My Oh My, what a glorious day
Wednesday was one of our best yet for this trip. The schools in the city of Managua were closed for a holiday. The youth ministers from Oscar’s church (Iglesia Bethsaida) brought a group of 25 kids from the church and 25 from the school (Rey Salomon) who aren’t part of the church. We brought our 12 kids and all 60+ heard great worship music and an inspired message. After lunch, all of them played volleyball, soccer, and basketball. Worshipping, eating, and sweating together created some serious bonds and it was all in the name of Jesu Cristo.
I met a new team from Michigan who’s been coming for almost 10 years to the same community called Chilimatillo. Their relationships and investment are beautiful. The entire neighborhood knows to come join in when the bus pulls up. What used to be a single wooden shack is now a beautiful church with a courtyard, a couple of rooms, a home for the pastor, and a large playground with a cleared soccer field. Boy, that playground was filled with smiles and joy!
Friday afternoon is another new one, a plan from the youth ministry at Josue 1:9 in Los Brasiles. Anyielka has invited all of the kids from both schools to come to the church for a grand celebration and to share the gospel. Our team of kids will be in the drama, singing worship songs, and more. More than 300 kids are expected, most of whom don’t go to any church and may have never heard the gospel. Can you talk about a revival?
O Happy Day, what a day!
I’m writing from the dining area of La Quinta. Across the room, a couple of long-time NRN sisters are talking to a couple of ladies from Los Brasiles, one of whom is leaving for Costa Rica tomorrow for three months to try to find work. On the porch, the ACF student team is playing “Empires” and having a blast. All is well with Tony in Nicaragua. Here’s hoping the kids and Denise are still trucking along in Zachary, LA.
Today rocked. I flew in yesterday and was whisked away to the birthday party for Pastor Oscar’s wife. I met the ACF team later. Mixed in and around, we hosted a handful of students who are in college only because NRN support enabled them—first at the secondary schools and now through the North American partners who sponsor them.
This morning was kind of like vacation Bible school back home. We brought the youngest kids from the primary school Josue 1:8 and did crafts, worship, Bible stories, and “minute to win it” in groups. The ACF kids were wonderful; engaged, invested, and having a blast the whole time. Lunch was sopa de frijoles at Hogar de Fe—Denise is jealous.
In the afternoon, we picked up construction efforts on Lucia’s house. Lucia works in the kitchen at Hogar and lives next door to the house we helped Antonio build. Until recently, she lived in a 10’x6’ wooden shack with her two kids. When this team leaves, the walls and floor will be complete. She’ll have her roof and be able to move in before the end of August, God willing.
And, super exciting, a few of our team were invited to visit the public school in Los Brasiles with the youth pastor from Josue 1:9. They’re now part of the outreach efforts from the church into the rest of the community. With wonderful results so far, all testimony to the power of the Holy Spirit.
We’re reviving the blog! Soon to be retitled under Hechura Suya, our non-profit company dedicated to the support of NRN from the stateside. Anyone still out there?
Brothers and Sisters in Christ,
Happy New Year! Hope 2012 is treating everyone well. We’re going to visit Austin again over Mardi Gras weekend (Feb. 18-21) and we’re hoping to see all of you then. Who’s going to be around?
As most of you know, at the end of our six months in Nicaragua last year, NRN asked Denise and me to consider full-time ministry with them. We would expand the roles that we began during our time there, but primarily serve from the U.S. We are in the midst of starting our own non-profit to handle expenses for our work with NRN, including travel and ground packages for our trips. This is all part of the long term plan we’re watching unfold which has us as “full-time volunteers” with NRN going forward. NRN pledges that 100% of collections are spent on ministry in Nicaragua, so has no infrastructure to pay for state-side expenses. In fact, if this works out, Denise and I will be FTVs numbers 3 and 4, after Ginny and Cecil.
Our ministry will be a little different from Ginny and Cecil, though, at least for the time being. Denise is already stepping in as the coordinator for sponsorships across all of NRN, a huge expansion from her previous role as ACF sponsorship coordinator. NRN is up to 1800 kids sponsored! She will continue travelling with ACF’s special needs teams and family teams as possible. For me, I’ll be filling in on administrative stuff stateside plus chaperoning teams like the Campbells do, along with anything else that comes up!
If God would have us serving in this way, we’ve got to fund both our NRN expenses and our living expenses. The preliminary name for our non-profit is “Hechura Suya” which is from Ephesians 2:10, referring to “His workmanship”. We’ll be fund-raising this year and intend to be full time by 2013, depending on NRN’s needs and God’s provisions. In the mean time, I have started a solo law practice here in Baton Rouge, LA, and believe God will cover the interim in that way.
We are grateful to have had your support in 2011, and we hope that you will prayerfully consider whether you’d like to share this ministry with us in the future. I hope that you followed our exploits through the blog athttp://iannitelli.tumblr.com
. We are humbled and thankful that this story might continue to unfold with us in it. Please pray for us and NRN.
We look forward to seeing what 2012 brings for our family, and we hope that the time you spend praying about continued support for our service to our Nicaraguan brothers and sisters will bring honor and glory to the One who is worthy to receive it. Please write back with any questions or suggestions. If you decide to join us, let me know and I will send you some instructions for contributing.
Tony and Denise