So our last blog expressed our feelings that we are called to stay here in Nicaragua and become supported missionaries, but posed the question of if we could raise enough support to make that a reality. We sent out an email to friends and acquaintances, old and new, to explain what we feel called to with a ministry here, and asking them to let us know if they would be willing to financially support such an endeavor. The feedback we got was very encouraging, and it was very useful in making a decision about whether this would even be possible. So, a decision has been made, which many of you might already be aware of if you follow any of us on Facebook. We’re staying!
Not only did we make a decision since the last blog, but we have really started to work at getting our ministry work started here. After many Skype meetings, emails, and prayers, we have become prospective staff with Fellowship of Christian Athletes (FCA). With FCA, we plan to use sports as an outreach to athletes and coaches, and help them to use their influence to impact others. Although FCA will be a large part of our ministry, we look at the ministry as having three main components:
- Fellowship of Christian Athletes – FCA is a huge sports ministry. If you don’t know much about them, please spend a few minutes browsing around their website. Through FCA, we will be equipped to use the draw of sports to draw people closer to God. We have already made some valuable contacts and preliminary partnership s to work with athletes and coaches involved with track & field, baseball, soccer, MMA and surfing. There are so many possibilities for this ministry to reach people, and it has us very excited!
- Teaching – Erinn and I will be teaching at Nicaragua Christian Academy. This is an international (English-speaking) school, where our kids, Julia, Nate, and Sam, have been attending. Erinn spent most of this year teaching AP Calculus and Geometry there, and will continue with a similar schedule next year. I will begin teaching three sections of 10th and 11th grade English (not English language learning, but literature & writing, just like in the US). We are also involved in the youth group, sports, and other events offered by the school and within the NCA community.
- Teams – Short-term missions introduced us to international service and made a lasting imprint on our hearts - enough so that we felt the calling to make a long-term commitment to it. Because of this, bringing short-term teams to Nicaragua is very important to us. We want others to feel the closeness to God that is experienced when two cultures come together to bless one another. We plan to do this through sports camps and other possible mission experiences through FCA, as well as a continued relationship with Campo Alegria.
The initial commitment to our ministry here is going to be a minimum of another three years (2016). At that time, Julia will graduate from high school and we will need to re-evaluate, especially with Nate graduating the following year.
Since we originally came to Nicaragua prepared for a one year trial, we will be heading back to the US for a few weeks in July to take care of some things that need to be done as a result of our lengthened commitment. Those things include getting rid of some of our stored property, tending to some fundraising efforts, and (most of all) spending some quality time with family and friends. We will in the US from July 2-24, and will be visiting the Baltimore area and Utica/Rome, NY. Hopefully we will get a chance to see many of you.
While we are in the US, we are looking for fundraising opportunities. If you or someone you know might be willing to organize and/or host a fundraising event of some sort (a dessert, gathering of friends, etc) please let us know. It would be a huge help!
In addition, FCA has set up our account to start raising support for this FCA - Nicaragua. It is through the generous and sacrificial giving of others that God will provide for our ministry. If you would like to make an offering to God on our behalf, and partner with us in this ministry, you can do so at this link: https://my.fca.org/3822-izzo-jeff.aspx