Thursday, September 4, 2014

Short Term Mission: Long Term Vision

As we begin to fundraise for our second year of teaching here in Nicaragua we’re thinking about how we can best explain why we are teaching here-specifically at Nicaragua Christian Academy Matagalpa and why we’re asking for funding (possibly from you).  For some of our supporters we find that they just ‘get it’- they understand the purpose of our mission and our desire to serve in a country so desperate for help (& we’re so thankful you do).  Other supporters may just want to support our mission based on the trust they have in us, but may not really understand what we’re doing (& we’re so thankful for you too!).  And from others we get questions like; What are you doing exactly?  Isn’t that kind of just like what you do in the states accept you don’t get paid?  Why is it that you don’t get paid & need to fundraise?  Why Nicaragua?  And our favorite, are you really just on a long vacation working on your suntan in an exotic country?  Okay so no one actually comes out and asks us those questions, but we’re pretty sure they’re being wondered. 

So over the next several weeks we are going to do our best to answer those questions as best we can and to give you a real glimpse into our teaching mission.  What are we doing here?  Why do we feel called to serve here in Nicaragua?  How is our teaching mission here so much more than ‘just’ teaching one class or one group of students?  What has it been like adapting to life here and how different is it from back home?  What do we hope to accomplish in our second year of teaching here.  We hope our stories, experiences, & observations will help anyone reading this blog to understand what our mission is all about.  If it does & you feel inspired to donate to our cause then click on the above link, if you’d rather just read along & not financially support us, hey we understand that too.  So onto the first question:

What are we doing here???

Short answer-we’re teaching students and mentoring teachers.  Long answer-we’re laying the foundation for a better future for Nicaragua.  Sounds cliché but we believe it is true.
Nicaragua is the poorest Spanish speaking country in the world, & the second poorest country in the western hemisphere. One third of all Nicaraguan children never enroll in school, fail to attend, or drop out before reaching the sixth grade.  The majority of these children drop out in first grade, before they learn the reading and math skills they need to succeed in life. Other risks that threaten the well-being of Nicaragua's children and youth are malnutrition, teenage pregnancy and early marriages, child trafficking and sexual exploitation, gang involvement and HIV and AIDS.  We believe quality education and mentorship to both students and teachers is critical to facilitate the changes Nicaragua so desperately needs.  Because we are part of Nicaragua Christian Academy with over 900 students at three schools, we are short term missionaries but part of a long term investment for positive change in Nicaragua.

Nicaragua is beyond simple fixes, it is need of drastic change, which we believe can only come from its future leaders.  This is why we felt called to serve and teach at Nicaragua Christian Academy where the mission is to equip children with the spiritual discernment, the moral courage and the academic excellence to impact society through Christian living motivated by a heartfelt love for God.  NCA Matagalpa & especially our classes are drastically different from what the average student in Nicaragua experiences in school.  Besides being overcrowded, lacking materials, & having very short school days; the schools here do not encourage critical thinking or meaningful learning.  Students here simply copy things from the board or a book and memorize specific answers for tests.  We see the result of this form of learning in our DAILY interactions with Nicaraguans; it is as if they cannot think for themselves, they cannot think outside of the box, they cannot imagine, cannot create.  If you think of this in terms of a country laden with poverty, political corruption, unemployment, & a failing school system, you can see why the country is not improving. 

We & NCA believe providing a quality Christian education to Nicaragua’s middle class has the most likely benefits for creating future change within Nicaragua.  It is a long term vision, one that we can’t snap a picture of & show you, one that we won’t even see the results of while we are here.  But it is exciting to know we we are laying the foundation for a better future. We believe in this mission & we believe we are making a difference.

Luke 6:47-48  I will show you what he is like who comes to me and hears my words and puts them into practice.  He is like a man building a house, who dug down deep and laid the foundation on rock.  When the flood came, the torrent struck that house but could not shake it, because it was well built. 

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