As I sit back and think about all that has changed at the Colegio Cristiano Manto de Gracia school over the past 8 years or so, I am truly amazed. I got involved in going down to Nicaragua around 2002 when Bob started leading mission trips down to Managua, the capital, and eventually to Nueva Guinea. I had never been on an international mission trip and I was excited to go and see what God was doing in other parts of the world with my own eyes. Little did I know that I was starting down a path that would not only take me back to Nicaragua every year since then, but my family would also be going to get involved. Those first few years, we worked with the same organizations, but at different sites around the capital. We never really got to connect with kids and build deeper friendships. We did good work at different construction sites (schools, churches, parsonages), but relationships were hard to make and harder to keep up, since we rarely saw the same people twice.
However, when Bob and Barb got the vision to the start the school, we got the chance to go back to the same location every year, watch the same kids grow, develop, and be a more routine part of their school experience. They now know me as the tall, gringo, science nerd and sports guy. I have seen most of the kids for 8 straight summers. I have seen them grow physically, spiritually and intellectually. That could not have happened without your faithful support of the school and of Bob and Barb. Most of you haven’t seen first-hand the changes have occurred at the school and in the community with your help, but let me tell you that they are real and these kids have been forever changed for the better. And the kids at the school are not the only ones being changed. There are several active community outreaches that reach beyond the walls of the school. Every month, a Grace Kids event is held that invites all the local kids to the school for a Bible lesson, food, and games. Even those kids that don’t go to the school get to hear the great news of Jesus’ unconditional love and salvation. Through educational outreaches, like the mobile library, more kids are influenced for the Kingdom through your generosity.
As the kids and school have grown, so has the schools financial needs. As the kids get into higher grades, we need to fill some vital teaching positions to help prepare some of the kids for college. We also need to continually maintain the school buildings as well as keep the classrooms full of supplies, books, computers and other equipment needed for every day classroom work and teaching. It has been great to also see the growth of the teachers. You start a school to see changes in the kids, but the teachers who work there are also directly impacted. We have been blessed to get a great staff of teachers who are willing to learn themselves. There are several that have grown in responsibility and skills and we are now looking to promote them to higher positions. It is so encouraging to see those teachers catch on to the vision of what God is doing. In fact, one of the teachers is now going on mission trips to Haiti!
In the end, I want to thank you for your continued support and prayer for the school. The doors to the school would not be open if it weren’t for your prayers and support and a lot of these kids would have grown up without ever hearing the gospel. Did you know that over 93% of financing for the school comes from individual donors like you? You are part of what makes NACE and the school so great. I want to encourage you to prayerfully consider increasing your giving. We are involved with over 270 students, a dozen teachers, and growing. The needs are always increasing and you can only imagine the unforeseen expenses that occur in a 3rd world country. We have sponsorships available for classrooms, teachers, projects (building, maintenance, etc.), outreach programs, and future visions……including a new high school building. It would be great for you to get involved with one of these focus areas.
And finally, if you know of anyone that would be interested in this incredible ministry, please let them know. We would be more than happy to talk with them, share our vision of the future as well as what has been done in the past, and get them involved. You can find more information on the NACE website (http://www.nacenicaragua.org/), send us an email at email@example.com, or find us on Facebook by searching for Nicaragua Advances in Christian Education. My wife and I lead yearly trips down to Nueva Guinea and would love to have you, your friends, and family be part of one of our trips. You won’t leave there unchanged.