Updates

Updates

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Update #201903 – Beginning Year 3

March 1, 2019

It is hard for me to believe we are beginning our 3rd year of Changing a Generation.  It was only 3 years ago we were hoping and praying for 20 children.  And this year we are opening the doors of PCA to 113 children.  And with the addition of our 2nd grade classroom, we now have 5 grades.  What an amazing opportunity we have to transform the lives of children in Nicaragua.  Equally, what an amazing responsibility we have to compassionately serve our families and our community with the love of Christ.  Each one of you who have been praying and supporting this ministry should feel a sense of pride as we continue making a difference in Palacaguina.  On behalf of every child whose life you are changing, thank you!

 

PARTNER APPRECIATION EVENT – CENTRAL ARKANSAS

Only one month from now, we will be sharing an evening with many of you in Central Arkansas.  We are looking forward to seeing you and spending quality time sharing with you the amazing impact you have all made over this last year.  We hope you will be able to join us on April 6th and maybe even bring a friend.  If you are not in the Central Arkansas area, please know how much we appreciate you also.  We are hoping to host an event in the Titusville, FL area later this year, God willing.  And we are not forgetting all of our friends in Texas and other places.  We will be thinking of ways we can spend time with you as well.  No matter where you are, we pray you know how precious you are in our hearts and how much we appreciate the sacrifices you make every month to touch the lives of the wonderful children we have come to love so much in Palacaguina.

Fellowship North Church

1 E. 52nd Place, North Little Rock, AR 72116

Saturday, April 6th, 2019

5:00pm – 7:00pm

Please R.S.V.P. to bwitonski@gmail.com

 

 

SPONSORSHIP UPDATE

We have 22 students who need a sponsor this year.  This is actually 4 fewer than the number of students we needed to sponsor this time last year.  We know God is able to do immeasurably more than we could ask or imagine.  So join with us in prayer for new partners who would be willing to sponsor one of these wonderful children.  Please share with others about the good work being done in Palacaguina and invite them to partner with you in sponsoring a child for only $40 a month and Change a Generation.

 

 

BACK TO SCHOOL

As we begin a new year of educating and ministering to the children and families of Palacaguina, we are excited to welcome back 89 returning students and 24 new students to PCA.

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2019 PCA STAFF

We are proud to introduce you to our teaching and support staff of PCA this year.

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Reynaldo, Yessenia, Nohemi, Nubia, Jolieth, Melanea, Aura, Amalia, Ismael, Karina, Jorge, Jaime y Abner

Not pictured: Leonardo y Pablo (Security Guards)

 

 

 

 

CAFETERIA UPDATE

We the completion of our cafeteria roof and flooring, we were able to build several more tables for our children to eat.  We are very happy to have durable tables for all the children now.  And enough to seat an entire class.  A team visited this month and one of their projects was to but a base coat of paint on the cafeteria walls.  Thank you to this team and all they were able to do at the school.

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HELPING OTHERS

We were blessed with several opportunities to help others outside of PCA this month.  By God’s grace we were able to donate a drum set to a local church and in our recent ANF donation, we received a few school uniforms from a school in Managua.  Our team identified a very poor community, El Tamarindo, north of Palacaguina.  This small mountain community does not have a formal school.  There is a volunteer teacher who gives the children classes in a local home.  The conditions for these children are extremely humble and we hope to find more ways in the future to help with education and food in El Tamarindo as the Lord allows.  These are a few of the many ways we are able to make an impact in the community beyond PCA.

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PROJECTS AND CONSTRUCTION

The safety wall is complete!!  Our preschool children are now safe from the several landslides we have had from the hill.  This protects the children and will help prevent more erosion of the hillside.  Our teachers even came up on a Saturday to start making it look colorful. 🙂

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PRAYER REQUESTS

  1. Pray every child will be sponsored for 2019
  2. Pray for a strong year at PCA and our staff working as a team
  3. Pray for our upcoming Partner Appreciation Event and those who will attend

 

 

THANK YOU!!!

To God be all the Glory!!!  We are so grateful for each of you the Lord has brought into our lives to make the ministry of PCA possible.  I never want to miss an opportunity to tell you how truly thankful we are for all you do.  When I see the impact being made, it is overwhelming.  Thank you!!

 

 

Dios te bendiga de la familia Witonski!!!  (God Bless you from the Witonski family)

Want more frequent updates, pictures and videos?  Check out the schools Facebook page at https://www.facebook.com/AcademiaCristianaPalacaguina/

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Update #201902 – Highly Encouraged

February 2, 2019

WOW!!  What an amazing trip to Nicaragua.  I just spent a week in Palacaguina and there are not words capable of expressing how great of a trip it was.  This year is going to be our best year yet and the future of PCA is very bright.  I believe we have a strong, unified team at the school that is ready to make a difference in the lives of our children and community.  When we were forced to leave our beloved Nicaragua and the school, I will be honest, we had no idea what God was doing.  There were far more questions than answers.  But now, we can see the beginning of, yet again, God doing something amazing.  God has raised up incredible leaders who, I believe, will charge forward with the mission and vision of Changing a Generation.  Thank you God for your grace, mercy and strength.  Even when we do not see, You have promised and You are faithful.  God is so good and we are Highly Encouraged!!  We pray you too are encouraged with us.

 

PARTNER APPRECIATION EVENT – CENTRAL ARKANSAS

IT IS OFFICIAL!!!  Saturday, April 6th, you are invited to join us in Central Arkansas for our Partner Appreciation Event.  We want to share all you have done in 2018.  We look forward to feeding you a chili dinner while sharing all of 2018’s accomplishments and the plans for 2019.  We ask you to bring a friend who would be interested in joining you in partnering with a ministry that is making a major impact in the lives of children and families in Palacaguina.  If you can RSVP, great, if not, you are welcome to just show up.  But please, allow us to honor you for an evening.  And, we have a great surprise planned for all of our 2018 partners you will not want to miss.  We greatly look forward to seeing you in April.  Details are:

Fellowship North Church

1 E. 52nd Place, North Little Rock, AR 72116

Saturday, April 6th, 2019

5:00pm – 7:00pm

 

 

TEACHER TRAINING 2019

Upon arriving at the school a few weeks ago, I joined the end of our annual teacher training.  I was especially encouraged to see all of the teachers and school staff working as a team to prepare the classrooms and ready the school.  Our training period this year began with a painting project where the teachers repainted all classrooms and the preschool, followed by seven days of in-class training provided by our team of educational consultants in the US.  To quote Reynaldo, our new General Director,

“In summary these two weeks have been very beneficial for PCA, for teachers.  They have exceeded my own expectations.”

