I started my work here in June with an intense month-long orientation, as Mark Vanderwees finished his 16 years of service here at Country Consultant.

Although I’m new to World Renew, I am not new to Nicaragua. I have been here for a few years and fallen in love with its lakes and volcanoes, its beans and tortillas, and one particularly wonderful woman. In fact, we married last year and are expecting our first child any day!

The path that brought me to World Renew is one that only God could have foreseen, as I’ve spent two decades in Michigan, followed by stints in four states (Illinois, Washington, Virginia, and Indiana) and three Latin American countries (Ecuador, Costa Rica, and Nicaragua). As I extend experiential, familial, and work roots into this rich volcanic earth, I am excited and humbled by the work before us.

I hope that a short story will serve as an introduction to me, as well as an illustration of the challenges and opportunities here in Nicaragua:

Just the other day, I went with Maria Luisa, another member of the Nicaragua World Renew team, to meet with a local partner organization at their office. We arrived 30 minutes late to the meeting and then waited another 20 minutes until they assembled. We drank coffee, ate cookies, prayed for the health of the director´s family member, and laughed together, even as we looked over budget numbers and talked about the scope of the new project that will work with small farmers and their families. This project will support farmers as they attempt to diversify and strengthen their livelihoods in an area where dry years can quickly lead to hunger and force migration.

At one point, the director of the partner organization, who is also an author and Ph.D. theologian, said, We must strive to understand the difference in the meaning of the prayer ´Give us today our daily bread,’ depending on who is praying.¨ This statement stayed with me as I moved through the rest of my day—as I talked with my wife about our supper options and as I gave thanks before my meal. What an opportunity and responsibility to support families who do not know where their next meal is coming from! What an opportunity and responsibility to learn from the depth and breadth of their prayers!

What a challenge to cross the barriers that separate us so that we have the chance to connect, share, learn, and celebrate together!


Prayer requests:

  • Relief from the continuing economic crisis in Nicaragua, which is affecting every family in one way or another.
  • Life-giving rains (not too much, nor too little) which will allow for abundant harvests.
  • Health for my pregnant wife (Anajhensi, pronounced Ana-yáyn-see) and unborn child and a safe birth.