We know Thanksgiving just ended and it may be a little early for Christmas…but maybe you can use Cyber Monday to make it special for one of our kiddos down here!
Every year we want to make it possible for every child at Club Esperanza to get a present for Christmas! Last year we couldn’t do a big party because of COVID. But the alternative was so fun! We rolled out a red carpet and as the kids came to the club in small groups throughout the day…each one got to walk the red carpet on their way to a special Christmas present just for them!
We have over 300 children at the Club and are trying to raise money to buy a $12 gift for EVERYONE! Maybe you can donate for a couple? Maybe you would like to bless ten kiddos? Or more? Maybe the Lord has blessed you and you just want to buy all of them…amen!
I was in a great conversation yesterday with one of our long time teachers about where the Lord has taken us at Club Esperanza and how much history we have together all the way back to the days inside the dump. It was so encouraging reflecting on all the good things the Lord has done, but then I asked how the new neighborhood where all the families from La Chureca were moved to was doing. She does some tutoring at one of the homes about ten blocks away. Wow, there is still so much darkness. We are on the main road, we operate during the day and Club Esperanza is a place where the light of Christ shines and darkness is getting pushed further and further away, so we don’t always see the visual evidence of the darkness.
She continued to tell me how only last month a few full blocks were incredibly intense because there was a dispute among some young men that led to one being killed. There was accusations of drugs and a turf war type of thing. Apparently the wrong person was killed by whichever evil person was resorting to deadly violence. That led to family of that person seeking revenge, which led to a week of violence and gunfire and another death. Incredibly scary stuff and real darkness.
I don’t know if any of you have ever seen the movie “Lean on Me” in the late 80s. Morgan Freeman’s character Crazy Joe takes over a High School that was overrun with drugs and violence and cleans it up. That movie impacted me and little scenes from it always come to my mind…sometimes I even sing the “Fair East side” tune which was the school alma mater (watch the clip here it is awesome). I loved how the movie portrayed the darkness of drugs and violence and laziness and settling for the same old cycle of poverty and crime was being defeated by adults who cared enough about the kids to make a difference in their lives.
So, as I left Club Esperanza reflecting in prayer on the difficulties and hardship that surrounds us, the Lord gave me this picture of two of our students waiting outside for afternoon classes to start….
Right out in front of our school, on a street that has plenty of darkness…two of our elementary school students were playing chess. I watched them for a minute thinking to myself they can’t possibly know the rules. But they did and it was fun to watch her take his knight with her pawn. I asked them how they knew the game of chess and they told me Teacher Eber taught them how to play after school. How awesome is that? It is something simple, but it brings tears to my eyes because something so simple as a game of chess can certainly have the power to change entire generations.
Jesus has not just planted Club Esperanza in this neighborhood to keep children safe, to keep them healthy with a meal every day, not just to give them a good education. Jesus is growing up a generation of children who hunger for knowledge and new things that will challenge their minds, change their view of the world, and deliver them from dark places. Our third graders play chess in the streets….and I love that!
“In Him was life, and that life was the light of all mankind. The light shines in the darkness, and the darkness has not overcome it.“ -The Gospel of John 1:4-5
Thank you for your continued prayers and support for Club Cristiana La Esperanza,
Isandra is a part of our “Juntos Para Una Inclusion” program at Club Esperanza. She is from a wonderful family that lives in a neighborhood surrounding the Managua Municipal Dump (formerly La Chureca). Her parents Daniel and Mercedes have actually been the family responsible for keeping Miss Ruby’s home and the Prayer Upper Room in good order for the last three years. Isandra is one of their five daughters.
We got a pretty scary call from Daniel telling us that Isandra was severely ill with abdominal pain and a fever. On their first visit to the clinic they were told she would be fine. But, as her parents, Daniel and Mercedes knew something was wrong. They went to the hospital and Isandra was taken in for emergency surgery for a ruptured Appendix! Appendicitis can be life threatening in cases where it ruptures. Daniel asked us to prayer and we passed on word to all of you through social media. Wow their family was so deeply touched by all of your prayers!
