Sally Jo and I leave tomorrow for Nicaragua at 7:00 AM. This will be the second time Sally Jo has led this trip which is to an incredible school developed under the leadership of Wayne and Megan Tingle. There is no school in the slum area.
Their mission acquired 5 acres in a true slum area – no paved road or street. Under Wayne’s leadership (in USA he did landscaping and then became a contractor) a 10′ wall was built, a playing field and landscaping were begun, and an office and school room were built. Megan asked 5 grade school principals to come down and teach her how to best structure the school, hire, train, and encourage the staff, and to help with the selection of curriculum. These principals continue to be consulted. Megan hired a licensed Nicaraguan principal who then began to hire licensed teachers.
The school started with pre-school. With one good meal a day plus vitamins the little children’s hair,orangish from malnutrition, turned to its normal color. As the children have gotten older, the next grade level, with its class room. is ready. There are now about 260 children in pre-K through grade 4.
Megan is determined to develop leaders for the country. The children are very carefully selected and come each day, out of their slum dwellings ( some of these “houses” have been built against the surrounding wall – one free wall and it helps the one room structure stay steady) having done their homework, and dressed in their clean school uniforms. These children come to school eager to learn the basics, plus English, music, art, and gymnastics (partly to teach physical discipline).
Last year (2012) nationals prepared the footings and poured the floor for a toilet facility. They put the drain pipes in the concrete floor that the toilets “sit on”. One problem….pipes were about an inch closer to the wall then they should have been…..
“Sally Jo’s team” solved the problem! The 2012 team of 11 men and 4 women included included 4 builders, an architect, and a building inspector – also an attorney (president of the congregation), banker, a Spanish teacher – and the church’s worship team which included 3 incredible teenagers who have won secular competitions. They led worship in Spanish and English at the school and in Spanish in two churches in the area.
They toughest challenge the construction people had was to put a shut off valve between the area water supply and the school – with no way to shut off the flow of water from the town – a 3″ flow!…they then installed a sand filter on the school side of the pipe)
This year’s team of 10 men and 5 women will spend time talking English with the students while we make stick puppets, eat and play with them, etc.
This past summer (2013) a nurse came to work with the Tingles, so some of us will be pouring the footings and laying the foundation for a clinic, which will serve the school children and their families.
A DL couple has significantly helped to pay for the clinic.
We know, going in, the temperature every day will be over 100 plus high humidity. I will speak in a Nicaraguan church the day after we arrive, and again later in the week. It will be an intense week.
When people ask Sally Jo why she leads these trips, her answer is: “Because I can.” Their next question: “Will you do this again next year?” …yes, she plans to.
Life is short, and we continue to invest our lives in the opportunities the Lord makes available to share Jesus Christ while developing leaders. Some of these leaders are the people with whom we very directly work. Others are the leaders who are where we go, that they may be more effective in their life’s work.
It will be a good week….it is a privilege to live and serve In Partnership With God.