(Originally Posted March 12, 2018)
El Carmen Children's Outreach: School Uniforms
For the last two years, El Taller del Maestro has partnered with Sister Lidia in El Carmen, Nicaragua. Sister Lidia works full time as a nurse and began ministering to children in the community of El Carmen. Her ministry has grown substantially over the last two years. What began with a dozen children has gown into an outreach for 50 children. As a result of the children coming to Christ, entire families have committed their lives to Jesus. What began as a children's outreach has now developed into a church providing ministry to the parents and families of the children. The congregation has grown to 85+ and is building a church on land donated to the growing congregation. The community of El Carmen is remote and has few resources. The need in the community is great, but with continued faithfulness a harvest of souls has begun!
In February, El Taller del Meastro team members provided school uniforms and supplies to school aged children in El Carmen. Most of the children's families can not afford the cost of required uniforms for school. Children are often bullied and made fun of because they lack a uniform. The ministry uses these opportunities to bless families and children who lack necessary financial resources sharing how God loves them and the importance of giving their lives to Christ. 50 Children were provided a school uniform, shoes and socks.
"No single outreach can fully meet a communities physical needs, but A SINGLE ENCOUNTER WITH CHRIST, can change the life and Eternity of a person, allowing the full blessing of our Heavenly Father rest in their lives."
The development of the children's Ministry as well as the outgrowth of the El Carmen church was born out of obedience and a desire to see the hearts of a community impacted through Christ. Though the beginnings of any move of God may seen small, those beginnings planted into a rich soil of faithfulness and Love will grow into a harvest for generations.
"This is the word of the Lord.....Not by might nor by power, but by my Spirit, says the Lord Almighty......The hands of Zerubbabel have laid the foundation of this temple; his hands will also complete it. Then you will know that the Lord Almighty has sent me to you. Who dares despise the day of small thing" (Zechariah 4:6,8-10)
As individuals and families come to a knowledge of Christ, and begin to build their lives on the principles of God's word, great change is unfolding in the community. In June of 2017, El Taller del Maestro conducted a series of Weddings at El Carmen (Click to read about the June Outreach) . The weddings proved to be more important than anticipated...........
Throughout the country of Nicaragua, cohabitation is increasing, many couples raise families and even become Grandparents while never becoming married. The family structure in Nicaragua has been under great attack for many years. Cultural norms celebrating men being "womanizers" and decreased importance being placed on the covenant of marriage has opened the door to infidelity and adultery leading to divorce, fractured families and countless children living without intact families.
This reality is seen in the market place as well. While the Ministry was shopping for wedding supplies last year, few stores carried the needed supplies. When asked, a store owner stated "people are no longer getting married, so we just don't carry wedding supplies anymore".
Though the trend for non-marriage is increasing throughout the country, lives built on the principles of God's word in El Carmen are breaking the patterns and changing hearts and lives within the community of El Carmen.
The result of last years weddings continue to impact the community. As adult children (who are raising their own families), see the faithful rededication of their parents homes through marriage, the childrn's hearts are being turned towards God! Husbands are giving their hearts to Christ, adult children are dedicating their own marriages to God placing their lives, their families and their futures into God's hands.
In February, the El Taller del Maestro team again traveled to El Carmen providing clothes for 7 brides and grooms, wedding supplies, cakes, gifts, food, and a pastor/lawyer for the wedding ceremonies. The El Carmen church prepared a meal and joined the wedding celebrations for the day.
The impact of the ongoing outreaches is seen through changed hearts and best captured by the following statement:
"When you (the ministry) come to El Carmen, you bring Hope, we feel noticed, like we matter" (Community Member, El Carmen)
The message of the Gospel brings hope to communities and significance to lives! Real and lasting change in families, in communities, and ultimately the world......is driven by changed hearts! Through the faithfulness of Sister Lidia the message of the Gospel continues to spread throughout the community changing lives and families for Eternity.
Ocotal, Nicaragua: Food Basket Outreach
As the Ministry continues its work throughout Nicaragua, God continues to open partnerships with local pastors and churches allowing new outreach opportunities to unfold. In recent months the Ministry was introduced to a local church in Ocotal. Many of these churches have a great passion to share the Gospel and minister to their surrounding communities, yet are limited due to lack of financial resources. As the ministry develops partnerships with regional churches, the vision and mission of area congregations can unfold with resources provided by El Taller del Maestro.
