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. 

The Tapestry

Our Jan-Feb visit to Ometepe Island was nothing short of amazing. The time we spent together with the locals and other missionaries, it was clear that God is weaving the most splendid & beautiful tapestry for His Kingdom through all of us. (Luke 17:20-21)

We were most encouraged by the progress of the English students enrolled in our three (3) ongoing classes. Many of the students are gaining confidence in their pronunciation and using their skills outside the classroom. Knowing English provides future employment opportunities, as tourism continues to return to the island.

The hardest aspect of our visit were the family interviews for our primary school scholarship program. This program now covers 53 children in 9 communities. Many of these families are surviving on less than $1 a day, with a handful reporting no income altogether. All of the children were not ready for the new school year and thanks to the Body of Christ, they started on Feb 3! We will continue to monitor each child’s progress, and family situation, throughout the year. We will also be in touch with you shortly about your child if you are participating in this program.

Finally, you will continue to see a shift of our activities away from strict programming into a model of community development. Instead of doing for others, our focus will continue to build on doing with others through our core pillars of MIND, BODY & SPIRIT. Like the tapestry, our end goal is sustainability weaved into the fabric of these communities yoked with Christ’s unconditional love.

Will you be a thread in this tapestry?  We have some fun ways to participate including soon-to-launch online indigenous jewelry store in which the proceeds support local women. We are also seeking school & teacher supplies for Rochelle’s next visit on April 6. If you would like to come to Ometepe in the future, send us an email. Scroll down for updates on each of our core pillars of Body, Mind & Spirit. 

Peace & Love of Christ be with you,
Rochelle & TJ

Follow us FacebookInstagram or Twitter for almost daily updates from the field. See below for some of those details if you’re not on social media.

MINDS: SUPPLIES NEEDED by MARCH 31
Our Saturday children’s English classes migrated to Monday & Wednesday mornings at the Sintiope primary school (Pre-K- 6th), concurrent with the regular learning day. During the process, we discovered the school had NO supplies. We were able to secure some during our visit but the needs are so great. Consequently, we’re holding a school & classroom supply drive UNTIL MARCH 31, seeking the following items (gently used is fine). Many of these items can be purchased on our AmazonSmile Charity Wish list and dropped shipped to us:Reusable plastic cups, dishes & utensils
Wooden Puzzles & pre-school toys          
Games, Baseball Bats & Gloves, Soccer Balls (size 4). legos, blocks   
Pens, pencils, paper, notebooks, crayons & colored pencils
Whiteboard markers & other classroom supplies (check dollar store)     
Chess Sets (plastic)   
BODIESPilot Water Filter Project with the Cocoa Beach Daybreak Rotary Club. These Sawyer bucket adapters (see above) eliminate 99.999999% of bacteria, protozoa & cysts like e.coli, cholera & typhoid. Each recipient was trained on how to maintain & clean the filters as they can last 10+ years & filter 300 gallons/day. This past visit a total of 8 kits were granted to 2 schools & 3 households giving clean water access to 300+ individuals. All the recipients were so happy to access clean water & surprised at how easy to use & maintain. We will be closely monitoring this project & keep you posted.
YOUR INVITED
Do you live near Cocoa Beach, FL? Join us on March 21 from 3:30pm – 5:30pm for casual tea, lite snacks and preview of the handmade master artisan jewerly from Ometepe Island, Nicaragua. The earrings, necklaces & bracelets are made by Rosita & Gladys, two indigenous women from the community of Santa Cruz. Both artists use natural materials found in Ometepe, including fossils, stones, seeds and amber found around the Maderas Volcano. ALL of the profits will directly benefit Rosita & Gladys, which in turn will help their families, church & community.

This is a prelude to the creation of an online Esty platform designed to provide an ongoing, sustainable income for these deserving & faithful women.  Click below button for event details & more photos of the goodies!
March 21 Jewelry Event

BODIES
A note from TJ:  On this trip I met Maria Antonia a precious little girl who seemed very sick.  Her parents were told she had hepatitis and couldn’t go back to school until she was well.  And the new school year started the following week. 
We had lots of questions.  Was it A, B or C?  How contagious was she?  We took her to a private clinic to find out.  The cost for the visit and blood tests was greater than the average monthly wage in the village Maria lived. 

Long story short, it was Hep A – thank God.  We prayed over her.  Her symptoms subsided, and she was in school the next week.  But now her brother had it.  And I suspect nearly everyone she came in contact would eventually have it.  My dilemma now is, how do you get people to frequently wash their hands with soap, when very few in that community have soap.  The school didn’t even have any.  We had a great response to the immediate need and were able to supply Maria’s family and the school  with soap.  We are moving forward with the school to ensure it has ongoing access to clean water, supplies, utensils and soap.  Stay tuned…

 
$37.67
We recently received a quarterly disbursement from the AmazonSmile Foundation for $37.67. It may not seem like a lot, but we stretch these dollars to help cover bus fares or a water filtration kit capable of filtering 300 gallons per day.

Thank you to the 13 people supporting our charity. Imagine the impact if this number was doubled or tripled? Please consider adding us to your Amazon purchases by going to: https://smile.amazon.com/ch/83-0840019

SPIRITS

Do you have an extra musical instrument & willing to donate it?

We’ve been approached by two different groups seeking worship instruments. Please contact us if you’re interested. You can also make a designated financial gift by clicking below. All gifts are tax-deductible.
Donate Now

Join Us for Lessons & Carols in Wenonah, NJ

If you are in the Greater Philadelphia/South Jersey area this week, we invite you to join us on Sunday, December 29, 2019 at 10 AM-11:30 AM at Holy Trinity Episcopal Church located at 11 N. Monroe Ave. Wenonah, NJ 08090 for NINE LESSONS & CAROLS: A WOODBURY CONVOCATION EVENT – A Service of Readings, Music & Communion.

Holy Trinity’s congregation, choirs, and musicians will gather for this traditional Anglican service, including Holy Communion. Let’s pack the house and sing our hearts out as we remember the joy and hope of the Nativity of Our Lord! All are welcome.

After the service, stick around for a potluck coffee hour. During the coffee hour, we will talk about our work on Ometepe Island in Nicaragua with ample time for Q&A.

Nine Lessons and Carols is a service of Christian worship traditionally celebrated on or near Christmas Eve. Originating in the early 20th century out of the Church of England, the story of the fall of humanity, the promise of the Messiah, and the birth of Jesus is told in nine short Bible readings or lessons from Genesis, the prophetic books and the Gospels, interspersed with the singing of Christmas carols, hymns, and choir anthems. It’s a powerful service that speaks to God’s divine plan for the redemption of the world and the mystery of God’s incarnation 2000 years ago in Bethlehem. You won’t want to miss it!

Love, T.J. & Rochelle



#Giving Tuesday: Education for Ometepe

We believe that education is a universal human right and a pathway out of poverty. You can help us to send 50 kids to school with the uniforms and supplies they need and to provide English classes on Ometepe Island Nicaragua for an ENTIRE YEAR to help young people participate in the growing tourist-based economy. Are you with us?

Below is a link to our Online Silent Auction that opens today and runs through #GivingTuesday, December 3. Participating is a great way to “give” a gift for the holidays but also to make a difference in the lives of children, teens and parents (like Jeyson below) who benefit from our educational programming in Ometepe: https://www.biddingowl.com/OBGM
You don’t have to be present at the #GivingTacoTuesday event to win or to give.

Click the owl image to view items & bid now

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)