A big thank you to the team of educational consultants who prepared our videos and training agenda.  I can verify it was a colossal success and truly helped us start the school year strong!

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NICARAGUA UPDATE

One of my desires for traveling to Nicaragua was to understand the situation and evaluate if teams should feel comfortable coming back to Palacaguina to work with the school.  My conclusion is I feel it is safe for adult teams to begin traveling back to Palacaguina in 2019.  For youth teams, I would encourage waiting a little longer and possibly making plans for trips in 2020.  Why adults and not youth?  Though I think youth would also be fine, it would be prudent, due to the additional requirements on international youth travel, we give a little more time to feel even more comfortable with the stabilization of everything.  Just for good measure.

 

PCA/516NOW FAMILY BARBECUE

For the second year, we provided a ministry year kickoff with a family barbecue for all PCA workers and their families along with all employees of our partner organization 516Now.  It was a precious time for me as I was able to serve our ministry family and hear from each person as they introduced their family and spoke of their gratefulness for the school and the opportunity to work here and serve our children and the community.  This theme resonated with every single worker and it is because of you we all have such an opportunity to Change a Generation through giving children an education with moral values.

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2019 PCA OPEN HOUSE

I do not have words colorful or exciting enough to express how wonderful this year’s open house event was.  In the words of a friend, “This was the most organized and well run event, I have ever seen in Nicaragua.”  Praise the Lord!!!  We had, easily, more than 100 parents and students attend.  Part one of open house was an assembly where I spoke to all parents about our future and the future of PCA.  Additionally, our new Director, Hermana Aura, presented our student handbook, and our General Director, Reynaldo, presented projects and efforts we are doing in 2019 to assist our parents and students more.  Following the assembly, all parents, with their children, went to their classrooms where they met with their child’s teacher, completed admission contracts and were able to ask questions.  It was a truly amazing event that was everything I could hope for to begin the 2019 school year.  I saw the teamwork and organization that will be the foundation of our staff’s ability to make a positive impact on our children and families at PCA.

 

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2019 PROGRAMS AND ASSISTANCE

This year, we are focused on helping our students and their families more.  Due to the situation in Nicaragua, our parents are facing even more financial hardship.  Though our tuition is already extremely low, many of our families are struggling to afford it.  Therefore, we have expanded our 50% reduced tuition assistance to cover up to 80% of our students.  In addition, we are covering the cost of books for students and some supplies as we are able.  We are also looking to finish this year our kitchen so we can bring the food preparation activities into the school to further help reduce the burden on parents.  All of this will cost, but we believe it is important to help our parents as much as we are able, while still giving them the chance to invest in, and be a part of, their child’s education.  It cannot be free, but we are working to make it as affordable as possible.

 

PROJECTS AND CONSTRUCTION

I spent a good amount of time working on the plans for construction and growth this year.  We have several projects critical to complete this year and I believe, with God’s help and your generosity, we will.

  • Several gutter and water erosion projects to protect existing structures (est $1,000)
  • Complete the primary school perimeter fence and gates (est $8,000-$10,000)
  • Dirt work to level the last section of our primary school campus (est $2,000-$3,000)
  • Roof Completion of our primary school building (est $1,800)

I was excited to see the work and completion of several projects this last month:

  • Repainting of the preschool building
  • Completion of our Cafeteria Roof
  • Good progress on our safety wall to protect the preschool
  • Completed renovation of our main school office

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SPONSORSHIP UPDATE

We are excited about 3 new partners last month who have sponsored 5 children needing sponsors.  Thank you, thank you, thank you.  We are working now on identifying a final count of new children who will need sponsors this year.  We will have at least 15.  Without these sponsorships, we will face a deficit in our annual budget and may need to cut some programs.  So, please share with others about the good work being done in Palacaguina and invite them to partner with us in sponsoring a child for only $40 a month to Change a Generation.  Together, we can give these children an amazing future void of poverty.

 

PRAYER REQUESTS

  1. Pray every child will be sponsored for 2019
  2. Pray for a strong year at PCA and our staff working as a team
  3. Pray for our upcoming Partner Appreciation Event and those who will attend

 

THANK YOU!!!

Every accomplishment, every life impacted, every child and family ministered to would not be possible without the prayers and support each of you give every month.  We are so grateful for you and for your heart and passion to see the work for God’s kingdom advance.  We are blessed to have you as our partners.  We hope and pray each of you can see and feel the amazing impact you are making every month.  Thank you!!

 

Dios te bendiga de la familia Witonski!!!  (God Bless you from the Witonski family)

Want more frequent updates, pictures and videos?  Check out the schools Facebook page at https://www.facebook.com/AcademiaCristianaPalacaguina/

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Update #201901 – We Want More

January 2, 2019

In Psalm 63, from within the wilderness, David cries out,

“O God, you are my God, earnestly I seek you;

I thirst for you, my whole being longs for you.”

Can you feel David’s desperation for more of God?  The deep, insatiable longing of his soul.  Do we have such a desire for God beloved?  Oh that we would long for God more than we would water in the desert!!

As we end an amazing 2018 and look toward 2019, we want more!   More of God.  More of His glory in our lives.  More of His working in Palacaguina to change and impact the lives of children and families.  More partners who will join alongside us in what God is so clearly doing.  More of seeing God move in ways that only HE can!  More obedience to walk where the Lord leads and more faith to trust in Him through what may seem like the impossible.  We want more!!  And our prayer is that none of us will be satisfied with where we are spiritually or what we have experienced in Christ.  But rather, that our whole beings would long for more of God in our lives, in our families and in our ministries this year!  More of God’s kingdom and power!! Amen!

 

2018 KINDER GRADUATION

On December 5th we celebrated our preschool kindergarten graduation.  These children are our second preschool class we have graduated to primary school.  And most of these 25 children have been at PCA for 2 full years.  We are looking forward to seeing all God has in store for their bright future!!

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LOVE AND OUTREACH

We had the opportunity to help give 100 toys this Christmas to children of limited means.  Showing the love of God, provoking a smile and a reason for hope.  What a blessing to have been part of such an outreach.

