Verbo Nicaragua Development Fund

VNDF seeks to help impoverished Nicaraguans break out of the cycle of intergenerational poverty into which they were born by providing access to education, employment, health care, and affordable credit. VNDF is an international advocate for Verbo Nicaragua ministries which is based in Managua, Nicaragua, has been in existence since 1976 and operates nationwide. Nicaragua is the second-poorest country in the Western Hemisphere.
Oct 7, 2014

Feeding the Famished and Finding Unexpected Joy

The informal after-school art program!
The informal after-school art program!

This past summer and early fall has been extremely difficult for the rural poor in Nicaragua. Half of the country's entire population lives in rural areas and of those, two out of every three families - 68% of all families living in rural areas - live on less than $2/day. Since the rainy season began very late this year, subsistence farmers who rely on their crops (mostly corn) were left with no harvest.

We heard about the crop failures and called our friends in Albellanas to determine the extent of the need. We quickly learned that families were starving and that without corn for feed, their cattle were dying. We were grateful that we got the news while we were in Nicaragua and were able to respond in person. 

We had two teams in country over the summer with whom we shared the news. They immediately asked how they could help. In talking with our partners we learned that there were 50 families who we could first reach with assistance. The first team from Crossroads Community Church (Maryland) provided 1,000 pounds of corn which Ana Julia and Domingo Orozco (sister and brother of Roger Orozco - the training center's founder) divided up and then brought to the families living 3 hours away (1.5 hour by car and 1.5 by foot after that).

Three weeks later the team from Cedar Run Community Church (Virginia), which spent nearly a full week in Sebaco working on the training center and serving nearby communities, further assessed the situation. Since the rains hadn't started in full the team immediately pooled their funds to buy another 1,000 pounds of corn and 1,000 pounds of beans. Their fearless team leader Iliana joined Domingo Orozco in deftly negotiating a good price for the best-quality items they could find in town. The team learned how to clean by the beans by using wind to separate the beans from dirt and then helped divide the staples into bags for individual families. Rising early one morning the team then drove with Ana Julia and Domingo to personally deliver the items to waiting families. They walked into Albellanas and saw first-hand the barren fields. No corn for cattle or humans. No food for families or children. The families and the team members were joyful to share what God had provided.

In the midst of the difficulty of facing famine first-hand the Cedar Run team experienced unexpected joy. Since the team had brought school supplies to store at the training center for nearby villages some of the children living near the training center heard fun could be had! Every day after school between 15-25 kids showed up like clockwork and had a blast using play-doh for the first time and using watercolors to paint. Even when we had to move out of the training center (because construction work was being done there), the kids just moved next door to the outdoor courtyard and we set up plastic tables to accomodate all of our budding artists. Not even a light rain drove them away! It was much-needed joy to watch the kids paint for the first time and then tape their masterpieces up on the concrete wall. Another important reminder that even in dark times joy and hope can always be found!

Distributing food to families in Bacacan
Distributing food to families in Bacacan
Team members and families were both joyful!
Team members and families were both joyful!
You can see how barren and dry the country is
You can see how barren and dry the country is
No rain means no crops for cattle or humans
No rain means no crops for cattle or humans

Links:

Jul 2, 2014

Moving Mountains in Faith with the Help of Friends

Austin Samaritans team at CCLE!
Austin Samaritans team at CCLE!

Life has been fun and exciting as of late and we wanted to share about some of the things that have been going on at the Club. After the miracle of raising $26,000 in less than a month to finish paying for the new location we’ve been working to finish the second building that was left unfinished by the previous owner. It is a big shell of a building that we hope turn into our Tutoring Center/Dining Hall. A multipurpose building…remember “Cafetoriums”???

We had a group of High School Students from Atlanta come down with a friend and they took the first crack at working on the building. Clearing the trees that had grown inside, leveling the floor and laying a concrete floor inside - these kids were troopers, working in the blaring sun in the hottest time of year here in Nicaragua.

The team also had lots of fun with the kids at the Club. A father and daughter combo took care of lunch one of the days. He works as a distributor for McDonalds back home so we made the contact in Managua and gave the kids a really fun treat….MickeyDzzzz at lunch time!

Following up on the Atlanta team was a group from Austin Samaritans in Texas. They busted some concrete work too and “threw mud” at all the unfinished walls for the final layer - lots of hard work and another step towards finishing the building.

