Monday, October 22, 2012

God's Ministries International

In 1998 a group, of mostly youth, from Mary and Ty Spire’s church in Florence, SC went to Managua, Nicaragua.  Upon returning, they shared stories of the beautiful families they met, the 3rd world living conditions, and starving children.  Some were so hungry they would eat the leaves off of nearby trees just to stop the hunger pains for a while. 

Mary was moved to prayer.  While cleaning houses, her full-time job, she would pray and weep 6 to 8 hours every day for several weeks.  She learned to hear from The Lord in new ways.  She heard the audible voice of our Heavenly Father say, “Mary, I want you to send a container to Nicaragua.”  It took a few weeks to figure out that G+d indeed meant a shipping container and not the plastic storage bin Mary had in her mind.  Through praying, listening, and depending on The Lord she was able to coordinate and procure enough resources to ship not only a single container, but three containers to Nicaragua!

In October of 1998, the infamous Hurricane Mitch decimated Nicaragua.  For almost 3 days the category 5 storm tore roofs and houses apart with 180 mph winds.  The storm dropped anywhere from 1 to 6 feet of rain which caused major flooding and landslides.  In January 1999, Mary’s small group from Florence, SC and the 3 containers sent months earlier were the first outside aid to reach victims!

Mary had never flown on a plane, she had never traveled to another country.  She was trying to be obedient to The Lord and cultivating the desires He had put on her heart.  When she arrived with her team the poverty and need were readily apparent, but she started asking the question, “Why aren’t these kids in school?”.  In that first trip they had a clinic and an evangelism team, but she began asking The Lord what was next?

God has given Mary favor with the local government.  After she arrived with her group and the containers some government officials approached her.  She thought they were going to put her in jail, so she prayed, “Lord what do you want to tell them?”  Mary expressed her intention of building a school and applying for non-profit status.  The officials began weeping and were asking, “Why are we crying?  We don’t cry!”  She simply told them that is the power of G+d they are feeling and it is overwhelming.  The government officials received everything that Mary’s group had to give.

Through subsequent prayer and action, God’s Ministries International was established, defying a lot of the supposed truths about Nicaragua.  (1) Shipping containers won’t make it through customs.  (2)  It is impossible to get non-profit status in both the U.S. and Nicaragua.  (3) Problems of poverty and government corruption are too widespread to make an impact.  And they continue today, by listening to The Lord and obeying.

-In February 2000, Escuela de Dios I was built in Los Torres barrio as a feeding center, church gathering place, and elementary school.

-In 2002, Escuela de Dios II was built in Manchester as a feeding center, church gathering place, and pre-K school.

-In 2008, Mary heard The Lord say to close Escuela de Dios I, because the money would not be there.  GMI turned the school into a job training center for local women and soon after the government announced they would provide free education for all children!

-Currently, The day-to-day ministry is run from Nicaragua now by Logos Rhemas church led by Pastor Ernesto.  Escuela de Dios I is now a Bible School for about 300 people! There are 5 neighborhoods with feeding programs and Sunday schools!  Two of those "neighborhoods" are communities in city landfills.

Nicaragua Brief

Republica de Nicaragua
Brief History:  The Pacific coast of Nicaragua was settled as a Spanish colony from Panama in the early 16th century. Independence from Spain was declared in 1821 and the country became an independent republic in 1838. Britain occupied the Caribbean Coast in the first half of the 19th century, but gradually ceded control of the region in subsequent decades. The west of the country has a similar culture to other Spanish-speaking Latin American countries and is composed of mostly Mestizos.  The eastern half of the country still holds much of the British influence and English is the first language of most people in this region and its culture resembles other Caribbean nations. There is a large population of people of African descent, as well as a smaller Garifuna population. 

Violent opposition to governmental manipulation and corruption spread to all classes by 1978 and resulted in a short-lived civil war that brought the Marxist Sandinista guerrillas to power in 1979. Nicaraguan aid to leftist rebels in El Salvador caused the US to sponsor anti-Sandinista contra guerrillas through much of the 1980s. After losing free and fair elections in 1990, 1996, and 2001, former Sandinista President Daniel ORTEGA Saavedra was elected president in 2006. The 2008 municipal elections were marred by widespread irregularities. Nicaragua's infrastructure and economy - hard hit by the earlier civil war and by Hurricane Mitch in 1998 - are slowly being rebuilt, but democratic institutions have been weakened under the ORTEGA administration

Capital city:  Managua (pop. 934,000)

Country size:  120,254 sq km (slightly smaller than New York state), largest in C. America, but least densely populated
Region:  Located in Central America, Nicaragua borders Honduras to the north, Costa Rica to the south, the Pacific Ocean to the west, the Caribbean Sea to east.  It is a warm and friendly land of lakes and mountains; rivers and volcanoes, sea and sun. Nicaragua has three distinct geographical regions: the Pacific Lowlands, the North-Central Mountains and the Atlantic Lowlands.  Lago de Nicaragua is the largest body of freshwater in Central America. 
Natural disasters:  Twice in the 20th century Managua was destroyed by earthquakes, 15 faultlines run throughout the city.  There are many active volcanoes in the region.  Flooding and wind damage from hurricanes is common.

States/Provinces:  15 departments - Boaco, Carazo, Chinandega, Chontales, Esteli, Granada, Jinotega, Leon, Madriz, Managua, Masaya, Matagalpa, Nueva Segovia, Rio San Juan, and Rivas; 2 autonomous regions - Atlantico Norte and Atlantico Sur
Population:  5,675,356 in 2007
Ethnicity:  Mestizo (mixed Amerindian and white) 69%, white 17%, black 9%, Amerindian 5%
Languages:  Spanish (official), Miskito, English
Religions:  Roman Catholic 72.9%, Evangelical 15.1%, Moravian 1.5%, other 10%
Per Capita Income:  $3,100 in 2006 (third lowest in the western hemisphere).

Economy:  Distribution of income is one of the most unequal in the world; based mainly on agriculture (coffee, bananas, sugarcane, cotton, seafood, mango, papaya, avocado, tamarindo, cattle), textiles and apparel,  and growing tourism.  Ranked 2nd poorest nation (behind Haiti) in Latin America and Caribbean.  The incidence of poverty is highest among rural populations, where 46 percent live in poverty and 15.1 percent live in extreme poverty.
Unemployment:  8%

Underemployment:  47%

Population living under poverty line:  48%

Internet users:  90,000
Cell phones:  202,800
Land lines:  171,600

Infant mortality rate:  22.64 deaths/1000 births
Life expectancy:  71.9 years

Environmental issues:  Deforestation, soil erosion, water pollution