Sunday, June 3, 2018

I have had a heavy heart for Nicaragua the last month and a half! When we moved there two years ago, some people asked about the stability of the government and I could say that it was a country at peace unlike several of the neighboring countries. Today, that is no longer true. Beginning on April 19, there have been massive protests that began in response to an increase in Social Security taxes. There have been marches, barricades built, protests, censorship, vandalism, attempted peace talks, and violence. Sadly, things seem to be escalating as the people ask the president to step down. Some news stations are listing the death toll at over 100 and several hundreds wounded.
Nicaragua Christian Academy finished its school year on line and many teachers and students have flown to their home countries. On May 23, Jeff, Branden and Rachelle joined Stacey and I in the states twenty-eight days earlier than planned. 
As I read the daily updates and messages from friends still in country and follow  news reports, I am discouraged by the violence and feel a deep sadness for my friends and Nica family at NCA and the community. I wonder about my students and if they are safe. Last night, God reminded of HIS goodness! My last day at school, a mother of a student asked me if we have been talking about being born again in class. I paused and then told her that we had talked about it and I wondered if the kids understood such a difficult concept. She then told me that her daughter was asking questions and then told her mommy that she wanted to be born again. They said a prayer and this sweet little girl asked Jesus to come into her heart. 
I thank Jesus for reminding me that HE is in Nicaragua and that He loves these people, even the little ones! Please join me in praying that God would bring peace and understanding during this time of unrest. Pray that he may soften the hearts of the leaders and that life may improve for everyone. Please pray for the missionaries who are still there and for the school family.

Sunday, April 8, 2018

Putting Faith in Action

“What do you think about a program that will get our missionary kids more active in missions”? That question made me pause and think.  My initial response is if you take your family to the mission field, aren't they already involved in missions?  Many of the students are at school while their parents are working in the community building relationships and teaching people.  This semester NCA has implemented "Putting Faith in Action". Our 1st through 12th graders have been divided into small groups and go out to 20 different locations on Friday afternoon to interact with children, teach English, clean and paint areas, and most importantly model God's love. There are a few groups that welcome local children to come on our campus.

Christy works with Amistad which is a program in Spanish modeled after Friendship Ministry.  Adults and children with disabilities come to school and are paired with NCA students. In the hour and half the friends connect through songs, a Bible lesson, small group discussion, games, and snacks. It has been a joy to watch our students build relationships as they work through the lessons and activities together.

Jeff also stays on campus. A group of students from our closest public school comes to our computer lab and learns basic computer skills. Beginning with how to turn a computer on and then exploring Paint. They have also been introduced to Word. NCA students are teaching the class and walking around to offer one-on-one assistance. It has been very successful and the public school kids are attentive, eager to learn and have fun.

Stacey's group goes to a church school to teach English, make crafts and play games. The NCA students are split into two groups.  The older students are teaching the lessons and directing activities. Meanwhile the younger students are helping and building relationship. In the previous session Stacey taught them "Jesus Loves Me" in English. They end their session with snacks, drinks and talking together.

Branden's group goes to a church in Managua. The first time they read books and colored pictures with children in the community. The main purpose of their group is to paint and work on the church grounds.  They are now painting the inside of the church a light orange color. Branden is working with younger NCA students and has been a good mentor.

Rachelle's group drives to a school nearby the barrio in which we live. They split into two  groups alternating tasks. One group goes to the principal's house to cook and serve a meal for the students and do clean up. Meanwhile, the other group teaches Bible stories to the students and then participates in playground time until the meal is ready. They come together as the kids eat and then socialize with them to end the visit.  That is a snapshot of our family’s involvement in local community and how we share God's Word. It has been a big undertaking, but the results have been positive and we hope to continue these relationships in the next year. Pray for these groups, the people serving and those being served.

