Monday, June 29, 2015

God's Faithfulness in Condega

*Collaboration with Christian Reformed World Missions

As a Christian school director, Gioconda’s heart aches when she sees many of the young people in her community struggling with addiction and gang violence. She yearns for positive change for both her students and her broader community of Condega, Nicaragua.

“In my mind and in my heart, I see this city with youth that are productive, professional, and above all else, given to the service of the Kingdom of God.”

Gioconda and other staff at Denis Caceres Olivia School see Christian education as a way to  help young people overcome these struggles.“If we can form a solid Christian perspective in the lives of these youth, there will not be a need for the legal system to intervene,” said Gioconda.

 But they needed some practical assistance in making this positive change.

Gioconda struggled as the school lacked resources. She and other staff members needed help in finding practical ways to make the changes they desired. Teachers went months without receiving any salary. Still, they kept working toward their goal.

“We all said, independent from whether we have money or not, that we have a commitment,” said Arlen Blandon, a teacher at the school,  “a commitment that these kids have a better future.”

Then Giocanda discovered that she was not alone in her struggle.

Through a friend, Giocanda found out about the Nehemiah Center, a transformation center that began with the collaboration of Christian Reformed World Missions, World Renew, and other organizations.

Gioconda worked with the Nehemiah Center to provide practical classes for the school’s teachers, stewardship courses for school officials, and other important resources that enabled them to better fulfill their calling.

“We have seen how God touched the heart of the Nehemiah Center to help us with the tools that we lacked as teachers,” added Arlen. “This came at the precise moment that we most needed it.”

One of the ways that the Nehemiah Center encouraged the school was looking at its acceptance policy. For Gioconda and other school administrators, this meant reflecting God’s grace in the students they accept.

“If other schools don’t accept them, we will,” said Gioconda. “We welcome these kids not just for academic reasons but for other reasons like spiritual formation and counseling.”

This is precisely the goal of the Nehemiah Center’s training, said CRWM missionary Steve Holtrop.

“When it’s done well, the training that the Nehemiah Center offers flips people upside down in their thinking,” said Steve.

Walking hand in hand with the Nehemiah Center has helped Gioconda set goals for the school and make those dreams possible. Your prayers and financial support for CRWM also plays an important role in this community transformation.

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