Sunday, December 30, 2012

A Life Well Lived

Some of you may remember my story of Mrs. Oliver last Spring.   She was the dear 94 year old woman I had the privilege of getting to know.  

Today I learned that Mrs. Oliver went home to be with Jesus on December 27th.

Mrs. Oliver taught me so much in our short time together.  She was a strong woman who believed in the provision and mighty hand of God in her life and the lives of her family.   Here is just a glimpse of one of our times together.

"I have always been  drawn to pictures of the harvest.   I think that the story comes from my mother.  She painted this picture for me with her words. When we would pass by a harvest field she would tell us it is like how we as humans are  working in a harvest, God’s harvest.  We should be His reapers in His harvest.   As I think more on this I think of the sower who may never be seen again.  He plants the seeds in the soil then the reaper comes along and is seen reaping the field.   The reaper receives all of the praise while he may not have been the one to do all of the work.   We may just be the sower of seeds in our lifetime.    I hope and pray that maybe I can enrich somebody’s life for Jesus during this life."

Well Mrs. Oliver you have!   You have touched my life in a special way and reminded me of the God of the harvest.  May you rest in peace and my your family be comforted by the sweet embrace of the Father as they grieve your passing.

Sunday, December 23, 2012

Off To A Good Start

Wow!   This week has been amazing!  Now NCA is starting to feel more like a school.   This week we started teacher training.   Having teachers on campus sure adds a lot of laughter and learning to the classrooms.  Not to mention color.   Our teachers have been busy so far with four full days of training on Biblical Worldview and then we cracked open the faculty handbook.  After that we looked into John Trent's Book The Blessing.  

This is the school's mission statement: To equip children of Christian parentes with the spiritual discernment, moral courage and academic excellence to impact society through Christian living motivated by a heartfelt love for God.
The  mission statement is a tall order but we spent quite a while talking abou the three main parts of our mission as NCA.  Spiritual discernment, moral courage and academic excellence.   We know that it is only possible through the help of the Holy Spirit.  The teachers artistically shared their own representation of the school's mission statement through poetry, song and art.   Quite remarkable.

Now it's time for a few days to enjoy the Christmas and New Years with our families and friends and then it is back to work in January for more great training.  Thank you for all of your prayers.  We certainly felt God's presence all week.

Monday, December 10, 2012

Urgent Prayer Request

NCA Matagalpa is starting teacher training on December 17th and we still need two teachers.  We are looking for a Nicaraguan teacher to teach Science for grades 4-7.  The second position is for an English teacher to start in January.  Please join me in praying for the right people to fill these positions.

If you know of someone that might be interested in volunteering to teach English at NCA Matagalpa please contact me.   You can check out our updated website.

Wednesday, December 5, 2012

Christmas Catalogue

Several people have written and said that they can not access the link that I previously posted.  Here it is again. :-)  Thanks for considering NCA Matagalpa this Christmas.

Saturday, December 1, 2012

Abundant Blessings

Yes, Thanksgiving is over and now everyone is gearing up for Christmas.    I feel like I have received a great early Christmas gift from God.    After 3 months of car searching, saving and praying I have a new car.  

It's a 2004 Toyota RAV 4 with 4WD.    It is in terrific shape with low miles and came at just the right time.    The car is more than I imagined but is a tremendous blessing.

Thanks to all of you who have been praying and helping  financially.   God is good.

Thursday, November 22, 2012

Let Me Count The Ways....

Let me count the ways God continues to show His faithfulness, mercy, forgiveness, lovingkindness and well all the rest.

The truth be known I could never count up all the ways that God has blessed, protected, corrected, loved and forgiven me but I can give testimony to these things and continue to live  under His mercy and grace each new day.