Monday, September 4, 2017

Beginning our Second Year

We have begun our second year of teaching and have enjoyed getting back into a regular routine. Stacey is volunteering in the SOARR Program at school and helping coach volleyball.  Rachelle is in the 7th grade and is playing volleyball. Branden is in 10th grade and is about to start therapy for his knee which he hurt the first day of school. Christy and I are teaching the same classes and I am helping coach soccer.

Stacey is enjoying life as an adult, but is still hanging out with some of her friends, who are in high school yet. She is having a hard time deciding whether to hang out with the kids or with the young adults. So far it has been about half and half.

Rachelle finally has a locker of her own. She has moved into Jr High and is loving the different classrooms and teachers.  She has made the JV volleyball  team and is 1 of 5 players who are going to play both varsity and JV.  She is loving being involved in school and was voted in to be a student representative of her class.  Looking forward to seeing how God uses her in this position and how she will make a difference in the people around her.

Branden had a big disappointment during the first day of school.  The was involved in a relay race/obstacle course and hurt his knee. He had surgery two and a half weeks ago. The doctor cleaned out his knee cut out about 5 percent of his meniscus and decided to leave the ACL alone and let it heal itself. The doctor removed the stitches last week Thursday and he was given permission to start some exercises and lifting weights. Pool therapy will be begin at the end of the week. He will be out of sports until the middle of November.

Christy is still in PreK2 and loving it.  She has some new curriculum so she has been busy trying to teach the new curriculum, and put it all in the database. Progress reports go out this week, so she has been testing her children and seeing where each of them are at. Along with recording all that information, she also had to write a paragraph about each of them. She is super excited to be tutoring four hours a week to learn Spanish!

I have all the same classes but am changing up the computer classes to be more online. Web design and coding have changed to an online class that they can work at their own speed. This has made the class easier ,but hard for me to stay in front of the faster kids. The 4th grade computer class is changing also. I have incorporated an online typing course that they will learn to type correctly and hopefully start gaining some speed in a month or so. 5th and 6th grade classes are alternating coding and typing. This gives them an opportunity to improve on their typing skills and also get introduced to coding.

Two months into our second year we continually are looking for additional supporters. This past year we were grateful in reaching about 90% of our goal. We thank all who supported us with prayers and financial support. We have started our second year a little behind already. Our monthly supporters have been wonderful but are only contributing about 25% of our goal. Our one or two times a year givers made a big impact last year and we are looking for your support again this year. Please prayerfully considering contributing to our mission work down here in Nicaragua.

Jeff and Christy Faber


Sunday, June 11, 2017

Sunday - June 11

Good afternoon family and friends! I want to give you all a quick update as we transition from school activities to summer. So our kiddos were done with school on Wednesday June 7 at 10:45. Branden and Stacey finished with exams this week and Rachelle finished elementary school (again:)!). At 11:30 Rachelle had a beautiful graduation ceremony and then she, Stacey and I had shakes and cheesecake at a coffee house to celebrate. Branden had a class party that afternoon and I will get to Jeff in the next paragraph. Stacey had a beautiful graduation as well, Friday night she graduated from high school and then was able to celebrate with her classmates with a formal reception at the Holiday Inn.

I had to say goodbye to a fabulous PK2 class, but they are ready for Kindergarten. It was a great year and I am happy that I will get to see them in Kinder next year and welcome a new class of PK2.

Jeff has had a much rougher end of the school year. On May 22 during a school soccer intramurals game, he injured his knee. The orthopedic surgeon was out of town, so he used crutches for a week. He saw the Dr. on Thursday June 1; had a MRI on Saturday June 3; went back to the Dr. on Monday, June 5; had a pre op physical that afternoon; blood work done on Tuesday, June 6; surgery on Wednesday, June 7! In between all of these appointments, he finished his math classes with reviews and help sessions after school. He gave his last exams on Tuesday the 6th, graded them and did what he could for his end of the year checklist. The good news is that the surgery went very well and he was even able to attend the graduation celebrations on Friday night.

