Blog

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Sponsor Letters Coming Soon!!

It gives us no greater pleasure than to share with you all the newest addition to our sponsorship program! It has been our hope and prayer for quite some time to create more opportunities for our sponsors to engage with the students and individuals that they faithful sponsor yearly!


That day has finally come and this fall we will be launching “to Nica with Love” which is simply opening up the opportunity for you to send and receive letters to/from Nicaragua.

What will this look like?

Over the summer we have been working on collecting updated pictures, bios, and letters of everyone involved in our sponsorship program. Since returning from Nicaragua we’ve been hard at work compiling all our this info to send to you…our awesome sponsors!!! We are in the last stages of  putting the finishing touches on welcome packets (for new sponsors) and translating the 1st batch of letters to send out to each of who who are involved in the program!

We will be mailing out all the information you will need to get started writing! Be on the look out for more ideas, tips, and ways you can creatively communicate with our Nicaraguan community!

The heartbeat of Vision Nicaragua has always been building relationships. That is why we are so excited about launching this new opportunity! You will have the opportunity to: be a voice of hope and encouragement into the lives of those you support and most importantly share the love of Christ! That is an impact that is truly immeasurable!

So, stay tuned and check your mailboxes! It’s coming soon!

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Finding Jesus

Each night of our mission, our team would come together to pray and process the day. One of the standard questions became, “Where did you see Jesus today?” It not only got me thinking about where in fact, did I see Jesus – it made me actually start looking for Jesus throughout the day. It’s amazing what can happen when you slow down and pay attention long enough to actually “look” for Jesus. What’s even more amazing is where I found Him.

One of the first villages we visited, and the one I visited the most was Bethel. Bethel is a small village closest to the mission house. On the first day when I took a walking tour of the village, I was in shock. Seeing photos of what dwelling conditions can look like in a third world country and actually being there are two totally different things.  Honestly, it was some of the worst conditions I have ever seen, and yet the people were some of the most gracious. They welcomed a group of foreign strangers, who showed up unannounced, with hugs and open arms. The pulled out their best (and often only) chairs and encouraged us to sit. Cony, a woman whose kitchen we worked on all week, actually unplugged her small refrigerator so she could plug in a fan to keep us cool. That’s where I found Jesus.

On Monday afternoon, I visited Ensayo, another small village for women’s Bible study. The Bible study took place in a small clearing, underneath some fruit trees, off of the main dirt road. The women walked in the heat to get there and were taught by two young women from the village, who had been working closely with another missionary. While the women were having Bible study, we entertained the children, and they entertained us. They sang us songs and we did our best to pick up the words and clap to the beat. We blew them bubbles and they shrieked in delight as they chased after them. That’s where I found Jesus.

On Tuesday afternoon, we bagged up 90 7lb bags of rice and 90 7lb bags of beans to distribute to families in Nuevo Amanecer (New Dawn). When we drove up, we were surprised at the number of people who came out to greet us. It ended up being a great day. Pastor Antonio said a few words, followed by our team leader, Ron. We wanted to stress that the blessings did not come from us, but from Jesus. We were working for Him! After the distribution of food, one of my group members read the story of Jesus walking on the water in Spanish. Imagine 60+ kids sitting in the dirt, listening to Bible stories. We smiled as we saw some of the parents move in closer so they could hear as well. We followed the story with a piñata and activities for the kids. My activity was making little beaded bracelets. The kids crowded around us so much I thought someone was in danger of being trampled. I thought a lot about American kids that day, as I watched the Nicaragua kids scramble to take part in making paper airplanes, tissue paper flowers and the bracelets. Something so simple brought so much joy – to us and to them. That’s where I found Jesus.

This trip made me realize that Jesus isn’t found in fancy churches with stained glass windows. Jesus doesn’t care about you wearing your Sunday best. I am here to testify that I found Jesus on a dirt path, in a small village underneath a fruit tree. I’m sure if you look hard enough, you can find Jesus too in places you never thought you would.

He never stops teaching me.

Team Member Jared from Common Ground Church in Indiana shares  about…”Understanding God’s Will First Hand” during his trip with Vision Nicaragua.


