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Monday, December 19, 2011

Our God is an awesome God

Where to begin?  God has been hard at work.  In September, we made an appeal for financial support for the upcoming year.  These funds were needed by October 1st.  The last day of September, with little to no response to our plea, I realized I hadn't prayed about our need.  Feeling ashamed for not bringing it to God earlier, I began to pray that God would touch the heart of someone to pick up the phone or to write a check that day. Eager to speak with our church, but wanting to give God time, I waited as long as I could to call the church office.  I called the church office about 11:00am to discuss a few things that had come up at the school that day and nonchalantly asked if we had received any money.  The church secretary informed me that a large donation had come in, several families committed to a small monthly amount and others called to ask what are needs were. I don't know why we are so surprised when God answers our prayers.  Our God is an awesome God.

We have three programs that we want to raise money for in 2012: a youth rally scheduled for January, a soccer field and a livestock program.  $1000 has been given to each of these programs. Our God is an awesome God.

Jackson Christian School has donated all their soccer jerseys and shorts from the past 20 years!  The soccer team at Nicaragua Christian School will have uniforms for many years to come. A special thanks to Alicia Maners who took the initiative to approach her soccer coach and make him aware of the need for jerseys at NCS. Our God is an awesome God.

A new preacher, Espertaco, was hired for the Primero de Mayo Church and will begin in January.  He is married and has two children.  Espertaco and Sergio, the school minister, attended Baxter University together and talked and dreamed about working together one day.  God is fulfilling this dream by opening the door for Espertaco to join us.  Please pray for him and his family as they make this transition. Our God is an awesome God.

Following kindergarten graduation on November 25th, Xiomara, the school director, made her first visit to the United States.  She was in the states for two weeks and was able to visit many churches that support Nicaragua Christian School.  Although she missed her rice, she enjoyed her time in Tennessee and seeing snow for the first time.  Our God is an awesome God.

Currently we are in the states enjoying the holidays with our family and friends.  We will return to Nicaragua on January 6th. Classes at the school will begin in February.  We are excited to get back to Nicaragua and see what God has planned for this upcoming year.  2011 strengthened our confidence in prayer and I am anxious to see how that confidence will transform us in 2012.  Our God is an awesome God.

Jaden and Kora

James and Kim

Merry Christmas and Happy New Year!

Dios te bendiga!

Sunday, October 9, 2011

Once upon a time

Once upon a time, there were some missionaries who had good intentions of informing their friends and family in a far far away land of their adventures.  Days turned into weeks and weeks turned into more weeks, and the fairy blog mother appeared to the missionaries and with a wave of her wand, the missionaries were able to get their children in bed at a decent hour, so that they had time to write a blog before midnight.  So before, the clock strikes twelve and exhaustion over takes us, here are some of the things that have been happening.

On Sunday, October 3rd, all the Churches that are sponspored by Campbell Street Church of Christ met together for worship at the school.  Hopefully, this was the first of many combined worship services to come. 

1st Annual Area Wide Worship

Some of the precious children who attended Sunday School:

We spent a few days in Jinotega at Mision para Cristo.  There are three American families that we met last year at the World Mission Workshop that just moved to Nicaragua.  It was wonderful to spend time in worship and fellowship with them ,sharing ideas and experiences.

A truck in many people can you fit in your vehicle?

Jaden, at the top of a mourntain in Jinotega

Kora enjoying the view in Jinotega
We hope to purchase playground equipment in the next couple of weeks.  Looking forward to seeing the kids faces as the playground is being constructed.  The school year is coming to an end and there have already been several parents who have come to register their three year olds for preschool next year. We are anxious to see what God is going to do our second year in Nicaragua.

 Visit and read about the Missionary of the Month.

Thanks to all who filled shoe boxes with toys, school supplies, candy and other goodies.  There were a total of 280 boxes!  Your generosity is greatly appreciated.  The boxes should be in Nicaragua by the beginning of December and the school minister will distribute them to the children.

Please continue to pray for us and the work that God is doing in Leon, Nicaragua.

Dios te bendiga

Friday, September 2, 2011

Help wanted

We moved to Leon, Nicaragua in January of this year to work with Nicaragua Christian School and the preachers that are supported by Campbell Street Church of Christ.  As our first year here quickly comes to an end, so do our funds. We need your help. We need fifty people starting in October willing to commit to give $25 a month so that we can continue to serve in Nicaragua. Some of the things we have been blessed to be part of this year: establishing a church that meets at the school, beginning a soccer ministry,  providing support and encouragement to the preachers and assisting mission teams.  To God be the glory!  With your help, in 2013, we hope to provide an adult learning center to teach literacy and English using the Bible, expand the soccer ministry, and open a clothing closet and food pantry.  Please prayerfully consider this opportunity.  If you can help in anyway, please contact Betty Baker at 731-427-9511 or

Thank you for all the support and encouragment you have provided us this past year.  We have felt the power of prayer and ask that you continue to pray for our family as God continues to open doors of opportunity.

Dios te bendiga (God Bless you),
James, Kim, Kora and Jaden Bracken

Sunday, August 14, 2011

Are you ready for some futbol?