Tuesday we fly out of Managua in the morning, arrive in Chicago in the afternoon and drive to Sioux Falls that evening. It is a start to a busy and exciting summer. We will be visiting with family and friends, catching up with church families, attending bridal showers and planning a wedding while in the States.

Prayer Praises and Requests:

1. Thanksgiving for a wonderful first year experience here in Nicaragua.
2. Thanks for a great end of the school year and two graduations.
3. Thanks for relationships.
4. Healing for Jeff's knee and a quick recovery as he goes through PT.
5. Safety in traveling this summer.
6. Prayers that I can get rid of lice again.
7. God's blessings on wedding preparations and ceremony.
8. Prayers for mission supporters as we move into our second year.

Thanks for all of your thoughts and prayers!

Monday, May 8, 2017

It is Monday morning and I am home with Rachelle, because we have to treat our hair for lice for the second round this year. It is not an embarrassment issue for me, rather an annoying irritant that is difficult to get be rid of completely. If you haven't had lice before, be thankful. Treatment requires daily combing with a fine toothed combed for three weeks and there is also some housekeeping and laundry that needs to be done. It would probably be best if I would cut my hair and stop hugging my PK kiddos, but that is not an option.

The good part of this past weekend was being able to spend it at a women's retreat with ladies from across Nicaragua. It was nice to get away and refresh. Our speaker encouraged us to focus on "one take away" from the weekend and my take away came from the last session in the two phrases: "be present, not distracted" and "it's not up to me". God once again reminded me to be present in my classroom and love on my kiddos and not judge myself or calling here. It is not up to me to change lives or hearts, I am called to love my students and as I do that, share the love and good news of Christ. I feel I have met that calling this year and look forward to being able to continue my mission in the next school year. A mother of former students at NCA called our school the "pearl of her mission" because she knew her kids were being taken care of and receiving an excellent education, which allowed her and her husband time to build relationships in the barrios to make a difference in lives of Nicaraguans at schools, hospitals, and churches.

With that being said, we would love to have your support to finish out this year and begin the next school year. Please consider supporting our work here with a monthly donation of $15 a month. This can quickly be set up electronically on Click on Find a Missionary and look us up under alphabetical list by Faber.

Prayer warriors please remember us as we finish our this school year. We will be traveling home for the summer and spending time with family and friends. Our oldest, Katie, gets married July 22nd . Stacey graduates from high school on June 9 and looks forward to working with the Soaar program here as NCA for a gap year. Branden moves to 10th and Rachelle will join middle school as a 7th grader. Pray for the transitions of the missionary families who will be leaving for new jobs in their home countries as well as the families who will be moving to Nicaragua. Summer is a time of transitions in our NCAI family and your prayers are felt and appreciated!

Wednesday, March 22, 2017

It has been three months since my last post and every month I think about things I want to share, but don't take the time to type it out. I have never been a faithful pen pal nor have I kept a journal or diary for more than a week vacation or mission trip. I thought I would change just because I would be in the mission field and would have more time....  Time passes by here just as it has passed by the first 44 years of my life. It is amazing to me how involved and busy we have become already. Mind you, it is a good busy. More on that topic later. I would like to give a brief summary of life since Christmas.

Christmas in Nicaragua was fascinating to me. I am happy to say that there was only one night that I didn't like and was a bit depressed thinking about home and family -Christmas Eve. I am always thinking about family, but on this night I was focused on what I was used to doing and what I was missing out on in the States. I wasn't living in the moment and celebrating the the meaning of Christmas and our service here. With prayer and the presence of new friends, I was able to move into Christmas morning with a feeling of peace.  Things I missed: baking cookies with family, traveling to see family, snow, caroling, opening presents together. New things I experienced: fireworks after our Christmas Eve service and again at midnight and a large, bright, and loud display of manger scenes set up on both sides of the street for about half of a mile in downtown Managua.

