Tuesday, December 3, 2013

With a Thankful Heart

With a Thankful Heart

The  2013 NCA Matagalpa student and staff pic!
This year has been a year full of firsts in so many ways.  As I have been learning how to do many things for the first time it has humbled me and allowed (not always so willingly) to look to God for provision, wisdom, strength, and creativity when I normally would not have.

Being a school director is hard work! Being a school directer is an incredibly rewarding job! It is hard not just because of the endless to-do lists and "problems" that you are greeted with on a daily basis but because a director works with real parents, students and teachers.    Because a director works with real people when someone shares a hurt with you a little bit of the burden becomes your burden.   When a student has a hard time learning and you can't figure out why you lie awake at night trying to think of different ways to help them.  You want to see students change their behavior and yet they sometimes disappoint you.   Parents come to you when they are angry, bothered or concerned looking solutions.

Being a school director is the most rewarding job because everyone shares their birthday cake with you. :-)  You get lots of sweet notes from students and parents.  You get to count little behavior changes for students as success. Because you work with real people you get paid in hugs, cards, smiles and cheerful "Good morning Profe!".   The opportunity to walk alongside students, faculty and staff and help them set goals and rejoice with them when they reach them abound.

So now with a Thankful Heart I praise God for the countless ways he has been with me each step of the way during this year of firsts. 
Let me count the ways...
  • 8 God-serving teachers who have have served on an incredible TEAM
  • desks and chairs for all of our students
  • friendly smiles and hugs from students big and small
  • kind words from dear friends
  • tears of surrender when i can't go another step on my own
  • grace 
  • wisdom under fire 
  • morning runs with Sara
  • a humble servant who was willing to wear many hats with me this year, Dave
  • internet that works just when we need it to
  • a reputation in the community that speaks for itself
  • unconditional love from our Father
  • a special community who loves to eat breakfast for dinner on Sunday's 
  • kids loving to read new books
  • many, many family  and friends back home giving to support God's work through me here in Matagalpa
  • a shipping container with books, furniture and blessings that has finally been released after 1 year of customs struggles.
  • a reliable car and breakdowns close to help and not in the middle of nowhere
  • miracles of funding just in time to keep construction going 
  • visits from good friends and weddings too
  • and so much more
Here are just a few pics of the first and last days of school.

Our open house Feb. 2013
Enjoying the Library for the first time
Faculty and Staff Feb. 2013
First Grade praying to start the day off right

Riding the bus is so much fun!

And now for the last day of school
Shooting the breeze with their homeroom teacher

Go Allan!   Get that Beauty

Students helping us paint the new classrooms for next year

The  2013 NCA Matagalpa student and staff pic!

Amigos en 2nd Grade

Wednesday, September 25, 2013

Making School Count as an Opportunity

Wow!   It is hard to believe that September has come and is almost gone.  Fall is here.    While Fall for many of us means new school clothes, notebooks, backpacks, pumpkin bread and cinnamon candles Fall in Nicaragua is time to hunker down for the rainiest part of the rainy season and  finish the school year strong.     Our students have successfully finished 3/4 of the school year and are eager to add one more school year to their resumé.   Sixth graders are planning for their graduation, first graders are eagerly reading any book they can get their hands on and the rhythm of the school year continues to march on.

The 2013 school year will soon be over and my desk is filled with textbooks, scholarship applications, budgets, calendars and uniform orders for next year.   One year ago I could not even imagine what it would be like to be here now planning for year two of NCA Matagalpa.   As we started this journey of faith last year we awarded scholarships and gave discounts in faith that we would have friends and neighbors who would partner with us to "sponsor" Christian Education for students and families that needed some extra help.   God has been faithful and has provided a few faithful sponsors for this year.   32% of our students received discounts and scholarships based on financial need.

Looking ahead we know that there will be many more families who will need a little help making this dream a reality in the coming school year.   The reality is that there are already 11 applicants waiting for an answer.   We need your help.  Can you make the commitment to partner with NCA and families needing a little extra help to make Christian education a possibility for their child?   We want to say yes to more families but it is hard without knowing there are more people partnering with us on this journey of faith.   Visit our web page to find out more.

Check us out on Facebook at NCA Matagalpa and you can see some of the great things God has done through our students this year.  

Sunday, August 25, 2013


I realize I am long overdue for an update on my blog.  This Summer has seen the busiest  and most challenging season of my life to date.   While it has been challenging it has also been full of God's amazing blessings.

Here are just a few highlights:

Students continue to learn lots as we make headway through our second semester.   Students and teachers are learning new ways to work together.   We have been able to build important relationships with students and God  has given us some really neat opportunities to mentor and pray with them through some difficult choices.

July brought some fun visitors from the old days.  First, Kate came for a few weeks from New Mexico. Kate and I taught together at NCA and were roommates for many years.   She helped out for a few days and then provided a great excuse to sneak away for the weekend and enjoy some of the great outdoors.  