Futbol (soccer) practice has begun and the boys are having so much fun!  Sergio and Exequiel are fantastic coaches. They are not only teaching soccer skills, but discipline, respect and teamwork. The boys have shown a great deal of improvement already.  They are passing the ball and utlizing the space of the field.  We hope this soccer ministry will open doors for them to attend college on soccer scholarships, because otherwise they are very unlikely to attend college since their families cannot afford it.  Several boys are not able to play soccer due to their poor grades.  In fact, one boy came to practice and had to be comforted by Sergio for atleast 30 minutes.  The same boy also showed me (Kim) a drawing of himself sitting on the sidelines crying because he couldn't play soccer.  Hopefully, we can help him get his grades up so he can join the rest of the team soon.

Praying before practice

The 4th graders

The 3rd graders

Exequiel and Serigo,the coaches

Summer didn't want the girls to be left out while the boys were playing soccer, so she has begun a class for them.  The class includes a bible study and making a craft. The girls love this time with each other and Summer. 

Prayer time

The beautiful bracelets the girls made

The girls

Along with futbol season, it's also harvest time.  The 3rd and 4th grade students were able to glean the field this past week as they gathered corn for their fellow students and families.  The rest of the the corn will be sold to raise money for the school.

Do not reap the very edges of your field....leave them for the poor.  Leviticus 19:9-10

Share with the Lord's people who are in need.  Romans 12:13
And do not forget to do good and to share with others, for with such sacrifices, God is pleased.  Hebrews 13:16

Whoever welcomes one of these little children in my name welcomes me.  Mark 9:37

We love because He first loved us.  I John 4:19

The harvest is plenty, but the workers are few.  Matthew 9:37
 Other good news.....our road has been paved! This may not seem like a big deal but to those who have been to Nicaragua Christian School know what a bumpy, dusty, rough road it is.  Now, it's smooth sailing, except for the cows, chickens, pigs, dogs, horsecarts, bikes and people who contiune to keep the drive exciting as we navigate the obstacle course we call our road. 

We are hoping to give each child at Nicaragua Christian School a Christmas gift and need your help.  Three easy steps:  1.Fill a shoebox with items from the list below. 2. Wrap the box and lid separately in holiday wrapping paper. 3. Indicate whether the gift is for a boy or girl and place $5.00 on top of the box to cover the cost of shipping.  Each box should contain: School supplies ( pencils, pens, crayons, paper, pencil sharpener). Personal items (toothbrush, toothpaste, comb, shampoo, soap, washcloth).  Clothing (socks, underwear,shorts, t-shirt, sandals, ball cap, sunglasses). Toys (yo-yos, small cars, dolls, stickers, jump rope, bubbles, harmonicas).  Filler (candy, mints, gum.  No chocolate or other candy that might melt).  All boxes need to be at Campbell Street Church of Christ no later than September 19th.  For more information, contact Christy Lovelace at 731-427-9511.

Lord, thank you for showering your blessings upon us and allowing us to be in the lives of the children at Nicaragua Christian School.  Open our eyes and hearts and help us to see others as you see them. Use us as your hands and feet.  Fill us with your spirit and let your light shine through us.

Dios te bendiga,
James and Kim

Saturday, July 30, 2011

We are back in Nicaragua after a two week visit to the states.  When we moved here in January, we had a one way ticket with no plans of returning to the states until December, however due to Visa regulations we were required to leave Nicaragua after 180 days.  Although this was not our plan, it was God’s plan and God’s plans are perfect.  This trip to the states could not have come at a better time.  We didn’t realize how spiritually starved we were. Although we feel that we are doing God’s work, we needed to be renewed. We had a wonderful time of worship, fellowship and enjoyed more familiar cuisine while in America. We felt a sense of refreshment and renewal and were excited to get back to Nicaragua.

Since it has been a while since our last blog, here’s an update of what has been going on.
The last week of June, a group from Murfreesboro, TN conducted a Vacation Bible School at Nicaragua Christian School. The day before VBS began, the group handed out 600 invitations to the three communities that surround the school. There were 179 in attendance the first day! 

Puppet show at VBS

Some of the kids who attended VBS with their teacher

Sergio leading songs at VBS

We decided to celebrate Independence Day with traditional American 4th of July food (hot dogs and hamburgers) and other American missionary families.  Although there were no fireworks, we were thankful to share this special day with new friends.

Our soccer ministry will begin this week.  The 3rd and 4th grade boys are so excited and have asked a hundred times what day and time practice begins. While in TN, we were blessed with many donations for this ministry from money to soccer balls, cleats, shin guards and even uniforms.  We are just as excited as the 3rd and 4th grade boys for soccer to begin!

Kora and Jaden began attending school the day after we returned from TN. They both have enjoyed their first few days of classes. Praise God!  Hopefully, they will continue to enjoy it once the newness wears off. They will probably be fluent in Spanish by our next visit to the states considering all their classes are taught in Spanish, except an English class, which we expect an A in. 

Jaden proudly wearing his school uniform


Kim and Kora after returning from Kora's first day of school

Our farm will be ready to harvest in about 2 weeks.  We can’t believe how fast the crops have grown.  We have decided to sell a portion of the crops to raise money for the school and share the rest with the students’ families at Nicaragua Christian School. 


