry as a we continue to answer God’s call.
Food Assistance Project
Many people on Ometepe are now unemployed due to the stoppage in tourism and economic decline. Food prices are on the rise. We are working to set up a food distribution/feeding program in the two “barrios” of Santa Cruz and Sintiope with the help of local friends and church pastors.
We need YOUR help. For example, $25 could provide a family of four (4) with enough rice & beans for ~ month. You can donate online in one of three ways:
1: Our secure, encrypted online portal.
2. PayPal to: email@example.com 3. Venmo to: @Rochelle-Scott-4
English Classes Approach 50 Students
35 children are now attending one of two sessions offered each Saturday in Sintiope. Ten (10) students, ages 15-39, learn English at our evening young adult classes offered twice a week in Urbaite. These classes are core to the education pillar of our mission. The classes have continued to run uninterrupted thanks to the dedication of our local teacher, Hilder, and your support to this project.
It takes many parts of the Body of Christ to minister to these brothers, sisters & children. Thank you God!!!!
Dear Family & Friends:
Rochelle is safely back from Nicaragua and already making plans for our return in July, Despite recent civil unrest in the country, reports are that is safe to travel, and most importantly, there has been consistent peace on Ometepe Island. Your prayers for a long-term resolution and peace area greatly appreciated. We have too many stories from Rochelle’s 2-week visit in April to share in this e-newsletter. Please subscribe to our blog or on Facebook to experience her joy and FUN as a child of Jesus in Nicaragua.
Love, T.J. and Rochelle
English Class Project Expands Capacity
Our childrens classes have grown so rapidly, classes will be divided into an AM & PM session each Saturday. The second term begins later this month (already) serving students ranging from ages 9 through 39. Click the video to see how these classes are conducted with such limited resources. We are still seeking a projector and will be hosting mission teams in the future. Email us if you have any questions.
Much of Rochelle’s visit in April was about building relationship and community with local residents and other full-time missionaries. We have three (3) requests – some may be as easy as looking in your junk drawer at home.
Old iPhones – The phones would need to be erased & “reset” to factory.
Prescription eye glasses/reading glasses – This is a continuation of our “Eyes for Hope” drive we featured in our March newsletter
Child Sponsor – We identified two (2) children on Ometepe who are in great need:
Gabriel, 8 yrs oldwhose mother left him on the island to find work in Managua (capital). Unfortunately it’s not uncommon for extended family & villagers to care for children left behind. Unfortunately, he’s hungry all the time. Gabriel attends school during the day but has no money for food. A small donation will go a long way. If you are interested in donating to Gabriel, please write Rochelle Scott – Gabriel in the message line of the donation form. 100% will be designated to Gabriel.
Ivan, 14 yrs old who was living on the streets of Matagalpa in April and addicted to sniffing glue. Our friend, Nate, was called to foster him & show him God’s unfailing love. His community supported this decision, despite not having provisions/supplies to host a child on their site. They brought him to Ometepe and he’s been clean ever since. In fact, he is now one of our English class students. If you have a heart for for helping Ivan, any amount will help. Donations can be sent paypal to: firstname.lastname@example.org.
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.