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Paso a Paso (Step by Step) December Ministry Update
  December 28, 2013


Hello, Dear Ones.
Before you go any further: believe it or not, I attached pictures! A collage, even, Christmas card style! I hope it works.

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It is four days from the end of 2013 and the beginning of 2014. That's a little shocking to me. Praise God, this school year has gone well and I think, if we're measuring by school years (as a family like ours tends to), 2013-14 is on track to be our best year in Nicaragua so far. While that hasn't always been the toughest competition, I'm deeply grateful to God, nonetheless. One way I've described this transition is how long it's taken us to feel like ourselves. As 2013 ends, I would say: closer! Praise God.

Experienced Teacher
My Bible class at Nicaragua Christian Academy went very well. I'm not AT ALL convinced that I'm called to be a full-time school teacher. At all. Truthfully, I was more of a pastor than a teacher, but that works for a Bible class. Since it was a class on Faith and Discipleship, I simply aimed at having it be an experience of discipleship for them. For the end of their final, I asked them three reflection questions about their experience during the semester and I was profoundly encouraged by their answers. "I loved this class. Although it made me step out of my comfort zone at times, such as testimonies, it really was a time where I learned more about who God is. Seeing him as a real presence in my life, someone who sees what I see and feels what I feel. A step closer to being the disciple that I want to be." Amen! May it be true of us all. Thanks for your prayers.

Upcoming Ministry
Looks like life gets exciting in January. We will have a young adult married couple, Jonathan and Kendra, arrive January 7 to begin the first ever Servant Partners young adult internship in Nicaragua! YAY! They will be living with Pastor Bismarck and learning Spanish and immersing in the culture here. They've both been leaders with InterVarsity Christian Fellowship in Michigan, and Jonathan plans to work on InterVarsity staff (picture college fellowship chaplain) when they go back to the States in June.
We also have a woman from Argentina coming for the month of January. She's a good friend of Soledad's who she will be working at House of Hope and also being part of our ministry here.

From January 15-19, Pastor Bismarck, Dean Young (my Servant Partners supervisor) and I will travel to Honduras to lead a weekend retreat for the SP folks there on Developing Community in Ministry. I'll be teaching most of it, through a translator (one of these days, God willing, it'll be in Spanish). I'm excited to see some friends I haven't seen since our training there in 2011!

On January 24, Nicaragua Christian Academy has its Spiritual Emphasis Day, for which they have a main speaker and then many sessions from which the students can select. Kim and I are going to speak on Choosing a Spouse! I'm really pleased about it, because we've done very little teaching together and I think this will be a lot of fun--or else we'll come home not speaking. One or another. Seriously, many NCA graduates have reported that Spiritual Emphasis Day had the biggest influence on them during their time in school.

Finally, the elders at International Christian Fellowship have asked me to be an elder. I prayed about it a lot and asked some people to pray for me and decided this is how God is leading me. The biggest reason is that the main responsibility for me as an elder will be to preach...which I'm already doing. I think this will be a good opportunity to use my gifts to bless the missionary community and continue to use my gifts. We'll still be working with Nueva Jersusalen, as well.


A Glimpse of God's Redemption
A couple months ago, I told you how the Nicaraguan social services removed all the dorm girls from House of Hope. (To be clear, House of Hope is still ministering to adult women and their children.) None of them has been allowed to return to House of Hope, and it is extremely unlikely they will be. Some of these girls have been placed back with their families, which means they are extremely at risk. That's a nice way of putting it. They were taken out of those homes in the first place.
Now here is the glimpse. Brittany, the former dorm mom, wants to continue ministering to these girls, with whom she had lived for a couple years. She is trying to become foster mom to two of the girls who were put in an orphanage, and she may take in two others at the request of their mothers. The orphanage is in San Judas. Brittany hopes to start a ministry to girls there, with an afterschool program of mentoring and tutoring. Brittany's church, which provides all her support, has agreed to continue supporting her on the condition that she finds a mission organization to join (since she's not at House of Hope anymore, of course). Brittany is applying to Servant Partners! That means she will join our team here, we can help support the neighborhood ministry she is starting, and we'll be able to continue our relationships with a couple of the girls who we've known for years, including Yosidara!