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BRINGING CHRISTMAS JOY

Each year the ministry of education delivers toys to public school students for Christmas.  However, they only have one day to accomplish this and not enough resources.  So, for the second year, we partnered with the MINED using our vehicles and resources to helping them deliver toys into very remote areas of Palacaguina.  What a blessing to bring joy to these children who live in very humble places.  You can see their smiles of joy.

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TRANSITION PROJECTS

As we are in between school years, this is an opportunity to work on several projects to help with next year.  We are currently in the process of renovating our school offices to be actual offices, building a safety wall behind the school to protect against landslides and expanding our cafeteria space.  Depending on funds, we are hoping to improve our kitchen as well.  Moving the food operation to the school is a major need.

 

SPONSORSHIP UPDATE

Due to changes in sponsorship we have 12 current students in need of being sponsored for 2019.  It would be really good to obtain sponsorships of these 12 students before February, so we can direct our focus on new students needing sponsors.  Please share with others about the good work being done in Palacaguina and invite them to partner with us in sponsoring a child for only $40 a month to Change a Generation.

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END OF YEAR TAX STATEMENTS

We will be working on 2018 year-end tax statements the beginning of January and sending out via e-mail.  If you need your giving statement before January 31st, please reach out to me so I can deliver it to you earlier.

 

PRAYER REQUESTS

  1. Pray every child will be sponsored for 2019
  2. Pray for the completion and funding of our Dec/Jan Projects
  3. Pray for our season of training/preparing our next school year

 

THANK YOU!!!

What a blessing to share with you about all God is doing and is about to do at PCA in Palacaguina.  We are grateful for each of you who are praying for and investing in the ministry of PCA.  Know that you are absolutely making a real difference in the lives of children and families through your partnership.  God is good!!  We look forward to serving with you and sharing with you all through 2019!!!

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Dios te bendiga de la familia Witonski!!!  (God Bless you from the Witonski family)

Want more frequent updates, pictures and videos?  Check out the schools Facebook page at https://www.facebook.com/AcademiaCristianaPalacaguina/

 

 

 

 

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Update #201812 – Endings and Beginnings

December 2, 2018

It has been an adventure these last few months, but no matter what we face, we know God is so good and He is absolutely in control.  There are great endings to share this month in PCA finishing its second school year and new beginnings as we are learning a new way of ministry and how God is allowing us to continue serving him in Palacaguina even though we are not physically there.  We are grateful for all God is doing.

 

ANOTHER SUCCESSFUL YEAR

How incredible to share that we have successfully completed our 2nd year of educating and touching the lives of children and their families in Palacaguina!!  Our last day of classroom instruction was on November 29th and next week we have our Kindergarten graduation.  What a blessing!!  We have been able to make an incredible impact this year because of you who are supporting and praying for PCA.  Give God the glory for the powerful difference you are making by God’s grace through your hands.  We are eagerly looking forward to 2019.

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END-OF-THE-YEAR GIVING

As we begin the month of December, many look for ways to give back as they reflect on how blessed they are and all God has done in our families through 2018.

As we approach 2019, we have two areas that could greatly use your end-of-the-year giving to help us start the next year fiscally strong.

  • We have several building projects we need to complete in Dec/Jan before the kids return including painting, a much needed safety wall to protect the preschool from rock slides, finishing the roof of our cafeteria and seating as well as a renovation of our main office.
  • We are also looking at a deficit for the 2019 school budget and could use year-end-giving to help with yearly budget items for next year to ease the strain on the budget. Uniforms, Food Partnership, Books, and our 2nd grade teacher are all areas that could use a boost in funding to help.

Any amount of one-time, year-end giving would help PCA tremendously.  Thank you in advance!!

For you AMAZON shoppers, remember to use Amazon Smile and make Arete Schools United your charity.

 

MAKING A LOCAL DIFFERENCE

This month we were able to donate tables, pencils, pens, markers and notebooks to local teachers who must walk long distances to teach children in remote areas with no public transportation.  We are working more and more to not only help educate children at PCA, but to also assist local public education as well.

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MINED VISIT TO PCA

We have begun a partnership with the Ministry of Education(MINED) to help tutor or teachers to be better educators.  The director of education held a meeting at PCA to encourage and develop our teachers.  This is one of the ways we are working to build professionally into our teachers for our students.

GIVING WARMTH

Most would not think about being cold in a country like Nicaragua, however, in the mountains of Nicaragua during the months of November through February, it can get as cold as 58 degrees Fahrenheit.  That may not seem cold to some, but when you live in open homes with little protection from the elements, this can be quite cold.  All this to say, we were blessed with the opportunity to give away jackets to children and adults making their lives a little warmer through the love of Jesus.

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TOUCHING LIVES

What a blessing to have so many opportunities to meet real needs in peoples’ lives.  We learned of a 13 year old girl in our community who recently had treatment for a dislocated knee and needed a wheelchair for the next 4-5 months of recovery.  PCA was able to provide a wheelchair so she can recover properly from her surgery.  Her Mother is a local teacher and was very happy to receive this support from PCA.

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A KING AND HIS KINGDOM

As you may know, a big part of PCA is sharing the gospel with all of our children during weekly chapel services.  This month a group of young people from the local Assembly of God church came to share about King Jesus, the most important king of all kings.  And more importantly how much better it is to belong to Jesus’ kingdom.  It was a great experience for those youth getting to share the gospel and equally great for our students.  Yet another way PCA is partnering to develop our children and others in the community of Palacaguina.

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SPONSORSHIP

We are excited to be putting the final touches on our end-of-year sponsor communication to all of you who are blessing our children directly through sponsorship.  We will be mailing these updates out in early December.  I cannot wait for you to see how much your sponsored child has grown this year.

If you are not yet sponsoring a child, please consider making a life-changing impact on a specific child through sponsorship.  We have 7 children who need a sponsor right now and we will have a new class starting next year who will also need new sponsors to invest in their future and make a difference in their lives.

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WITONSKI FAMILY UPDATE

We have officially landed in Austin, Texas.  The last 5 months have been challenging to say the least as we fully explored the refugee lifestyle being separated for over 3 months and living from house to house out of only suitcases.  However, as we have confirmed we will not be able to return to Palacaguina immediately, we felt it was best to land in Austin for the near future.  Michael started his new school and we have felt very welcomed into our new community.  Of course, the last time we came to Austin we received His call to Nicaragua and PCA.  So, we are looking forward to see what God has planned for us now.  Prior to moving, it was an absolute blessing to spend Thanksgiving with our family in Central AR.  We have truly missed this the last several years.

