Update #2017-07 – We are so blessed!

June has been a month of blessings, one after the other.  From the mission team who started off our month to an answer to 6 months of prayer, we have been so blessed.  The greatest part of being a missionary is through all the hardships and challenges you get to see how truly good God is and you realize how true His IMG_1120promise of abundant life through Jesus Christ is.  We are promised true prosperity in Christ.  Not a prosperity in material things or money, but a true prosperity of experiencing the best God has for you:  Getting to see Him work in and through your life.   Now that is blessed!!

 

Nebraska Team

We started the month of June with an incredible group from Nebraska who came to serve in Palacaguina.  There were 35 eager servants of the Lord who came through P.A.W.N., another wonderful ministry focused on serving in Palacaguina.  This amazing group not only painted the library, every class and the outside of our new building, they hosted a 2-day VBS for the children of PCA and another school nearby in our facilities.  We had over 120 children each day who participated and heard/experienced the gospel each day.  What a powerful impact this group had on our kids and PCA.  Thank you!!

 

 

Tuition Assistance

We have discovered there are many levels of need.  In order to provide even more help to the children who need it most, we have implemented scholarships to give tuition assistance to some of our families.  This is going to help many of our students continue to attend the school.  We have funded and are offering 20 half-tuition scholarships for this year that are making it possible for students to continue attending PCA.  Some of these scholarships have actually been funded for several months which will bring an even greater relief to some of our families.  Thank you for those of you who have helped fund these scholarships.  Every bit is making a difference.

 

Adult English Classes

June saw the beginning of PCA reaching out beyond just the students.  Thanks to Lauren, who is here through the end of July from the US, we have begun an afternoon English class for parents.  Lauren, after serving the children in the morning, goes back to teach English to adults every afternoon.  She is such a blessing and has helped not only start the class but to create the curriculum we will reuse for more classes in the future.  This is only the beginning.IMG_1220

June Celebrations

This month, we had several things to celebrate at the school.  There were three Holidays: Children’s Day, Father’s Day and Teacher’s Day.  For each we did a little something to love on and show our appreciation for those in our lives who make a difference.

 

Electricity

After so much effort to get electricity installed at the school, I am happy to report, as of June we now have electricity at the school.  Still much to do to get it in every classroom, but the main part is done!  Hallelujah!!IMG_1187

 

Friends

We were blessed this week to see a friend from the US come to Managua.  We were able to spend a wonderful Saturday with Stacey and two of her daughters.  It was such a blessing to see them and have a friend visit us in Nicaragua.  Look forward to seeing more of you come to experience the beauty of Nicaragua with us.  Come any time.

 

Water/Family Update

I am very happy to report we are all doing well.  Especially after getting our water officially installed and clean.  From February until June we pretty much had the equivalent of very dirty lake water.  Praise God we were able to gain access to our water source to clean it, installed all new pipe and completed the installation of our automated pumping system.  We will hopefully not have any more late night trips down the hill in the rain to fill up our water tank.  In addition, the new, larger pipe increased the pressure enough so we can use a washing machine.  Deborah is very happy to no longer have to scrub the clothes clean by hand.  I think we are all getting into a good groove and every day it gets better as we make improvements to the “infrastructure”.

 

Prayer/Praise

Thank you for all of your prayers.  God has been answering so many of them.  For 6 months we have been praying for a way for me to help support us and the school.  I am thankful to say as of June 26th we have such an opportunity.  God is so good.  In addition, we were able to get the mechanical issues with our car to a manageable point that will hopefully be stable for a while.  And on the very day we began praying for one of our greatest immediate needs for the school to be met, I received an e-mail providing exactly what we needed.  God is so amazing.  I think He met the need before we even asked for it, just took some time for the e-mails to get sent.

Please continue to pray for us in the following things:

  1. First Grade – We submitted our application to open 1st grade next year and are waiting on the approval.
  2. English Teacher – We are still in desperate need of a Native English speaking teacher for next year who will stay with us for at least a year to get the bi-lingual program off the ground.
  3. Residency – An ongoing process greatly in need of God’s favor.
  4. Funding – Specifically $28,000 to finish the current building and $1,300 monthly need we will have beginning in January of next year to expand into 1st

Gracias

We are overwhelmed thinking of how so many of you sacrifice each month to make PCA and our mission for Jesus Christ a possibility.  We absolutely could not make the impact we are making without you.  Thank you for continuing to choose every month to pray, give and believe in us and the children of Palacaguina.  We ask the Lord to continue blessing you as you make such a difference for the kingdom.  Together, we are the hands and feet of Christ fulfilling the Great Commission He has called us to.  Thank you for partnering with us.  Thank you for all that you do!

