What & Why


4 months of ... "Social Distancing" Cases of Covid-19 are continuing to rise here in Nicaragua and the state of the economy and the devastating impact that it is having on the families and communities here are becoming more evident each day.


Prayer Requests:

*Pray for the President and Vice President of Nicaragua to come to know Christ as their Savior, and for them to seek wisdom in leadership from the Word of God



Praises:

*Praise the Lord for TECHNOLOGY!


*Praise the Lord for all of the friends, family and supporting churches that have reached out to us


*For good health and the opportunity to see this amazingly exciting time in history!

As we have been reading in the book of Leviticus, we have been greatly encouraged, once again, by the Word of God, as we endure the fire.

1st Peter 1:7 says….

“These trials will show that your faith is genuine. It is being tested as fire tests and purifies gold—though your faith is far more precious than mere gold. So when your faith remains strong through many trials, it will bring you much praise and glory and honor on the day when Jesus Christ is revealed to the whole world.”

Romans 12:1 says….

“Therefore, I urge you, brothers and sisters, in view of God's mercy, to offer your bodies as a living sacrifice, holy and pleasing to God--this is your true and proper worship.”

Multiple times in Leviticus 1-9 & 13, as the description on how to make a sacrifice to the Lord is given, it says, Then the priest will burn the entire sacrifice on the altar as a burnt offering. It is a special gift, a pleasing aroma to the Lord.”

We are reminded that an offering made by “fire” is a special gift! It is a pleasing aroma to the Lord!

As we set our lives before the Lord as living sacrifices, let us hold fast to his promises and suffer well! Because, in doing so, we are pleasing to the Lord and we gain endurance, allowing us to share the HOPE that we have, most BOLDLY with those around us!

We will continue to pray with you all, for each other and for our world.

All our love,

The Strong Family



We are praying for you!


21 days of ... "Stuck at Home!" We mean, staying at home and self quarantining, social distancing and isolating, of course! We are stowed away in our house, just like most of you and have watched from our home here as the world has changed! WOW! One thing that remains the same though, is that beautiful, blue Nicaraguan sky and the HOPE that we have in our Lord Jesus Christ! ~March 15th was the last day that we worshiped outside of our home and this was the view as we drove to church, not having any clue what awaited us in the days and weeks ahead.

~Covid-19 Status. The government leaders here have not established any guidelines for mitigating the spread of Covid-19 and have left the borders open for travel. All the countries around us have closed their borders and have enforced quarantine restrictions. At this time the government has communicated that there have been 6 confirmed cases of Covid-19 in the country. Most of the private schools here have closed and many businesses and the Catholic Church are advising people to stay home in an effort to stop the spread.

It is a real threat that the medical system here could be quickly overwhelmed if the virus were to begin spreading rapidly. With Managua being the third largest city in Central America, with over 1.3 million people living within 210 square miles, social distancing becomes a real challenge. This beautiful country has been struggling with unemployment and severe poverty that was made worse by the civil unrest that took place just two years ago. As we await the full onslaught of Covid-19, we are praying for the sustainability of the fragile economic and medical systems.


~Our kids have been doing online school through the school here for the last 2 weeks. Even their music teacher has joined in on the on-line adventure! We are so grateful for technology! Right now, the school leadership plans to reevaluate resuming on campus classes on April 30th.


~This week, here in Nicaragua, is Semana Santa, Holy Week, and is pretty much like Spring Break back home. There's no school, until April 14th, businesses are closed and families are vacationing and hosting different activities.


~To evacuate or stay? We receive emails from the US Embassy regularly and they have done a great job at stating the facts and giving us accurate information to base our decisions on. Several weeks ago they were advising US citizens that were in country as tourists, to find a way home as quickly as possible. They recommended those US Citizens that live in Nicaragua, to either evacuate, or be prepared to hunker down for an "indefinite amount of time." We had been praying and seeking counsel about our decision and decided to remain in country. We believe that this is where the Lord wants us!

Prayer Requests:

*Pray for the President and Vice President of Nicaragua to come to know Christ as their Savior, and for them to seek wisdom in leadership from the Word of God

*Pray for safety from the devastating effects that Covid-19 could have on this already very vulnerable people

*Pray for our children as they endure the isolation away from the norms of their lives *Pray for safety and good health for our family and for us to have good counsel and wisdom in making decisions


*Pray as we continue to develop relationships and pursue different ministry opportunities and partnerships


Praises:

*Praise the Lord for TECHNOLOGY!


