December Joy

I love December! You start with Thanksgiving leftovers, finally get some colder weather (even here in California), celebrate Christmas, and end it all with a New Year’s celebration! It’s one of my favorite months.

Even with all that wonderful goodness, my love for December has only grown since starting With One Hope. You know why? Because December is graduation month in Nicaragua!

The Nicaraguan school year is different from ours. They start classes in February or March and then finish the year in December. As a result, every year around Christmas, Walter floods my inbox with all the pictures of the various graduation events that he visits.

Each of the emails makes my heart smile because of what it represents: Hope. Hope from the gospel, hope from education, and hope for a better future.

It represents the reason why we do what we do.

So, without further ado, I would like to share some of most recent graduates with you!! Read on below for stories and pictures, and don’t forget we still have our biggest match ever going on for year end donations!

For every $1 you give we will receive $3! If you would like to give, click the button!

Our Preschool in Leon

5 years ago we came alongside a small farming community outside of Leon, Nicaragua. The closest pre-school was more than 2 miles away and while the families wanted to send their children it was too far for them to walk on their own.

They tried to start their own school but didn’t have a place to meet or supplies for the teacher or students. There were 30+ preschool children in the neighborhood and less than 8 that came – most sporadically. The rest of the children stayed at home or worked alongside their parents.

We started simple and before we knew it we had 30 children in school every single day in a facility just for them. The parents were engaged and committed, the kids were excited and loved being in school, and the teacher was ready and supplied!

Now, five years later, we have had 30 children every year – that’s over 100 MORE years of education that has been added to this community than would have been otherwise. In fact, many of these children now have as many or more years of education as their parents.

Let that sink in.

Many of these children know how to read and write better than their parents. And they are 6.

Tipitapa

I don’t have words adequate enough to do justice to everything this community has been through. Most of them have been the poorest of the poor their entire lives. I first came to know them in 2010 when they lost everything they had in flooding, were placed in what was essentially a refugee camp (the picture to the right is an example of what their “house” was for more than a year!), suffered through water shortages, food shortages, mistreatment by the government and police, being moved, being lied to, and being used as a publicity stunt. And that’s just the beginning.

But in the midst of all that, we have also been able to help them start a preschool and schools for primary though high school. It has been one of the most challenging, convicting, and rewarding experiences of my life.

Now, every year, we get to attend their graduations across all age ranges. And it is such a sweet moment to watch the children graduate that the world has continuously told that they are useless, hopeless, worthless.

It is a sweet moment to watch them begin to realize they are the same as the rest of us – they are loved, they are not forgotten, and they are not alone.

Does it really matter?

Some of you may think I am making too much out of these graduations. If that is you, I wish you could attend one of these ceremonies with me. I wish you could see the parents as they watch their child do something most of them never had the opportunity to do. I wish you could see the look in the eyes of the kids as they examine their diploma.

I wish you could see what Walter and I see: a life changing moment that these children and families will cling to when they need a moment of hope.

There is so much more I want to share, but for now enjoy the pictures below and thank you from all of us at With One Hope!

Chris & The With One Hope Team

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