Family Stuff
We're all really happy to be on Christmas break, of course. I think my biggest praise to God for my children is that they each have a couple of true, close friends. Lydia is doing HACIA Democracy again this year (similar to Youth and Government or Model UN). They will travel to Panama and she's going to be part of the press corps, which is a pretty high honor, as very few students are accepted for this role. She's 17 now. I'm a little in shock, but apparently she didn't skip any numbers, we're just here already. Annalise had a good time playing soccer in the fall and has started playing the piano again. She is finding her niche at school. Aria continues to play sports at every opportunity. Praise God, she is having a great school year and adores her teacher. She and I are reading Tolkien's The Fellowship of the Ring together. Corin has developed a love for Legos. He's an excellent reader, though the passion for it hasn't kicked in. He and I recently had a conversation about Christmas in which he told me, "Dad, God isn't a man!" So we had a great discussion about who Jesus is and why we celebrate Christmas. Kim continues to dazzle as a teacher. She has several Nicaraguan women she sees regularly and she is tutoring a few of them in English. One of them is Grizelda, whom we have known since my first trip here. I attended her high school graduation and we have helped support her through university. She is within a few months of graduating, and she is expecting her second child, a girl, whom she plans to name Kimberly!


Prayer Requests
*Please pray for Kim and me as parents. Every parent goes through the cycles of challenges, and we've been at this long enough to get that. But we could use some prayer for patience and wisdom and discernment right now. Thanks!
*Pray for my upcoming teaching trip to Honduras. Please pray for effective teaching through God's Spirit and a safe and uneventful trip. Honduras is a different place than Nicaragua.
*Pray for our incoming interns, Jonathan and Kendra! Pray that they would start well and Pastor Bismarck and I would connect deeply and begin to build trust with them.
*Please continue to pray for Kim's step-dad, Donley. We've heard recently that his pain has lessened and he is able to do more. Praise God for that. At this time, he is not pursuing any further treatment for the cancer.
*I'm really grateful that I am sleeping better! You can join me in praising God for this and please continue keeping this in your prayers for both me and Kim.


Thanks for your prayers, thanks for your friendship, thanks for your love, thanks for your faithfulness. May God continue to reveal Himself to you and may you see with new eyes his grace and love for you in 2014.

If anyone wants to catch the end of the year tax stuff, we are gratefully accepting those end-of-the-year gifts. There is always more to do here, and as we step forward in ministry, expenses increase, too. God continues to provide through the ups and downs of the economy, which I see as both His faithfulness and yours. May he bless you ten times over!

Peace and Joy, Beloved of our Father,
Mike


If interested, please send financial gifts to the below address:

For credit/debit card donations:
Please click HERE



Foundations Ministries, Inc.
c/o Carrie Schenck
PO Box 2281
Wenatchee, WA 98807
United States
  Posted by foundations2 on January 18, 2014
 
 Newsletters
Progress!
 



Dear Friends and Family,



I hope this finds you well and knowing God's delight in you. I wrote this update earlier (and was just choosing pictures, due toloudpopular demand), but have to add something from today. We
arranged a meeting between my friend Pastor Bismarck and my friend Dave Boone, who helps run the blacksmith shop here. Both parties were excited to pursue working together. This blacksmith shop is a ministry that trains Nicaraguans to teach others to become
blacksmiths. It is both a discipleship program and a vocational center, and their vision is to help Nicaraguans start their own vocational centers where they can train and disciple others. Today we started making the connections that we hope will lead to
men in our neighborhood entering their program. Since the number one need here, after people knowing Jesus, is employment, and one of the 8 signs of a transforming community is economic sufficiency (http://www.servantpartners.org/index.php?page=the-8-signs),
I believe this is the beginning of a huge answer to prayer...and the fruit of developing relationships and trust over the past year-and-a-half. Praise God! I'm encouraged.