 

PRAYER REQUESTS

  1. Pray for every child to be sponsored for 2019
  2. Pray for the completion and funding of our Dec/Jan Projects
  3. Pray for our season of hiring/training/preparing of our next school year

 PRAISES

  1. The wonderful support of our family and friends
  2. God’s continual provision for our family and the school
  3. Having a home to be in and a great community in Austin, TX
  4. Angels who filled a 16ft truck with beds and donated items to help us in our move

THANK YOU!!!

We cannot express enough our gratefulness for all of you who support and pray for our family and the ministry of PCA.  The difference you are making for the Kingdom and in the lives of the children and families of Palacaguina is real and cannot be expressed enough.  We were able to touch the lives of 98 children at PCA in 2018.  And the school is going strong with even more hope for the next year.  Please continue to pray for us and this ministry and please continue to share with others who would like to be a part of Changing a Generation in Palacaguina, Nicaragua!!

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Dios te bendiga de la familia Witonski!!!  (God Bless you from the Witonski family)

Want more frequent updates, pictures and videos?  Check out the schools Facebook page at https://www.facebook.com/AcademiaCristianaPalacaguina/

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Update #201811 – Transitions

November 1, 2018

If there is one word I could use to describe this part of the journey, it would be transitions.  October has absolutely been a full month of transitions.  But, no matter how chaotic it may feel or how little we know of God’s plan, we absolutely know that God still has a plan and He is going to do amazing things through His plan.  Our job is to continue trusting in His plan and work as hard as we can to accomplish the tasks He is giving us each day.  And know how amazing it will be to look back and see all God did.  His plan, His glory!!

 

 

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MAKING A DIFFERENCE IN CUSMAJI

This month we handed out food packages(rice and beans) to families in the community of Cusmaji.  Accompanied with a Bible, 50 poor families received life giving food packages and heard a message of the gospel.  Making a difference in the lives of people with the grace and love of Jesus through meeting real need is the greatest reward of this ministry and what we get to be a part of in Nicaragua.  You make this possible.

 


 

 

 

 

 

 

 

PCA UPDATE

The school continues to do well.  We are quickly approaching the end of our second school year and it is very exciting.  Plans for the Kindergarten graduation are underway and we are planning for next year’s enrollment process.  The tiling of our 2nd grade classroom is complete and our ANF donated desks are in place.  The community of Palacaguina is very happy with PCA and greatly looking forward to all God is going to continue to do in the lives of our students and in the community.

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THE GIFT OF SLEEP

Imagine sleeping without a pillow.  For many in our community, they will no longer need to.  In our most recent ANF donation, we received cases of pillows that we were able to give to local people in need of something to rest their weary heads.

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WITONSKI FAMILY UPDATE

We were blessed by a local Little Rock family with a home to be in for October.  It is a beautiful home and a huge blessing.  We have settled in and it has almost felt somewhat stable for the last several weeks.  We are still seeking to understand what the future holds for our family and preparing for our next move in November.  So far everything is temporary as we strive to continue our focus on the school while learning a new way of living as missionaries.  The great news is we are together as a family and that is what is most important.  We trust God will reveal more of His plan as we faithfully serve and honor His call in our lives.

SPONSORSHIP

Due to changes in sponsorship, we now have 7 current students who need sponsorship.  If you know someone who would like to help us Change a Generation and impact the life of a child and their community, please share this need.  Sponsorship is only $40 per month and includes exposure to the gospel, a daily meal, uniform, creation of local jobs and many various community projects we get to support.  If you are currently sponsoring we hope you will plan on continuing for the next school year.

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FUN TIMES AT PCA

Our students celebrated different cultures on Dia de la Raza (Day of the Race).  It was fun day where both parents and teachers participated with the students.  It is good to see days like this in times like these.

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EXPANDING OUR IMPACT

We had two visits in October that show ways we are expanding our impact in our region of Nicaragua.  First, we had a group of university students in their 3rd year of English training come to observe our English classes.  We are the only private school in our state of Madrid teaching English.  Second, we had a group of High School students come to present on domestic animal abuse.  This is a part of their education and was a wonderful topic to share with our students on the importance of not mistreating animals.  This message is greatly needed.PCA_visitors

SPONSOR UPDATES & PARTNER APPRECIATION EVENT

Look forward to our upcoming Sponsor Update.  We are actively working on a new update from your child that should be in your inbox by the end of November.  Also, you will be receiving a Save the Date for our next Partner Appreciation Event.  Our next event is planned for Spring of 2019 in Central Arkansas.  More information to come.

ANSWERED PRAYER

Days after our last update was sent, God answered our prayers around my contracting position.  It was extended until December.  Praise the Lord!!  This will help us to survive a little longer and continue several projects at the school through December.

PRAISES

  • Being together as a family!!! Still so grateful for this!
  • God provided a wonderful home for us to stay and it was extended until mid-November.
  • The school doing so well and our 2nd grade desks being approved by the Ministry of Education.
  • Answered prayer for my job.

PRAYERS

  • Pray for specific direction as to where we will live towards the end of November.
  • Pray for my job situation that God will continue opening doors for us while in the US.
  • Pray for clarity and direction on how we can continue serving Christ in all we are doing.

OPPORTUNITIES FOR YOU TO GET INVOLVED

  • If you would like to help fund our ANF partnership allowing us to feed children every day, provide clothing and supplies for communities and help us obtain the desks, furniture and school supplies we need to operate we would love your help. We have a $1000 payment for this yearly partnership coming in December.  Let us know if you would like to give towards this need.
  • Purchasing property in front of the school for future growth is becoming a bigger priority. This land, at $10,000 will allow us to grow to be a self-sustaining school.
  • Our cafeteria area is almost completed. $2500 will finish the roof over our new addition and $1200 will finish our seating.  An additional $5000 will complete the actual kitchen.

THANK YOU

We truly appreciate each and every one of you who partner with us in prayer and support each month.  You are making such a powerful impact for the kingdom.  Thank you for continuing to partner with us in this ministry.  Even in the midst of the struggles and uncertainty, God is still moving and touching lives with His grace and goodness.  And we know this is only because of your prayers.  We look forward to seeing all God will continue to do in Palacaguina.

