Wednesday
Dec212016

A Look Back At 2016 - Part One

Dear friends, Merry Christmas from warm and sunny Nicaragua. We are celebrating here this year. Our sons, Abram and Jacob will be joining us in a few days. We will miss the rest of our family, and friends and cool weather but Chris has done an amazing job preparing our home to celebrate Jesus’ birth. In every corner there is something to remind us of His story. Our children love the familiar stories and eagerly accept Christ’s truths in their hearts. Their enthusiasm is contagious and never grows old. As we turn our focus to the Christ child and what His life means for all, our hearts are full of gratitude for all that He has done for us as a family and ministry. A great deal of that gratitude is for you and how God has brought our lives together. We cannot thank you enough for partnering with us and supporting this ministry.

2016 has been a big year for New Life and we see the Lord at work in all of it. Some seasons are coming to an end and new ones beginning. Even when change is uncomfortable, we cannot linger when God moves ahead. But we’ve walked here before, we know what God requires of us, to square our shoulders and live lives of faith. That’s what I want to talk to you about; the three significant changes taking place this year; how they align with each other and establish a foundation for our ministry in the future. I will discuss them in separate letters to avoid having one really long newsletter.

First among the changes and the most personal one, the Mohr family; Tim, Ginger, Isaiah, Thia, Ella and Eliza moved to Nicaragua back in July. Many of you have got to meet them over the last few months and have discovered what we have. How incredibly blessed New Life is to have them as partners and co-laborers. In many ways they represent the future. They have been gifted with compassion toward the Nicaraguan people and a strong desire to have lasting influence. Knowing full well the challenges they face, they move forward confident that the God who called them is also the God who will sustain them. They believe that God will provide for their family according to His riches in glory, not according to the world. We believe that as well. We are so proud of the Mohr’s and their positive attitude. They have positioned themselves for long-term success on the mission field. Their family is well settled, the children are doing great and they are learning the Spanish language. They will probably be giving me lessons before long. Already, they have stepped up and agreed to lead two separate internship programs next summer and I’ve also asked Tim to take the lead working with our architects and engineers. They will have key roles working with short-term teams, in our children’s home and in our community outreach ministries as well. They are such a help to Chris and I and will be taking on more and more responsibilities as time goes by. All in all, we could not be more happy with how they’re doing.

We are missing them like crazy while they are at home in Cincinnati celebrating Christmas with family and friends. I want to strongly encourage you guys to pray for the Mohr’s and support them financially. This time of year is a perfect opportunity to show your appreciation in a tangible way. The Mohr’s are great missionaries and have a promising future but they are depending on you for support. C’mon Cincinnati, we can do this, lets make this a great Christmas for the Mohr’s. Supporting them is supporting the ministry in Nicaragua. Click on the button or the link below to go to their giving page and you can make a deductible donation. 

Give to the Mohr's

Thank you all so much for everything. We love you and wish you all a very merry Christmas and pray for God’s very best for your family. Part two of this message will be out in a couple of days. We have some really exciting news to share!

Monday
Mar282016

Water to Wine

Do you ever get a sense that you are at a crossroads; like a new chapter is about to begin?  That’s kind of how we’ve been feeling lately.  Like something new and wonderful is about to begin. We’ve been praying for the changes coming and are optimistic about the ministry's future.  The Mohr family will bring a fresh perspective when they join New Life full-time in July and opportunities with other organizations are coming as well.  The possibility of owning our own property is closer than ever.  Some of you know, we’ve been looking at a particular property over the last year.  We believe owning our own property will be the key to opening doors for new ministries and make New Life sustainable well into the future.  That means we wont be so dependent on donation dollars to operate our ministry projects.  This is necessary for our survival because the number of churches that directly support our ministry on an ongoing monthly basis is very small, but they do send groups down on short-term mission trips.  Our idea is to provide the services (mainly lodging and transportation) that cater to these groups and then use these funds to offset the costs of our ministry projects.  Our first step in that process is happening in 2016.  We have begun “packaging” short-term mission trips at a cost of $1000 per person all inclusive, with each individual responsible for airfare and personal expenses.  The package price is something new for New Life but something other ministries have been doing for years.  It’s a critical and necessary first step for us until our property is acquired and developed.


Just this week, there has been a new development in our search for property.  We have found a really large property, centrally located to Managua. That would cut our driving time to Cristo Rey to less than half. It would put us in the middle of everything but not downtown, which is perfect.  It’s still early and we are just beginning to do our due diligence on this property, but we both believe that this is where our focus needs to be. With that we would ask for your prayers concerning this property. The potential is limitless!


All of this thinking about our future has me also thinking about our past and God’s plan in it all.  I think about our story, the really tough times, the losing of everything, the threat of death, the five years of hospital, the needles and machines keeping my baby boy alive, the darkness of night that never ends, and then the promise, and then the miracle, and then the ministry that was birthed from it all.  While God did not bring all these horrible events into our life, He is the One who redeemed them.  He is the One that gave us beauty for ashes and a testimony.  Now, the scripture comes alive to me, “And we know that all things work together for good to those who love God, to those who are the called according to His purpose”.   I really believe you cannot consider the future without embracing the past.  It’s what made you who you are and prepared you for tomorrow. 


We have many years in ministry now and we’ve seen Christ turn water into wine.  We’ve held and weeped for the abused children that have come into our children’s home with broken bodies and spirits. Then, we witnessed the power of unconditional love as broken children are made whole again.   We’ve seen Christ glorified in communities, where the local church is strengthened and lives changed.  Men are being taught how to be honorable men and children are being taught values and to dream big; all things are possible through Christ. Doors of opportunity are being opened as people are learning new skills to provide for their families. Hungry tummies are being filled. Homes are being built for the poor and families are being reunited under one roof.  Lives are being changed and transformed.


Fifteen years have past since our family moved to Nicaragua. I look back, fondly now, overwhelmed with emotion at what God has done with our lives.  I know that the steps we take today will have a great impact on our future. The opportunities are endless and our vision is expanding to meet the needs and challenges set before us.  As more people join our team, they will add new vision and perspective to what’s possible. These are exciting days in which we live and it’s with that awareness that we look to the future and the possibilities that await.  


I always close with our sincerest thanks to all of you who support this ministry with your prayers and finances. Some of you go back with us over a decade. I once had a very wise man say to me, ” If you want to know what a man believes in, look in his checkbook, because he will invest in what he truly believes in”.  Surely, you who invest in Kingdom pursuits through New Life will share in the reward with us. We will stand together when the question is asked and, “The King will reply, ‘Truly I tell you, whatever you did for one of the least of these brothers and sisters of mine, you did for me”.