Hosting a mission trip

We recently hosted a small team of two young women on a mission trip. They are from Argentina and friends of Soledad (Saul's fiance). The gals helped out with the children's ministry at Bismarck's
church. We also spent a lot of their time working at House of Hope, painting a couple of rooms that are momentarily empty so that they will be nice to move into for the next girls or women who arrive, and of course playing with the kids. They helped out
with the computer classes Saul helps teach the women and children on Fridays.




We also had a daily Bible study for the weeks they were here, first going through James and then studying some chapters in Romans. Here is the big news for me: I co-led the Bible studies with Bismarck.
Why is that big news? Because we did it all in Spanish! Yes, that is my first "official" teaching in Spanish. I can tell you honestly that it went better than I imagined. I'm still a LONG way from preaching in Spanish, but it was a nice step forward.
It also showed me that I need to keep on with my Spanish study. I'd never studied James and Romans back-to-back like that before, and both Bismarck and I were surprised by all the strong parallels between the letters.




Two things in their mission trip were especially meaningful for me. First, we had all the dorm girls from House of Hope over for dinner at our house. We'd never done this before, for a number of reasons,
but it was a great step forward in getting to love them. Nine House of Hope girls was...exciting. Noisy. A bit damaging, property-wise. But there were no broken bones or stitches, and not much more shouting and arguing then you would expect from siblings
(who happen to all be from very broken homes). Seriously, it was wonderful to get to feed them and love them and have the mission team gals plan games for them. It was also a huge reminder that their lives have been so incredibly different from ours. When
I picked the whole group up--and this is 9 girls plus me in our 8 passenger minivan on very rough roads for the first section--they were so excited that they just laughed and screamed and sang for the whole drive. It was the loudest anyone has been in our
vehicle, which is saying something.

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The second thing was that, at Saul's suggestion, we took their trip as something of a mini warm-up for our upcoming interns. Our goal in the near future is to have young adult interns come for a discipleship
program with Servant Partners. These will range from 6 months to 2 years, and will involve community living, Bible study, and ministry in the neighborhood and, likely, at House of Hope. That partnership is too deep and long-standing for it not to continue,
unless God really directs otherwise. We have two young adults interested in coming in September and staying for 6 months. I'd love to have a slightly bigger group than two, but with our team of Soledad, Bismarck, Saul and me, it still rounds up to six! Seriously,
a Bible study of six or seven works much better than a group of three. We'll be starting to plan logistics and curriculum for this very soon, as Saul will be leaving for the States in May to plan and prepare for his wedding and won't return until after his
honeymoon in August.




Family Stuff

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At a year and a half plus, I would now say all our kids have settled in well here. The adjustment to a different culture is a long-term transition. It's challenging to sort which struggles we have
that our specific to this context and which we would have anyway, regardless of where we live. Corin is loving Kindergarten. He's not quite the model student he was last year, partly because the group of boys he enjoys are pretty rowdy and don't always listen
quietly in class. The best thing I've seen from Corin in class is that he has befriended a boy who didn't really have any other friends, and they have become buddies. Their time together certainly lends to Corin getting more correction from his teacher than
he would otherwise, but we will take that trade. Corin's Spanish continues to run circles around ours. In fact, his teacher has requested that he speak more English in class, to be a role model for his Spanish-speaking classmates! I'd say he's getting it.




Inline image 3
Annalise,
who is now in 7th grade, has probably had the toughest transition of any of our kids. Her smile still glows with the same joy, but we don't see it as often as we'd like. Sadly, she has experienced some bullying and mistreatment at school. We love our school
and the teachers and administrators are very responsive to our concerns, but that doesn't solve all of the problems. The good news to report is that a group of 11th grade girls have really adopted her and rallied around to encourage her. For us parents,
it has been beautiful to see. She also has close relationships with two of her teachers and her principal, who leads a Bible study for the 7th-grade girls. On Saturday, she ran in a 3K/5K fun run that was part of the school's big biannual Festival. Annalise
volunteered to accompany a classmate of Corin's named Rylee, whose parents had other commitments so they couldn't run the 3K with her. Rylee is six. They were fantastic together, and she helped Rylee keep going and have fun and feel good about her race.
The Festival was a blast, with games and bouncy houses that had waterslides(!) and music and much junk food. But Rylee told her mom that the highlight of her day was running with Annalise. Our Miracle Girl's kind heart is still intact. We're very grateful
for that.