 

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Dios te bendiga de la familia Witonski!!!  (God Bless you from the Witonski family)

Want more frequent updates, pictures and videos?  Check out the schools Facebook page at https://www.facebook.com/AcademiaCristianaPalacaguina/

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Update #201810 – Together Again

October 8, 2018

Together again at last!!  After our family being separated for over 3 months, we are finally back together again.  This has been an extremely difficult time for us, but I am happy to say we made it through.  And we hope and pray we do not have to do that again.  It is a beautiful thing to be together!  We pray each of you will be reminded how good it is to be together and will take a little extra time this month to hug longer and enjoy each moment God gives you to share with your family.

 

NICARAGUA AND PCA UPDATE

Two of our 1st grade students were able to participate and place in a local reading competition.   We are so proud of Hannah and Edwin for their great work!!!

And praise the Lord for the school continuing to operate well in the midst of all that is happening and us not being able to be there.  The state of Nicaragua continues to be a delicate situation.  Though I do not want to overshare in our update about specifics, I do want to encourage each of you to continue praying for our beloved country and for the people we so dearly love and long to return to.

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INDEPENDENCE DAY MARCH

A big highlight this month was the participation of our students in the annual Independence day march in Palacaguina.  I cannot express enough what a big deal this is for our families and students to be able to represent their school in this celebration.  We had special uniforms made for our band, introduced academic honors this year and had a wonderful turnout of students to represent PCA.  It was truly a great day!!

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CONSTRUCTION PROGRESS

The steps and ramp projects have been completed!  Very happy to continue seeing progress on the school.  This is encouraging and helps to see the school is still moving forward.  And a big thank you to those who have given to help keep the school construction moving forward.  With this, we are ready to finish our Second Grade classroom.

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FAMILY UPDATE

All things considered, the family is doing well.  Michael is enjoying 1st grade.  Andee, Jonah and Lilly are doing great at home schooling.  Deborah and I are good, just trying to figure out the next steps.  We are focusing heavily on trying to listen to what God is telling us and what we are supposed to do for the next phase.  We appreciate your prayers as we need to make some big decisions by the end of October.  PCA is still the primary focus of our hearts, but we will need to focus and lead stateside for at least the next year.

 

IMG_20181007_180600801ANSWERED PRAYER

Last month we had an immediate need for a car.  We had been borrowing a car since July, but needed a car that could fit the whole family and that we could use long-term.  Specifically we were praying for a Honda Pilot.  God answered with a beautiful 2011 Honda Pilot that is going to be perfect for our family.  Thank you Lord!!!  And thank you to all of you who were joining us in prayer for this need.

 

 

PRAISES

  • Being together as a family!!!
  • God provided a wonderful home for us to stay in for October.
  • The school continuing to function normally.
  • Answered prayer for a car.

PRAYERS

  • Pray for specific direction as to where we will live starting in November.
  • Pray for my job situation. My current position ends October 24th.
  • Pray for continued help with the medical condition in our family.

 

OPPORTUNITIES FOR YOU TO GET INVOLVED

  • If you would like to help fund our ANF partnership allowing us to feed children every day, provide clothing and supplies for communities and help us obtain the desks, furniture and school supplies we need to operate we would love your help. We have a $1000 payment for this yearly partnership coming in December.  Let us know if you would like to give towards this need.
  • Purchasing property in front of the school for future growth is becoming a bigger priority. This land, at $10,000 will allow us to grow to be a self-sustaining school.
  • Our cafeteria area is almost completed. $2500 will finish the roof over our new addition and $1200 will finish our seating.  An additional $5000 will complete the actual kitchen.
  • We are working to complete our primary school classrooms 2nd through 4th It costs approximately $2,300 per classroom for flooring and furnishings to have it ready for students.
  • Our next major project is to build our 5th and 6th grade classrooms addition. This will add, two classrooms, bathrooms and much needed storage.  The project is estimated at $11,000 to complete the foundation and 1st floor and an additional $12,000 to finish the second floor.
  • To complete the Preschool we will need to finish the front wall and gates. This project would be one of our last big projects for the structure of the school and is estimated at $9,580.

 

THANK YOU

Thank you for continuing to love and support our family and this amazing ministry God has given us.  Together, we will continue to make a difference in the lives of the children and families of Palacaguina.  We have 98 beautiful children and their families we get to love and care for.  The sacrifices you make every month to support PCA through your prayers, sponsorship and giving are changing a generation through the Gospel of Jesus Christ and education.  I know God is glorified and pleased with your participation in His mission.

 

Dios te bendiga de la familia Witonski!!!  (God Bless you from the Witonski family)

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Want more frequent updates, pictures and videos?  Check out the schools Facebook page at https://www.facebook.com/AcademiaCristianaPalacaguina/

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UPDATE 201809 – GOD IS GOOD!!!

September 1, 2018

“God is good…All the time!  And all the time…God is good!”

In my first church, this was a common saying and response.  We may feel this easy to say when times are good but so much harder when times are, well, not so good.  In the midst of what we have been going through these last few months, I can honestly and most powerfully say God IS Still Good!!  He is so good.  Especially in the midst of trials and chaos that so often surrounds us.  We have truly held onto the truth that “His mercies are new every morning” and “in all things God works for the good of those who love him, who have been called according to his purpose.”  We can say through it all that God is good.  We hope and pray you can see how good God is in your life too.

 

AMERICAN NICARAGUA FOUNDATION

I must begin with an absolute positive show of God’s goodness to PCA and our ministry.  This month we received the largest donation yet from our partnership with ANF.  Not only did we receive enough food for the rest of the year to feed our children and help children in two other communities, but we received school supplies, desks, chairs, furniture, clothing, shoes, notebooks, paint and many other items we were in great need of.  We are super excited about the opportunities this will give us to reach out and give more to those who are in need.  Already we have given out notebooks and clothing to the community of Los Arados where we recently built a chapel.  Our goal is to use or give away everything by December.

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SCHOOL STATUS

God is truly amazing.  Yet another reason why God is so good is that even in the midst of the greatest civil unrest since the civil war in the 80’s, PCA has graciously not been impacted by the situation.  Every day, our children are able to attend school and maintain their normal lives.  This is sadly not the case in other parts of Nicaragua right now.  We are truly grateful the school is continuing to serve the families of Palacaguina and do even more than we have ever done before.  PCA is strong and moving forward thanks to our leadership, staff and so many of you who continue to support us and make PCA a possibility every month.