Today, God proved that he never stops teaching me. He shows me profound truths that my mind would tell me that I already know but my heart has never really understood. My relationship with God seems to be in a constant balance between knowledge and understanding. I know things to be true but my heart just does not get it. The beautiful thing about Nicaragua is that God is so present and moving here that it is impossible to escape him and the ways he wants me to understand…Truly understand.

Joy

Today the word Joy manifested itself over and over to me. We worked on Connie’s kitchen today. Connie is a member of the staff at Vision Nicaragua and she assists Dr. Michael with the medical clinics they have on the project sight as well as around the villages. Connie has had a dream for some time now to add a kitchen on to her house. Vision Nicaragua stepped in and said that they would provide a loan for her to purchase the materials and provide the labor to install. We were building the back wall. As we all struggled with non-uniform blocks and out of square concrete columns, Connie came up behind me the only phrase in English I thinks she knows, “OK People!” which for me I heard “It’s ok, Jared”

You see Connie does not care that the wall is straight or that it looks pretty, she is just joyful it is there. She does not complain about her leaky tin roof or the smells coming from the pig in the backyard. She is just is joyful to have these things.

In the afternoon we went to a village named Nuevo Amanacer . I watched as Kim Neidigh read the children a story about when Jesus calmed the storm. She read and 60 kids and parents were mesmerized.

They were so joyful of the story when she got to the part about the boat rocking the kids were chanting, “Derecha, izquirdea, derecha (right, right, left) and leaning that way to mimic the boat rocking… Joy, true joy, in a way that is beyond material things. How much better would life be if we smiled this much, laughed this much, rejoiced this much?

Community

Real community, the kind where a group of people love each other so well that through the ebb and flow of the relationship God interacts with us. Personally, for me I am all about community when I can control it. When I can control how much and how little of the true “me” people get.

I have always had a passion for service. It is a very natural thing for me to do. Being served is something different all together. I am ok if I can decide when and where I am to be served. As long as I can control how much I am vulnerable. Unfortunately for my pride God doesn’t work like that and this place has a way of bringing that to my attention.

I had a conversation the other night with a girl who is down here from another group about my struggles with this. We were washing dishes for the group and she would not let anyone take over for her. Instantly I knew how she felt and how she is because I am the same way. Serve… Don’t be served. I was discussing this with her and I told her how last year while I was on this trip I lost my wallet and was forced to rely on my community for money, for food, water, cash to get out of the parking lot at the airport. God has a way if he wants you to learn something you will, first hand.

One day later this girl was sick. So sick she could hardly get out of bed. When we came back from the village she was laying in the main room on a mattress with five or six girls sitting around her, laying with her, cuddling up next to her… Compassion…Real community.

I understood then that God’s community has no give and take. There are no favors. This is not such a thing of owing somebody. In God’s world there are no such things as I.O.U’s. Only love… Completely free of possession.

One thing I have learned on the two trips that I have been down to Nicaragua is my impact on the people here is small. Their impact on me is eminence; the joys, the smiles, the community. Vision trips are appropriately named. It’s a vision of what life could be like and in many ways what life should be like. The people here give me so much more than I give them and I now understand that is ok.

A Good Word from AIM team member, Ryan Graydon!

Ryan Graydon is a member of the World Race through AIM (Adventures In Missions). Read on to hear about his time in Nicaragua!

In June, Team Catalizador partnered with Vision
Nicaragua in Chinandega near the Pacific Coast. VN
seeks to bring the fullness of the Gospel of the
Kingdom of God in the poorest country in Central
America through preaching the Word of God and
applying practical strategies to reconcile all the Nicas’
relationships back to God: with God, with self, with
others, and with the rest of creation.
VN works closely with the people in the nearby village
of Bethel and with Pastor Antonio in Chinandega.
Pastor Antonio is the leader of the evangelical ministry
performing house visits in the surrounding villages and
organizing meetings for the youth to connect them
with each other and with God.
Early in VN’s ministry, it pursued microfinance to
provide jobs in the community through a block-making
business, a bike repair shop, and an American clothes
store. Unfortunately, various adverse situations
prevented these businesses from being successful in
the long run. However, today VN employs almost 30
Nicas, over twice the original employment goal,
providing sustainable incomes and a community for
Christian discipleship. Read more about VN’s ministry
on their website at www.visionnicaragua.org.

