Thursday, November 10, 2011

our latest e-mail

We just sent this update to everyone on our e-mail list. If you'd like to be added, let us know.

Hello Everyone!!

I apologize for the delayed update about our 10-day vision trip in Nicaragua. I've been a little distracted by the amoeba growing inside of me. No worries, I'm on the mend!

It is difficult for me to condense our wide range of thoughts and emotions about Nicaragua, but I'll certainly try my best. Most importantly, the trip confirmed further our call to do ministry in Masaya.

We were completely in awe by the amount of poverty there. It was extremely different than other 3rd world countries we had visited before. Naturally, the amount of poverty also indicated deep needs that the people have.

During our ten days, our schedules were full of meetings, appointments, scoping out houses, locating supermarkets, visiting communities, beginning the residency process, and the list goes on. The Lord has also been faithful to make crucial relationships for us already. We've been working with a lawyer to establish the organization and our residency. The pastor of a 1,000-member church (pictured below) is excited for us to be there working along side the ministries they already have. And, there are several Nicaraguans that are interested in helping Students International in the work we are starting there. Such a blessing!

The next three pictures are from our time in the communities. Each home had a different trade. 

Making leather bags & drums.

Embroidering dresses.

Making shoes.

It was encouraging to meet with the pastor and realize how God is already moving in the town of Masaya. They have 100 cell groups, a Christian school, a clinic, a prison ministry, and are working with teenage drug-addicts. We are recognizing that the Lord's plans for this place are so much bigger than we originally imagined. It seems that He is expanding our vision for what ministry in Masaya will look like. We are grateful to be part of it! And grateful that each of you are part of it, too!

We are returning to the states in a little over a week. We're ready to be there, and visit with as many of you as possible! Mostly, we'll be back-and-forth between Indianapolis and Middlebury until January. We have several weeks of training in January, then we'll move to Nicaragua mid-February. Let us know what your schedules are like, so we can spend time with you!

Please pray for:
1. Housing - there are very few options near Masaya from what we've found
2. Teams - we are still praying for teams to sign up for short-term mission trips next summer
3. Fund-raising - we only have a little more to raise, but need to reach our goal before February
4. Wisdom - we desperately want to be following the Lord in all we do!

We love you guys! You can see more pictures on facebook.

Austin & Jill