*Praise the Lord for all of the friends, family and supporting churches that have reached out to us


*For good health and the opportunity to see this amazingly exciting time in history!

As we have been reading in the book of Leviticus, we have been greatly encouraged, once again, by the Word of God, as we endure the fire.

1st Peter 1:7 says….

“These trials will show that your faith is genuine. It is being tested as fire tests and purifies gold—though your faith is far more precious than mere gold. So when your faith remains strong through many trials, it will bring you much praise and glory and honor on the day when Jesus Christ is revealed to the whole world.”

Romans 12:1 says….

“Therefore, I urge you, brothers and sisters, in view of God's mercy, to offer your bodies as a living sacrifice, holy and pleasing to God--this is your true and proper worship.”

Multiple times in Leviticus 1-9 & 13, as the description on how to make a sacrifice to the Lord is given, it says, Then the priest will burn the entire sacrifice on the altar as a burnt offering. It is a special gift, a pleasing aroma to the Lord.”

We are reminded that an offering made by “fire” is a special gift! It is a pleasing aroma to the Lord!

As we set our lives before the Lord as living sacrifices, let us hold fast to his promises and suffer well! Because, in doing so, we are pleasing to the Lord and we gain endurance, allowing us to share the HOPE that we have, most BOLDLY with those around us!

We will continue to pray with you all, for each other and for our world.

All our love,

The Strong Family



YEAR IN REVIEW!


JANUARY THROUGH JUNE… Full time language school in Costa Rica

APRIL… Visited Nica to find a house to rent First time Lily, Oliva and Joseph were in the country!



JUNE… Finished language school in Costa Rica Moved to Nicaragua from Costa Rica in a 25 passenger van. The driver pulled most of the seats out , we stuffed it to the brim and made the 12 hour journey successfully!

JULY… Purchased beds for the bunkhouses from another ministry Began visiting church plants to see where the Lord would have us to serve

AUGUST… Assisted our team mate, Traci, with her medical team. It was a wonderful experience for our whole family. The kids even got to play nurse! Kids began school at NCA – Nicaragua Christian Academy

SEPTEMBER… Watched as the Lord provided the funds necessary to purchase a 15-passenger van Chad suffered injury from walking into a glass door and is now fully recovered. Praise the Lord! Chad’s mom came for an almost 2-week visit, which was a total surprise for our kids… because Chad had had the accident! (Oh, is THAT how we get visitors?) We all LOVED having our first visitor and it meant a great deal to us that Doreen was willing to travel by herself to a foreign country! Doreen brought with her a bunch of cards, candy, toys and gifts from people back home! This was a major highlight! We hosted our new Regional Directors for a couple nights as they came to visit our team here on the field.

OCTOBER… Hosted a missionary family of 5 from Costa Rica for 2 weeks as they served in a conference here in Nicaragua Had sweet friends, Joe & Lori Hunt and their 3 boys, visit us from Pennsylvania. Went zipling, visited different ministries, went to the volcano, all got food poisoning and had a GREAT time! Our son, Wesley, and his wife came to visit for almost 2 weeks from their ministry in Alaska and we had a great time showing them around our new home and the beautiful country of Nicaragua! They flew into Liberia, Costa Rica because it was 4 times cheaper, so we made the three and a half hour journey to pick them up and take them back and endured all that the “border” had to offer! If we ever have the opportunity to sit and chat, make sure you hear the story of THAT adventure!

NOVEMBER… Celebrated Thanksgiving… Chad organized a game of American football over at the kids school and then we hosted our ABWE team in our home for a wonderful meal. November 18th, we submitted all our paperwork for our residency after a perilous time of getting all the documents from the States. We are so grateful for our daughter and friends who helped make all that possible.

DECEMBER… We hosted the church of Cristo Es El Camino here in our house for a morning service, a meal and had a celebration to honor the Pastor and his wife’s 12th wedding anniversary. There were 72 people in all and it was one of our most favorite days being here in Nicaragua! There was music, food, swimming and so much fun! The house was a complete mess and it was a fantastic day! Celebrated our first Christmas in Nicaragua and the Lord was very good to us. We were able to have many of the foods that we traditionally enjoy and spent the day talking to our kids and families in the states and then joined some fellow missionaries for an afternoon of food and games. Attended our churches New Year’s Eve celebration. They had a message, music a “cafecito”, coffee and a little pastry, another message, and more special music. At midnight the community erupted with tons of fireworks and we all sat down to a full course meal of rice, beans and a choice of pork, chicken or beef. We arrived back home around 2am. It was an amazingly memorable night and we will cherish our first New Year in Nicaragua! December 30th we RECEIVED RESIDENCY!!! Praise the Lord! We were told that it could take up to a year or longer for this process and it only took 6 weeks! What a surprise!