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SCHOOL ACTIVITIES

We wanted to highlight two activities from August.  (1) The students, parents and staff have been working hard to represent PCA well in the upcoming Independence Day celebrations.  We have new patriotic uniforms and recognition of student excellence to add to our returning band in the city parade this year.  And (2), our 4 year old class put on a play for the story of Little Red Riding Hood.  What a great job by our students.  And a special thanks to our parents who of course worked hard on their costumes.

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CONSTRUCTION PROGRESS

We are actively working to complete our steps and handicap ramp to our next classrooms and have completed the planning and design of our main office for next year.  What a difference it will make to have an official main office for the school.  Next we will be tiling our 2nd grade classroom and working more on our kitchen/cafeteria space.

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FAMILY UPDATE

We are so grateful for all of you who have been praying for us and reaching out to us in this time.  We know God is good because of the wonderful people He has put in our lives who love and care for us.  Though we are still separated, we are doing well.  The Wyoming crew is continuing homeschooling every day and fully enjoying every moment with Grandmamaw and Grandpapaw.  Michael and I have been settling into a new normal and getting wonderful opportunities to see friends and family.  Looking forward to all being together by the end of September and staying in Central Arkansas through October.

 

NEXT STEPS

Though we had hopes of returning to Palacaguina in October, this is not going to be possible for two reasons.  First, the situation in Nicaragua is still very volatile.  There have definitely been a reduction in all out violence, however, protesting is still ongoing, civil order has not returned, the people are still unhappy and there is still the very real potential of things getting worse fast.  Second, by God’s grace after coming to the US, we identified a medical condition in our family that will require us to be in the US for treatment.  We have determined a minimum of one-year to be in the US for this and are working on the details.  We know God is directing every step and we are grateful we can continue working with and operating the school even in our absence.

 

PRAISES

  • Though expensive, we were able to shield the school and Arete from sharing any of our evacuation expenses. Thank you God for providing for us and helping us not impact the school in this.
  • God continues to provide transportation and temporary housing for our family.
  • Identification of a new method for getting funds into Nicaragua without fees.

 

PRAYERS

  • Pray for us as we search for a used car for our family. Specifically, for a good used Honda Pilot.
  • Pray for us as we seek direction on where God wants us to land for our time stateside until we can return to Nicaragua.
  • Pray for a medical condition that has arisen in our family. Nothing life-threatening, but will require treatment over the next year and a lot of changes.

 

 

OPPORTUNITIES FOR YOU TO GET INVOLVED

  • If you would like to help fund our side of the ANF partnership that allows us to feed children every day, provide clothing and supplies for communities and help us obtain the desks, furniture and school supplies we need to operate we would love your help. We have a $1000 payment for this yearly partnership coming in December.  Let us know if you would like to give towards this need.
  • Our cafeteria area is almost completed. $2500 will finish the roof over our new addition and $1200 will finish our seating.  An additional $5000 will complete the actual kitchen.
  • We are working to complete our primary school classrooms 2nd through 4th It costs approximately $2,300 per classroom for flooring and furnishings to have it ready for students.  You could help us be ready.
  • Our next major project is to build our 5th and 6th grade classrooms addition. This will add, two classrooms, bathrooms and much needed storage.  The project is estimated at $11,000 to complete the foundation and 1st floor and an additional $12,000 to finish the second floor.
  • To complete the Preschool we will need to finish the front wall and gates. This project would be one of our last big projects for the structure of the school and is estimated at $9,580.

 

THANK YOU

Thank you for your prayers, your reaching out, your thoughts and your continued support of our family and PCA through everything.  We are encouraged about the future of PCA and the ministry.  We know it is crazy right now, but we believe it will get better and we will eventually be able to return to Palacaguina.  And how good it is to know that you will be with us in that.  God is good!!  AMEN!!!

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Dios te bendiga de la familia Witonski!!!  (God Bless you from the Witonski family)

 

Want more frequent updates, pictures and videos?  Check out the schools Facebook page at https://www.facebook.com/AcademiaCristianaPalacaguina/

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Update #2018-08 – So Many Unknowns

August 4, 2018

When can we return to Nicaragua? Where do we live if it takes more time? What can we do now?  Why are we here, when our hearts are in Palacaguina?  How do we take the next step?  Even though there are so many unknowns we are facing right now, we know beyond any doubt that God is Good!  And His plans are good!  God does not need us to figure everything out, He just needs us to trust in the fact that He has it figured out.

In our last update, we shared about our family having to evacuate Nicaragua.  I want to share more about this but first I want to share about how God is still moving, the school is going strong and there are doors of opportunity for reaching more people with the Gospel.

 

CONSTRUCTION PROGRESS

There are several new projects we have been able to complete this month and we are well on our way to getting ready for 2nd grade next year.  We were able to finish the cafeteria floor, an electrical project, new doors, and some much-needed drainage projects.  Next, we will be working on other projects to get our 2nd grade classroom completed and focusing on finishing our kitchen and main office space.  Thank you to all of our wonderful partners continuing to help us move forward every month.

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NEW STUDENTS

We have added two new students from Managua and we are grateful to have them.  Even more, we are able to provide a safe and structured environment filled with the love of Christ.  We are so happy to be able to provide this to families and children who are being displaced.

 

AMERICAN NICARAGUA FOUNDATION (ANF) PARTNERSHIP

We are happy to announce that our partnership with ANF is going to continue for another year.  We will be signing a new one-year partnership with ANF in the coming weeks and this is going to ensure we are able to provide daily meals for our children as well as a few surrounding communities.  This year we are also going to be receiving school supplies, furniture, and many other items as they are available.  Praise the Lord for this partnership.  If you would like to help with the $2,000 cost of this partnership that provides food every day and so many other benefits, please let us know or give at www.lovepala.com.

 

NEW CHAPEL

Last month I shared about a chapel the local church we attend built in a small village.  We have had the opportunity to be a part of building another chapel in another community desperately in need of a place to worship.  This chapel will create a new place of ministry and many opportunities to reach this new community with the gospel of Jesus Christ.  Praise the Lord!  As the situation in Nicaragua continues on, more people are searching for real answers.  What a blessing to provide a place for those who are seeking answers to find the one true answer.  Hope, in this life, is found solely in Jesus Christ.  Amen?  Amen!