The Austin Samaritans group also brought the drama…in the form of the story of the “Good Samaritan.” Costumes and all, they taught the children one of the great parables that Jesus taught. A very important lesson for children to learn at a young age, do not just pass by those who are in trouble. Stop what you are doing, help the ones in trouble, and go beyond what you think you are able to do! It was hard not to smile at all the cute little robbers though!

A blessing from the US Embassy Auction…we were able to get two giant tents for 1/4 of the cost at auction. We put one up inside the building we are working to finish since there is no roof yet. This way we could use the space since we have the floor poured now. We used the other tent for shade by the kitchen so the kids don’t have to stand in the sun when they wait in line for lunch…shelter from the Sun. They will provide shelter from rain too, which will be great during the rainy season. These tents will also give great shelter for the students in our tutoring program that used to meet outside under a tree. The tree wouldn’t have worked for the rains hahaha!

Thank you for your continued prayers for Club Esperanza - with your help the lives of young people are changed! If you know of people who want to support the Club please let them know that all NEW recurring monthly donations pledged on July 16 will be MATCHED 30% by an anonymous donor to Global Giving. That means if you commit to giving $100 per month it will be raised to $130. If you have any questions please contact our ministry partner Katie Adams at katieadamsmd@gmail.com.

We are excited to see all that God is doing at Club Esperanza and are grateful for your continued partnership!

McDonald
McDonald's is a BIG treat!
The new tents from the U.S. Embassy are GREAT!
The new tents from the U.S. Embassy are GREAT!
Soon to be a new multipurpose area for CCLE!
Soon to be a new multipurpose area for CCLE!
These "robbers" are too darn cute!
These "robbers" are too darn cute!
The blazing Nicaraguan sun won
The blazing Nicaraguan sun won't stop this team!
Jul 2, 2014

Maryland Team Holds 1st Women's Outreach in Sebaco

Crafts cross all language barriers!
Crafts cross all language barriers!

A team of six American women from Crossroads Community Church recently held the first women's outreach event at the Training Center in Sebaco. In-country project leader Ana Julia Orozco welcomed the team who spoke and spent the afternoon with more than 30 women from 4 of the 12 villages being served by the training center. The women came from Albellanas, Mojon, Bacacan, and Cerro Grande.

One of the highlights of the day was hearing from Lilliam Orozco who teaches at one-room school in the village of Albellanas. She gave her testimony about how hard she has worked to complete school and become a teacher and how hard her mother has always worked to support her (her mother was there too which was so sweet!). She was very emotional. She also spoke very seriously to the mothers that it was important for them to make sure their kids came to school EVERY day and that they needed to help them with their homework EVERY day. A great Mom from Albellanas - a single Mom with four kids who is only 22 herself - said that even though she can't read or write she sits with her kids every day to make sure they are doing their work. And Lilliam confirmed that this Mom is doing it and she held her up as an example for making such a sacrifice for her kids.

The Maryland gals enjoyed helping serve lunch to the women and their kids - what a feast! Afterward the team set out supplies for them to make posters with their children's names and a note that they loved being their Mothers to put up in their homes so their children would always know that their mothers loved them. The team shared encouragement about how even though Jesus' mother Mary was a poor, young, girl in a small village she gave Jesus the greatest gifts anyone could give a child - the gifts of love, acceptance, and schooling. The women had a blast making posters and glitter was everywhere!

Before the women left to board buses for the 1.5 hour drive and then 2+ hour walk home, Ana Julia called each woman up to give her a bag of "canasta basica" items - a bar of soap, 5 pounds of rice, 5 pounds of beans, a liter of oil, and several pounds of tomatoes, onions, peppers, and some other vegetables. As soon as the women left the skies opened and we experienced a torrential downpour - which was very welcome as the rainy season had been late in coming!

We look forward to another team coming to serve at the Training Center in August. A group of men and women from Cedar Run Community Church in Oak Hill, Virginia will be doing some construction work on the center and working with men, women and children coming in from the 12 remote villages we are targeting. Look for another update after that!

Each participant received food to take home.
Each participant received food to take home.
Playing with the moms
Playing with the moms' kids during the event!
Moms from 5 villages came for the outreach event.
Moms from 5 villages came for the outreach event.

Links:

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