Daniel even reflected with me when I visited him while Isandra was in recovery. He said over the last few years his wife and one of his other daughters had been hospitalized and they just sort of felt like they were in a desert by themselves. But with Isandra just by happenstance of seeing us recently and reaching out for prayer there was such a movement of people who hit their knees…and he said he could feel it! They didn’t feel alone. He went on to say with tears in his eyes how he thinks Isandra is special, how the grace of God seems to settle on some in powerful ways. As he was crying Daniel said Isandra has a special anointing of God’s grace on her life.
We say amen to that! Here is a special video from Daniel and Isandra….
Isandra’s Story is Amazing! Praise the Lord! Daniel told me as they left the hospital after only five days, there were two others in the Intensive Care that had been there for a long time after surgery for ruptured appendices…one for over 20 days and another for over a month. Wow! So encouraging how the Lord brought Isandra back to health so quickly! And also an encouragement for all of us to pray for those other two people as well….amen amen amen!
Some of you have reached out to us asking if you can help Isandra and her family in some way. You can do so by donating below and we will make sure to take care of them! Here is a short list of some of the things we can help with: Pampers, toiletries, wet wipes, fruits and vegetables, dietary supplements, a bed that reclines for her special needs.
Thanks for your prayers everyone! A beautiful testimony!!!
This month we had a special guest come to the Club and give a presentation to all of our students at Ileana’s School! Sergio Bustamante is a Nicaraguan children’s author who has created original characters and brings them to life in his stories….Baky, Jimmy, Tito y Rayo…all with an intentional message of helping children in Nicaragua see the world as bigger than what is in front of them.
We happened to meet Sergio randomly at Pop’s Ice Cream Shop when we were there celebrating Gigi’s 92nd Birthday. Krista’s sister Hope recognized Sergio from videos she watched with her daughter Sofia. We took some pictures and Mr. Buzbee prayed for him there in the middle of ice cream shop. It was one of those fun random God moments and you could feel the presence of the Lord blessing this young man.
Sergio got in touch with us later and asked if he could come to Club Esperanza and present his books in real life. He is a story teller and he has his own speakers, microphone and life size cutouts of his characters. We said yes of course and knew it would be awesome! Needless to say this was a HUGE treat for our kiddos. It was such a cool event to be able to do for them! Here are some photos from the day!
Our feeding program continues to have a huge impact on the community surrounding Club Esperanza. As we have said in the past we serve meals twice a day to every one of our students at all age levels from preschool all the way up to our High School Scholarship students and the University students that are a recipients of college scholarships from of our Enmannuel College Scholarship Fund.
Beyond the daily reach to our kids, the worldwide pandemic has made life very very very difficult in Nicaragua. As a world economy slows, it has a dominoe effect on very poor countries like Nicaragua which is the second poorest country in the Western Hemisphere. We could see the affect of this, especially in some of the elderly in our neighborhood…so we opened up the feeding program to them as well. It is very sweet. After all the children have been served, they show up a little later and are served in a very dignified way. God is good….we are His hands and feet…we worship His holy name as we serve!
One of our major partners in Nicargua for our feeding program is Orphan Network. We got a call just this past week to come and pick up a load of about two tons of rice, beans, soy, and powdered eggs. There was a little urgency for us, but we were able to use our new pickup to stack it high and get the shipment with no problem! Of course, having the help of our awesome staff at the Club is what really makes all of this possible!
God is sooooo good and we love serving Him! Club Esperanza is an amazing beacon of light for the Gospel of Jesus Christ lived out in every hand held, meal served, student getting educated, family being restored, child being protected and allowed to live a “normal” life where they can see the world as bigger than what is in front of them. God has great purposes for everyone person we serve every day…we know it!!!
Please be in continued prayers for Club Esperanza. So much good happens, but at the same time there are constant battles against sin and darkness. We have to make hard decisions, we have to shine light on difficult things, it is hard at times. We press on.
This week we are preparing for the 2021 school year which starts NEXT WEEK! We serve over 300 families every day at Club Esperanza with our feeding program, Ileana’s School, early childhood education, Lacrosse The Nations, High School Scholarship Program, Juntos Para Inclusión (Special Needs Program) and our newly formed Emmanuel College Scholarship Fund…..sooooo we need your prayers!!
