Place: Belen, Nicaragua
For the seventh time Church on the Hill is sending a Global Outreach team to Belen, Nicaragua, north of Chinandega, about 10 km from the Honduran border. We will be working again with our national missionaries, Rigo Reyes and his son Juan Carlos Reyes, as well as a local church.
They are organizing for us a construction project and VBS for children in the community, but the main goal will be to build relationships in order to help the local church be a light in their community. You don’t have to be a builder or speak Spanish to go on this trip--although it would help! There will be plenty of jobs to do and opportunities to talk with people in English.
One of the exciting parts of this GO Team is that members who sponsor a Compassion child in Nicaragua may have the opportunity to meet them and spend some time with them.
We are excited for what God has in store for us in Nicaragua this year. Please pray for us as we go.
Beginnings of our partnership with Finca Belen (Bethlehem Farms)
Forgotten. Dropped in the middle of nowhere with nothing. A community of 60 Nicaraguan families whose loved ones had been lost to war was “rewarded” with a small plot of barren land that floods every year, located about ten miles from the Honduran border. There was no infrastructure--no lights, no roads, no clean water, no supplies with which to build houses except the trees in the forest around them. The people were given nothing. Their government forgot them.
Over the years pastors would venture to this place and promise to return, but never did. Thus, the church, too, had forgotten them. . . Then one day God led Pastor Salamanca to this community. He was looking for a friend in another area, but took a “wrong” turn and ended up at Bonete 7. He was eagerly greeted and shown around the small piece of property which was now home to the forgotten people there. The people wanted to be remembered, so as Pastor Salamanca left, they asked him not to forget their community. And he didn’t.
Within a year, Pastors Scott and Elliot went to Nicaragua to find a location where Church on the Hill could invest time, people, and resources over an extended period of time; and Pastor Salamanca with Pastor Rigo took them to Bonete 7. There Pastors Scott and Elliot were also asked by the people to not forget them. When they left, they were overwhelmed by the need. They sensed that this out-of-the-way, difficult, forgotten community was exactly where Church on the Hill needed to plug in.
Since that visit in 2009, Church on the Hill has been able to support Bonete 7 and more than a dozen other communities through Finca Belen (Bethlehem Farms). We have sent five GO Teams, worked on several different projects, and raised well over $100,000 to help provide seed and fertilizer for farmers.
Finca Belen is a training school in agriculture, welding, carpentry, baking, pottery, and cosmetology. The Farm houses youth from the streets of Managua and other major cities that have gotten caught up in drugs, alcohol, and violence. In their months of training at the Farm, students learn about Jesus while they also learn a career skill. When they leave, they are equipped to work and be productive in life.
The agriculture school has been recognized by the local government, congresswoman, and many other agencies as a model for how to create sustainable agriculture systems so that farmers can grow with yields 70-200% greater than anything that had previously been experienced. After three growing seasons, the farmers are self-sustaining and begin to train other farmers in their community. It is truly life-changing.
By helping a GO Team member to Nicaragua or by giving to the Farm, you support families that have been let down by the government, have been disenfranchised with life, and are now finding hope in Jesus. The people there now have food to feed their families and are helping others learn the same growing techniques and skills that they learned at the Farm.
We serve the God who is present. He is present with us, He is present with the hurting, and He is present with the forgotten. Church on the Hill continues to be God’s present hand to the communities around Finca Belen. We use resources and abilities He has given us to help these communities.