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FAMILY REFUGEE UPDATE

Technically, we are now refugees.  How in the world did we get to this place?  To be honest, we have no idea.  But, what we do know is that God is still directing our steps and He is still good!  We know God has called our family to Nicaragua, and we believe His call is still strong.  However, we are not able to be present in our home due to the situation.  At this point, we are trusting God to show us our next immediate steps, but absolutely committed to our calling.  Thankfully the school has been running normally through the month of July and we are grateful for our incredible friends and staff who have stepped up to fill our absence.  We hope to have a better idea next update of what this chapter of our journey is going to be.  For now, we simply ask for your prayers.  Please pray for direction, understanding, wisdom and grace as we move forward.

 

ARKANSAS (AUGUST/SEPTEMBER)

Over the next few months, I look forward to continuing meeting with many of you in Central Arkansas and sharing in person all God has been doing at PCA and the hope we have for the future of the school and the ministry.  If you would like to reach out to me and schedule a time to get together, please reply.  I want you to see how good God can be even in the midst of uncertainty and chaos.  Our faith is strong and the future is bright.

PRAYERS

  • Please pray for Nicaragua to have a peaceful resolution soon to the current situation.
  • Please pray for God to use our time in the states for His glory.
  • Please pray for God to move on our behalf regarding school transportation, land purchases, and business opportunities to help the future of PCA.

PRAISE

  • God’s miraculous intervention and clear favor in our evacuations
  • A warm home to be in during our temporary situation
  • A car to use while we are in the states
  • Provision for additional expenses we have incurred

 

THANK YOU

We are so grateful for all of you who are continuing to pray and partner with us through everything.  It would not be possible to keep running the school and making an impact in Palacaguina without you.  Thank you for remaining committed to this ministry and what God is doing in Nicaragua.  Know and trust in God’s plans.  Though we do not always understand every step, God is faithful and will complete the work He has started.

 

Dios te bendiga de la familia Witonski!!!  (God Bless you from the Witonski family)

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Want more frequent updates, pictures and videos?  Check out the schools Facebook page at https://www.facebook.com/AcademiaCristianaPalacaguina/

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Update #2018-07 – WHAT AN ADVENTURE

July 1, 2018

What a month June has been.  Amidst the greatest civil unrest Nicaragua has experienced since the 80’s, God is still doing amazing things.  PCA is moving forward, educating and reaching out to the children and families of Palacaguina and all because of your prayers and support.  We finished several projects this month and had several opportunities to minister and love on others.  So grateful God has called us to work in Palacaguina.  We hope you enjoy seeing the pictures in this update and read to the end for a special update on our family.

 

PRIMARY SCHOOL PLAYGROUND

One of the most exciting happenings in June was the completion of our primary school playground.  The pictures can barely begin to express the excitement of the 1st graders.  They love their new playground and we are so grateful to the WPC Youth who created the space with the fence and sand as well as for the wonderful donor who paid for the structures to be created.  Thank you so much for providing this amazing place for our children to play.

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1st Grade TV

A major part of our English class has been the ability to show videos.  We were able to purchase and install the TV for the first grade class this month.  Thank you to the donor who has so far provided all of our classroom TVs.  These are used every day to teach and we are grateful to have them.  This is one more capability that sets PCA apart.

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INTERNATIONAL FOLK FESTIVAL

Two of our Preschool children participated in a local International Folk Festival.  They competed in a dance competition where they performed a traditional Nicaraguan dance.  It was a blessing to watch and see PCA getting to participate in this event.  One of the ways we are able to be a part of the community.

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WHAT AN HONOR

I was humbled to be invited by this small church in the mountains of Palacaguina to a delicious meal.  I cannot begin to describe what an honor this was to be given so much from people who have so little.  They slaughtered a goat for us and fed us so much.  This chapel our church in Palacaguina built is the only church in this village of about 400 people.  It is amazing to see what God is doing.

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YOUTH CAMP

A definite highlight this month was participating in a youth camp we did in Palacaguina.  We had 126 youth come out for a day of worship, teaching, food, & fun.  I was the games coordinator for the camp and it was so much fun.  I love getting to work with and spend time with the wonderful people of Nicaragua.  God is so good!!

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FATHERS DAY AT THE HOUSE

This year, for Father’s Day, we had an event at our house for the men of our church.  It was great to have about 18 men come up and spend the day just fellowshipping and spending time in God’s Word together.  They made an outdoor stove and cooked some delicious traditional soup and I even made some stove-top popcorn for the first time.  It was a great day of Fellowship.

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SPONSORSHIP

As of this update we only have 2 children who need a sponsor.  Sponsorship not only covers the cost of education, but also provides a meal each day and ministry programs for the children.  If you or someone you know would like to sponsor a child at $40 per month, please let us know or go to our website at www.lovepala.com.

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EVACUATION – FAMILY UPDATE

It is with great sadness we had to make a decision this month to evacuate the family from Nicaragua for a short time.  Due to the increasing violence and instability of the political situation, our Board of Directors requested we leave Nicaragua to give the country time to stabilize.  Though we did not want to leave and have never felt in direct danger, we are being obedient to those in authority over us and trusting in their wisdom.  We immediately evacuated part of the family on June 13th to Wyoming and I followed on June 29th to Arkansas.  I needed to stay in order to prepare PCA and our home for our absence.  We hope to return to Palacaguina within the next few months.  Thank you for those of you who have been praying for our safety during this time.  We know God is going to use our time in the states for His glory.  And I look forward to spending time meeting with many of you and our partners in Central Arkansas in the month of July.  This all happened very quickly and we have so many mixed emotions we are processing through.  We were able to leave the school in great hands and the school will continue to operate normally in our absence.  This will be a great test of our continuity plan for the school and we feel the school will not have any issues for this short time of us not being there.  Please continue to pray God will open doors for us to safely return to our beloved home, Palacaguina.

PRAYERS

  • Please pray for Nicaragua to have a peaceful resolution soon to the current situation.
  • Please pray for God to use our time in the states for His glory.
  • Please pray for a new 1-year volunteer to start in January to teach English in 2nd
  • Please pray for God to move on our behalf regarding school transportation, land purchases, and business opportunities to help the future of PCA.

THANK YOU!