We hope to get some posts up next week as things kick off but just wanted to put up a quick blog as we are preparing!
We are decorating walls, distributing school supplies, installing dry erase boards, painting walls, and we already opened the feeding program…amen amen amen…thank you for your prayers and support as we prep for next week!!!
Our friends at Love Light and Melody had a wonderful idea of integrating art into the lives of our students at Ileana’s School here at Club Esperanza. To read the full story of Ileana and the school that is named after her in a spirit of Hope for the future click here.
We asked all of our elementary students if they wanted to participate in an art contest in their free time. Almost half of them said yes!
To get them to think in the abstract and transition their thoughts to art, we asked them the simple question, “What does Ileana’s School mean to you?” As they reflected on that question, we told them to take that thought and draw it! Look at all the sweet results…
We are going to award prizes in the coming week…who do you think had the best painting? Let us know in the comments or on social media. We love them all and love to see what God has impressed on each of our students hearts when they think about their school.
We hope these pictures made you smile today!
Please keep us all in your daily prayers, we really appreciate all of your support for Club Esperanza and all the awesome God glorifying things that happen here on a daily basis!
We really love our teachers and staff at Club Esperanza. They are an incredible group of women and men who love Jesus and love people…with all they have! It has been a very hard time during this COVID pandemic. About one third of our staff actually had the virus and many of the families in the neighborhood we serve were infected. Teacher Roberto was the worse affected, but Praise Jesus he is well again! On top of the risk of catching the virus we had to close things down which was incredibly hard. Getting phone calls from families in need, missing the daily meals, the quality education, seeing teachers and friends that love them. It has been hard on everyone. This is a calling for our teachers and it has been so hard for them to be sitting at home waiting. But, we will be opening again soon! Praise the Lord!
…and if you want to support Club Esperanza financially that would be a huge help too! Specifically, we need laptop computers to help facilitate education during the pandemic! We found a local distributor that can get us HP laptops for $390.
As we prepare for the children to return to class, our teachers prepared this excellent video to share with our parents on social media. (click here to view if video does not load). The park near our school has free wifi, and EVERYONE has facebook in Nicaragua. So our innovative teachers pulled this together….social distance, masks, and more! 🙂
Our teachers also went through a seminar on preparations to return to class. They covered all the topics of safety with the virus. But also, and almost more importantly, they addressed the psychological state that some of the children may be in. We have our hearts ready and willing to help. We are asking the Lord to really be present and meet the emotional and spiritual needs of the families we serve.
Lastly, we want to share this beautiful little picture! Our feeding program is up and running and that is a huge amen! Most of the phone calls in need of help over the past few months have been about hunger. So, we say amen to this awesome way we are able to serve! We do need your prayers though. Our main partner in country that financially supports our “comedor” is dealing with a government audit and has paused funding. Please pray for a fast resolution to this! We have two more weeks supply of food and if it is not resolved we will have to find another source of funding in the mean time. So please please pray! We serve over 280 children every day.
God is in control and God is Good!
Thank you for your love and care for Club Esperanza,
We miss all our visitors…please come again soon when the country reopens!
First off, we want to share a fun report about Happy Meals coming to Club Esperanza! Mama Angelica (who is the house mom at Casa Robles) called a couple months ago to let us know she had a friend who worked with McDonalds. They had heard about Club Esperanza and wanted to do something fun for our kids. We were scheduled to receive the donation on June 1st but that was the week we suspended onsite operations at the Club because of Covid sicknesses. We thought we lost the opportunity…
…But that was not the case! This Monday, McDonalds here in Nicaragua donated 280 Happy Meals to all of the children we serve every day!!!