Here are just a few of the things that I am grateful for today.
Annel, Flor and a friend
  • Over the past few months I have had more car troubles than I can count on one hand.  While these have served as challenges and frustrations at times I can see God's hand of protection.   Every time that I have broken down I have been near a city where I can call someone to help me.   In addition God has provided great mechanics to help as well.
  • Flor de Liz joined our staff last month and it has been such a joy to have someone so friendly and helpful to work with.  
  • As we continue to interview teacher candidates God has brought us some amazing people.   We now have all but two positions filled.   I look forward to seeing the team work together.
  • Safety, safety, safety.   Lots of miles back and forth between Managua and Matagalpa and God has been faithful to provide safety, alertness and vehicles to borrow for my travels.
New Parents Bethany, Chris and Vincent
Bethany and Marnie, Vincent and Corbin sporting their Nica shirts

Meme and Corbin
Ready for a party!
Jared, Nick and Mary camping with some of their Nica snacks
  • A SWEET visit home for a few days to meet my new nephew Vincent and celebrate my other nephew Corbin's 4th birthday.   Being so far away and missing so many of those special events makes the ones I can attend that much more special.

  •  A timely visit from 3 dear friends from South Carolina.  They provided some great man power in prep for our Open House as well as lots of laughs and encouragement. 

On this special Thanksgiving Day I have so many reasons to sing of God's goodness and presence in my life.   The song "Bless the Lord" by Matt Redman has been a song I have found myself singing over and over these days reminding myself to bless the Lord in all things.   There are two lines that stand out today.

Whatever may pass and whatever lies before me let me be singing when the evening comes.

For all your goodness I will keep on singing, 10,000 reasons for my heart to find, bless the Lord oh my soul.

I pray that my eyes would always be open to the reasons to bless the Lord.

Here is the song on youtube if you want to enjoy it too!

Tuesday, November 13, 2012

Christmas Giving Opportunity!

Christmas is just around the corner and NCA Matagalpa is closing in on the start of a brand new school year.    We still stand in need of a few things.   Consider an alternative to traditional gift giving this year and give towards gifts that will last for years to come.
Here is a clean link:  Christmas Giving

If the email does not show up correctly, please view it in your browser.

NCA Matagalpa Christmas Catalogue

If interested in supporting you may donate directly through ACSI here:

To give using the link above, simply change the Designation to Nicaragua Christian Academy.
You may also email the school director at if you have any questions.

Monday, October 22, 2012

Open House Success

Looking down the hallway from the office

Saturday we hosted our Open House for the community of Matagalpa to come and see the school.   There were over 30 families that attended  and we are certain that they went home talking about all that they saw and experienced while on our campus.  God showed his faithfulness in the details of allowing chairs, tables and bookshelves to arrive just in time.   He has also showed his greatness providing  a group of Matagalpinos that have been amazing in their support and help in getting the word out about the school.
One of our new classrooms

Flor and Evalia
Annel giving a tour
Pastor Javier and Eric

Several car loads of people came up from Managua to show support and help us welcome Matagalpa to their new school.   The most exciting part was seeing our new teachers showing off their new school.     I can't wait to get the school year started and have the opportunity to work with these ladies and gentlemen every day.

Michelle, Ismara and Carey
Annel, Flor and a friend blowing up balloons

Please continue to keep these things lifted up in prayer

  • Finding and hiring teachers  there are still several positions that we have not been able to fill.   One of them is for an English teacher from the States.    If you know anyone that might be interested please put them in contact with me.  
  • Wisdom  as we begin accepting applications for students to enroll in NCA Matagalpa.
  • Unity for the NCA Matagalpa team.  
  • Continued safety and timlieness with construction.

Wednesday, October 17, 2012

Exciting Happenigs

This past week has been full of lots of added adventures, blessings and progress on the school.

I had 3 friends Mary, Jared and Nick visit from Greenville, SC.   It was great to have our camping crew together and then to be together in Nicaragua made it even sweeter.  The week was full of laughter, hard work, lots of paint and good coffee.    What a blessing it was to be encouraged by good friends and fellowship after a couple of really tough weeks.

We have also been making steady progress on getting things ready for our open house  at the school.   There are now flyers and banners all over the city and a few radio ads playing too.   Two of the radio stations are interviewing me tomorrow as we gear up for Open House.   If anyone ever told me that one day I would be on the radio in Nicaragua I think I would have laughed.    So, here I sit laughing!  

