We ended the year at Club Cristiano La Esperanza with a huge Christmas party for all of our students and their families…well over 300 people were there and we had presents for every single child! We served lunch to everyone and even had a clown and a bounce house for the kids!
We were also able to celebrate our graduating high school seniors, thanks to support from our friend Brad Corrigan and our partners at Villa Esperanza. When had a minute to catch our breaths (!) we took some time to celebrate and thank our fantastic staff with a rare lunch out. We are so grateful for these dedicated men and women who continually pour into the students and families in the community we serve.
Since we operate on the Nicaraguan school calendar, we are able to do projects at the Club over the Christmas break. Thanks to generous donations both big and small we have been able to take on some of the construction work that we talked about over the last year. We are trying to get it all done over the break which means work should be completed by February 9th - the children are going to be so excited to see it all! In the main education building we are knocking down walls and expanding the sizes of the preschool classrooms. For the last two years our preschool classes have been in rooms about half the size that they should be, we are fixing that! We are also landscaping and laying stone in the vehicle entrance as well as putting up a fence to make our playground its own separate space. Teachers will sing Alleluia next year when they are able to keep all their little kids corralled in one area during recess!
Thanks for your continued support and prayers - we're looking forward to a great 2015!
Club Cristiano La Esperanza (CCLE) has been reaping beautiful results from a summer and fall of hard, faithful work and generous donations from donors all over the U.S! This summer we began tackling some big projects including a security fence arond three parts of the school's center to keep our kiddos safe and focused on work (and play!) apart from nearby distractions.
Another area of big project progress is the work on the Dining Hall/Tutoring Center. This is the building that was half abandoned on the original property. We are right in the middle of installing all of the electrical system. It is tough work to go back and cut walls that were built without the electrical installed. But, it is getting done…one cloud of concrete dust at a time! We really are excited about this and hope to have the building in use come next school year. Next steps are mudding the walls, putting the roof on, tiling the floor, then doors and windows. Please keep praying for progress…it is going to be a great building!
We're also undertaking a small-scale agriculture project to grow healthy foods to supplement the meals we provide everyday for more than 300 kids. We received an agricultural grant from Austin Samaritans, a great nonprofit that's been working in Nicaragua for several years, and friends from Heritage Baptist Church helped put in a preschool garden. It's a great way for the kiddos to learn from an early age how to grow healthy food - an important part of becoming all God desires for them to be! The first crops that went in were cucumbers, chiles, tomatoes and a local squash called pipiyan. The kids helped harvest the pipiyan and loved it! Next up? Corn!
We're also grateful for the opportunity to host a prenatal counseling workshop for local pregnant mothers with another nonprofit ministry partner - ORPHANetwork. The women were encouraged with practical information from a nutritionist about how to best take care of themselves and their baby while pregnant and were given prenatal vitamins. What a blessing to be able to come alongside these mothers at the earliest stages of their children's lives to encourage them with truth and hope!
We are fortunate to have your partnership and continue to be amazed at all that we get to be a part of through CCLE. Thank you for your continued financial investment and prayer - it is all gratefully received and producing good fruit!
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 email@example.com.
We are excited to see all that God is doing at Club Esperanza and are grateful for your continued partnership!
The Nicaraguan school year runs from February - November so Club Cristiano La Esperanza is up and running! On the Monday of registration, parents were lined up at 5:00 a.m. to get their children signed up for our programs. When Sheyla (the Director) arrived, there was a crowd and she spent the entire day signing children up! It is a testimony to both the need in the community, as well as the quality of our staff and reputation we have earned in the neighborhood.
We have 341 students signed up this year! We tried not to turn anyone away, but there is a waiting list for the preschool since we already have 98 preschoolers signed up. Here is the list of the different programs that happen at Club Esperanza:
At Club Esperanza children have opportunities their parents could only dream of. Because of their parents' severe poverty these children would otherwise not get improved nutrition, one-on-one tutoring, early elementary developmental opportunities, and safe, supervised play!
Our new location has been the amazing key to our ability to do ministry in the neighborhood. When we signed the lease last year we needed $75,000 by January 2014 to completely pay off the balance. Although we weren't able to raise the entire amount, the seller has been gracious and granted us an extension on that deadline with only a small penalty. We currently have until the end of this month to raise the remaining $26,400.
The gifts you make here all go to ensuring that we can continue serving the 341 students whose families know that a faith-based education is the key to a hopeful future in this country. To learn more about the Club and its history please watch our video at: http://vimeo.com/68180873.
This fall we had some friends down from Heritage Baptist Church in Alabama and spent most of our time ministering to the students at Club Esperanza. They brought down Bible studies for children accompanied with a felt story board that allowed the stories to be communicated clearly in a fun way. They also worked the grounds a good bit fixing some of the areas around the wash basins and drinking fountains.
At Club Esperanza we have a group of teenagers that we help scholarship into local High Schools. Our scholarship funds - made possible with your donations - makes it possible for these teens to stay in school. Without these funds they would drop out because their families can’t afford the basics -- uniforms, supplies, fees, etc. When the group from Alabama was down we took 15 of the scholarshipped teens out to a national site in Managua and Scott, a member of HBC, shared with them about the importance of sexual purity. It was awesome to have a Bible study with them on a topic that is very relevant to teenagers, especially here in a country where too many impoverished teenagers are having babies of their own and perpetuating the cycle of poverty into which they were born. These students need to know there is hope for them and a better way.
In early September we enjoyed all of our beautiful Club Esperanza preschoolers dressing up to celebrate Dia del Patria. Schoolchildren all over Nicaragua dressed for events at their school including traditional singing, plays, and dancing...it was a great to see children and their families celebrate their national pride.
On a personal note - as some of you may have heard, we had an attempted armed robberty at our home. We were not injured but it was a very harrowing event involving exchanges of gunfire. We are thankful to all of you who have been praying for us and whom we know will not be praying for us, if this is the first you have heard. The Lord has comforted us but as you can imagine there have been difficult emotional moments...however in the midst of dark, fearful times we are able to say God is good, we know He is with us. We are now trying to make security upgrades, please be praying for these things as they do cost money. We need to hire a guard for our house, install field lighting, put bars on our children's windows, and build a high perimeter fence that cannot be cut through. Our family is our priority...please keep praying for all of us.
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