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

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?

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.

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.