Mike letting the creative juices go as he designs the tree
Also a group of guys that work at NCA Nejapa's vocational program through ESVO ministries have been designing some iron bars for the window of the front entrance at NCA Matagalpa.   Nick and Jared had the opportunity to work with them forging the leaves for the amazing tree that now sits in front of our school.    The ESVO guys made it up this week to install the tree in preparation for our open house.
The guys with their finished product

The tree evokes so much in me it is hard to put it all into words.   First it reminds me of Scripture.

Psalm 1

Blessed is the one
    who does not walk in step with the wicked
or stand in the way that sinners take
    or sit in the company of mockers,
but whose delight is in the law of the Lord,
    and who meditates on his law day and night.
That person is like a tree planted by streams of water,
    which yields its fruit in season
and whose leaf does not wither—
    whatever they do prospers.
That is our prayer that all of our students would be like trees planted by streams of water that will yield their fruit in season.  

Monday, October 8, 2012

On Your Mark Get Set.......GO!

On Friday I shared two urgent prayer requests.   Thank you all for praying for NCA Matagalpa and all that is taking place both on and off campus.  

I wanted to share with you the results of your prayers.    God alone deserves all the glory.   Friday afternoon around 3:00pm Mountain Standard Time we received our provisional approval letter.   YEAH!!!!!  

What does this mean now?   It means that for the next two  weeks we will be on the campaign trail to spread the word about NCA around the city of Matagalpa.   We want everyone to know about the new school and to come to our Open House on October 20th.    Two weeks is not much time to print brochures, make signs,  and record our radio ad.   We are confident that God is with us as He continues to show Himself as the author of this project.

Thank you!

Friday, October 5, 2012

Prayer Request

I would like to share 2 urgent prayer requests with you and ask that you join me in praying for God's provision and revelation.

  • First, we continue to wait for our approval with the Ministry of Education.   It is a slow process here.  I have been told that we will be given a provisional letter on Friday.   They have already told me this several times so it is hard to believe that it will actually be ready which is why we need to pray for God's revelation for the people responsible to move forward with our process.  Until we have this letter we can not print promotional material, make a sign for the school or begin accepting enrollment for the school.     We have scheduled an Open House for October 20th pending our approval.   The date is quickly approaching.   Pray for movement in the right direction and a completed, signed, stamped letter on Friday (October 5th).

  • The second prayer request is for a car.   God provided a buyer for my truck that was in need of an overhaul on the engine.   I had another vehicle lined up  to purchase upon the sale of my truck and  well let's just say that the vehicle broke down and is now a vehicle that I do not want to buy any longer.    In the mean time I'm in need of a vehicle to complete my job here.   Please join me in praying that God would direct me to the right   vehicle and that the funds needed will be there as well.   
Thank you!

Saturday, September 29, 2012

Brew with Caution

I'm an avid coffee drinker. Virtually the first thing I do when I wake up every morning is head for the kitchen and start the coffee.    When I really have things together I already have the coffee pot ready to go and all I have to do is hit the start button.  The other day I was not quite so put together so I had to prepare the filter, grounds and coffee.  It was a good thing I did because as I pulled the carafe out of the machine I found a gecko inside!

He was trapped in the coffee carafe and couldn't get out.   I let him free and he jumped across the kitchen happy to be free.   I'm now going to add one more little step to my coffee making process in the morning.   Check for geckos in the carafe. :-)

The next thing I wanted to share is something that just makes my heart smile.   One of my former students is now in 4th grade at NCA in Managua and is running for student council.   I was on campus last week for a meeting and I happened to see this  poster hanging on the wall.  
What a sweet kid with a cool personality and an amazing opportunity to see him growing up and learning and eager to take on more responsibility.  I talked with Kaleb  later on that afternoon after he gave his student council speech.  He said it went well but he is nervous as he waits for the vote on Monday.    

As I sit here writing this I am filled with joy at the growth of this student.   I can't help but think that God often looks at us the same way.  I know He's been teaching me a lot lately and as change starts to become a reality in my life I can imagine God with the heart of a Teacher and Father grinning from ear to ear.   

What is God teaching you?   Can you see the areas of growth in your own life?  Are you sharing it with others?

Tuesday, September 18, 2012

Library Pictures Needed

We are in the development stages for the library at NCA Matagalpa.   There is a clean, empty room that needs some creative inspiration.     Everything from book display ideas, shelving, seating, cozy spaces to read etc.  

