Walk with us during one of our outreach days near Sintiope, Ometepe Island, Nicaragua.
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 email@example.com
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
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.
“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.
|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.
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
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.
|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!|
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.
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.
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
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:
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)
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.