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Dios te bendiga de la familia de Witonski!!!

(God Bless you from the Witonski family)

 

The Witonski Family <><

Want more frequent updates and pictures?  Check out the schools Facebook page at https://www.facebook.com/AcademiaCristianaPalacaguina/

Update #2017-06 – Not Easy but It’s Good

Update #2017-06 – Not Easy but It’s Good

Life as a missionary is most definitely not an easy one.  Every day there are new challengesIMG_0764 to face and new obstacles to overcome.  Power outages, meeting new (and sometimes scary) bugs, learning the language, and stabilizing our water situation are just a few of those challenges.  But, despite all of the challenges and sometimes very difficult days, I can say without question, “It is good.”  One hug, one smile, one word from these beautiful children and families we are working with makes it all worth it.  Knowing we are making a difference in their lives and in the kingdom of God is why no challenge, obstacle or hardship will every keep us down.  There is no other place we would rather be, then here in Palacaguina, where God has called us to be.

 

Ministry Happenings

We had a wonderful Mother’s Day Celebration in May for all of our students’ Mom’s.  The children presented cards and it was just a beautiful event.  We were blessed this month to have a Christian counselor give a marriage conference for our parents.  31 couples attended to hear what the Bible says about strong marriages.  And our Thursday, women’s Bible study for Mom’s has grown to 28 women.  What a blessing to see these Mom’s grow in their faith.  God is doing great things at PCA.

 

Parent Contracts / Sponsorship

We now have all of our sponsorship release contracts signed.  So, if you are sponsoring a specific child at PCA or would like to, we are ready to send you information on your sponsored child starting in mid-June.  It is our desire for each sponsor to communicate and get to know their child so you can directly see the impact you are making through the years.  Thank you for making a difference in the lives of these wonderful children.

 

School Update

We are getting into a good cadence with the school.  Daily instruction is going well and parents/teachers/students all seem happy with how things are progressing.  We will be presenting our project proposal next week to the ministry of education to add 1st grade in 2018.  Please pray for God’s favor as we move forward.

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Goodbye Lexii and Kiana, Hello Lauren

Once again, we are amazed at the wonderful people God brings into our lives to help us minister to and love on our kids.  Lexii and Kiana were such a blessing to have through May.  Thank you for serving and loving well the children of PCA.  As sad as we are to say goodbye, we are happy to welcome Lauren to Palacaguina and to PCA.  Lauren will be our new native-English-speaker working with the children to help teach English.  In a few weeks Lauren will be providing English lessons to the parents of PCA.  This is fulfilling a huge need in the community.  Thank you Lord for sending us amazing servants like Lexii, Kiana and Lauren.  (And we will never forget our beloved Nic!)

 

 

Pastors and Partnerships

Another wonderful blessing this month was a getting to meet two pastors from Miami, Jesse and Manny.  These two brothers in Christ drove to Palacaguina from another city where they had a team ministering in Nicaragua just to see PCA and meet us.  What a blessed time we had sharing with them what God is doing and hearing their heart to serve in Nicaragua.  We look forward to working with and helping these brothers where God is calling them to be.

I am so excited to share with everyone that we are now official missionaries and partners with Fellowship Bible Church in Little Rock.  Fellowship has been our home church since 2003 and we are so happy to be officially partnered with them in the mission God has called us to.  Thank you Fellowship for joining us in what God is doing in Palacaguina.

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Insectaggedon = Really Fat Frogs

We just had to share this pic.  The kids all share Jonah’s happiness as they chase, catch and play with the many frogs who seem to just love our nightly slice of insect apocalypse.  Truly the simple things in life bring such great joy.  It is in moments like these God reminds us to enjoy all He has given.  And even in the midst of crazy bugdom there are still happy times to be grateful for.

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Prayer/Praise

May’s praise God is definitely God’s answer to our prayers for Fellowship Bible Church LR partnering with us.  We are grateful to have FBCLR as our newest partner and look forward to all God has in store.

