Greetings from Quinta El Misionero nestled in the Northern Mountains of Nicaragua, where it is hot and dry this time of year, and we are currently hosting our 11th mission team in 2014.
Downstairs our team members are counting pills, as so many of you have done before, and we are glad for a working fan, no breaks in electricity, and the chance to write to you, as our hearts are bursting with joy this evening! So much is happening right now through Corner of Love and we are thrilled to share a lot of wonderful news, but before you read about these great updates, we feel inspired to go back in time for a minute and paint a picture for you about how God moves in the nations, as we feel He is doing just that here in San Ramón.
I remember what is was like when our dorm (Quinta El Misionero) was almost finished. It looked like a big, gray, concrete box with sheets of black plastic hanging where the doors and windows would soon be. The hum of a loud generator was the background noise of every conversation and the fire pit down below was our kitchen headquarters.
But we didn’t care. The primitive conditions never prevented us from loving our calling. Teams were beginning to stay (more like camp) at our Quinta and we were having a blast. Together we were working on the last important projects before we would button-up these walls and ceilings and make a home for God’s workers out of this massive concrete box. As the rooms and dining area took shape, we could feel the Holy Spirit moving in.
One night, we were setting out tiles, arranging the pattern of the ceramic counter tops, when a friend of Nelson’s came ‘round the kitchen, whistling “hello,” as Nicas do. Rigo, a long-time amigo of Nelson’s, found us in the lantern-lit future cocina with the tiles spread out on the floor.
“The town is filled with optimism,” Rigo said joyfully.
“O si?” Nelson replied. “Como es eso?” (Oh, yes? How so?)
“Everyone is talking about all the good that will come from this place,” Rigo went on. “They are so excited about your plans.”
Nelson and Rigo went on to have a long conversation that evening about God’s mission in San Ramón and how He was blessing the ministry so it would help thousands in the years to come. It was a good night, that ended after sitting on the bare floor of the deck for hours, chatting about all the pueblo’s optimismo, (people’s optimism) as we say in Spanish. Six months later the Quinta was done. Lights on, water running, beds made. That last stretch of construction in 2009 went so fast. Praise God!
Today, that optimism has grown into great HOPE. We are at about the same stage of building at the Plaza that we were on that evening five years ago at the Quinta. Our new Leadership School, Clinic, and Church & Development Center are being wired for outlets and light sockets as I write this. The roofs are on. The plumbing materials are arriving. It won’t be long now before the patient exam rooms have workstations and equipment, and the classrooms get their first coat of paint.
But so much more important than this progress, is the change that is taking place here through our mission. Optimism, you see, is based on positive expectations of humans. But hope is different. Hope is grounded in what Jesus did for us. And hope is what is spreading like wildfire throughout the sixty-six villages we serve in. Everywhere we go we can feel it. We hear it in the pastors’ sermons. We see it in the eyes of our patients. Optimism is turning into hope. And it isn’t hope in us; it’s hope in Jesus!
Last year, Corner of Love treated more than 30,000 impoverished Nicaraguans. This is an amazing number and you helped make this happen. The people behind that number are living, breathing mothers, fathers, and children who are all experiencing the power of hope.
Thank you for helping us turns human optimism into the incredible thing that is hope over the last five years. As we near completion of the school, clinic, and church at the Plaza, we have enjoyed telling the villagers about the difference between the two, who Jesus is, and why what He did for us compels us to work toward igniting Nicaraguans’ spirit of hope.
Romans 15:13 May the God of hope fill you with all joy and peace in believing, so that by the power of the Holy Spirit you may abound in hope.
In His service,
Nelson & Tanya Amador
Corner of Love Ministry Update
Network of Pastors Growing, Curriculum Taking Shape
An in-country staff of more than 140 Nicaraguan nationals, including about seventy pastors from the villages we work in, will begin to receive instruction at Corner of Love’s new Plaza very soon. The curriculum, which has an overall focus on discipleship, will help humble pastors preach clearer messages, tackle difficult subjects with culturally appropriate strategies, and offer evaluations and council from senior Christian leaders who are Nicaraguan natives. This learning program is entirely designed by native Nicaraguans and we are so excited about the outcomes it will produce.
32 Churches Managing Financial Donations
As many of you know, when patients visit our mobile clinics they are asked to give a 10 or 15 Cordoba offering per ticket. Many cannot pay this, but a great percentage of those we serve do. This money is collected and matched by our ministry, then gifted back to each village in order for them to carry out a clean water project, build a church, make improvements to their church, or make a special purchase that benefits their village. These project ideas are presented to us throughout the year and rural communities are chosen for clinics according to the feasibility and impact of their project. At this time, 32 churches are managing financial donations to carry out projects like installing clean drinking water inside their church, build potable water tanks, and finish Sunday Schools, among many others. All the work is progressing nicely!
First Missions of 2014
We started out the year VERY busy, hosting back-to-back teams throughout the months of January and February, and more in March. Ten mission groups, almost 300 hundred missionaries and volunteers, and about 18,000 Nicaraguans who received medical and dental care from COL since Jan. 1. Our teams came from Japan, Canada, Bermuda, Washington State (5 different groups), and Colorado. (As part of these teams, there were also participants from Florida and many other states, too.)
Baby Keyler Headed To Canada
Thank you for your prayers! Over the last five months we have worked diligently to improve Baby Keyler’s health and reached out to numerous foundations that might be able to provide the delicate operation that he needs. In March we received the news that our application has been approved and he is a candidate for surgery. Soon we will accompany him to Canada, where his treatment plan will begin.