Thanks for joining us in ministry, Ryan!

Butler University & Young Life Team HAVE ARRIVED!!!

Hola from our team in Nicaragua! We hail from Indianapolis and are the perfect combination of college students, high school students, and wise adults. Most of us have never been to this country before, but all are having a wonderful first few days! We flew into Managua late Saturday night. After our first experience traveling in our “camion,” The Mario Kart, we arrived at our home ready for a week full of adventure. Over the last few days, we’ve partnered closely with Pastor Antonio’s Nicaraguan team, serving the local villages in whatever way they need. God has been working in big ways down here. We are learning to listen to what God is telling us about ourselves and Him. We couldn’t pick one adventure to write about, so here’s a Top 10 (or 11, one for each team member!) of our first few days in Nicaragua!
  1. Church at New Song with our impromptu choir performance & getting to pray for some of the men sick with kidney disease
  2. Building relationships with the Nicaraguan team & staff while at the Project: playing soccer, learning Spanish, making friendship bracelets, & cracking jokes
  3. Passing out rice & oil to two villages who were in need where we saw God’s creativeness in spreading His love to the people of Nicaragua
  4. Eating delicious & new food prepared by Antonia & Estella, the wonderful cooks on staff (guava jelly! Our favorite!)
  5. A medical mishap with barbed wire & a cut ear that landed us at Dr. Michael’s house for his faithful & sufficient care
  6. Welcoming a community of homeless men to the Project & seeing each of them being taken care of: showers, soup, and haircuts
  7. Experiencing the market in Chinandega full of fruits, meats, people, and iguanas
  8. Aiding Dr. Michael & Connie in bringing medical care to a local village for 45 families
  9. Experiencing the pure joy of children while playing soccer, making crafts, & singing songs

10.  Visiting the special needs school & seeing the hope that the students and teachers hold

11.  Unexpected guests & a late night of games & laughter

We would love for you to pray for the trip as we continue through the rest of the week; for our faithfulness & to keep experiencing God’s will for us. Gracias a Dios!

We asked for a room…He gave us a HOUSE!

The post was written. Everything was together. I was ready to hit publish, but I didn’t. One interruption after another kept me from finishing what I started. I was on a timeline to get this post out there, so I thought. Little did I know that God had already answered our prayers and didn’t need my help at all.

Here’s the story of:  “the little blog that never was”…

Meet Ernesto:

Ernesto & his family in front of their house.

Ernesto Najarez is 30 years old and has a five year old daughter. He is currently battling chronic kidney disease. A little over a year ago, Ernesto’s kidneys stopped functioning and he was in a coma for two days. His only option was to start dialysis or to die.

As many of you know, the main source of employment for men living in north-western Nicaragua is to work in the local sugar plantation. The chemicals that are used on the sugar cane cause chronic kidney disease leaving these men unable to work to support their families and ultimately takes their lives.

Ernesto with his dialysis supplies.

Ernesto made the courageous decision to start in-home dialysis and he is still with us over a year later! It’s incredible what the Lord has done and how he has sustained him through this grueling process. Ernesto walked to his mother’s home daily to do his dialysis treatment because his house had dirt floors and was made of tin and plastic. Conditions that only heighten the chance of infection.  During the rainy season he walked through the mud to reach his mother’s home. Sometimes he has had to miss treatments because the weather was so bad.

His treatment lasts for several hours and is repeated throughout the day and night. Every day. A process he’ll have to continue the rest of his life. He has a port inserted in his abdomen and he performs the dialysis on his own.  To look at him now, you would think that he is totally healthy but one infection could take his life.

Hearing a story like Ernesto’s is humbling. It’s one that propels you into wanting to take action. So, last December a small group of us from VN set out to help raise money for Ernesto to have an addition constructed on the side of his house so he could continue his treatment from home. An addition to his house would provide a cleaner environment for his treatment and lowers his chance of infection tremendously!

We prayer over this and felt that through blogs and Facebook that we could reach out to people quickly and raise the funds needed.

Before the blog could be written our prayers were answered. Through word of mouth there was $1,000+ raised toward Ernesto’s addition to his house. So much so that with the extra donations Ernesto was able to not only have a new room to his house, but a NEW HOUSE COMPLETELY!!

