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    The name of our ministry is Branching Out meaning that we want to spread God’s love all over Nicaragua while helping people learn or find ways to help themselves improve certain aspects of their lives such as health and nutrition. Using the things we have learned in our chosen professions and Rick’s agricultural expertise we are able to help in many communities in animal and human health. We like for our mission work to include local pastors as they have knowledge of the people to whom they minister and they live and give their lives daily to their communities.

    We travel extensively in the western part of the country, visiting the remote communities where our Health Promoters live and work: teaching, mentoring, and helping them in ways they request. Often times community leaders request assistance with various projects they feel there is a need for. Instead of providing money, we encourage them to be sure they are asking for something to help the whole community and try to get a representative group of all incomes of people to decide on main needs. We also want them to brainstorm and find ways to initially help themselves so they feel ownership of their project.   Sustainability is a word that comes up often in describing our work because we believe in life transformations instead of projects just for “now.”

    In our ministry we host about 7 or 8 short term mission teams a year, some sponsored through CVM and others through our home church: The Orchard United Methodist Congregation in Tupelo, Mississippi, and still others through various other churches with a heart for mission work. These teams range  in size from 6 to 20 persons working in areas of veterinary medicine, human medical and dental care, pastoral training, simple construction, agriculture, children’s and women’s ministries, etc.

    Another aspect of our mission is working with the Mahanaim Drug & Alcohol Rehabilitation Center (see more in discussion of mission partners), a surprise blessing for us after we moved to Nicaragua. This center houses, feeds, treats addictions, evangelizes and works to build the self-esteem of about 500 people annually so that they can be equipped to enter back into society. Of those participants, at least a 30% rate exists for those who make a public commitment to accept Christ as their Savior and begin a daily walk with Him.

    The least favorite part of our mission work is raising support. We rely 100% on donations to be able to serve God here so we must always ask for money. That is hard for us to do but we like our work so we do it.

    Always in our work we want people to watch us, get to know us, then ask us “Why do you do what you do” so we can answer “Because of my faith.” That simple phase opens doors to the real reason for our service in Nicaragua.