Isn’t that awesome?!? Our staff came together out of quarantine to make this happen for all of our kiddos! It was really such a fun day and such a blessing to be able to do something fun for the families we serve in the middle of this difficult time. Corona Virus has been at its peak this month. There is a lot of fear, sickness and death. It has been a tough time, and we appreciate your continued prayers. We went live on Facebook during the fun, here is the link if you would like to watch the video…
We also wanted to share a little bit about how we have had to adjust to the Corona Virus in recent weeks as it has gotten heavy here in Nicaragua…
Feeding Program: We suspended our feeding program two weeks ago because we started to have members of our staff get sick from the virus. Praise Jesus, they have all recovered, even our one staff member who had to be hospitalized. We were actually prepared to re-open the operation of our feeding program this week. But, in consult with our local partners, we had to make the decision this weekend to suspend activities for two more weeks. The infection numbers in Managua are still heavy, so for the safety of our families and staff this was the right decision to make.
It was difficult to make this decision because so many families depend on our feeding program for their children’s daily nutrition and health. That is why the McDonalds donation timing was so perfect. It was an exciting thing to all come together for, but it also allowed us the opportunity to give each family a two-week supply of rice and soy bean packages. This food supply will not replace the full nutritional meals we serve everyday at the Club, but it will be a huge help to provide the base for families to be able to prepare meals for their children at home. The timing was perfect, thank you Jesus.
Education: As happened worldwide, we have had to go to remote learning with all of our school levels. But unlike most parts of the world, we do not have access to computers in every home. So, our teachers have been stretched to the limits making sure that each of their students is getting the education they need so that they don’t fall behind. Through text messages with parents, strategic planning and lots of photo copies they are making it happen! This will be the situation for at least the next two weeks.
It may sound funny, but this Happy Meal day also helped our teachers with their students. One teacher told me, “Chachi, this was a huge help. Every parent came today for the Happy Meal, but we were able to tell them, ‘If you don’t turn in your child’s school work, you might miss out on our next fun activity!'” She was joking of course, sort of!
Spiritual Well Being: There are so many spiritual and emotional needs in the lives of the children we serve everyday, and in their families’ lives too. We have been able to stay connected with phone calls, and we are always available to any family with a major need. But, not being able to be together every single day and care for them has been the hardest part. So we will keep on praying against this horrible virus and ask the Lord to allow us to be back together as soon as possible!
Thank you for your continued prayers and support!
We keep pressing on and trusting the Lord! Below are some more fun photos from McDonalds Happy Meal day at Club Esperanza!
We have been faithfully serving the people God has put into our care during this time of worldwide crisis caused by the Corona Virus. It has been a blessing and a joy to be able to be a place of comfort, of prayer, of education, of nutrition, of God’s peace during this wild and crazy time. Club Cristiana La Esperanza is a lighthouse shining and giving hope in Barrio Los Martinez where we serve…Praise God for that.
Nicaragua has lagged behind the rest of the world but has recently had a spate of cases pop up. As schools are obligated to re-open this week, we need to take precautions for our teachers and staff. This crisis is not what we thought 2020 would bring…
Can you help us? These are unanticipated costs for our school year. But they are so necessary! Here are some of the things we could use your help with specifically related to the Corona Virus Pandemic….
Any amount that you can give will be a help!
A Three Month Supply of Protective Materials: This includes medical masks for our teachers, galons of hand sanitzer, galons of liquid alcohol and the dispensers to make that available for our 270 students and their families that pick them up and drop them off. Sheyla (our director) did some due diligence to price a three month supply…
Protective Glass for Teachers’ Desks: Additionally Sheyla found a company that can construct plexi glass dividers for office desks. We have a lot of interaction with parent’s in the main office as well as in the classrooms. We would put one of these at each desk to allow for continued interaction and conversation with parent’s with a safe division. We need to install these in eight different classrooms and offices….
We continue to serve…and we also want to be safe! Thank you for your prayers and support of all the great things happening at Club Esperanza! All of our teachers and staff are grateful for your help!!!
We are doing well down here in Nicaragua and we wanted to give all of our friends and supporters an update on how things are going at Club Esperanza with COVID19 being a worldwide pandemic. We just finished Semana Santa (Spring Break for Easter) and our schools are scheduled to re-open in Nicaragua next week. We have taken precautions at the school to protect our staff and teachers. We expect most families to not be sending their kids to school until there is a worldwide consensus on returning to school.