Can you help?   Why yes you can!    Go to your local public library or even the local bookstore and take pictures of creative spaces and furniture that you think would be great in a library.   Send your pictures to me at

Let's see how many different ideas we can collect in 1 week.   I can't wait to see what great ideas fill my inbox.

Thanks in advance for your help.

Saturday, September 15, 2012

Viva Nicaragua

Christopher Columbus and the discovery of Nicaragua
The signing of the Declaration of Independence

Nicaranguan Independence Day

The 14th and 15th of September in Nicaragua are filled with "Fiestas Patrias" festive celebrations of Nicaraguan history and independence from Spain 191 years ago.

Living in a small town it was fun to feel closer to the celebrations than in Managua.   Colegio Bautista had a festive celebration and school assembly yesterday with a reenactment of the historic battle of San Jacinto and the signing of the equivalent of the Declaration of Independence here.   

Pre-schooler wearing her Folklore Dress

San Jacinto Battle

Virtually every school in Matagalpa has  marching band with drums and Bataan twirlers.   Wherever you go in the city you can hear the bands practicing.    Here is what I have heard sitting on my front porch for the last month.  The little microphone on my camera doesn't do it justice but you get the idea.

Monday, September 3, 2012

My New Home

This week will make one month since I moved North to Matagalpa.   I realized I haven't shown you pictures of my new place of residence.   After more than a year of living out of suitcases and moving around from place to place all of my things are unpacked and are under one roof.   

I'm living with a missionary couple, Jeff and Marilyn, serving here with Young Life.  They have graciously opened their home to me and offered me one of the extra rooms in their house.  It has been a huge blessing to have a great place to stay.   As you can tell from the pictures the house has a great porch that is awesome for that morning cup of coffee and the Word.   The green space around the house is terrific as well.    I am so thankful for God's great provision in my life.    

Another terrific thing about Matagalpa is that it is small enough that I can walk all over town.   It is wonderful to be able to walk to just about anywhere I need to go. :-)  The only bummer is a killer hill on the way home.  I try to only have to climb the big hill twice in a day but sometimes it is not avoidable. 

Saturday, August 25, 2012

Life's Injustices and What We Do To Make a Difference

We see injustices every day.   Some of them large and some of them relatively small.   Living life in a third-world country sometimes I think the injustices I see on a daily basis fall more into the large category.   Poverty, homelessness, abuse, lack of basic necessities etc.

Today as I was out on a run enjoying the beautiful scenery here in Matagalpa I came upon  a small, frail woman curled up in a ditch along the road.   At first I didn't know what to think.  Was she alive?  How did she get here?  What happened to her?   As I got down on my knees to see if she was ok my heart just broke for this poor woman.   Lupita had a bulging black eye, a dried bloody nose and a leg that was badly injured. 

As I talked to her and tried to assess her injuries and figure out what had happened she mumbled incoherently at first but with time I started to be able to make out more of what she was saying.   She was from San Ramon, a community 10km from where I found her.  She appeared to be homeless from her matted hair and unkept nature.   Once she decided that she could sit up and clean off some of the dried blood I tried to flag someone down to help us.  I didn't have a cent on me or a cell phone but found a guard at a nearby house who enlightened me with a little of Lupita's story.

He said that she is the loquita (crazy woman) from San Ramon.   She was probably hit by a car last night.   He said, "I heard a car break hard on the road last night.  I went out to see what happened but it was dark and I couldn't see anything."  Maybe it was just a dog he thought.  He said I should call the Red Cross and that they would take care of her.  Meanwhile I continued to try and flag someone down and brainstorm a way to call the Red Cross without a cell phone handy. 

A kid rode by on his bike and I asked him to stop.  He didn't and said that he didn't know this lady.   Shocked by the fact that he didn't stop I thought this is not the Nicaragua I know where people don't stop to help.  Meanwhile buses, cars and motos continued to pass by every so often as I tried to talk to Lupita and gather more information.   How heartbreaking to know that she had been hit by a car and spent the whole night cold and alone lying in this ditch.   God how can this be and give me wisdom to know what to do now I prayed.  At that moment I heard what sounded like an ambulance siren.

