Here we are, well into year two of living in Nicaragua. Erinn and I are both teaching at NCA, we have a bunch of FCA stuff happening, and we're already in the planning stages for summer teams. So why do we feel like we're in a huge rut right now?
I'm not one to usually unload baggage on this blog, but I need an outlet and maybe people need to know that it's not all beaches and 50k rainforest trail races for us here. You see, God made pretty much all of us Izzos as pretty optimistic, easy-going people. We look usually look at the bright side and just sort of roll with whatever life sends our way. But that's been tough lately. The thing that is even more frustrating is that the causes of this heavy burden on our shoulders is something so cliche and predictable, yet mostly out of our current control. That source of stress is, of course, financial issues of various sorts.
Trying to do a job that is paid through donations is a humbling experience. Being raised in the US, we are taught the desire and will for independence. Our culture values self-sufficiency and the ascent through whatever structural ladder one's career can allow them to climb. Completely at odds with these cultural ideals is what we are taught as Christians and as missionaries - that giving is better than receiving, and that asking for financial support is not asking for a handout, but allowing people to take part in mission work in a way that they might be most able.
Of course, we are very thankful for the extremely generous supporters that we already have. The way the fundraising experience has allowed us to reconnect with people that we haven't communicated with in decades, and hear their stories, has been amazing. I have personally been extremely encouraged by experiences like my reconnections with high school friends that now live for the Lord and found the value in what is being done here in Nicaragua.
The hardest part of this is that Erinn is doing her best to supplement our funds, and comes home from school after teaching each day to freelance writing and tech work that not only keeps her up until midnight, but she usually works through her weekends as well. Of course, I can't help but feel guilty about going to the track to do outreach ministry or any other activity that isn't bringing in any income to help. It's a tough situation that we hoped would have eased up with the incoming of support by now.
Unfortunately, we have not
gained enough support at this time to take any sort of edge off of our
living expenses, let alone fund FCA projects that we have begun planning
for that need money in order to happen.
With plans to partner in a soccer league in Granada, create a boys baseball outreach here in Managua, start a surf huddle for teens who wouldn't otherwise be able to go, etc., the FCA ideas and planning are plenty, but the time constraints from teaching/planning/grading, and the financial constraints, in that money is needed to make many ministry ideas actually happen, is impeding the process. While I fully believe in what we are doing and still believe we made the right choice, the whole situation has allowed thoughts of regret and doubt to creep into my head and taunt me from time to time.
The fact is, when we sent out emails and wrote a blog about possibly staying in Nicaragua, about six months ago, many people contacted us and said they would certainly be willing to financially support this ministry. We realize that situations change, and understood that we couldn't expect all of that to come through. If it had been close, we would have had a nice jump start at about 25% of our budget. Right now, after seeking support for about 6 months, we are being supported at about 12% of budget, and pray that by the summertime, we can be closer to having the whole budget supported.
Of course, I didn't write this to try to guilt anyone into giving money to FCA Nicaragua. We only want people to give if they believe in what God can do through our teaching and doing sports ministry here. I wrote this because we're having a tough time and I just needed to communicate the struggle. While Facebook, the newsletter, and (up until now) this blog pretty much showing the positive, fun, beautiful side of life here, it is by no means stress free.
Our commitment here is for almost four more years. We intend to trust in Him and do everything within our power to at least fulfill that commitment. From there, we have no idea where we'll be, but we sure do love this country and these people.
If you or anyone you know might be feeling led to support the work that's being done here, whether it's $20 a month or $1000 a month, please contact me or Erinn to find out how you can help. Every bit of financial support is appreciated and helpful. Or, you can go right to this link and sign up for Automatic Monthly Payments (AMP).
You can also sign up for our newsletter in the form on the previous blog post (It's usually full of much more positive stuff). Thanks for listening to my whining ;)