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Philippians 2:3

Philippians 2:3

 

"Do nothing out of selfish ambition or vain conceit. Rather, in humility value others above yourselves."


Since the past month, I had a chance to give talks at Nicaragua Christian Academy’s Spiritual Emphasis Day and Young Life club Managua.

I have been closely involved with Nicaragua Christian Academy (NCA) since 2015 as one of the Senior advisors. Every year, towards the end of January, NCA has an event called Spiritual Emphasis Day (SED). SED is a non-traditional school day for high schoolers. NCA intends to focus on the spiritual growth of their students. NCA invites a number of speakers with a range of topics and allows students to pick different talks that they want to hear. SED definitely provides an opportunity for students to be more exposed to different spiritual spectrums.  

During SED, I had the privilege to talk about ‘Identity in Christ.’ I attended an international school just like the students at NCA. As students who attend an international school, I know that they are exposed to a mixture of cultures. This leads me to know that at some point in their life, they will face the confusion question of "who am I?" While we were talking, I assured them that it is OKAY to get confused. Why? Because we are in this journey of finding our true identity in Christ.

I have been volunteering at Young Life through the influence of my housemate (she is a staff member for Young Life Nicaragua). With a group of youth students from different international schools, we gather every Wednesday night to have Young Life club. Through different activities and games, we intend to build relationships with one another. And Young Life leaders take different turns to give a message about Jesus to them. This week I had a chance to share a story of a young rich man from the Bible, together with my own personal story. The basic underlining of the story was Jesus’ invitation to follow him. I used a jar as a connection to ourselves. Each one of us has a jar and we have all kinds of things in our jar. I personally jammed my jar with lots of stuff and I eventually could not control myself. I discovered that I was missing God in my jar, so I poured out everything that I had in order to put Him in it. God is the biggest piece and the most important piece in our lives. So, when I decided to put Him in my empty jar, He started to fill up my needs more than I could ever imagine. God will come into our empty jar to give us things that we need in our lives to glorify His name. It was another assurance from Jesus that he is inviting us to put Him first in our lives. Jesus is asking us to pour out everything so that He can be the first one to come into our jars. I learned this lesson when I was a freshman in college. I was very thankful and blessed to have this opportunity to share something that I learned from the past.
 
CCDH Evaluation Story

Walking towards justice is such a narrow path especially in Nicaragua. There is, however, a group of Nicaraguan lawyers who formed a human rights organization called the Christian Center for Human Rights (Centro Cristiano de Derechos Humanos/CCDH) to walk on that narrow path fighting for justice. CCDH has a long history of working with World Renew since 2002. CCDH serves the Nicaraguan society in the promotion, protection and defense of human rights and civic education with Christian principles. CCDH’s services to preserve justice aligns with World Renew’s interest in justice, thus, we were able to build a firm and intentional relationship with CCDH.

Every three years, CCDH and World Renew has an evaluation. As part of our planning, supervision, and evaluation, World Renew carries out a participative evaluation with each of our partner organizations.  Since the previous evaluation took in 2013, then this was the year for us to carry out the next evaluation.
Together with a group of four lawyers from North America, Sharon Brinks, Susan Carlson, Sara VanderWerff, and Matthew Hagen, and with CCDH board members, we carried out the evaluation from the 18th to 22nd of January, 2016.

We reviewed the recommendations made from the past evaluation and we used them as our guideline for this evaluation. We had four general objectives of this evaluation: 1) evaluating the organizational capacity of CCDH, 2) evaluating the programming delivery of CCDH, 3) evaluating the programming impact of CCDH, and 4) evaluating the institutional relationship between World Renew and CCDH.

CCDH mainly focuses on legal assistance and civic education through regionally located “Houses of Justice.” Each House of Justice consists of local coordinator and law professionals who provide their services voluntarily with Christian principles. They also train ‘promotors’ who also voluntarily reach out to their communities to offer grassroots training and civic education such as informing them on domestic violence and how to response to it. 

The evaluation team visited three different Houses of Justices in Masaya, Matagalapa and Chinandega. We had opportunities to observe and learn the progress of different levels of Houses of Justice in Nicaragua. Each House of Justice that we visited presented us about their work, history, and progress that they have made since 2013. Based on this, we were able to analyze the strengths, weaknesses, opportunities and threats of general work of CCDH.

CCDH definitely intends to continue to promote and protect the human rights of the Nicaraguan people through sustained civic education and through the correct application of justice through the Houses of Justice. It is their life time task to improve their quality of service little by little as they get to discover their capabilities and opportunities through such evaluation like this. We hope that CCDH continues to grow its work by branching out their Houses of Justices especially in rural areas to make it more accessible to their communities.
 
Here is a short story of CCDH’s beneficiary
 Lucy Lopez Perez, age 12, used to live with her aunt in Granada, Nicaragua. Lucy’s father passed away a few years ago and her mother was an alcoholic, so Lucy went to live with her aunt. However, Lucy’s living situation took a turn for the worse when she began to be abused by her aunt.

The Ministry of Family was notified about Lucy’s situation, and they consulted CCDH in Niquinohomo to rescue and protect her. Fany Quintanilla Baltodano, a coordinator for CCDH Niquinohomo, decided to help Lucy. For about 6 months, Lucy has been living with Fany under her protection. Recently, Fany was able to receive legal guardianship from the Ministry of Family. Fany is not merely helping Lucy but is also her spiritual mentor, legal guardian, and mother. Lucy will also start attending school again this year.

For Lucy, CCDH has become like family to her. Despite her painful past, CCDH’s assistance and care have given Lucy hope and a dream for a better future.

 

 
Staff of Tesoros de Dios  & East Palmyra CRC Team prayed for each worker at Tesoros de Dios
 
Prayer Requests:
  1. Please pray for a team that is coming in March. A group of Youth from Ontario will get to experience Nica life through service and learning. Please pray for our safety and spiritual growth.
  2. Please pray for me as I get to finish my journey in Nicaragua soon. I will be departing Nicaragua on the 7th of April, 2016. It is difficult for me to think about wrapping my journey here as I have built great relationships with amazing people here. I pray that I continue to learn and grow till I leave and beyond.
  3. Please pray for the youth in Nicaragua. They are the future key holders. As I get to be more involved with NCA and Young Life, I pray that they continue to grow in Christ