We could really use your prayer in the following areas:

  • English Teachers – pray the Lord opens the door for an English teacher for 1st grade next year.
  • Residency – pray the immigration office accepts our application in June.
  • Trips – pray for groups to come and experience serving in Nicaragua with us.
  • Kevin’s Home – We are still waiting for the funds and people to build Kevin a home.
  • Funding – Our next big project will be finishing/equipping the Admin/1st-4th building and library. We will need nearly $30,000 to finish this project.

 

Gracias

Never will we be able to fully express our thankfulness for you, our friends and family who support us in your thoughts, prayers and giving.  Without you, we would be unable to be on mission in Nicaragua loving and sharing the gospel with the beautiful children and families of Palacaguina.  God is using you to make it all possible.  Together, we get to fulfill the Great Commission and Change a Generation.  We pray you are doing well and that God allows you to see the impact you are making for His kingdom.  May the Lord bless you, keep you and fill you with all the goodness of His grace!!

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Dios te bendiga de la familia de Witonski!!!

(God Bless you from the Witonski family)

 

The Witonski Family <><

 

Want more updates?  Check out the schools Facebook page at https://www.facebook.com/AcademiaCristianaPalacaguina/

Update #2017-05 Insect Apocalypse

Well, the rainy season has begun and everything that was asleep in the dry season is now awake.  Some days it honestly feels like living through the plagues of Egypt.  Mountainview (2)

But, we are doing well and learning as a family how to battle our new visitors.  The rain is turning the hills and valleys green and it is a beautiful site to see.  April has brought some great victories our way and saw the official Inauguration of Palacaguina Christian Academy.  We are definitely in full swing.

 

PCA INAUGURATION DAY

On April 19th, we officially inaugurated the school.  This was a wonderful experience and even included a ribbon-cutting ceremony.  The director, teachers, parents, ministry of education and myself were among the many who spoke of their excitement for what this school means to them and to the community.  The children all sang Jesus Loves Me in English and they did a phenomenal job.  The ceremonies were followed by lunch along with games and contests for the parents.  The parents completely decorated the school and everyone seemed to really enjoy the inauguration.  I know I did!

 

GOODBYE NIC AND HELLO KIANA & LEXII

April 19th was also the day we said goodbye to our friend Nic Holcomb.  He had been with us since January and he is definitely being missed by all.  As Nic departed, two great young ladies have arrived to fill the role of working with the children for the next several weeks.  Kiana and Lexii are here.  I am amazed how God so wonderfully provides for every need.

 

SCHOOL UPDATE

The school is still doing well.  We completed the roof on the new building and gained a student in April.  We now have 66 students attending PCA.  We were able to tile the Preschool classrooms and finish the Flag area as well.  Once we have our flags, this will be a beautiful addition to the school.  I look forward to each week as our students learn and our school makes an impact on our community.  I hope every one of you have a chance to come see the school and the beautiful children who attend.  I can say with confidence it will make an impact on you.

 

SPONSORSHIPS

We are close to finalizing the legal side of sponsorships.  Once we have all the legal contracts completed, we will be able to share information and pictures of the children with their sponsors.  Thank you so much to each of you who are sponsoring a child to attend PCA.  If you are interested in sponsoring a child directly, we would be proud to have you join us in making an impact and changing a generation.


EASTER IN NICARAGUA

On a personal note, it was certainly different spending Resurrection Day in Nicaragua.  Here the entire Holy Week is celebrated.  The week before Easter, schools are out and everyone is off of work for Thursday and Friday.  We celebrated with a good old fashion cookout with friends.  We were also invited by our new PeaceCorp friends to lunch in their home in a nearby city.  It was a fun week of fellowship and preparing the school for the Inauguration the following week.  I would like to say we rested more, but there was so much to do.

 

RESIDENCY

This is still a very slow and ongoing process.  Last week we were required to leave the country (quick trip to Costa Rica) in order to renew our Visas.  Though not ideal, the trip did give us a chance to see the beach and experience some of the beauty of Nicaragua.  We now have another 90 days to work on residency.  Let us hope it does not take that long to submit the paperwork.

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INTERNET

Shout it from the mountains (you know we are)…we have internet.  It has taken nearly 4 months but it has finally been achieved.  We are extremely grateful.  The internet was working at our home on April 27th and we celebrated by attending online service on Sunday.  It was amazing to experience an English service (My first since December).  The internet is going to open up a world of opportunity for us to better communicate and serve.  To God be the Glory!!!

