APRIL 14-22, 2015
TEAM: Mel Menker, Ben Friend, Christie Coley, Danny Rogers, Marian and Ed Stinnette

While in Nicaragua, we had no internet in Waspam and no way to get any information out while we were there. This is the first time we had been so completely isolated from the outside world. The following is a brief synopsis of what transpired during our time there. First, over 70% of the repayment of the beans came in, which is incredible for the first time. Central barrio led the four barrios with a repayment rate of nearly 90%! There were other people who had done work in Kisalaya that told us this would be a failure and that we shouldn't expect any return. But God is faithful and we are seeing a bountiful harvest! Mike has someone replanting beans to see if a second crop can make it but, because it is so close to the start of the rainy season, we're not sure if we'll be able to get a clear picture of second plantings.

Second, two wells were dug and completed. One is in the Central barrio and is operational after the final stages of "development," where the well has water drawn continuously for another day to have it totally clear. This was followed by a chlorine treatment and more bailing of water until the strength of the chlorine was reduced, making the well safe to drink. The second well was installed at the medical clinic. It was been fully developed and finished with a concrete pad around it. Rene O'Neil of Kisalaya was the first to drink the clean water from this well. By the time team member Mike Jones left at the end of April, the leaders had decided where the next wells would be placed based on the land/water criteria taught to us by Tony de Lorenzi of the Holy Water Group. Gaspar Lampson and Rene O'Neil are the local leaders of the well operations and have been fully taught how to do the complete operation. They, in turn, have been teaching other men in the community how to do this to expand their team. Again, praise God for what he has done and is doing!

Third, the water buckets were in the process of being distributed as the nurse teaches about safe water practices. We reduced the cost of the bucket to $5 or one day of community service to pay for the bucket. Many of the community members cannot afford the $5, therefore, the community service work done in just a few days has been tremendous. The community is beggining to pull together as one and exhibit the glory of God! Again, God is so faithful and patient!

Fourth, Pastor Danny Rogers and Pastor Mel Menker had the privilege of meeting with the pastors. We first conducted an overview of the training they desire from us. Then we met with 6 of the 7 pastors and their families individually and are preparing one year sponsorship opportunities to help these pastors as none of them receive any financial assistance from their congregates (with a 95% unemployment rate that's to be expected). These sponsorships are to be short term as the people of Kisalaya begin to become better able to share their income from their crops with their churches to help their pastors financially. Finally, Mel Menker had the privilege of teaching the pastors how to share their own personal stories with their congregants. They asked if they could conduct a Kisalaya-wide conference (revival type service) in September when we return where they could tell their stories to the community, believing that God will use those stories to give hope through Christ to the community people. We agreed to be there, if God so wills.

Finally, please be in prayer about the next trip in September. Please pray God will send us the right team members for this next trip. In September the leaders of the community will meet with the team to establish the next needs of the community with which we can partner. At a minimum, we'll be training pastors and installing more wells. Some of our team will be working on wells and will be taught how to do this by the Miskito people. Imagine the self-esteem they will be able to receive by teaching us Americans how to do the wells! This prepares us to partner with them to take the well drilling to villages up/down river, which is part of the larger plan. We may also be able to begin training local leaders to become onsite coordinators of the ongoing work that needs to continue between the times our teams are able to be onsite. Please take a few moments to stop and thank God for all He has done and is doing! We are "blown away" by His mercy and grace! We are in love with the people of Kisalaya and are truly blessed to have been given an opportunity to serve our great God in this work. Please continue to prayer for SALT, its volunteer staff and team members, the people of Kisalaya and that we will be faithful to fulfill His plan so that He will receive the honor and glory He deserves and that many will become disciples of Jesus Christ!

God Bless Each of You!

Mel Menker

SALT, Inc. "To know the will of God, we need an open Bible and an open map." — William Carey