Then a team from Grace Church came to Matagalpa.   The group split up and worked in three areas.  A medical clinic,  Pastor/leader training at a local church and then at NCA Matagalpa.  7 teachers from Greenville, South Carolina spent the week with teachers talking, teaching, playing and learning from each other.   The week was a tremendous blessing.    They were able to do so much of what I have not had the time to be able to do.   Now thanks to someone from my small group who is bilingual the teachers can continue their relationships and communication.

 Mary stayed on after the team left and came back up to Matagalpa for a few days.   We went for a couple hour bike ride just like old times.  It was refreshing to sit and share life with a good friend who loves Nicaragua just as much as I do.

The 5th and 6th graders planted squash around the school at have been faithfully checking up on their plants.    Right before the two week vacation in July the kids pulled this out of the garden.   Their firstfruits.  YIKES.   It was huge.   Each of the students have taken one home to share with their families and they even gave some to the cafeteria to cook up and add to the lunch menu.  Now, they are going to plant spinach and maybe some other vegetables.

Sunday, May 12, 2013

Book Crew Reminder

For those of you who are sending books to the shipping container this is the week to mail your boxes.   All boxes should be mailed by Saturday, May 19th. :-)  

Thank you to all of you who dedicated to the NCA Matagalpa Library.    We have a "real" librarian coming to visit us this week and help us organize and do things better.    Praise God for his many blessings.  

Sunday, April 21, 2013

Book Drive

Read to Live is the theme for International Book day this year

NCA Matagalpa opened the lending portion of our library last week and the kids are really excited about the opportunity to check out books and read them at home with their parents.  None of our students have ever had this opportunity before.   It is refreshing to see students getting so excited about reading.    One of the best ways to get them engaged and  reading is to have a variety of good books for them to choose from.    Obviously an obstacle to this is that books weigh a lot and it is harder to get them here in suitcases because of weight restrictions from the airlines.

This is where I need your help.   NCA Matagalpa has access to a shipping container being loaded up at the end of May.  We can send as many boxes of books as we want to Florida for the next 5 weeks and all you have to pay is the local rate for shipping.  

Can you help collect Spanish books from your local thrift stores and book stores and help us grow our library collection?   You can even order books from our Amazon wishlist.   Spanish Books for NCA Matagalpa.

Are you interested?? Yes, ok here's what you need to do in order to minimize problems with Customs once the container arrives in Nicaragua.

  1. Scour your community for Spanish books, set up a collection box at your church or in your small group.   
  2. Once the box is full.   Make a list of all of the book titles packed in the box and write a letter to Susan Hall stating that these books are a donation for Nicaragua Christian Academy.   Print the inventory and the donation letter and put them in the box.
  3. Send an email to Susan Hall at hsprincipal@nca.edu.ni and me cfranklin@nca.edu.ni with an electronic copy of the letter and the box inventory attached.
  4. Mail the books to the following address.   NOTE: If you send the box with USPS get delivery confirmation.  Last year many books were lost and never recovered by USPS.                            
  5. Nicaragua Christian Academy                                                                                                           c/o TAN Cargo Edgard Toruño
         7215 NW 41st St. Bay E
         Miami, FL  33166
        Contact person at TAN Cargo:  Edgard Toruño 

 Ship the books to the freight forwarder in time for them to arrive by May 31, 2012

If you order the books online and want them delivered directly to the freight forwarder please send a copy of the order inventory or confirmation that you recieve to Susan Hall and myself so that we can print this for the customs agents here.

Thanks for your great partnership in this way!   I can't tell you what a blessing it is me and to all of our students.  More pictures to come soon of our Celebration of International Book Day. :-)  

Sunday, March 17, 2013

Right Where He Wants Us To Be

Life is full these days as we get things up and running at NCA Matagalpa.   As I sit here and reflect on all that God has done to bring each team member to the school I stand in awe of God's creativity and perfect plan.   Each member of the team is just right for their position.  We are all in a place where we are being stretched but are excited about the opportunity to share/use our gifts to teach, learn, lead and mentor students.

Cultural differences come to light in a variety of different ways.   Some differences are light hearted and fun while others are harder to swallow because they are just that.....so different.
There are some things that are always hard to take for me.  The idea of relationships just seem to come at a different angle most of the time.  

One of our teachers has been faced with a difficult situation within her family.  This is the first time that she has had full time work.   This is  great news for her family financially.  The whole family is making adjustment to having mom at work all day.  Her husband is having to make some adjustments at meal times and his wife's availability during school hours.   However these adjustments have been difficult and now he has left our teacher with a decision to make.   Keep the job or keep me!  Tough, heartbreaking decision my dear friend faces.  My heart breaks for her as she gives up a dream for now in hopes that there will be more opportunities in the future.   Family first is a good choice and the right one, yet a hard one sometimes.  

