The Things We Don't Talk About
Whether it be the newsletter, our website or our Facebook page, there are so many things that we just don't tell you about. And it's not that we're afraid or don't want to tell you about those things. It's just that we don't have enough time.
Now that 2014 is coming to a close, we thought we'd take a minute to tell you about some cool things that happened and are happening that we just haven't had the space to share.
A Hi-Level Discipleship Program: In March of this year, some good friends of SuNica, Todd & Jacki St. John approached us about a special program that they had always wanted to start in Cambodia. For one reason or another (but probably something to do with God's timing), Cambodia never worked out as a venue to launch this program.
The idea behind this program (we don't have a good name for it yet) was that in any group of kids, there will always be a select few who show extraordinary talent and drive. These kids are often bored at school, and they might even get into trouble or drop out because school just doesn't seem promising enough for the ambition rolling around in their heads. This program asks these questions. What if we could channel that talent and drive in such a way that the kid might rise to greater feats than they could ever imagine? What if God has something greater for these kids than even we can imagine?
When Todd & Jacki mentioned helping us to do something like this, we already had one in mind. His name was Elias...you might remember him from our Thrive video last year. We approached Elias, his principal and his mom about the idea and they were all thrilled. So far the program has included a special project that he had to conceive and execute by himself (with a small loan from SuNica). It also includes meeting regularly with Josh in a Discipleship style relationship in which they study a book (The Bible and otherwise) and talk about life and whatever is on their minds.
Elias' project was all about getting his bike fixed so that he could travel to a nearby Hibiscus farm during the harvest season and make some extra money for his family. His project required him to turn a $10 loan into $50 in one month so that he could get his bike fixed. The average Nicaraguan male in his community earns between $65 and $100 per month, so $50 is pretty good for a 14 year old. He earned the money and got his bike fixed within the target time. At the publishing of this post, he is harvesting Hibiscus during his break from school, and he'll earn $250 - $300 over the course of 6 weeks. The next piece of the program is classified until we make it official. But we'll tell you this. Elias was considering dropping out of high school next year to work full time. Our next step is geared towards averting that decision.
Home Group: Home Group is another horribly named, but incredible thing. Josh and Betty started a home group in their home of all places. Home Group is pretty much like a small church where people can grow together as better followers of Christ. They learn about God's story, they love Christ and each other, and they give their time, talents, and treasure. So, it's pretty much like church. There are even people there who are not completely following Jesus yet, and that's ok too. Everyone can come as they are and contribute their voice, but the ultimate point is Jesus, to worship Him and make Him known.
We've talked before about the state of the church in Nicaragua, and yes we're generalizing, and there are certainly some good churches in Nicaragua. Unfortunately, most of the protestant strands of Christianity that we've run into teach more of a works-based faith. A "behave this way or that and God will like you" kind of a thing. We have a friend named Rigo who started coming earlier this year. He owns a couple of shoe stores. He loves shoes. He loves his wife and two daughters. And Rigo loves him some Jesus. He hasn't gone to a church in many years for the reason that I mentioned above. This Home Group that we started is roughly 15 -25 people per week and Rigo considers it his church. It's the first place where he has felt able to worship with other people and study the Bible in years. We're not sure what this is turning into, but to Rigo, it's church.