Ernesto’s House BEFORE….

Ernesto's House before

How many times do we come to God who promises  he will meet all your needs according to the riches of his glory in Christ Jesus (Philippians 4:19) asking for a room when he wants to give us a HOUSE?!

Ernesto’s House AFTER…

Ernesto's NEW HOUSE!!

Our God is a maverick of a God who answers prayers in ways that continually show His faithfulness to His children. Not only did Christ answer our prayers, but He went ABOVE and BEYOND what we could have asked, thought, or imagined! (Eph. 3:20)

This past March when I was given the official tour of his new house he informed me that the sugarcane plantation came to him and offered to build him a room on his house for dialysis. Meaning, now he and his wife can sleep in the original dialysis room. Allowing him to sleep soundly and without worry of infection! Above and beyond.

He’s good! He can be trusted and He’s always faithful!

IMG_5106

Therefore I tell you, whatever you ask for in prayer, believe that you have received it, and it will be yours. Matthew 11:24

this has certainly been a week.

With everything that has happened in Boston, in Texas, and in our little community in Nicaragua, I think everyone is ready for a little bit of a reprieve.

We received news a week and a half ago that one of our friends in Bethel, Roberto, had been struck from behind by a motorcycle while he was walking home. He died shortly after on his way to hospital. Roberto’s wife and two daughters have been dealing with the shock of this tragic accident and are trying to move forward one day at a time.

Then, earlier this week, bombings occurred in Boston at such a joyful event in one of the greatest cities in our nation. The ongoing investigation has ensued throughout the week with another tragedy adding to the weight of it all from West, Texas.

I can’t help but feel tired and just plain weary.

I’m tired of these types of situations happening that have seemingly become the norm.  I’m weary and heavy-hearted for my friends in Nicaragua and in Boston that have suffered through their own types pains in such a short time frame from each other.

However, at the same time, I am utterly confident and sure of the love, the power, and the grace of our strong Lord and Savior.

He is so precise in the care he takes with his children. He never – not even for a moment – forgets us. And in moments and situations like the ones we have been faced with this past week, His character and His promises are what we can always bank on.

What are the promises that God is reminding you of this week? What aspects of His character is He drawing you back to?

Carry these promises with you into the weekend and keep them close to your heart in the week to come. Write them down. Memorize them. In fact, “bind them on your fingers” and “write them on the tablet of your heart” (Proverbs 7:3).

I think God left us that note in Proverbs on purpose. Because He knows that when those verses and promises are etched in your heart that something happens and we are changed. We are reminded of who is in control and who our Savior is. And in moments when things don’t make sense and we can’t see the resolution in it all and how it will be used in the future, we can trust that the God of the bigger picture is closer than a brother (Proverbs 18:24). Our names are engraved in the palm of His hands (Isaiah 49:16) and He has collected every tear we have ever cried in a bottle (Psalm 56:8).

He does not forget His children, friends. And He is not taken by surprise. Rest in that.

Photo contribution: Isaiah 49:16

AYMC Fundraiser on June 2nd!

Come hear a great presentation! These musicians sound great!, and part of the proceeds will benefit Vision Nicaragua.

Come to the presentation of the Asheville Young Musician’s Club on Sunday, June 2nd at 3pm.  It will be held at the Deerfield Retirement Community at 1617 Hendersonville Road in Asheville.  Admission is $20 for Adults and $10 for Students. 

I went to their presentation last year, and it was amazing.  You will hear great music performed by many of the best student musicians in the area!  Part of the proceeds help the Education Fund for Children in Nicragua.

Doug Van Wirt

Gas Stations, Nail Polish, and Missional Living

Meet Julia…

So, confession time…I’ve been calling her Maria since last July because I honestly thought that was her name. However, I found out today that Julia is her real name. Oops.

Julia works down the street from our Mission Center at the local gas station.

Last summer, we struck up a conversation about my nail polish. I was wearing a fun Essie color name “Turquoise & Cacaos” (such a fun name  I had to share). She asked me if I had bought it in town or at home. I told her at home in the US but that when I come back I’ll bring her some.

She was super excited about it, so come December when we were here for graduation I walked in the gas station and immediately she remembered me…and my promise. Well, guess who forgot. Yup. This girl!