It is amazing to see what God can do through the willing hearts of His people.  We are absolutely grateful for each of you who are praying for, giving to and telling others about all God is doing in Palacaguina.  We would not be able to do all of this without you.  97 children, families, youth, other communities, and many more are being touched by the love and grace of God and it is all because of you.  We are blessed to be a part of what God is doing and so grateful you are by our side through it all.  We know God will finish all He has started.

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Dios te bendiga de la familia Witonski!!!  (God Bless you from the Witonski family)

The Witonski Family <><

Want more frequent updates, pictures and videos?  Check out the schools Facebook page at https://www.facebook.com/AcademiaCristianaPalacaguina/

https://lovepala.com/blog/

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Update #2018-06 – INSECTAGEDDON PART II

June 1, 2018

It is that time of year again, the rain is plentiful, everything is turning green and the bugs outnumber people a million to 1.  That’s right, it is INSECTAGEDDON 2018.  We could definitely be the backdrop for one of those really bad B Movies.  Like When Moths Attack or Attack of the Killer June Bug or Flying Ants Destroy the World.  This is definitely an “experience”.  Maybe not one everyone would enjoy, but something we are learning to live with in our new world.  We have adjusted accordingly with changes such as not having lights on after the sun goes down (Dad is loving the electricity savings) and showering by candle light so the moths do not negate the shower you just took.  All in all, it is good.  Happy to see the mountains turning green and seeing the rain coming from far away through the mountains is such a beautiful sight to see.

 

So much has happened in the month of May.  I returned from my US Trip, we are making much progress on the primary school playground, we have a new English volunteer and we have been blessed with many more stories of God’s faithfulness and provision.  Let us take a look at all God has been doing in the ministry and the school over the last month.

US TRIP REPORT

I have to thank each of you who prayed for our trip to the US.  This was our first trip of its kind and one we have decided most definitely needs to be repeated each year as it was an extremely successful trip.  We were able to connect with old friends and meet so many new friends along the way.  Out of 26 children we needed to sponsor, 22 were sponsored.  PRAISE GOD!!  This is going to open so many doors this year and next.  This means we are no longer operating in a super deficit for the year and we will be able to help fund Uniforms, books, school supplies, and other programs we have been eager to do.  This also means we will be able to afford our partnership with ANF for another year to continue providing food, clothing and other materials for our children and other communities.  God is so good and I am so thankful for all of our new partners who are working with us to Change a Generation.  We will be deciding dates and details for our 2019 trip soon.

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PRIMARY SCHOOL PLAYGROUND

We are seeing this major need come to reality.  It started in April with a team of youth who built the fencing and provided the sand and continues with the construction of playground equipment.  We are creating three structures: teeter-totters, slides and monkey bars.  Though we still need about $3,000 to finish the playground, we are hoping to finish with what we currently have in June so the children can begin playing on their new equipment.

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20180523_150210_HDRA CINDERELLA STORY

Ok, maybe not apples to apples, but still an amazing story.  A little girl who lives across from the school is getting the opportunity of a lifetime.  April (not her real name) would come every day to work and play alongside our last missions team.  One of the youth serving (we will call her Jill) fell in love with April (not hard to do).  When Jill returned, she shared with her family and they decided to adopt April’s future, literally.  April’s family, though living across from the school and wanting April to attend, did not have the means to do so.   Jill and her family have given April and her family a reason to hope for an amazing future for April.  Jill’s family is not only sponsoring her as a PCA partner, but they are going to sponsor the family’s expenses as well.  AND they want to do this all the way through graduation.  When I shared this with April’s family, they were overwhelmed and you could see the gratefulness in their hearts for the opportunity this brings to their little girl.  April’s first day at PCA was yesterday and after school I asked her how her first day went and let me say, her amazing smile was so bright as she exclaimed how great it was.  It is such a joy to see, first hand, the happiness and hope you bring when you sponsor a child and give them the promise of education.  I wish each of you could see the impact you are making that I get to see every day.  Thank you for giving hope and a future to all of the little Aprils.  You are making such a difference.

Celebrating Moms

Nicaragua takes celebrating Moms to a whole new level.  As a school, PCA was able to honor all of our Moms with a special celebration and lunch.  Thank you to all of the great Moms who sacrifice and work so hard to love us and help our lives to be great!!  We love you Mom!!

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Making a Difference

Thanks to a successful trip to the US and our funding almost being complete, we were able to award more 50% scholarships to local families struggling so hard to give their children a bright future.  This brings our ½ scholarship recipients up to 40 children.  A little less than half of our families attending PCA.  The need is great, but we are grateful to be making a difference every way we can.

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NatashaLuis-closeWelcome Natasha

We are super excited to be welcoming to PCA Natasha.  Natasha, recently married, moved to Nicaragua in March.  Her husband is from Palacaguina.  I cannot express enough how grateful we are Natasha is now serving as our first grade English teacher.  We are hopeful Natasha will partner with us for many years to Change a Generation and be the difference for our children learning English.  She has already made a HUGE impact in only a few short weeks.  Welcome to PCA Natasha!!!  You are a direct answer to our and so many others’ prayers.

 

Sponsorship

As of this update we only have 4 children who need a sponsor.  Sponsorship not only covers the cost of education, but also provides a meal each day and ministry programs for the children.  If you or someone you know would like to sponsor a child at $40 per month, please let us know or go to our website at www.lovepala.com.

Eveling Bryan Brismary Alexandra

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Prayers

  • Please pray for a new 1-year volunteer to start in January to teach English in 2nd
  • Please pray for God to move on our behalf regarding school transportation, land purchases, and business opportunities to help the future of PCA.
  • Please pray for Nicaragua to have a peaceful resolution soon to the current situation. Our family is doing ok for any concerned.  Just trusting in God to use us where He has called us.

THANK YOU!

Once again we are reminded of how limited we are on our own in fulfilling the call God has given our family.  We absolutely could not do anything we are doing without all of you supporting us with your prayers and your giving.  God can do so much through His people when we join together to fulfill the Great Commission and we are so blessed to be able to see and experience this directly.  You are literally the hands and feet of Christ working along-side us to make a difference in the lives of the children and families of Palacaguina.  Thank you so much for your sacrifice and for all you do!!

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Dios te bendiga de la familia Witonski!!!  (God Bless you from the Witonski family)

The Witonski Family <><

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