 

ARE YOU READY TO TRAVEL

I hope so, cause we are ready to see you.  Our guest room will be ready starting August 1st.  I know many of you have expressed an interest in coming to see us.  So, if you would like to come to Nicaragua anytime after August 1st, please let us know the dates so we can book the room for you.  You are going to love it here and we cannot wait to have you experience the amazing things God is doing here.

 

NEEDS AND PRAISES

The internet is our biggest “Praise God” for April.  But equally we would like to praise God for a smooth inauguration, health in our family and His provision for our needs.  God is so good.  Thank you for praying for us.

We could really use your prayer in the following areas:

  • Residency – pray the immigration office accepts our applications soon.
  • Church Partnerships – We have an application in progress with a church in Little Rock.
  • Funding – Our next big project will be finishing/equipping the Admin/1st-4th building and library. We will need nearly $30,000 to finish this project and many things need to be done in May.
  • Trips – pray for groups to come down and experience serving in Nicaragua with us.
  • Kevin’s Home – We are still waiting for the funds and people to build Kevin a home.

 

GRATEFUL

Even amidst Insectageddon and the many daily challenges we face, it is such a blessing to be able to serve the children and families of Nicaragua.  We know the school is providing an opportunity but even more so, PCA is providing hope.  Hope for a better future and a brighter tomorrow.  We are truly grateful for being here and even more so for the many of you who support and pray for us.  I will never tire of reminding you that without your love, prayers and support, we could not be here making a difference and fulfilling the Great Commission.  God is using you to make everything possible.  So, thank you for partnering with us and making an impact on the lives of children and their families al for the Glory of God!!!

For more frequent updates on the school, please check out the schools Facebook page at https://www.facebook.com/AcademiaCristianaPalacaguina/

 

Dios te bendiga de la familia de Witonski!!!

(God Bless you from the Witonski family)

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In Esteli, enjoying the BEST snow cones on EARTH!!!

The Witonski Family <><

 

Update #2017-04 – Many Good Things

March has been a month of many good things happening on all sides.  Our home is getting put together and the school is doing very well.  We are so grateful for the blessings we are experiencing every day and we are incredibly thankful for all of you who are making it possible for us to minister to and reach out to the wonderful children and families in Palacaguina.  There are definitely challenges every day and there have been a few low points this month, however, the challenges are pale in comparison to the positive accomplishments we see God doing through this journey.  Life is so hard, but God is so good!!!

USC UPSTATE TRIP

This month we had 16 college students from South Carolina come to work in our community.  They painted two community schools and taught English at a school in a mountain community.  It was amazing spending a week with such selfless people.  Watching a group spend their Spring Break to serve in Nicaragua was an absolute blessing.  If you want to see them in action, you can watch their videos on my youtube channel.

CONTAINER ARRIVED

A huge answer to prayer this month was the arrival of our container.  The container arrived on March 2nd and what a blessing.  The kids now have beds to sleep in and Deborah has a kitchen.  All of the items for the classrooms have really made a difference.  Additionally, we were able to install the school playground.  Oh my goodness, the children LOVE it!!  The parents are very happy too.  I will soon have a youtube of the playground.

UNIVERSITY PARTNERSHIP

We have the possibility of partnering with a University here in Nicaragua to offer college classes directly from our school.  This is huge for Palacaguina.  Currently, young people, and adults, who desire secondary education have no local options.  The travel required prohibits many from pursuing higher education.  This partnership will open amazing doors for so many.  We first need to accomplish several objectives, but the plan is to start classes in June of THIS year.  If we can rise to meet the challenge, this will be huge!

CONSTRUCTION UPDATE AND NEXT STEPS

We are coming to an end of our current construction project.  By mid-April we should be complete with the construction of the administration offices, the library and four classrooms.  Our next step will be working to finish out and equip the library, classrooms and offices.  This is a big goal.  We will need an estimated $30,000 to finish the rooms and equip with tables, chairs, boards, etc.   About $8,000 of this amount is required in order for us to partner with the University so we have classrooms for the students.  God is doing great things and we are believing He will continue to open the doors and help us get this done.

NEXT STEPS

Our next major project, after equipping the new classrooms and library will be to start on the construction of our next classroom building.  This will open more opportunity to work in the community and provide more facilities for ministry, university, evening courses, etc.  This will be a $48,000 project.

