Oh my, what a month February has been. There have been some high highs and some low lows. But through it all, we have truly been blessed to see God moving first hand here in Nicaragua. God is good and we are ever learning to trust in His amazing goodness.
THE FAMILY ARRIVES
This was absolutely amazing for me as I no longer feel alone. I know I am never truly alone, but let me tell you, having Deborah and the kids here with me makes all the difference in the world. I am so grateful God has called us here as a family. You can see their arrival on my VLOG soon. I will say, the family is transitioning extremely well. The kids have not complained once about their new life and Deborah is absolutely amazing in her ability to make a home with very little resources. It has definitely had it struggles, but I am grateful for the transition so far.
Speaking of limited resources, we have still not received our container. This is a major struggle for us as not only is everything we need to make a home on that container (beds, pots/pans, clothes, etc) but everything for equipping the preschool as well. The first three weeks of school have consisted of borrowing what we can and me purchasing as little as possible in order to survive. Everyone asks daily when the container will arrive and it seems every update is another delay. On a good note, we do have hope the container will be here the first week in March. We are praying heavily for this.
FIRST DAY OF SCHOOL
The school is going so well. We had our first day of school on Monday, February 6th. We have a full roster of 65 students(21 in PreK-3, 19 in PreK-4 and 25 in Kindergarten). It has been incredible. Every morning I get to welcome the children to school and every day at Noon I get to tell them “See you tomorrow”. In just three weeks, the children have learned many English words. THIS is the reason we are here. It is exciting to see first-hand the powerful potential of the impact we are making. For all of you who have been a part of this with us, I can tell you with confidence, the difference is real and you are absolutely giving these children hope and a future like they would have never had before.
I have to give a quick shout out to Nik Holcomb. He is a 20-year old intern here with us for 3 months until mid-April. He is THE reason the children are learning English so well and let me tell you, the kids love him. He is in the classes with the children every day from 8am until Noon speaking English alongside the teachers. This is why we need many of you to consider coming here so we can have native English speakers in class every day with these kids. I am going to miss Nik so much when he is gone. I am amazed at how God has provided perfectly for what we need. Thank you Nik!!!
SCHOOL CONSTRUCTION UPDATE
Wow, so much is happening. In just three weeks, we have done so much to the PreSchool we did not even realize we needed. Since opening, we have: added fencing and gates for safety, added needed concrete paths/pads, built the playground divider wall, reinstalled the toilets (that was crazy), added sand to the play areas, and built railings along paths. All of these were absolutely needed for safety and access. We have experienced about $1,200 of these immediate needs and still have a few more items on the punch list. We know God will provide as we continue to move forward in faith. As for the rest of the school project, we are continually making progress on the rest of the school. Construction is near complete on the 1st-4th grade classrooms, library and administration building. We will hopefully have the base construction complete in March/April and will be ready to start raising funds to equip the classrooms and finish the library. We have already raised about half of the anticipated $9,000 to finish the library. This will be wonderful as it will allow us to begin reaching out to the community more.
This is the biggest problem we are facing at this time. Without internet, we are limited in our communication with you and crippled in our ability to raise support. The only internet we are able to access involves walking a mile to the public wifi in the park (which we do as a family every other day). Please pray God will open a door for internet to the school very soon.
I am very happy to say we were able to find a car. With a very limited budget it was not easy. Gratefully, there are several friends here who helped me not only find a vehicle, but stayed at my side through the entire process. The house has been interesting. We are working to fix all of our water issues (there are many) and it is challenging for a family of 6 in a virtually empty house, but we are making it. Deborah said it best, we are pretty much “glamping”. Which stands for glamorous camping. Everyone seems to be handling it well. At least for the last week, we have been able to make a trip to the store for groceries. That was a major improvement.
I am extremely grateful for where we are financially. Even though we are still $600 short in our monthly pledges needed to fully fund the school, God has met our needs.
We have so many things before us. We are actively working on our residency process which is beyond difficult. We are planning our 3rd six-hour trip to try and submit the paperwork. Not a pleasant topic. Once the container arrives we will be putting the classrooms and our home in order. We have several big projects for the school construction underway. And we will be focusing heavily on our English curriculum for the school.
In an effort to always be transparent with both the blessings and the struggles, I want to let you know where we stand on a few areas.
- We need to raise an additional $600 per month to meet our $3,150 monthly 2017 school budget (Down from $850 needed as of the last update, praise God!!)
- Health and strength for our aging bodies as we learn to experience manual labor every day.
- Container arriving early March.
- An affordable, reliable, sufficient Internet solution soon.
We are incredibly grateful to each of you who are praying for, supporting and loving our family and the mission God has called us to here in Palacaguina. We absolutely could not do this without you. Please continue to pray for us and tell others about the school. I truly look forward to each month getting to share with you the awesome things God is doing here in Nicaragua. We pray for each of you as you continue to live your lives for the Great Commission where God has called you!!
For more updates throughout the month, check out my youtube channel. I try to upload a new video at least once or twice a week.
Dios te bendiga de la familia de Witonski!!! (God Bless you from the Witonski family)
The Witonski Family <><