A core value of the Ministry is to resource and empower local churches to reach their communities for Jesus. These partnerships allow the reach of the Ministry to extend into new and previously unreached communities.
Each outreach provides new opportunities to impact the Nation of Nicaragua. As God continues to develop partnerships and provide the resources needed to share the message of the Gospel, the scope and growing influence of the Ministry continues to expand.
A small team traveled down the Rio Coco to check ongoing projects at San Andres. The journey along the Rio Coco is always challenging, and this trip was certainly not any different. The team was faced with Sun, rain, unnaturally cold weather and water levels on the river that made for long days at the mercy of the elements.
Projects along the River are difficult and bring logistical and oversight challenges unlike any of the other outeaches throughout the country. The remoteness and the socio-cultural attitudes challenge each project. Each visit is mixed with hope and challenges.
At times the thought emerges if outreaches should continue......But God has been clear about the need along the Rio Coco. Though "Success" is limited, and certainly not measured by normal indicators, each trip provides opportunities to impact hearts for Christ. Even though projects unfold slowly, and many are left undone, it would be easy to see the outreaches along the Rio Coco as a "loss" in time, resources and energy. Even in the midst of challenges, each trip reminds the team of the importance of taking hope to the region.
The need is great. Lives along the river exist in a delicate balance, individuals are stricken by real spiritual sickness and find themselves without hope, lost and trapped in generational attitudes and thinking that imprisons the region. Communities, regardless of the support and the vast amount of resources available to them remain stagnant and continue to slowly collapse.
While the world measures success by the bottom line, how profitable something is, or by numerical measurements of growth, Jesus functions within a very different economy. when the world looked to Him to rise against and overthrow the oppression of the Roman Empire, Jesus chose the path of sacrifice and death. In Matthew 18, instead of protecting what one has, Jesus turns the table on "being cautious" and calls for us to leave the 99 and search for the one!
"What do you think? if a man owns a hundred sheep and one of them wanders away, will he not leave the ninety-nine on the hills and go to look for the one that wondered off? And if he finds it, truly I tell you, he is happier about that one sheep than about the ninety-nine that did not wander off. In the same way your Father in heaven is not willing that any of these little ones should perish." (Matthew 18:12-14)
This same idea is echoed by in the following Lyrics.......
I can see your heart
Eight Billion different ways
Every precious one
A child YOU died to save
If you gave your life to love them so will I
Like you would again a hundred billion times
But what measure could amount to Your desire
You're the One who never leaves the one behind.
(Lyrics: Hillsong United "So will I")
AND SO WILL WE! ...... no matter the cost......no matter the challenges along the river.....no matter the outcome, we will continue to take the Gospel to the lost, the least, and those left behind and forgotten.
As long as there is need....as long as one is lost.....the mission will continue, until the day that all have heard the name of JESUS!
Check out the Ministry Website for detailed information about outreaches. Click HERE to donate and help spread the message of the Gospel in Nicaragua! Visit the Ministries Instagram Page to see what is happening each month!
Prayer Teams Focus
Pray that God will continue to open the windows of heaven wide over the ministry providing abundant resources for the expansion of projects throughout Nicaragua.
Pray for the development and growth of area churches, for the salvation of souls, and the Faith of pastors to deepen as the serve the Lord!
That Families will continue to place their trust in Jesus, committing their lives to His will and surrendering themselves fully.
Pray that husbands and wives will continue to dedicate themselves to the sanctity of marriage and continue in the fulfillment of their vows of marriage.
Pray hearts and lives will be forever changed by real encounters with Christ!
Pray that a new generation of Believer's is raised up as the Children's Ministry in El Carmen and elsewhere continues to mature.
Pray that Sister Lidia's Vision will continue to grow as she steps fully into the heart of God's will for her life, ministry and future!
That revival comes to the river, that an outpouring of the Holy Spirit will change the nature of the communities, will change the hearts of the people and will ignite fervency for God never before seen in the country.
Pray that God will continue to provide clarity and vision for the outreaches along the Rio Coco and that Godly leaders will rise from the communities, men and women devoted to the preaching of the Gospel and to the transformation of the region.