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Aria
has had her ups and downs with our life. She has also experienced some bullying at school, which she is standing up to. I lead a devotional for her 4th-grade class every Friday, so I have learned first-hand about the little civil war that has been raging
in her class. I'm happy to say Aria has successfully stood apart from the groups clashing with each other, but this hasn't been an easy position for her to take. Aria's Spanish is also taking off, and she was recently promoted from Special Spanish (i.e.
Spanish as a second--or third--language) to Regular Spanish (i.e. Spanish for Nicaraguans). This is a HUGE step forward! She is also becoming quite the athlete. She also ran in the Fun Run, her first 5K. She finished in 27:49, first in her age group. Let
me just say that her late grandfather, who was a fantastic distance runner, would have been quite proud.




One of my biggest joys here is that Lydia, Annalise and Aria have all taken up ultimate, and there are 4 R-W's on the field for our Sunday games! As long as I'm talking sports, I'll add that Lydia,
Annalise and I all ran in Nicaragua Christian Academy Triathlon a couple weeks ago. Lydia improved on her time from the year before by 10 minutes. Annalise, who had never done anything nearly this demanding before, completed the whole thing, which was a
huge success for her, and even got a good enough time (1:40) to earn extra credit in her classes! As for me, I discovered that I'm not a very strong swimmer, but determination and Grrr can make up for a lot.

Inline image 1


Lydia continues to do great, both spiritually and scholastically. She turned 16, which is still hard for me to wrap my mind around. She has a very challenging schedule, including an AP Econ class,
and she is in HACIA Democracy (Harvard Association Cultivating Inter-American Democracy). It's a bit like Model U.N. She will travel to the Dominican Republic later this month for the big event. She will represent Brazil and has to write a position paper
on prison reform in Brazil. Can I tell you that my eldest daughter is getting very smart? She is also quite beautiful, which those of you who are Dads can understand is a mixed blessing. But I must say, her judgment seems very sound and she continues to
be very mature for her age (as she has been since she was 2). She is involved in a girls' Bible study and Young Life, and loves them both. She continues to give me good feedback on my sermons (she's probably heard me preach more than anyone else except Kim).
She has also made some fantastic friends, including a wonderful best friend named Annie. This, too, brings joy to a father's heart.




Kim also loves it here. She is learning Spanish quickly and has decided within the last few months to learn guitar! She's doing really well, taking lessons, and can already play a few songs for us.
She is getting to exercise both her gift of hospitality and her gift of service frequently. The former through all the kids we have over to play (and feed), the families who visit, the many folks who stay with us (Soledad is presently staying here for 2
months) and the gatherings she organizes; the latter with the sewing class she has started with the widows I described in some previous updates, seeking to help our Nicarguan friends to get dental care through the inexpensive missionary clinics that are offered
here, accompanying her good friend Amada to her OB/GYN appointments as she (Amada!) prepares to have a baby, etc, etc. If I made the whole list for you, this would be a VERY long update. My wife continues to amaze me. Inline image 1



As for me, I would not say that I have been the model of smooth transitions or cultural adjustments. Fortunately, I believe God values faithfulness over doing it "right." I realized not long ago that
I needed a few more things that encouraged me and would be life-giving for me. So I am now coaching the JV basketball team at NCA, which has been fun and frustrating and a bit more responsibility than I meant to sign up for. I had intended merely to be an
assistant coach for the one school team, but there were so many kids trying out that it became evident a JV team would prevent having to cut a third of the kids. I prayed about it and decided it was the right thing to do. My other step is to preach more
often at the International (English speaking) church. I am now preaching about once a month. We have a rotation of speakers, which I really like, and this is giving me a chance to use my gifts again.





