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. 

Fall / October Update

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)

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.

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

March Update

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 PageInstagram 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 List with 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

Not The Forgotten Ones

One of the goals of our late-Fall visit to Nicaragua was to strengthen our relationships local pastors/ministries in the communities we serve in Ometepe. Of our three guiding pillars, Spirit, we recently committed to walk alongside one local mission team who minister to “the forgotten ones” (that is their term) into the outlying communities from their base church.

This week, I received an update from the field that we had enough in our local budget to purchase & prepare 20 more food kits (rice, beans,oil, sugar, coffee, salt).  Each kit feeds an entire family for 7-10 days. This amazing team not only spent countless hours securing, measuring & packaging each meal kit, they spent 20+ hours going to four separate communities (3 in Mérida, 2 in La Palma, 12 en Madroñal and Santa cruz and 5 kits in Sintiope). Each visit was less about the food and more about relationship, prayer and loving on the sick & elderly.

It is truly an honor to witness how our trusted team & friends in Nicaragua work together to honor the greatest commandment to “love thy neighbor”. Since June, One Body Global Ministries made it possible to supply at least 220 food kits to the most poor and sick families in Ometepe. To put it in perspective, if each kit feeds 4-6 people for a week, that is approximately 1,100 mouths!

In the words of our project administrator, Erlin, he shared today, “I see God moving in our ministry… I spoke with each one of the beneficiaries and I see the real needed not only of food, they need love. They need God.”

I just had to share this good news and ask you to pray for these amazing (and probably exhausted) people who help us love on those who would otherwise feel alone, unloved, or forgotten.  We are One Body in Christ!

Sonya, Nahum, Julio, Francisca, Cynthia, Pricila, Alvaro, Yaneris,
Diega, Francis, Olivia, Erlin  and Yovelsi

T-Minus 7 Days

One week from today, I return to Nicaragua and I have mixed emotions. Part of me can not contain the excitement, yet there is another part of me that feels anxious. It’s not a fear about safety and those physical aspects of the visit. It’s an anxiety of sharing in the suffering of those families and friends on Ometepe who have been adversely impacted by the civil unrest and economic crisis. Some of the questions that arise include: Will I be able to keep it together? How can I be a source of comfort if I become sad?

When I experience this type of anxiety, I  know I can dig into The Word, meditation and the wisdom of my mentors. Recently, I’ve consulted advice from one of the world’s most recognized missionaries and Jesus lover, Mother Theresa.  Shemother theresa shares it so wisely in No Greater Love, “when you feel in your own heart the suffering of Christ, remember the resurrection has to come. Never let anything so fill you with sorrow as to make you forget the joy of Christ risen.”

Wow!  How could I so easily let myself get in the way and so easily forget the joy of the resurrection?  It’s that simple, yet so hard to put into practice in our daily lives.  Let’s keep pressing into it to together to find strength, so we may joyfully share His light and keep His commandment  “Love each other in the same way I have loved you.” (John 15:12 NLT).

joy