LOOKING FORWARD We are so excited as we look forward to this coming year! We have watched as the Lord has opened doors for us to develop relationships with nationals and opened the lines of communication to better understand just how we can help walk alongside them in ministering to their own people.

Our communication, with you all back home, has been minimal outside of our Facebook posts simply for the lack of time that we have had for office work. Our goal was to land here in Nicaragua in June, get our family settled into our new home, get the kids in school, begin to develop relationships within local churches, buy vehicles and all our household needs and be ready to start working full time with a National Pastor at the beginning of January. It has been a journey, with some not so fun details, just check out our FB posts for the blood, sweat and tears sagas, but we are really excited about where we are today in our readiness to serve here!

SO, WHAT’S GOING ON? ------------------------------------------------------------------------- Iglesia Bautista Cristo Es El Camino

We are working with a National Pastor and his wife, Pastor Lester and Isabel, to assist them in developing Biblical training in their church and promote church growth through evangelistic sports outreach. We will begin using the Good Soil material produced by ABWE in classes beginning February 2nd. We are training leaders within the church at this time to lead their groups through the Story of Hope, an evangelistic, Bible teaching tool that is part of Good Soil. We will teach alongside them Sunday mornings. One man, in this church, is now participating in our ministry’s ICP, Institute for Church Planters, with the purpose of planting a church in a nearby community.

GOALS:

* Provide the church with the basic necessities for setting up functional classroom areas. Last year the church raised money and in December they purchased a table and 6 small chairs for the toddler area.

* Raise funds to cover the cost of purchasing tables, whiteboards, chairs, scissors, crayons and other materials needed. We are currently gathering information to put together a cost analysis. * Teach through the Story of Hope while developing leaders who will be equipped to lead others. * Host evangelistic sports outreaches and develop relationships with those that have asked to know more about God’s Word. * Evaluate the prospect of constructing a church building. * Begin developing relationships in the community in which the church desires to plant another church. -

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Rayitos Feeding Ministry/ Iglesia Bautista Sendero de Luz We will be working alongside National Pastor, Pastor Valeriano, teaching the Story of Hope one day a week to a divided group of men and women. Pastor Valeriano has begun a sewing ministry in his church of Iglesia Bautista Sendero de Luz. They currently have 11 sewing machines and two national women teaching a group of women.

There are hopes to purchase a property across the street to develop this location into a storefront where the items that are produced would then be sold to assist those participating and also to fund the continuing ministry of vocational training.


Pastor Valeriano has the desire to open a feeding ministry in a very poor community down by the lake. Our family has visited this site and has been praying over this area. There is a family that has already come forward that is willing to live on the property and to do the cooking. We are very excited about this opportunity and are anxious to see what the Lord will do with this.



GOALS:

* Teach through the Story of Hope at Rayitos, while developing leaders who will then be equipped to lead others through the material. * Raise $1,200 to fund the sewing ministry with supplies for this year. * Continue to pray over the community in which Valeriano would like to open the feeding ministry and for the family that desires to serve there.

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There is a great deal going on in our lives! All the day to day stuff has us in its clutches just like it does all of you! We know your time is valuable and we treasure your prayers and the time you give to loving our family from afar! You mean so much to us! Every gift, message, email, and phone call are little gusts of wind that keep us going! We hope that we are an encouragement to you as you are to us! Our goal is to keep you up all up to date with what we have going on here! We have been drowning in the unpacking, settling and developing of relationships, but the Lord has been SO amazingly good to us through it all! We have stayed afloat and feel like we have now climbed into the boat and have at least one paddle!

We pray that the Lord is using his word and his presence to make you more like His son every day! A question that we have been asked many times here…. “WHAT are you doing here?” Boy, this was a question that made us pause. Seems simple. What should our response be? We will share more with you about this another time.

All our love and abundant blessings to you our dear friends and family, Serving while waiting,

Chad & Rachel Strong

2 Corinthians 5:20 “Now then, we are ambassadors for Christ, as though God were pleading through us: we implore you on Christ’s behalf, be reconciled to God.”




AUTHOR

Chad & Rachel Strong  ABWE Missionaries to Nicaragua

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