Of course, there is much more going on. I think I will share a few anecdotes in my next update, to try to capture some of it. Meanwhile, here are a few



Prayer Requests

*Well, our deadline is here. We need to decide/are deciding/have decided about staying. And the answer is...please pray! I think we are staying, but I don't feel peaceful and settled about it, as
I'd hoped to.



*I am going to try to take a 3 to 7 day personal retreat, largely to address the above request. I had somehow pictured that this decision would be clear. I think it is for Kim; it isn't for me. So
I need some uninterrupted time with God to work through it. Kim has given her wholehearted blessing to this idea. That should give you the picture.



*Please pray for Annalise's situation at school. Pray that God would strengthen her and help her know how to respond to the other kids. My greatest hope is that she will learn to depend on God more
through this. Also pray that we would be wise in knowing how to support her through this.



*Pray that God would continue to lead us and open the doors he has for us in ministry and relationships here. We are looking very seriously at a neighborhood where we might move in. It's not where
we originally pictured, but it could be a good fit. Once again, we really need wisdom and guidance in these decisions, as there are so many factors that we simply cannot see.







Inline image 6



Peace and Joy, Beloved of God.

Mike



To support Mike and Kim:


Online giving by credit or debit card (finally!) available

Send checks to:

Foundations Ministries, Inc.

c/o Carrie Schenck

PO Box 2281

Wenatchee, WA 98807

United States







  Read More... (19634 bytes not displayed) | Posted by foundations2 on March 8, 2013
 
 Newsletters
February 14, 2007 Update Letter
  Get caught up with the latest news and dreams of Foundations Ministries. Find out why there is an "s" in "Ministries" -- click the "Read More" link below!
  Read More... (11359 bytes not displayed) | Posted by timd on February 25, 2007
 
 Foundations Ministries
Nicaragua Pictures Posted
  Photos from the recent trip to Central America are now available for your viewing pleasure. Click on the Photo Gallery link on the right to view pictures from the Missions Trip to Nicaragua.
  Posted by timd on January 22, 2007
 
 Newsletters
Final Report on Missions Trip to Nicaragua
  Read the final report on the exciting adventure to Nicaragua! The report includes some great quotes from the students -- check it out by clicking the Read More link below...
  Read More... (14243 bytes not displayed) | Posted by timd on January 22, 2007
 
 Newsletters
Nicaragua Update #2 - After Christmas!
  Read more about the adventures of the first missions trip of Foundations Ministries to Nicaragua by clicking the "READ MORE" link below!
  Read More... (8822 bytes not displayed) | Posted by timd on January 16, 2007
 
 Newsletters
Nicaragua Update #1 - Christmas!
  Check up on this Christmas update from first missions trip of Foundations Ministries by clicking the "READ MORE" link below!
  Read More... (13534 bytes not displayed) | Posted by timd on January 16, 2007
 
 Newsletters
December 3, 2006 Update - Off to Nicaragua!
  Hello, Friends. Today is Sunday. We arrived in Los Angeles at 5:30 pm Friday; we leave tonight for Nicaragua (technically Monday morning, but 12:30 am is the night before in my world); . Yesterday, my friend Richard Parks gave us a tour of his neighborhood in South Central and told us some stories of how God has redeemed and worked miracles in people's lives here. The students got a picture of how a few lives can be used by God to transform a place and touch many.
  Read More... (2357 bytes not displayed) | Posted by timd on December 4, 2006
 
 Foundations Ministries
Foundations Ministries Auction Coming Up
  The students of Foundations Ministries are having an Auction on Saturday, November 25 in order to raise funds for their rapidly approaching Missions trip. They are actually auctioning themselves off in a Work / Date auction. Click the Read More link below to find out all about it.
  Read More... (2761 bytes not displayed) | Posted by timd on November 22, 2006
 
 Newsletters
November 12, 2006 Update
  The trench is filled! A mission trip is lined up! Read the latest update of Foundations Ministries by clicking the Read More link below.
  Read More... (11310 bytes not displayed) | Posted by timd on November 22, 2006
 

  
 

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