MISSIONS TRIP OPPORTUNITY

I hope several of you reading this update will jump on this opportunity.  One of our kindergarteners needs a home.  In October of last year, his home collapsed and his family has been living under plastic since then.  In addition to this hardship, in January he lost his Mom to illness.  A team of 7 or more people with $4,800 could build a home for this family.  The cost of the 8-day trip would be roughly $1,300 per person and then the cost of the project.  If you are interested in putting together or joining others on a trip like this, please let me know.  Ideal timeframe would be April/May.

SCHOOL UPDATE

The school is doing very well.  We are going strong with 65 students.  The kids are learning more English every day and we seem to be getting into a great rhythm.  The parents are very happy and are very involved in the school.  They self-organized a PTA and have been working to make the school great.  For example, we have a celebration at the end of each month now for birthdays and this month we had a pool party at the school and the kids had so much fun.  You can see pictures and video on our Facebook page for the school (Academia Cristiana de Palacaguina).  By the way, this is the fastest way for you to see regular updates/pictures on the school throughout the month.

FINANCIAL UPDATE

Last update, I shared we still had a gap of $600 a month for this years budget.  Praise the Lord for an amazing friend who stepped up and said, “Hey, I’ve recently gained a source of extra income and God is putting it on my heart to help ya’ll with it.”  He is committing for the rest of the year to provide the whole $600 per month need.  WOW!!!  God is so good!!  We are so grateful for this wonderful friend who is going to make such a difference.  Please pray God will continue to provide for this friend as he is trusting and following God’s leading.  Thank you!  And thank you for all who are helping us Change a Generation.

NEEDS/PRAYER

  • Internet – we are so lacking in our ability to communicate and share with you. We are getting closer, but need a few more things to happen.  Please keep praying for a solution.
  • Car – the car, though a blessing to have, has had several maintenance issues and needs tires. Please pray God will open the doors for the repairs and tires.
  • Transition – please keep the kids in your prayers. We are hoping for friends and opportunities for them to engage with others.  Overall, I will say they are doing extremely well.
  • Salaries – The government just required us to give a 9% increase in salaries.  This is going to have a big impact on our “just covered” budget.  Really weird how this works.  But, please pray for us as we work through this.

THANK YOU

We cannot express enough how grateful we are for all of you loving on us and praying for us.  You are the reason we get to be here and literally see the hand of God moving in the hearts of people.  You make this possible.  Your giving and your prayers are the vehicle God is using to do what only He can do.  I hope to talk to you soon and share with you directly how AWESOME God is and how wonderful everything is going.  God Bless you as you serve and honor Him with your lives.  We are fulfilling the Great Commission together.

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.

Getting ready for the pool party!!!

PrepoolParty

Update #2017-03 – Major Milestones

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.

CONTAINER UPDATE

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.

NIK

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.

INTERNET SAGA

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.

CAR/HOUSE

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.

FINANCIAL UPDATE

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.

WHAT’S NEXT

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.

NEEDS/PRAYER

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.

THANK YOU

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 <><

 

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Update #2017-02 – I AM HERE

What an adventure December and January have been.  God’s goodness has continued through this transition and I am so grateful.  This has turned out to be an incredible journey.  We have been preparing and planning for 2 years and the time has finally come.  And let me tell you, it has been a wild ride.

 

HOMELESS

In December we officially became homeless in the United States.  In direct answer to prayer, a lovely couple rented our home in the perfect amount of time for us to leave.  Our lease was not finished until July 2017 so this was essential to us being able to get to Nicaragua in the timing God gave us.  God is truly amazing.  Yet another confirmation that we are doing exactly what God is calling us to do.

On December 11th, our family said goodbye to our Texas home and headed back to Arkansas to see family and friends before I made the trip permanently to Nicaragua.  I believe this is my first ever one-way ticket.  There is just something so final about that.  It is exciting though to have my ticket in hand.

LAST CHRISTMAS

December 12th through the 26th was just a precious time for us.  We got to spend time with the greatest people God has placed on this earth: Our friends and family.  We are incredibly thankful for the amazing people God has put in our lives and we could never fulfill the call we have been given without their love, support and prayers.  I thank God every day for such amazing friends and family.  This could be the last Christmas we ever have in America.  If it is, we are grateful to have had such a wonderful one.

