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 http://www.crwm.org/donate.