One of the passers by must have called the Red Cross and an old fashioned, foreign donated fire truck came rolling around the corner.   Six young men climbed out and immediately identified Lupita.    They called her Lupita Loquita.   They often pick her up and interact with her in San Ramon.   Lupita does not have any family to care for her and this is the second time that she has been hit by a car. They young guys loaded her up and were careful to find her sandals on the side of the road and take her bag of belongings as they headed to the hospital in Matagalpa.

Several things struck me as I reflected on all that had happened on my run.   What types of supports are available to people like Lupita who seem to roam the streets with no one to love on them?  Why is there not a safe place for people like Lupita to be loved and befriended?
What can I do for the Lupita's in my world?  We've all seen those people that dress a little different or are awkward socially.   So I asked myself what is response to these people?   Do I extend a helping hand, a hearty smile or even a friendly conversation?   Sadly, if I am honest with myself my response is one of avoidance and not extending the love of Christ as I should. 
Lastly, I was impacted by the power of words.  Used to build up or to tear down.   Referring to Lupita as the loquita of the town are not words that build her up or help her feel like she is a part of anything that matters.   This makes her situation that much more lonely and isolated.    Do I use words that isolate or do I use words that welcome and give value to the person I am talking with?   I want to be that person.  It is only in God's grace and strength that this is possible.

How about you?   What do you guys think about these types of people?   How can we love and honor them well.

Thursday, August 23, 2012

Documents Submitted

Today was the day!!  Yes, today!   For the last two months I have been collecting documents, making copies, waiting in lines and reading lines and lines of legal Spanish text that I don't really understand in order to submit our request for approval from the Ministry of Education as a private school in Matagalpa.  The process is long and requires many, many copies of every kind of document possible.   

Freddy and Ismara helped me tremendously as we wrote up our official proposal in the perfect flowery Spanish language that the delegado will look for.  I can't thank them enough for all of their support and help.   Our final project and all the supporting documents added up to 69 pages.  Yikes!

Today, Ismara and I met with the local Delegado, Profesor Castro.  He was very friendly and is going to try and give us an answer before the Nicaraguan Independence Celebrations in mid-September.   God has gone before us and I am confident that He will grant us favor before the Ministry of Education.   We had to go back to the office and get something signed and we saw the Delegado taking a copy of our documents to the person in charge of the whole area of Matagalpa.   This was a very good sign.

Continue to pray for the Delegado and all the others who will be revising our project proposal.  Thanks for all of you who have already been praying.

Thursday, August 9, 2012

Missing - Miracle - New Opportunity

As I traveled across the US earlier this year I visited every thrift store in my path in search of books in Spanish for our library at the new school in Matagalpa.   By the time I headed to Nicaragua in April there were 16 boxes of books packed, sealed and headed to Florida to be loaded on a shipping container.    

Now the container has arrived and last week I had the opportunity to take a look at the boxes of books and make sure that everything arrived.   Sadly,  as I looked over the boxes and the inventory lists I discovered that there are 4 boxes that are missing.    Also, two of the boxes that arrived are missing more than half of the books that were originally in the box.    A call has been placed to the freight forwarder to check on the possible location of the 4 missing boxes.    As for the missing boxes and books I have written a letter to the U.S. Postal Services asking them to try and locate all of my missing books.   I am praying for a miracle.    Some of the books that did not arrive are the books that I bought specifically for the new teachers to read at the school.    Please join me in praying for a positive response from the Postal Service.

Just today I learned of a new opportunity to send more books and school supplies to Nicaragua on another container leaving in October.    It is neat to see how even in the midst of lost items God has provided another way to get more than just books to Nicaragua for the new school.    If you are interested in collecting a box or two of Spanish books over the next two months for our school please email me and I will get you all of the information you need to send them our way.    In this container we also have the ability to ship school and office furniture.    This could be an amazing way for us to get quality  equipment in country.   Again if you are interested in helping in this way please email me and I’ll get you the info you need.

I’ve created a wish list on Amazon of books that we’d like for the library.    You can find the wish list  at the Amazon website.   It is titled Spanish Books for NCA Matagalpa.