Friday, April 8, 2011

W&D Conference in Nicaragua

I have been in Nicaragua now for a week and we just wrapped up the Woord en Daad (W&D) conference.  In general it was a good conference and we learned a lot.  Now the work begins and deadlines need to be met.  The first one is May 15 which is not that far off, at which point in time we will have to have a number of studies done.  The purpose of these studies is to measure were we are at as an organization currently so that in the next few years and especially in 5 years we can see how we have either progressed or regressed.  As organizations we want to look at ourselves objectively in order to see how we can better ourselves.  The conference was attended by all the partners in the Caribbean and in Latin America who are supported by W&D Holland.  These countries include Haiti, Colombia, Nicaragua, and Guatemala.  Of all these organization AMG Guatemala is one of the largest.
My work with AMG has to do mainly with measuring quality control and now that it has been fully explained to us how to do this work things are going to get busy.  Having said that I am excited because we will finally be implementing everything that we were taught in Lima, Peru, and now in Nicaragua.
I am looking forward to going home and seeing Lia and the kids.  A week is a long time to be away from the family especially when they are living in a country that is not too safe.  

Monday, April 4, 2011


National Cathedral which was closed because of structural damage caused by the 1972 earthquake.
Hi everyone.  I am writing from the small Central American country of Nicaragua.  I am in its capital the city of Managua at conference organized by Woord en Daad Holland.  The workshop here is somewhat a continuation of the workshop I attended in Peru last November although the group of people is much larger since each CEO (national director) and some sub-directors of each of the organizations W&D sponsors here in Latin Amerrica and the Caribbean are here as well.  Nicaragua is a beautiful country like so many Latin American countries, but it is much more underdeveloped.  The city of Managua is not very pretty and quite rustic.  One sees very little of the things that one normally expects to see in a capital city like high rise buildings, malls, restaurants, decent infrastructure, etc.  Poverty here is much more in your face than Guatemala city where it is somewhat more hidden away in the ravines and outskirts of the city.  Having said that Nicaragua is a much smaller country than Guatemala and has 1/3 of the people.  Guatemala in terms of number of poor has much more than Nicaragua.
Myself by a statue of Sandino
Brian Dennett sharing his testimony
Corstiaan preaching on Hannah
I arrived in Nicaragua on Saturday after a short 1 hour direct flight from Guatemala.  The heat is something that you notice right away when you step out of the airport.  I was shuttled from the airport to the hotel which ended up being directly across the street.  I could have walked there in 2 minutes.  I checked into my room which I had to share with a man I knew from Colombia, after which we hired a taxi to take us on a tour around the city.  Saturday afternoon was the only time we had to do that.  We went to the market first and looked around and then to the National palace and to where the old palace used to be  from which vantage point you can see the famous Lake Nicaragua home of the world's only fresh water shark.  The palace was destroyed in the 1972 earthquake which caused a lot of devastation in Nicaragua.  Many people died or were displaced.  The mismanagement of aid given by countries to the government of Nicaragua sparked a civil war that created much of the slums and poverty in Managua as people fled the country side to seek refuge in the city.  This is very similar to what happened in Guatemala and other countries with civil war.
However, in these slums and poverty stricken areas the light of the gospel is also shining through the work and example of missionaries and national Christians.  We visited two different churches on Sunday.  One was a Reformed church just outside of Managua and the other was a Baptist church which met in the shade of a mango tree in one of the poor neighborhoods of the city.  Both were a neat experience and at each service we were asked to share a little testimony of the what God has done in our lives.  Please pray for missionaries, national Christians and the extension of God's kingdom in Nicaragua.