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The Vibrancy of the Nicaraguan People

A Letter from Ian and Jhanderys Dotel Vellenga, serving in Nicaragua

September 2019

Write to Ian Vellenga
Write to Jhanderys Dotel-Vellenga

Individuals: Give online to E200391 for Ian and Jhanderys Dotel-Vellenga’s sending and support

Congregations: Give to D507593 for Ian and Jhanderys Dotel-Vellenga’s sending and support

Churches are asked to send donations through your congregation’s normal receiving site (this is usually your presbytery).

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It has been almost 10 months since we moved to Nicaragua, and it seems like time just flew by without us noticing (perhaps we are having too much fun). The end of the year is fast approaching and we are not sure what next year has in store. Nicaragua is still recovering from the aftermath of the conflicts of last year, and the country has changed in many ways, especially economically.

Until 2017, Nicaragua was a tourism hotspot and home to one of Latin America’s fastest-growing economies. But in 2018, lots of jobs were lost, forcing a big part of the population to migrate to the cities and to other surrounding countries in search of better living conditions and financial stability. Increased unemployment rates had a direct impact on the quality of life of Nicaraguan families. Job losses led to an increase in the percentage of people living in poverty, and thousands more have fallen into impoverishment after the crisis.

The spirit of the Nicaraguan people is one of pride in their culture and society. Even though many live in poverty and the middle class struggles to make ends meet, they are laid-back, with a great sense of humor and with an outstanding sense of hope and strong beliefs. They have a vast sense of community, lots of determination, and are incredibly resilient in times of difficulty and trouble. We often hear them say that they have been through rough times before—had pulled through, got back up, and that this time would be no different.

This makes me think about the scripture in the book of Deuteronomy 31:6,8: “Be strong and bold; have no fear or dread of them, because it is the Lord your God who goes before you. He will be with you; he will not fail you or forsake you. Do not fear or be dismayed.”

These verses are strong and carry a powerful message. After 40 years of challenges and wandering in the desert, Moses addresses the Israelites before they enter the Promised Land (yet another challenge). He assures them that God will be with them during this time, just like it was before. It reminds us that the Lord is always with us, guiding us. It makes us remember that we are never alone, even in times of difficulty, scarcity, chaos, or commotion.

Nicaragua has a lot to offer in more than one way … its beauty goes beyond the charming and diverse geography full of breathtaking and beautiful landscapes of lakes and volcanoes, the delicious food and mixed culture. That beauty extends to its people, who are thoughtful, affectionate, caring, genuine, and extremely hospitable. We often enjoy their generosity in the most unexpected and unannounced ways (you will be fed constantly, regardless of being hungry or not, and be offered bed and shelter wherever you go).

Nicaraguans are optimistic about their nation and more so about the new year to come. We observe and experience every day their strong will, perseverance and love for their country and culture, and so we are optimistic too and hope to see a more just, tranquil and thriving Nicaragua in the years to come.

We still have a lot of things to learn and experience about Nicaragua, its people and the impact of CEPAD’s work and efforts. We hope you continue walking with us during this journey and discovering with us why God has called us to this land, and how we can continue to help provide better living conditions to improve the current situation of the Nicaraguan people. We are thankful for all your monetary support and your thoughts and prayers during this year. We wish you a wonderful Christmas season, and an anointed year to come.

Que la paz de Dios este con ustedes en el Nuevo Año por venir y siempre.

Please read this important message from Sara Lisherness, interim director of Presbyterian World Mission

Dear friend of Presbyterian Mission,

Greetings in Christ! As the interim director of Presbyterian World Mission, I am grateful to have the opportunity to thank you for your continued support of PC(USA) mission co-workers.

The enclosed newsletter bears witness to some of the many ways in which God is at work in the world through long-standing relationships between global partners and the PC(USA). These partnerships are nurtured and strengthened by the presence of mission co-workers in over 40 countries; you are an important part of this partnership too, as you learn about and share how our church is involved in global ministry; as you pray for our partners and mission co-workers; and as you take action to work with others for God’s justice, peace and healing.

I write to invite you to continue joining us in partnership in three ways. First, your prayers are always needed. Please pray that God will continue guiding the shared work of the PC(USA) and global partners as we engage together in service around the world. Pray, too, for mission co-workers, that they may feel encouraged in the work they are doing under the leadership of global partners.

Second, please consider making a year-end gift for the sending and support of at least one mission co-worker. There is a remittance form at the end of this letter and an enclosed envelope so that you can send in a special year-end gift.

Finally, I encourage you to ask your session to include one or more mission co-workers in your congregation’s mission budget for 2020 and beyond. PC(USA) mission co-workers’ sending and support costs are funded by the designated gifts of individuals and congregations like yours; your gifts allow Presbyterian World Mission to fulfill global partners’ requests for mission personnel.
Faithfully in Christ,

Sara Pottschmidt Lisherness
Director, Compassion, Peace and Justice Ministry
Interim Director, Presbyterian World Mission

Creative_Commons-BYNCNDYou may freely reuse and distribute this article in its entirety for non-commercial purposes in any medium. Please include author attribution, photography credits, and a link to the original article. This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDeratives 4.0 International License.

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