Happy New Year, everyone! Since I last wrote, Tommy and I have solidified some of our plans, so now I am more at liberty to speak of them in detail. Our main decision was made months ago, but it has taken us quite a while to tell all of our family members and other people who needed to be told personally. It is only now that our "secret" is officially "out."
So... I guess I'll just jump in and tell you (if you don't already know). Tommy and I have decided to move to Nicaragua to teach the people there about goat farming (and about Jesus, of course). The main goal is to glorify God by loving other people. Obviously, there are countless ways of fulfilling this goal, but we really feel that God is calling us to take the opportunity that is in front of us right now. Our hope is that actually leaving the country and putting our focus on the lives of other people will put us in a better position to do God's will. (Important Note: This is not to say that one has to go into foreign missions to do God's will. I don't believe that at all. This is something that God has put on our hearts specifically, so please don't mistake our enthusiasm for this calling for any judgement against anyone else.) Our lifestyle will change drastically, but we are excited to have the chance to minister to this group of people.
Most Nicaraguans live on less than $2/day. We hope to use sustainable living techniques like goat farming (like I said) and gardening to provide the people of the Jinotega region with a way to sustain their own livelihoods instead of leaving them to rely indefinitely on the charity of others. (This is already being done with great success in the Philippines. In fact, that is where we got the idea.) While we work with the people, our hope is that we will develop real relationships with them—showing them genuine, Christ-like love—that will allow us the opportunity to share our faith with them. However, many of the people we will be working with are already Christians, church leaders who are struggling with whether to move into the city where there are jobs—or to stay at the rural church and starve. Our work with these people will be done through the local mission that is already established in Jinotega (Misión para Cristo). (Our group (Hope for Life) will be another branch of what they already have going on down there.)
Each of the families involved has different talents and abilities to bring to the table. Between the two of us, Tommy and I hope to add the skills of photography, videography, grapic design, and creation/maintenance of multi-media that we can use to garner support for our project and to keep our friends, family, and supporters in the loop about our progress. (We will, of course, spend much of our time in Nicaragua working with goats, plants, and people, but we may spend as much time, if not more, on the computer.) We are excited to see what God does with our particular mix of individuals.
There is so much more I could say about our current goals (and I intend to), but I have already written too much for an introductory post. If you have any specific questions, feel free to ask and we will try to answer them. Meanwhile, we appreciate your prayers.
In Anticipation of What 2011 Holds,