Suspension Bridge Nearing Completion
We have partnered with another U.S. non-profit to construct a pedestrian bridge that will connect three villages to our Plaza and also give our students access to Corner of Love’s Sports Field. This bridge will be a huge help to the community as the existing bridge in the village was impassable during Nicaragua’s last major hurricane and is far inferior to the one we are building.
US Embassy Volunteer Work: Private Development Assistance Forums & Country Council Member
Tanya is leading a committee that offers forums to educate U.S. charities about Nicaraguan legal procedures and helping connect the groundswell of humanitarian workers in the capital. The leadership position is helping connect Corner of Love to other faith-based organizations, many of which have decided to come and serve with COL, and other non-Christian organizations that also show interest in our work. The volunteer position is a big blessing to other non-profits, mission leaders, and aid directors who are less senior in Nicaragua and is an attempt to play an active role in strategies that relate to the “bigger picture” of what God is doing through all the aid work in-country. Tanya is also sitting on the OSAC Country Council for Nicaragua.
O.R. and E.R. Wired For The Future
The Emergency Room and surgery area on the ground floor at Plaza de Bondad are now wired and ready to continue with our plans of having six recovery beds, operating space, and emergency treatment and triage rooms.
Sowing Seeds of Hope Program Sewing Up A Storm
Ladies who were previously a part of our Family Sponsorship program sew together every Monday under the instruction of Marta, a Corner of Love employee who is a native of San Ramón. The small group makes tote bags, luggage handles, cool bands (bandanas with freezable tubes), and many other things that we sell at the Quinta. Hundreds of pieces have been handmade and sold and this project is growing by leaps and bounds.
Merito Can See!
In February we met a humble villager from Santa Lucia village, named Merito Ochoa, who suffers from severe inflammation around his eyes. The swelling was so bad that he could no longer work to feed his family. His condition broke our hearts and we decided to sponsor his care and bring him to the capital for tests. After a 20+ day hospital stay and many tests including a CAT scan, we finally got the happy news from specialists in Managua that Merito’s tumors are not cancerous and he began taking some appropriate meds that decreased the swelling enough that he could see! Praise God! Next step: surgery on June 8.
New Property Will House Industrial Kitchen At La Lima
THIS JUST IN! Our offer to purchase an additional acre to the north of the plaza (tract of land towards town) has been accepted. There we plan to build the one thing that Plaza de Bondad was lacking at La Lima River: an industrial kitchen. We are so excited about this news!
Corner of Love Around The World
Our vision for Corner of Love has always been a global one. We envision chapters of support around the world that all work in their local communities to support Corner of Love’s work in north Nicaragua. This is the approach we feel God is using to grow the mission and help lift the sixty-six villages we work in out of poverty. With the help of our chapters in the U.S. and around the world, we work to bring the light of Christ to dark places that were the sites of revolutionary battles and acts of spiritual warfare in the 70’s, 80’s, and 90’s. At this time we are so happy to report that this plan is working! We have added numerous chapters over the last few years and continue to connect with Christians from all over the globe. Over the last few months, for example, chapters have held small-scale fundraisers in Canada and England, and one chapter even obtained official non-profit status from the government of Bermuda! It is wonderful to see God affirming our vision to be a global family of helping hands.
2014-2015 Missions Viewable At www.corneroflove.org
Now viewable on our website are the next fourteen mission trips taking place over the next nine months, as well as information about how to bring or send a team. If you have love to give you are equipped to serve! Check out all the dates and sign up soon!
Our Familia NEWS
Our kids are doing well; three in university in Washington State, and Grant, our youngest, a high school junior here in Nicaragua studying at St. Augustine in Managua. We had all four of them with us in Nicaragua for Christmas, then we missed them a ton when they went back to Seattle. We reunited after 4 ½ months apart in April when we went home for Easter. Clearly nothing is harder than being away from them so much, but they are doing fantastic.
*For Baby Keyler and his mother’s visa application process. We have not yet secured Canadian visas and there have been many roadblocks. We ask your prayers that we are successful in obtaining them and also request that you continue to pray for Keyler as his surgery to correct Transfiguration of the Grand Arteries (congenital heart problem) nears.
*Cables for our suspension bridge are being held by Nicaraguan customs since April 15. Please pray that they will release them soon.
*At COL Corporate Office in Maple Valley, WA we are working on bringing the mission into the digital age and implementing constant-contact email, as well as other paper-less systems. Please lift up this effort, which is a big task and is very needed.
*At COL Chapter Office in Wilderness Village, (also in Maple Valley, WA) a team of wonderful volunteers is getting ready to work on our 2014 auction. Please ask for God’s blessing on their work, as it is always challenging to put together this large-scale event. This year it will take place in mid-November.
*We find it on our hearts to use a local Nicaraguan architect for the Water Center project in San Ramon but seem to keep misconnecting with natives who can help. Please pray that our newest candidate is a good match.
*Approximately 120 pieces of cargo with soon-expiring meds need to get to Nicaragua from Seattle before Oct. 1. We would appreciate your prayers for an “extra team” from Washington anytime between now and Sept. 30th as this would take of that problem.
*We ask your prayers for all of the pastors in our network. Many of them cannot read and evangelize through story telling. Even more have to work planting and harvesting beans or corn to sustain their families and help their congregants because most live in extreme poverty. Theirs is a generous life of witness and your prayers for them to think with clarity, act with integrity, and love with generosity, are greatly appreciated.
Supplies to produce this Ministry Update were provided by World Vision of Fife, WA.
Thank you for your continued support, both financial and in-kind.