Even before Easter break we saw a dramatic drop in attendance immediately after the virus made international headlines. Most families are deciding themselves to stay home and ride it out. Our excellent teachers have made the efforts to get a version of “homeschooling” implemented. It is very difficult though, mostly because the community we serve is very poor and do not have access to home computers. Please pray for our teachers and students during this time…they will do their best! Computer access is actually a huge need for our school.
Another big area of impact we have on the community is our daily feeding program. We have made a very intentional decision to continue serving lunch everyday. We decided to follow the model of restaurants in the US doing “take out”. Our cooks have been preparing meals daily during this very difficult time and serving them to out of the front gate of the school…sort of a Club Esperanza drive through :-). Praise Jesus for this part of our ministry! To not be hungry in a time of crisis is a HUGE blessing.
Thank you for your prayers and support during this hard time. Below is an excerpt from our recent newsletter to give you further insight on how we are passing this storm, No Fear!…
“For God has not given us a spirit of fear, but of power and of love and of a sound mind.”
-2 Timothy 1:7
We continue in ministry at Club Esperanza, at our rescue homes, on the Rio Coco, and in local neighborhoods as the Corona Virus pandemic is wreaking havoc on the world.Our school has once again been a haven of hope in the middle of hard times.We have hundreds of children from early childhood education all the way through high school scholarship students who are being cared for and our daily feeding program where we serve nearly 300 families a day!
We are going to be responsible in the way that we continue to serve.We will follow government guidelines and do all of those things.But one thing we will not do is serve our community out of a spirit of fear.God has given us Power and Love that overcomes all fear!So we will cling to that and continue to serve.We so much appreciate all of you who support us financially, pray for us daily and come down to serve hand in hand with us.We hope you will keep supporting us in those ways!At the same time, we do know adjustments will be made.Please stay safe, keep praying and enjoy the time with your families.Hopefully this will pass quickly and we will see some of you down here again!
February was our first month back at school at Club Esperanza. The year started with great excitement. The classrooms are FULL, the kitchen is cranking out hundreds of meals every day,Ileana’s schoolopened up our 4th grade classroom as the school continues to grow, the playground area is LOUD, the dining hall is bustling with lots of happy hungry little faces, GOD IS SO GOOD!
“For the needy shall not always be forgotten; and the hope of the poor shall not perish forever.” -Psalm 9:18
We love the ongoing everyday ministry that happens at Club Esperanza and we hope you are encouraged as you support and pray for all of the children and families who pass through the front gate every day….almost three hundred kids and hundreds of parents! Our purposes are God’s purposes and our teachers and staff labor every day so that the Hope found in Jesus is made known in all their lives! We love being a part of it!
We are able to serve so many so well because of our awesome partners…and there are a number of you…THANK YOU! A special thanks to Orphan Network who stopped by and dropped off brand new Crocs sandals for all of our students last month. They are an incredible organization who have walked along side us since our days inside of the Managua dump, focused on the health and nutrition of every single one of our young students. Another special thank you to NicaWorks, who are providing school uniforms for our students this year. The uniforms are being locally made out of a sewing shop NicaWorks started to provide vocational training to families living in poverty.
My favorite part of our school and community center is that we are able to feed all of our students twice a day. The morning students get a small breakfast and a big lunch, then when we make the shift at noon to our older students also get a big lunch and a small afternoon snack. I love this part because amid all that is going on educationally and spiritually at Club Esperanza, our kids feel good….because they have food in their stomachs! Amen!!! Thank you Orphan Network and Lacrosse The Nations for your continued faithful support towards feeding our kiddos EVERY DAY!
WE NEED COMPUTERS!!! We have a group of High School students in our scholarship program at Club Esperanza. Computer access is essential and over the years we have been blessed by a big donation of mini laptops from our friends at Austin Samaritans. They have lasted a long time, but as it is with technology they are beginning to fade and spare parts can’t seem to keep up. So, if you or anyone you know would like to put together a campaign or donate or help in some way with computers please email us email@example.com OR donate directly through this link or the links below.
God Bless all of you who read our blog, get our newsletters, faithfully support, pray for and share interest in what God is doing here in Nicaragua. Many individuals and groups and churches….all of God’s people…is what keeps everything cranking down here. So thank you! Another year is underway at Club Esperanza!!!