On New Year's Eve, Katie joined us and we were able to experience fireworks at midnight again. Watching fireworks in Managua is very different from the 4th of July celebrations I have had. Both times at midnight we drove to a scenic view overlooking the city and at 12:00, the entire city begins to shoot of fireworks and it twinkles in flashes of color for about 10 minutes. Nicaraguans buy their own fireworks and everyone shoots them off at the same time. It is pretty cool and hard to describe. The pictures really don't do it justice. We also visited Laguna de Apoyo and the Messiah Volcano while she was here. It was just wonderful to have her around even though it was only for a week.

As we moved through January and February, we learned of the new friends who will not be returning next year. I knew this transition was coming, but was caught off guard at how disappointed  and sad I felt. Most of you know that I am the daughter of a military chaplain, so we moved every two years and our neighbors on base were coming and going. After marriage I didn't stop moving, so change is part of my life and I look forward to it. At least I used to feel that way. It has been fascinating for me to process these new feelings and reflect on the impact it has on me. The next school year could bring several changes and I try to focus on the new friends I have yet to meet rather than on the goodbyes, but  I will especially miss my neighbors!

So what is keeping the Nica Faber's so busy????  Stacey is busy with Young Life and presented her    testimony at the last meeting. She attends the church youth activities as well. She is part of the Ultimate Frisbee team and manager for the boy's basketball team. Her patellar tracking, moving knee cap, has been painful and kept her from playing basketball. Stacey loves it here and is thankful we moved. Branden is playing basketball and was a stagehand for the musical at school. He also attends Young Life and church youth activities. Branden likes it here, but given a choice, would prefer to be at SFC. Rachelle is playing soccer and is just starting to be involved with an elementary musical about the Tale of Three Trees.  She attend some of the church youth activities and goes to Girl Scouts at the US Embassy. She is also loving it here and is glad we came, but does miss her friends at SFC. Jeff is coaching basketball and attending two Bible studies. I am trying to start a running routine and am involved in two Bible studies. (This last paragraph kinda looks like a Christmas family update letter).

I struggle with use of time, busyness and trying to find a balance. I thought moving into a missionary setting, that we would have more time, but have not found that to be true. Life is changing and busy in a different way. But, it is important to stay connected with people and to be involved in life. One of my studies is on sacred friendship and through it, God is teaching me that we need to stay connected to each other especially living in a different culture. But not just connected, we need to pray together and learn how God is moving in our own lives, but more importantly in the lives of our friends. I have also learned that it is normal to go through a time in the first year of feeling isolated and not sure how God is using and moving in our lives in this new venture. There is comfort in numbers.

 While thinking about my activities, I also ponder about my job and the impression of friends and supporters that I am just teaching missionary or wealthy Nica children. I am not in the barrio trying to reach the poor or needy children. Can I truly say I am a missionary? I know NCA is an important part of this community and do not questions my calling from God to be here, but I do find myself thinking about this quite often. In my personal devotions for the lent season one of the days focused on our eagerness to please the Lord and being involved in many kinds of ministries. John tells people to do the small but important things that you do for Christ. One of the readings for that day was Luke 3:10-14. I know I serve a purpose and I am furthering God's kingdom when I touch the lives of the precious 4 and 5 year olds in my class, but it is nice to hear affirmation from God's Word. I need to do my job to the best of my ability, love on these beautiful children, and block satan from distracting me with confusion.

This blog is more a place of updates and journaling. I hope you enjoy the content and don't mind my simple to the point writing style. I have never enjoyed writing, but want to keep you all connected to our lives here in Nicaragua, so I write what comes to mind. Just saying this so you know it is intentional that this is not a blog that is well organized and profoundly deep every time. I love you all and we feel your prayers. Please keep praying!

Sunday, December 11, 2016

Reflections on the First Five Months

We are coming to the end of the first semester and we are all surprised by conflicting feelings: we have only been here five months yet it feels like we've been here much longer vs. we have just gotten here and half of the school year is almost over.

We are so thankful for the International Christian Fellowship (ICF) and the Nicaraguan Christian Academy (NCA) families. They have welcomed us in and have quickly made this feel like home with brothers and sisters in Christ surrounding us and loving us. So I would like to share a little about these two organizations.

