Saturday, August 27, 2011

Feeding Centers

One of my favorite things to do in Nicaragua is the feed centers in La Chureca.  Noon means food.  Most show up before noon without their parents and are between ages 2-8.  I've seen a 5 year old bring her 3 younger siblings!  This may be the only meal of the day for the kids.

The food and chairs are brought in by truck from El Faro (The Lighthouse) Church, where the food is prepared before hand.

A bowl with rice, vegies and a piece of 
protein is dished up along with a glass 
of apple juice and passed out to the 
children.  It is amazingly orderly.  The 
children know to sit in their chair and 
wait.  They are very well behaved and
thankful.  When there are teams pre-
sent the children have a hard time 
concentrating on eating because they 
just want to play with, have pictures 
taken and be loved by us.  
SO precious!

Tuesday, August 23, 2011

La Chureca..... The Dump

Talk about a tough life!  

The 2000 people that live in the dump and will, most likely, do so their entire life.  They live in "houses" made from trash they have collected from the garbage trucks that come all day long. 

Notice the bed spring fence and hose fence, sink and couch, all items collected from trash.

Their main source of income comes from sifting through the garbage to collect recyclables which brings in an average income per household of $8 a week.

The children help gather among the buzzards circling and livestock searching for food.

Organized Chaos.  Among the "town" made of garbage there are streets, house numbers, 
a medical clinic and a school... all within the walls of the dump!

The hardest part for me to think about is the young girls.  They are the most at risk.  Life in the dump is filled with abuse, violence, prostitution and teen mothers.  I can't image an age where we are watching our little girls play soccer and go to the mall..... these little girls are being abused and becoming moms.

I met  darling little Jennifer this last trip in front of her home.  I was amazed later that day when SHE brought her younger brother to the feeding center alone.  Maybe two and four years old?

Many groups and local Nicaraguans minister to the people of La Chureca providing help, love and spiritual guidance.  Forward Edge International is the non-profit organization that I work with (  They have built this amazing home from the most at risk girls to live in safety, eat, go to school and learn how to be women of God.  
Some of the original 16 girls in 2008 at Villa Esperanza

Their parents have given guardianship to FEI to raise them and give them a better life.  It is a sacrifice unimaginable to me!  They still get to visit and see their families Their impact on them and La Chureca is an amazing thing to watch unfold.

I've got to sign off for today, I'm getting homesick for my girls!

Monday, August 22, 2011

Maria Celeste

Introducing my sweet Maria Celeste!

I started sponsoring Maria Celeste 2 years ago when she was just 9 years old.  She lives at the Villa Esperanza (Village of Hope) with 23 other girls.  

The wonderful thing about sponsoring a girl from the Villa is when you go to Nicaragua on a mission you get to play with, hold and love them face to face!  Not just letters and a check sent monthly, but a human being to experience relationship, hugs, love and giggles with!

This is a family photo of Maria Celeste with her Aunt, Father and cousins.  Three of her cousins, Murel (in red), Brittany (kneeling) and Alondra (in black) also live at the Villa with her!  

Do we speak the same language...... no.  But it doesn't necessarily take words to play!

Alex has sponsored Alondra for 4 years now.  The first trip he took to Nicaragua he was just 18 and Alondra at 8 was just weeks out of the dump and starting a new life at the Villa.  

Four years later in May 2011

Alondra is the meaning behind his love for Nicaragua.

Sunday, August 21, 2011

Why a mission trip?

My middle son Alex started going on mission trips 7 years ago.  I don't know exactly why he started going, maybe just thought it would be a fun youth group trip.  But somewhere along the line between The Gulf Coast and Nicaragua he had this passion stir up inside him to serve the poor and hurting.

I never thought mission trips were for me.  I've served in many different forms of volunteer work, but never really considered "treading" on his territory.  That is until, he started considering long term mission work in Nicaragua after graduation from college.  That's when the "mom" in me wanted to see where he would be living for a couple years.  So I joined in his May 2010 trip to Nicaragua just to see this place that he had grown to love so much.  It changed my world!

I thought I was going to serve the poor and love the unloved, to make a difference in their world.  What I got back was a change in MY world, a new perspective on life!  A realization that what I am is not what I have, but what I 
do with what I have.  That I, as an American, have more than most of the world has, and these things I have are not what makes me happy.  But loving such plain, unspoiled, simple people could bring me a joy that was different from any I've experienced before.

I hope this blog makes you think about the possibility of joining me on my next trip in 2012!