In September a youth team from the Rock of Asheville joined El Taller del Maestro for community outreaches in and around Ocotal, Nicaragua. Outreaches included children's programs, youth football (soccer), elderly food baskets and school supply distribution. Each day team members would load supplies and head to a different community. Outreaches were coordinated with a local church in each community allowing the church members to reach out to the surrounding area. Response was very good! Some communities had never had events such as this and were able to bless families for the first time with activities and needed supplies.
In the past these same type of outreaches have invigorated the local communities, birthing churches and programs that continue to grow today. God uses simple outreaches to show how much he loves people who often feel forgotten. Often the local churches wish they could conduct their own outreaches but lack the necessary financial resources. Ministry outreaches act as a conduit for resources allowing the local church to partner with El Taller del Maestro and impact their congregation and surrounding neighbors. These outreaches are often an answer to prayer allowing the local church to move unrestricted with access to resources.
To have a global vision with a focused impact is key to lasting change
Though the focus of El Taller del Maestro is to reach a Nation and beyond for Christ, the reality is that it is accomplished one person at a time. To put it in context, the outreaches in September directly impacted 500+ people (families, children, adults). While numbers are important to track, the real importance lies in the one on one interaction. Real impact occurs when we engage each and every individual, meeting them where they are and showing them the respect of being present and available in their lives.
The goal of the ministry is to engage individuals, reveal the love of God to each, and begin a long term relationship both directly and indirectly with assistance from local churches. Often as the team visits communities from previous outreaches the "fruit" of the past can be seen. Relationships unfold over time and change can be seen as individuals and communities grow in their understanding of God's love and the importance of serving the needs of others.
Team members took every opportunity to pray directly with those in need and specifically for healing, restoration and revelation from the Holy Spirit. We were blessed to see a number of people give their hearts to Christ. Scripture says that the Good Shepard (Jesus) will leave the 99 to search for the one lost sheep. To reach the "lost sheep" in Nicaragua it often takes long journeys along rugged roads and hikes into the surrounding mountains. As you look out across the vastness of the rural countryside, it is staggering to think of the hundreds if not thousands of individuals and families that are scattered throughout the rugged terrain. Each one needing a savior and often isolated by poverty, rugged terrain, and limited belief systems that keep them trapped in cycles of desperation both physically and spiritually.
Community outreaches focused on Children's activities (balloon animals, minute to win it games, and school supply distribution. The children had a wonderful time playing games, picking out balloon animals, and enjoyed cookies and pinatas. Each outreach with children allows the team to explain how much God loves them and include a children's booklet telling the story of God's Salvation.
While conducting a children's outreach, team members oversaw the development of a square foot garden for a woman who recently lost her husband. Square foot gardens are intensively planted spaces that are capable of growing large amounts of produce in small areas. Square foot gardening has been successfully introduced around the world to increase food security and nutritional diversity in poor communities.
Seeds where planted in seedling bags (3rd photo above). These bags will be where the young plants will develop and grow 3-6 inches high before being transplanted. The gardens will be used to provided added food and diverse nutrition sources. The plan is to replicate the square foot gardening method throughout the community to provide greater levels of food security and an opportunity for community members to work together. The gardens will work as a Cooperative sharing labor and resources as the program develops. We look forward to reports about the gardens and the impact this new initiative will have for the community.
Prayer Teams Focus
Pray that God will continue to open the windows of heaven over the ministry to resource outreaches and the growing need throughout the country.
Pray that hearts will be open to receiving the Gospel and lives will be transformed to become a testimony of God's Grace and Redemption
That God will continue to raise up leaders and team members in Nicaragua to help develop the Ministry and move it into maturity as it begins to scale across the country
Pray that local churches will rise up in unity to serve their poor brothers and sisters in the community.
Speak God's promises over the country claiming victory and the tumbling of spiritual strongholds