First a description of ICF from its website: "The International Christian Fellowship is a ministry to the English-speaking community of Nicaragua. The Fellowship is Christ-centered, Bible-believing, interdenominational group of Christians who seek to follow Jesus Christ as Lord, live according to His will and minister in His name".  But what is ICF for us? It is a family atmosphere where we have been welcomed to join in Sunday worship, sunday school, youth groups, men and women's bible studies, small group gatherings women's and men's fellowship and retreats, potlucks, communion and of course fellowship.

Likewise NCA from its website: "NCA schools partner with Christian parents in forming active disciples of Jesus Christ, equipped to impact society through the development of their spiritual discernment, moral courage and academic excellence".  For us it a place to share our love for God and our subject matter with students, to watch our children find a place among friends in and out of school, and to love our colleagues who have become friends.

Now that you know a little background to our new life, here is a summary from each of us as we answer the questions: How was your first five months? and How are you feeling about Nicaragua?

Rachelle:     My first few months living here have been great. I've made so many friends at school, ICF, and my neighborhood.  They  have been very kind and welcoming to me, but I do miss my friends from SFC. I love the temperature because I can swim any time, but really miss the snow. I really hate all the bugs, tarantulas, ants, cockroaches etc. I've been doing sport camps like volleyball, basketball, and soccer that are fun. I can't wait to see Katie. I've missed her so much! That's a bummer too, being away from everyone. I love swimming in the ocean and hiking volcanoes.

Branden:       Living here in Nicaragua has been very fun. I have made so many new friends. Some things that I have been doing with them are soccer, ultimate frisbee, swimming, Minecraft and just hanging out and talking. I really enjoyed hiking in the mountains and seeing howler monkeys and agouties. I also really enjoyed juggling in the talent show with bean bags, rings, clubs, and fireballs. I am excited to see Katherine again at christmas.

Stacey:      My first few months have been a blast. I have made several friends. My favorite class is Outdoor Survival but sadly that is only one semester. I have enjoyed being involved with sports here. I played volleyball and am on an ultimate frisbee team. When I think about leaving, I am really sad because I have not been here that long and I love it here. For that reason I have chosen to take a gap year and work at the school next year. I will be volunteering and helping in the special education program. I am very excited for this opportunity to stay here and become closer with the community here. 

Christy:     Hot, exciting, beautiful, fulfilling, and rewarding are just a few words to describe my first five months. I love teaching preschool and have a great team to work with in my class. The growth in language and learning is amazing.  A Bible study on the Armor of God, stretched me and brought me closer to God. Seeing the ocean, volcanoes, mountains, flowers, birds, and monkeys has me rejoicing in the glory of God and creation. My biggest struggle and frustration is the language barrier and learning Spanish is slow and tiring. I am concerned the heat at the hottest part of the year (Apr./May) will be unbearable, because I'm finding the coolest part of the year warm. I love Nica and am at peace that we have followed God's leading. I also miss Katie and Joel, but am happy they have family close by to love on them and that God has given them each other!

Jeff:        I have really enjoyed my first 5 months in Nicaragua. Getting back into the classroom and coaching have been wonderful. Getting to know my family in a different way by participating in different sports activities with them has been an unexpected blessing. Playing volleyball with my wife and Stacey, playing ultimate frisbee with Branden and Stacey and starting to play basketball with Branden are the high points of my time down here. Computer class has stretched me a little but has been going well. Teaching math again has been rewarding and fun as I have Branden in my class. Another highlight was going to a men's retreat in the cooler temperatures of the mountains. It was great to dive into scripture with the guys and get re-engaged in my walk with the Lord.

Thank you for all your thoughts, prayers and support. Part of being here is relying on others to support our mission. If you can help with a $10 monthly gift please call CRWM at (616) 224-0700 or 800-346-0075. One time gifts can be made through CRWM by going to their website at