I felt terrible! So, ever since then I’ve wrote it down and made sure that during this trip I wouldn’t forget.

So, after my crazy travel adventure (blog to come…get pumped)…this evening was my first chance to go by the gas station. Literally, about a 2 hours ago. I was praying she’d be working and PRAISE JESUS she was!

She was so excited to see me and I gave her a big hug…found out her name was Julia (minor setback) but, was able to recover from it quickly. The youth (Tony, Enyel and Massiel) that were with me, of course couldn’t contain themselves and had a nice laugh about it.  🙂

I wish you all could have seen her face when I told her I had a present for her and that I hadn’t forgotten! She had this huge smile on her face and said “You remembered!.”

It was one of those moments you take a little mental picture of, because, in that moment it sunk in that these moments are so important to God. This is how the gospel reaches people! It’s the love of Christ impacting our everyday relationships!

He cares about Julia! He is actually crazy about her! He cared enough to send a little white, North Carolina girl with 2 bottles of nail polish and I pray that this builds a relationship that, in his timing I can introduce her to Jesus! Ah! She’s gonna love him!

Our conversation went from the laughs of me messing up her name to the excitement of new nail polish and ended with her asking me how long I’d be here in Nicaragua. I told her only this week but that I’ve been thinking about her so much and that I would love to get to know her better. That I’ve been praying for her and hope to be able to spend more time with her. She lit up and said “that’d be great! I’d love that! I work again this Thursday, can you come back before you leave? I’ll fix my hair and have my nails painted with my new nail polish!” Of course…I’ll be there!

Please join me in praying that Julia (formerly known as Maria) and I can build a good relationship. That it will form into whatever the Lord sees fit. That if nothing else I can tell her that I care about her and want to know how I can be praying for her!

When you go to the gas station in your neighborhood ,would you remember her please and say a little prayer for her? Pray that Jesus reveals himself to her and pursues her heart! That she’d know he sees her and that he is crazy about her!

I’m glad I got to introduce you to her!

love loud.

Join us this Christmas by giving a gift with lasting value. Vision Nicaragua is launching our Christmas giving initiative entitled “love loud” and we want you to be a part of it!

One of the biggest aspects of our ministry is through our sponsorship program. From when VN started, almost 15 years ago our main focus has always been people. It’s the relationships that we build with the families that we serve that is the heartbeat of what we do! This Christmas you can honor a friend of family member by supporting our friends in Nicaragua.

We have 3 different areas of our sponsorship program:

1) Men affected by Chronic Kidney Disease: The main source of employment in Western Nicaragua is working in the local sugar cane plantation. The  harmful chemicals used in the cane fields ultimately take the lives of the workers due to chronic kidney disease. Once they become too sick to work they are let go of their jobs with little to no compensation. Your sponsorship helps provide medical care  for these men as well as helping them provide for their families.

Check out this short video and blog of Coris who was sponsored through our program:

Coris’s Story (Video)

Coris’s Story (Blog)

You can also read the story of Ernesto who lives in Bethel and is sponsored through VN. Ernesto’s Story

Ernesto and his family

Sick Men Monthly sponsorship: $25/month

2) Student Sponsorship: By sponsoring a student’s education you are providing more than you may think. Through education you are enabling these young people to break the cycle of poverty of working in the local sugar cane plantation. Education=future!

Josue with his sponsor Kevin Horrell

Student Monthly sponsorship: High School $10/month and College/Trade School sponsorship $20/month.

3) Widow Sponsorship: Once the men who are affected by chronic kidney disease pass away their wives are left with the responsibility of taking care of their families. Through your sponsorship you are helping ease that burden of providing food and basic necessities for their families.

Haydee Maldonado

Widow Monthly sponsorship: $25/month

Check out Juana’s Story, one of our widow’s who is sponsored through the widow sponsorship program.

Juana’s Story

Our prayer is that as you’re reading this post today that your heart is touched in one of these different areas that you can make a difference! It’s our joy to be able to be the voice of this community and help bring to life their lives and the ways that we can be Christ to them!

Please check out our sponsorship page and/or email us at inquire@visionnicaragua.org for more information.

love loud this Christmas!

This Campaign has ended. No more pledges can be made.