Thankfully, this teacher still wants to be involved in the school and will continue to attend training sessions and will help substitute when we need her.    Praise God for the ways that he has opened up a connection for a new teacher to take her place.  Cinthya our new teacher was already on campus as a volunteer before we even knew of our need.    She has jumped right in and has been a blessing to both the students and the staff.

God's grace and provision seem overwhelming at times as I reflect on all that He has given us.  We don't deserve to have a beautiful facility and an amazing team of willing and hard-working teachers yet, God lavishes these things on us.    Lord help me to always remember these things when the toilets are clogged, mis-behaving students are in my office and there is no water on campus.   Remind me of your great provision and the opportunities to grow and depend on you more and more when challenges come.  You have not left us rather you have placed us here with purpose and are equipping us through the challenges, encouraging through the victories and constantly bringing us to our knees seeking wisdom and strength to carry on.

It is a humbling and exciting place to be in the center of God's will.   Facing cultural differences, priorities, languages and a right attitude is a daily opportunity to take our eyes off of ourself and put our focus on Christ and all that He has done and continues to do.

Tuesday, February 26, 2013


Yes,  I said the secret word.   It is true in more ways than one.  As the director of a private school in Nicaragua I am required to go to many meetings organized by the ministry of education.  They are very enlightening as I get to peer into the political system and see first hand the power of intimidation.

Here is an article that was just published by an online periodical.    You might find this very interesting.


The "live pretty" campaign is real and it is being implemented in almost every school in Nicaragua.

Our prayer is that the TRUTH would illuminate the lies that are being fed to the teachers, students and parents and that people would stand up for the truth.

Tuesday, February 12, 2013

A Day Full of Firsts

It is strange for me to say that a new school year has started and I did not spend the day with a group of eager 6 and 7 year olds.   Instead, the day was spent with 36 kids who were spending their first school-day at a new school with new teachers and a very different vision than they have seen or experienced before.

We rejoiced as we (the staff) started the day off in prayer for one another and warmly greeted our new students and parents.   The first recess time was  full of excitement as the boys had a large covered place to play soccer.   We searched for solutions as a student missed the bus this morning and then as the wind kept blowing out the gas on the stove in the cafetín.   Uneasy introductions followed by warm welcomes and hearty laughter filled the classrooms.   Small classes, big classes, fast learners, creative spirits, active little ones and eager story tellers, hungry kiddos are just a few of the things that filled the classrooms and hallways  on the first day of classes at Nicaragua Christian Academy Matagalpa.

We couldn't have done it without the prayer covering of all of you who have walked with along this path of Firsts.    Thank you for your continued prayers as we face new challenges each day.   We rejoice with Thanksgiving for all that God has provided from buildings to desks, to teachers and students.  We recognize that we could not do any of this if God was not first in it.  

The year is just starting and we know that there are many challenges that lay ahead and many more opportunities to see God's mighty hand at work.   Continue to pray for grace and wisdom for each and every one of the staff and faculty of NCA Matagalpa.  

Sunday, February 3, 2013

A New Beginning

Saturday marked the official start of NCA Matagalpa as we hosted the first Parent Open House.  We celebrated the beginning of many new relationships and an exciting new adventure for both teachers and students.

On Thursday afternoon I received information from the Ministry of Education here in Matagalpa and they informed us that we would not be permitted to start school on Feb. 4th as we had planned.   After making many phone calls and exchanging emails with  board members we realized that this was a Gift of time that we are being given.    School will now officially start on Monday, February 11th.   The teachers are excited about taking the opportunity to learn more on the computers this week.  In addition, it gives us one more week to wait for the shipping container to be released as well as time to finish a few more final touches on some of the construction projects still pending.

Thank you all for your continued prayers and encouragement. As we look forward to this extra week of preparation join us in praying for more students to join us for the new school year.

Saturday, January 26, 2013

7 Days and Counting

Count Down To The Start Of A New School Year

Time has flown since I first learned about the start-up of Nicaragua Christian Academy Matagalpa.  It seems like the last 6 months have been a blur of meetings, planning, reports, interviews and now teacher training.    We are now 1 week away (Saturday, February 4th)  from the official Open House for parents and students.

As you can imagine there are many things yet to be done.   Construction projects are fighting against set backs and teachers are now beginning to feel the time crunch in order to have everything ready.   It is at this time that we can really use your prayers.  There are thousands of details to cover in the next 7 days and a limited number of hands and brains to cover them all.  

  • Pray for time management and inspiration as the teachers plan their lessons and incorporate many of the new skills and concepts they have been learning.
  • Pray for the new guard staff as they take on the job of protecting the students and families that enter through our gates
  • Pray for more families to see the value of a Christian education for their children and to take the plunge and join the NCA family.   Pray especially for 5th graders to come.   There is only 1 5th grader registered right now.
  • Pray that the shipping container that has the refrigerator for the cafeteria is released this week.  
  • Pray for peace, patience and joy in the process for me as I face many, many challenges with some of the Nicaraguan processes  of people and businesses always promising tomorrow.