ARRIVING IN NICA

I am going to Nicaragua first to help prepare everything for the rest of the family.  December 27th was supposed to be my trip to Nicaragua. However, after getting on the plane and sitting on the runway for over an hour, due to fog, Houston airport closed and I got to spend another precious day with Deborah and the kids.  It was great.  Deborah and I had breakfast, we took the kids to the movies and it was just a special bonus day.  Which was good, because the tear-filled goodbyes the night before were hard to face.  It definitely made leaving a little easier.  Thank you Lord for the bonus day with my family and for demonstrating to my children that no good-bye is ever truly final.

FIRST 30 DAYS

December 28th I arrived in Nicaragua with Molly (the cat).  Yes, we decided to bring the cat.  Molly and I have had quite the adventure.  The house was nowhere near ready and I did not have a bathroom, doors or water for quite a while.  In fact, I did not get water until day 25.  It has been a series of daily adventures and learning to accept a completely different way of doing things.  WOW!!  It has been both a blessing and a struggle and sometimes both at the same time.  But I will say, this is exactly where we are supposed to be.  I VLOG’d all First 30 days and you can view them on my YouTube channel if you would like to see each daily adventure and what it is like to be here.  Please subscribe and you can continue to follow our journey through regular video updates. Actually SEE the school and kids.

CONTAINER

The greatest struggle I have had in Nicaragua so far is trying to get our container through customs.  I anticipated it taking about a week.  After a month and paying an excessive amount of unbudgeted money for taxes and duties, we still do not have the container.  This is a major obstacle as most of the container is furniture and equipment for the Preschool that is absolutely needed.  Please pray we will receive the school things before we open in a few days.  There is a chance but we seriously need your prayers to get it done.  This is the biggest item on my heart right now.  I am trusting and believing that God is going to work His goodness and help it to get here on time.

CONSTRUCTION UPDATE

It is amazing how much has been done on the construction over the last two months.  The Preschool looks amazing.  The teachers have painted the last classroom and the entire outside of the building.  It looks beautiful.  Half of the Administration is completed up to the roof and this week we poured the subfloor over the library and plan to have the libraries doors in place in a few days.  We have completed the front fence, water drainage and several sidewalks.  We have a few more sidewalks and the gates to finish this week prior to opening day.  Very exciting to see the progress every day.  Right now, we are providing 14 construction jobs and feeding 14 families in this project.  Praise the Lord!!!

SCHOOL UPDATE

There was so much to do. WOW.  Over the last month, we have officially signed contracts with all the professors.  As of this update, we have 62 students registered.  We are approved for 75 students and were planning for 60.  There are still two months left where students are allowed to register for school and I have approved for up to 72.  This is a huge blessing.  There are 62 lovely children who we have the opportunity to bless with an education and share with them the love and message of Jesus.  We have an open house with Parents on February 3rd and the first day of school is February 6th.  Last week we also purchased all of the uniforms and shoes for each child to start them off strong.  It was 11 hours of shopping in Esteli.  Wow, what an adventure THAT was.  I am very much looking forward to serving with the wonderful staff God has given us.  Seriously, the principal and teachers we have hired are amazing.  Our principal Sandra, has more than 28 years’ experience in education and administration in Nicaragua.  We are in good hands!!

WHAT’S NEXT

In February, I am very much looking forward to seeing Deborah and the kids.  Please pray for them as they arrive in Nicaragua early February.  I am very close to an internet solution which is absolutely critical.  There is also a potential job opportunity for me that I would greatly appreciate your prayers for.  God has still provided a conviction that all of the money we raise be used for the school.  Therefore, at this point, we do not have a personal income after my official last day at Acxiom on February 3rd.  Please keep us in your prayers on this.  I know God has a plan and we are trusting in that plan completely.

NEEDS/PRAYER

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 $850 per month to meet our $3,150 monthly 2017 school budget.
  • Deborah and the kids are traveling to Nicaragua in early February, please pray for their safe travel.
  • Container getting through customs and here before opening day of school.
  • A job, there are several possibilities, but we need one of them to happen.

THANK YOU

We cannot express enough the gratitude we have for those of you who are investing in our lives and our family.  We absolutely could not do any of this without the love and support of you our friends and family.  You are our partners in the Great Commission and every child we get to personally love and educate is because of you.  You are allowing God to use you and we thank you for your obedience.  We have our first school year ahead of us and I hope many of you will plan to come down this year or next to see God’s goodness for yourself.  We love you and thank you!!!

 

Dios te bendiga de la familia de Witonski!!! (God Bless you from the Witonski family)

The Witonski Family <><