Tuesday in Nicaragua

Doug, here, from Nicaragua.  The mood in Bethel is a little bit somber as the knowledge that our friend Martin is dying.  He spent a second day in the hospital, but the doctors said there is nothing else they can do.  His creatin level has raised to 38, and he has only a few days left.  Martin is going home to die.   Many of the Vision Nicaragua people here at the project land are friends with Martin, and are spending much time helping with the family.  It is good to see God at work in difficult times.  Doctor Michael leading in prayer.  Seferino helping Martin´s mother.  Juan Carlos and Mario visiting much. 

This morning I took a ka-jillion photos of people at the school.  The school administrator Nicolasa and her helper Alba wrote the names of the kids on a mini white board, and they held it at waist height while I took their photos.  I also did many sick men and widows.  But I probably only got 60 percent done.  I will return in the morning.

We had a big lunch together at the project with all the project staff.  It was very well received.   While we were waiting for Seferino to return from helping the family, several of us washed (in the hot Nicaraguan sun) the right side of the front wall that says “BLOQUERA BETHEL” which advertises our concrete block enterprise.  It looks almost new!  When Seferino returned, we had a class on stewardship and bookkeeping, and did a practice session with pencil and ledger paper.  Not my cup of tea, but God gave me the grace to teach it, and they were very thankful.  This is the “Year of Accountability” for Vision Nicaragua.  We are raising the bar everywhere. 

It is hot here; I don´t know how hot – probably in the mid 90s.  I probably drank 3 gallons of water today.

In our meeting today I was thinking aloud with the group about why God chose me to help in this way?  It is amazing where I find myself.  May His name be praised!

More tomorrow…..   Doug

Doug writing from Nicaragua!

Greetings from Nicaragua!  I arrived last night, no problems.  Thank you for your prayers.  Mario picked me up at the airport in the truck, and we took the 3 hour drive up the coast to Bethel.  I ate dinner with Mario and our cook Antonia at a convenience store named “On The Run”.  I am here without an interpreter, but my Nicaraguan friends are patient with me.

Today, I re-discovered that the sun comes up at 5:30 bright and early here in Nicaragua.  I ate eggs and rolls for breakfast.  The eggs had cooked onions in them, and they were delicios.   This morning I spent a lot of time with Seferino, our maintenance man, and walked around with him, making a new list of things to fix.  Also had an idea session with Roberto who runs the concrete block enterprise to see how we can sell all the blocks they have made.  They are having a difficult time selling, so they have a lot of inventory but need to sell them in order to make more. 

The ongoing tragedy of the Men of the Fields is that the pesticides shrink the kidneys over time, and the men eventually die very early.  Today, a friend of ours is close to death.  His name is Martin, and he helped build the Mission House for Vision Nicaragua here.  I went to see him in the hospital at the sugar cane factory.  His creatin level is 33.0; much higher than the normal 1.1.  He is in much pain.  He and his wife have 3 children, 8, 12, and 14, and his mother is widowed from her husband who died of the same pesticide poisoning.  That makes me angry.   Both father and son!

As we make preparations for Martin´s death in the coming days, tomorrow I plan to take many photos of kids in the village.  I will set up at the school, and will have several people helping me.  Did I tell you that I am here without an interpreter?  Habla un poca español.

More tomorrow.  Hasta Mañana.

Your friend, Doug


This morning, Sharon and I are driving to Birmingham.  Sharon will visit with her mother while I am in Nicaragua.  I fly out of Birmingham Sunday morning to Managua!

Going by Myself

I’m going by myself this time.  It is a good bit out of my comfort zone to do this, but we need to get these kids sponsored ASAP.  I will need to take over 200 photos on this trip, and will need to get their name written on a mini Dry-erase board for them to hold while I take their photos. 

Pray for FAVOR with the school, the kids, and the people in general in Bethel as I visit with them. 

 I am going to try to do this without an interpreter.   I can speak a little Spanish in the present tense only, but my biggest challenge is to understand what the people say to me.

Doug Going back in May!

Dear Friends,

 I am really encouraged, and even excited about what God is doing through Vision Nicaragua!  Please allow me to explain.   I know that each one of you have been in the right place, at the right time a few times in your life; you get the privilege to see God use you to impact other people’s lives for the good.  As the younger people say today, this is “WAY COOL”.   This is where we are right now with Vision Nicaragua.

God is doing wonderful things through you and me.  Kids are going to school.  Families are being helped by the medical clinic and Doctor Michael.  The sponsored widows of the village are having their basic needs met.  The Sick Men (from the pesticides) are being seen by a kidney specialist and getting their vitamins and medications.  And over 20 of the able bodied now have jobs through the project to help support their families.  And, continue to give out both food and gift bags for children to these poor families during every trip we make, and are going to other outreach villages in the surrounding area.

As you all know, my journey through Vision Nicaragua has been focused on the “Project” where we have our micro-enterprises of the block company, welding shop, used clothing store, and now the Mission House which is being used by many local Christians for God’s glory.  Many of you saw a few of the photos I included in my return report last time.   

We have a vision for them to grow and employ even more people in the future, keeping the men and women out of the toxic sugar cane fields.

See the photo below (before we made it safer) which used to have a normal gable roof shape to it.   This is a one-time opportunity to help with a permanent structure, and the need is now with the storm season approaching. 

Block Co Roof

Block Co Roof

  Another big need is to purchase medicine for the families to see the doctor and special clinic visits for the sick men.  As you know, medicine is very expensive, and we are ministering to the village of Bethel.  This costs about $2,300 per month, and adds up really, really fast and consumes a large portion of our ministry budget.  

Dr. Michael and Cathe

Dr. Michael and Cathe

These are big items that God has entrusted to just a few faithful people to step forward to help. 

But everyone can be a part.  We have a big bunch of kids that need sponsors for $10 a month, and trade school students needing $20 a month.  Everyone can do this.  You can start sponsoring a kid at our website at  Please donate toward this, and we will send you a child’s photo.  (Sorry it isn’t the other way around yet that allows you to choose a kid, but we are working on it.  Please don’t let this deter you from ministering to a kid.)  Below is an example of a kid that you can sponsor.  I think this young lady is already sponsored, but we have about 200 kids needing our help to go to school: 

Student from Bethel

Student from Bethel

I am returning to Nicaragua twice in as many months – Once in May, going by myself to work with the micro-enterprises, and then returning in June with a group from my home church, bringing many first-timers to Nicaragua!  This is a life-changing experience.  I am very serious about this.  If there is one thing that made the most impact on my life as a whole after becoming a Christian, it was going on my first mission trip to Mexico back in the 1980’s.  This has been such a significant part of who I am now, that it has given me a whole new focus to bring others along.  If you or your loved ones have never been on a short term foreign mission trip, I urge you to please consider choosing “yes”.  We have a few trips ahead of us in October and December that are not yet full, and are open now.  We will be giving out food to poor families, gift bags to kids, and possibly giving out shoes to the barefoot.  Many trips also include a field trip for a group baptismal in a river, and we may also take a trip to the local dump where several families are living.

 Or, if you prefer to donate on-line using PayPal, you can do this via our website at  There is a “Donate” tab at the left, and you can choose how you want to help.

Thanks again for your partnership!

 Your friend,

 Doug Van Wirt

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