Patience

Chop. Chop. Chop.

“This one is never going to cut loose!” he said.

“Patience,” the older man told his son. “Keep chopping. It will fall.”

Chop. Chop. Chop.

Finally, the tree limb came loose and fell to the ground below. It was the last piece they needed. Now they could finally have what they had never had before: a school.

In the Beginning

A few years ago we began to partner with a community outside of Leon, Nicaragua. Walter knew the community well and knew that they were incredibly poor, that many children did not attend school, and that those that did only attended sporadically when they didn’t have to work in the field or in the market.

To make matters worse, their “school” was a table under a tree on a community member’s land (the picture to the right). They had no building, no land of their own, and no supplies. The teachers were not paid with regularity by the government and when the children attended school they were often too hungry to concentrate or too far behind from missing school to be able to follow the lessons.

Forgotten

“We all want a school. We believe in a school. But we can’t do it on our own and no one has ever been willing to help us.” She said. “We are forgotten.”

I have seen this same story too many times. Many of our families are in communities that are “too poor” to be important to the government. The picture to the right is of three of the children in this community. Behind them is the “house” they live in with their parents.

Most of the community members don’t have birth certificates and therefore cannot vote. As such, their voices fall on the deaf ears of elected officials who would much rather use funds to line their own pockets and secure their next term than help those they actually represent.

As a result, most feel forgotten and invisible. And sadly, from a purely secular perspective, they often are.

BUT we believe there is more than this world. We believe there is one bigger than politicians that does not forget. That sees them. And that is faithful.

We believe Psalm 113.

A Plastic Agreement

Over the next few months we felt that the Lord was calling us to work in the community. He opened our eyes to their pain, to His plan, and to our role.

We started with a delivery of school supplies. They were faithful to the use of the supplies and really invested in the kids.

Next, Walter talked with the community leaders and came to an agreement. We would provide some black plastic if they – as a community – would provide the labor and other materials to build a temporary school house.

They jumped at the opportunity and the results were amazing. They came together, rallied as a community, and built a temporary school house that they now use every single work day. The story at the beginning of this post is about two of those members chopping the wood for the frame.

The Lord’s prompting continuing and we committed to providing a daily meal if the parents would ensure their kids attended regularly. They agreed and today we have nearly 100% attendance EVERY DAY!

A Changing Community

Word got out about the school and the commitment. Soon almost every child in the community between the ages of 3 and 7 was attending. Some of the older brothers and sisters also came to sit in and listen. Even some of the mothers lingered and listened to the lessons, learning the basics of an education they never received.

The change was tangible. The community was abuzz. Children were learning, getting healthier, and whole families were commenting on how joyous it all was. Conversations were beginning about WHY we wanted to help and we have been able to continually point to the cross, to the service and faithfulness of hands that love ALL of us, and direct people to a hope that sustains.

Much like the son as he tried to chop the limb in the story at the beginning of this post, we have been chopping at the root causes of poverty and hopelessness in this community little by little, trusting that the Lord will inspire changes in HIS time. It has taken longer than we hoped, but what has occurred has been real and sustaining.

In short, so far all of this has been beautiful.

Not Done Yet

But it is also incomplete. Even though the plastic provided more shelter, the floor is still dirt and turns to mud quickly even with a little rain. There is no bathroom, no walls to protect these precious children from the wind, and after two years of use the plastic is starting to rip and show its age.

More importantly, the changes in the community are too substantial to turn away from now. We cannot walk away from what the Lord is doing. What has been accomplished thus far is a great step forward, but it cannot be the end of the story.

What they (and we!) really need is a place where this can continue. Where rain and wind won’t stop the progress. A BUILDING with a floor and roof and walls that they could call their own.

But really, something more than that. An Ebenezer that can remind them they are not forgotten, not alone, not invisible, and so very deeply loved.

The Next Step

Feeling the Lord’s prompting we have stepped out on faith to do just that. We offered a new deal to the community: if they would help us build it and then take care of it after it was built, we would raise the funds to build a real school house.

They were overjoyed and agreed. They discussed where to build, who would manage it, and what it should look like. They worked together with Walter, taking on leadership positions, organizing, and working diligently to plan. In fact, the drawing to the right is their own work depicting the finished school. They were so proud to have created it.

At the same time we have been praying for funds.

Thanks to some generous donors in Dallas we were able to raise enough to buy land and to fund a portion of the school house. Believing the Lord was confirming the plan, we also finalized our plans to build the school this December and came to contractual terms with our suppliers of construction materials.

The community was (and is) so excited. But we are not done.

How You Can Help

This is where you come in. We still have a gap in what we need to complete the school and what we have raised. We currently lack around $6,500 to finish the funding of the school.

In order to help fill this gap, four of us are running the Tough Mudder in a few weeks to raise money for the construction costs. We would be so grateful if any of you would be willing to support us in our race – both in prayer that our fundraising efforts between now and December are successful and financially in our effort to close the gap.

Please know that if you want to give but don’t have a lot, you don’t have to give $6,500 to make a difference. Even $10 helps more than you know.

Donate Now

Together I truly believe we can make this school house something beyond a building; a beacon of hope, of change, and of love.

Thank you to all that have already donated to make this possible and for those that are already praying for us. I do not have the words to express just how much you are enabling.

Chris & the Team

One Comment

  1. [...] Not sure what the money is for? 100% of the proceeds will go to build a school in Nicaragua. Click here to learn [...]

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