We are a family of six who love the Pacific Northwest and raising our kids in wide open spaces. Dustin and I have been married for fifteen years and have four children: Nolan, Ryder, Parker, and Brielle. Yes, that's three boys with a girl at the end. The last twelve years have been treasured in Florence, on the Oregon Coast, and we wouldn't trade them for anything. Our children love the beauty and freedom of the forest and beaches of Oregon and often spend more time studying nature than math. Over the last few years, friends have poured their love and wisdom into our lives as we began to raise kids. When our kids finally began sleeping through the night, we started to seek a way to mend the world around us as a family. We have had the pleasure of opening up our home and connecting deeply around the table. We have been encouraged and sought ways to build up our community and meet the needs of others. Our community is filled with people who are loving, giving mercy, and helping those in need. We have learned so much from serving alongside these people.
What do you do when the Spirit sets your heart on fire for a country and a people that are so far away from the life you are currently living?
You take the first step
Over the last four years the presence of the Lord has been leading us to a place where we wanted to live more simply - spend less so we could give more. He was graciously changing our hearts as we prayed, "break our hearts for what breaks Yours in our world." He started to bring story after story across our path that ignited the passions we have, and the stories had something in common - they were taking place in Nicaragua.
Then another step
We traveled to Nicaragua with our family of six and some dear friends and began to see the beautiful hearts of the Nicaraguan people. We met people who were selflessly giving their lives away and watched the Lord speak powerfully over our lives.
The next step
When we came home, we walked in the door to the place we had treasured as a haven for each of our babies and now viewed it as a beautiful gift that could be used to get us down to the place our hearts had begun longing for. We sold our house and most possessions. Then we started to watch the Lord provide a way for us to save for a new dream that is just beginning to unfold.
We keep stepping
The past year living in Nicaragua has been unbelievable. We found a place to call home in a small fishing community called Salinas Grande. Most importantly we have a group of loving people who support us at every step. We spent the year trying hard to learn Spanish and the needs of our community while building deep connections with our neighbors. Dustin volunteered to help get a new garbage and recycling program off the ground and Angie spent time teaching English in the local elementary and secondary schools. Several students kept asking for more concentrated instruction. So English Club was born on our patio. It began with kids and has grown to as many as 70 students. In July, we began to pursue a pice of property we were drawn to, but didn't have a "for sale" sign on it. Miraculously, we were able to purchase that property quickly and inexpensively in September 2018. We started dreaming of a children's center where we could pour into the lives of the local children and provide a consistent, save place for them. Our supporters rallied around this concept and we were able to raise enough money to build the children's center, kitchen, and bathrooms. Construction in Nicaragua is not easy, but we saw an opportunity to provide jobs by hiring workers from within our community. The Lord led us to a local contractor and a team of workers who are skilled, kind, and excited to work.
We keep seeking how to bring about justice in our community and believe strongly in finding ways to provide basic human rights like clean water and health care. An organization called SuNica was already working in Salinas when we arrived and we are excited to partner with them to seek a sustainable water solution in 2018. We continue to build partnerships with our local clinic, doctors, and team of nurses by volunteering and donating basic supplies.
This year our faith as grown as listened and watched the Lord pursue our hearts and the people around us. Our supporters have been overwhelmingly generous to us and the people we serve. What could the next year possibly hold? We are going to keep stepping toward His voice.....
Dustin and Angie