wateandlight nicaragua

How did we get to Salinas Grande?

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One of my favorite things about living abroad is meeting people from all over the world.  Last weekend we showed a movie as a reward for good attendance to some of the English Club kids.  As we were setting up, we crossed paths with a group of German students who had used our beach Rancho to cool down after visiting the school during the day.  Right about then a couple from Italy stopped by to check out the movie and learn about what is happening to further education here in Salinas.  There is no way to plan who is going to show up or when, which brings me to the story of Surfer John from San Diego, CA.

About a year before we moved to Nicaragua, Surfer John showed up in Salinas Grande chasing waves.  Within a couple of days, he had broken both of his boards and was wondering what in the world he was doing in this tiny fishing village.  With no board, John spent a lot of time praying and ended up having a profound experience with the Lord.  Some locals took him in like family and he spent the rest of the trip doing what he could to help out in the community.   As he was leaving Managua, he happened to mention to our friend, Chachi, that he knew of a place for sale in Salinas Grandes that was all set up for a big family and entertaining guests.  When we were looking for a place to land in Nicaragua, Chachi remembered the house and told me about it.  We ended up renting that yellow house and it turned out to be the reason we found Salinas Grande.  It was the place where the Lord solidified our vision for Water & Light, where we built community with new friends and welcomed old ones, where the first English class happened on the patio, and where we learned how much water a family of 6 can use.  It was the place where we sat under the stars in awe of our Creator and were encouraged to dream bigger than we ever thought possible.

I got to hug Surfer John a couple of weeks ago and share our story with him.  I am constantly amazed how God weaves lives together.  Our words are powerful.  The most insignificant conversation may provide the spark that ignites a new fire for someone else.


English Club is Growing


English club is growing like crazy and we are excited to get to be apart of it.  Beyond teaching in the middle school and getting to know the kids, I love having them to my house to play and get to know them a little better.  Cathy and I often talk about how to make a lasting impact on the community.  We want to do more than just give a handout.  We want to change lives and English club gives us the opportunity to go deeper with the kids.  We started the club with just middle school kids and we need to expand to the elementary children because they are sitting on our fence listening, hoping to be apart as well.   A friend is coming in a few weeks to help me plan curriculum and design how the lessons can teach English while reflecting the love of our Savior.  I am so excited to work with her and thankful that the Lord directed our paths together. 

Teaching in the school gives me a good vantage point to view the education in Salinas Grandes.  There are huge needs in the educational system.  Many of the kids have been sponsored one organization or another to receivea uniform, school supplies, and the small tuition fee.  But they are constantly out of school for various reasons and when they are in class they copy from the board without understanding much of what they are copying.  They are not taught problem solving skills and only know what surrounds them in their small village.  There are no books in their homes.  I read the statistic that for a Nicaraguan to own a book is similar to an American spending $257 on a single book.  In a survival culture there is no room for extras like books.  Recently Parker read the book Clara and the Book Wagon.  He immediately said, “Mama why don’t we take books around to the kids in our village to borrow.” I love that the kids inspired to meet the needs they see around them.   We are beginning to dream with our kids about a lending “wagon” (the back of our car), a library and a story hour at some point.  My parents are bringing the first load of Spanish books this week when they come for a visit.