Our first watermelon

Some of the corn stalks are taller than James

We are looking forward to seeing what God will do the second half of the year here in Leon.  We can honestly feel the prayers being lifted on our behalf and ask that you continue to pray for our family and the students at Nicaragua Christian School.  Prayer is a powerful thing. We couldn’t do this without the prayers, support and encouragement we have received since we embarked on this journey. Thank you.

Dios te Bendiga (God Bless you),
James and Kim

View of the sunset from our porch, just another reminder of what an awesome God we serve!

Saturday, June 18, 2011

Medical mission team June 2011

We enjoyed having a medical mission team of 22 the week of June 6th. The group saw approximately 1500 people in four days.  No one was turned away.  They were able to give away several wheelchairs including two for children with cerebral palsy.  I was busy most of the week running errands, as usual.  I had to take children vitamins and other medicines to Managua to be approved by the Health Department.  They confiscated a couple of the medicines that were not approved and apparently found me to be “difficult”.   I spent the rest of the week running here and there to get food and water for the mission team, rent chairs and a sound system for the evening gospel meetings. The gospel meetings were well attended and 25 people asked for the preacher to visit them in their home.  Hopefully the congregation that meets at the school will grow due to the outreach of the medical mission team.  Kim spent the week teaching classes on dehydration and malnutrition.  Did you know that malnutrition can cause diarrhea?  Kim and her interpreter had lots of fun stating these facts over and over and over again.  We were so blessed by the medical mission team, those we already knew and those we met for the first time.  Kora and Jaden really enjoyed the high school and college kids that were part of the team. Thanks for letting us be part of the team.  

Upcoming events:

  • This week there is a team of 62 conducting a medical mission about 45 minutes from Leon.

  • Sergio, the preacher, and I met with the parents of the 3rd and 4th graders to discuss beginning a soccer ministry.  The kids will meet twice a week to practice and we will begin practice with a devotional.  If you have any soccer cleats, shin guards or soccer balls that your children have outgrown, please take them to Campbell Street Church of Christ.
  • The first week of July, there is a mission team coming to Leon to conduct Vacation Bible School. 

  • There are 400 houses being built in the neighborhood beside us.  Hopefully, that will be 400 more families that will come to know Christ. 

Please commit to praying for each of these events.

Here are some pictures of the children at school. Although they have so little, they are so happy. Please continue to pray for them. God is at work in their lives and and in their hearts.

Kim and I have been trying to come up with new ideas to raise money for the school.  With the help of a friend, Yader, and permission from the school board, we have begun farming.  The land between the school and our house is currently not being used, so we used 3-4 acres to plant sesame seeds, watermelon and corn.  Hopefully, our harvest in August will provide $1000 or more to go toward a playground for the school.

We are getting excited about our upcoming visit to Tennessee.  We can’t wait to see family and friends, worship at Campbell St Church of Christ and enjoy American food!

Saturday, June 11, 2011

Mother's Day in Nicaragua

May 31st  was Mother's Day in Nicaragua and I have to pay a little tribute to what I have witnessed over the last five months. Many of the families that live next to us do not have fathers. Several have left to find work in another country and only come home a few times a year, while others have simply chosen to leave.  The mothers are left to do everything. It is obvious that some of them are struggling, but most of these women just keep on going by taking care of family, work, and household. There is an inner strength that you can see in them. I realize that mothers being left to handle everything is not just an issue here in Nicaragua. I have witnessed over the years many women left to bear the responsibility of raising the children, working to pay the bills and take care of household duties. Although Mothers Day in the States has come and gone, we need to honor Mother's every day. Their inner strength and will to continue in the face of difficult situations is admirable. The school and Church both had special programs to honor all the mother's.  Mother's Day is a big celebration in Nicaragua and of course, Kim didn't mind celebrating Mother's Day twice this year! Unfortunatley for me, Father's Day is the same day in Nicaragua as it is in the states, so I only get one day of celebration.

We were blessed to have a visit from Andrea and Maggie Nash.  We took them to see many neat places and things in Nicaragua (volcano, rainforrest with monkeys, cathedrals, just to name a few) but if you ask them what their favorite thing was, they would say "the kids at the school".   Andrea asked lots of questions about the school and sponsoring a child.  When Kim explained to her that it was $30 a month for a child to attend school,  provide a uniform and school supplies and give them a meal, Andrea asked "Why am I not doing this?  Well, I am now"!  Andrea was able to pick from about 40 children that currently do not have sponsors. 

Andrea and Jose Ramon

 Look below at some of the kids who still need a sponsor.






Brisa Isabella

If you have $30  a month you can spare, call Christy Lovelace at 731 427-9511 and let her know.  $30 a month.........we spent that or more on one family meal at Don Panchos!

Sponsoring a child is one way you can help the mother's in Nicaragua.  Knowing that their children are receiving an excellent education, being fed a meal and learning about God gives these mothers peace of mind and hope for their childs' future.  In 6 months we will begin a new school year and have 35 or more new students that need sponsors.  Please prayfully consider this opportunity.