Archive for January, 2014

Have you met Nick yet?

Allow us to introduce Nick Johnson!

Nick 2

Nick is our newest employee at the Amigos for Christ office in Buford, GA. As the Director of Collaboration, he has already done an incredible job working together with our Stateside partners to help them get involved and stay connected to the work of Amigos in Nicaragua. Haven’t had the chance to meet him? Learn a little more below!

 

How did you first get involved with Amigos?

In 2001, as a donor and fiesta participant, I helped with Pedal for the Poor. We had met John and Sabrina Bland while involved with Cursillo, and we knew many Prince of Peace members due to the proximity to St. Lawrence.

 

What made you want to keep staying involved?

The personal relationships I built with the participants, and the fact that it is an obviously good cause.

 

What is your role with Amigos?

I am the Director of Collaboration. I work to increase the resources that Amigos has available for our work; people, physical resources, and financial resources.

 

What is the most important element of your job?

Meeting with people and sharing our story as it relates to the mission of the Body of Christ.

 

What is your favorite part of your new job?
Meeting with people and sharing our story as it relates to the mission of the Body of Christ.

 

How do you feel like God is using you in your role with Amigos?

God is using me to encourage and enable people to live out the Gospel. Because I enjoy the dialog, I am very comfortable talking with individuals and groups about our obligation to live the Gospel. That obligation can be a particular challenge for Americans but the work of Amigos creates an environment that invites and encourages us to step out in faith and meet that obligation.

 

What were you doing before you started working for Amigos?

My career had transitioned from building design engineering to software sales in the construction and utilities industry.  I came to Amigos from Trimble Navigation, where I was responsible for sales of  system control and maintenance software to the water industry in the eastern United States and Canada. Prior to that, I held a similar position selling software to the design and construction industry for Autodesk.

 

Why would you leave a job at which you were so successful to do this job instead?

Truthfully, because Christ told me to. Not in a bolt of lightning, not by blinding me for days, but rather by gently prodding me for many years to do what we say to do on the back of our shirts: “Don’t ask yourself what the world needs. Ask yourself what makes you come alive and go do that. Because what the world needs is people who have come alive.”  I had a plan to work my way into something more meaningful. My plan was not God’s plan; He had a different timeline than I did, and God usually wins this arguments (just ask Jonah)!

 

How do you hope to grow in your new role, or see Amigos grow from the work you are doing?

My goals are to provide all the resources our team needs to operate at peak efficiency and maximum effectiveness. If I do my job well, and if my goals are aligned with what Christ wants for Amigos, I will work my way out of a job or into a new role after 3-5 years. Once we can truthfully say we are doing all we can with our current structure, then we can determine if we grow, expand, or maintain.

More Than I Could Ask or Imagine

By: Paige Seymour, missionary

 

“When I came to you, I did not come with eloquence or human wisdom as I proclaimed to you the testimony about God. For I resolved to know nothing but Christ and him crucified.” 1 Corinthians 2:2-3

 

La Chuscada

 

When I first was preparing to move down to Nicaragua, I knew that one of my biggest desires was to get to know the women in the communities because I really enjoy having conversations with them and hearing about their lives, their hopes, and their struggles. In my preparation and in my first few months down here, I had been praying about what it was going to look like to get to know women in the communities and to possibly start some sort of women’s discussion group or bible study.

 

For the first several months, it was difficult because there weren’t many women digging in the ditches with us. My strategy was to dig with women if they were digging, and if not, then to make some house visits of women I had met previously to spend time with them and usually to cook and eat with them.

 

A little over a month ago, I was hanging out with my friend Matilde in La Chuscada on a Monday, just catching up during lunchtime at the house of Sebastian, the community leader. Matilde and I were chatting about our week, and she informed me that she had a meeting on Wednesday with Carla, the leader of our education team at Amigos for Christ. I told her I had just talked to Carla that morning about coming with her to La Chuscada on Wednesday, so I assured Matilde I’d see her again in a few days.

 

On Wednesday I hopped in the van with Carla for La Chuscada, having no expectations of what we were about to do. All I knew was that my friend Matilde would be there, and that was enough reason for me. What I was about to take part in was “immeasurably more than anything I could have ever asked or imagined.”

 

I arrived to a circle of about 12-15 women from various parts of La Chuscada, many of whom I already knew personally through my time there this summer. Maria Lydia who taught me to make tortillas, Victoria who fed me tamales at her house, Lydia who I joked around with each day she checked off workers, along with Matilde and several others. I sat as a spectator, watching Carla speak with authority yet gentleness as she described the Mission, Vision and Values of Amigos for Christ. She then proceeded to ask the women what they thought the strengths and weaknesses of their community were, what opportunities and resources they had, and where they thought they needed help. Each women contributed valuable thoughts, and Carla listened intently, reaffirming them and encouraging them to continue sharing. I was overwhelmed with the vulnerability and openness that was taking place in this meeting of these wonderful women. I had nothing to do with setting up this meeting, leading the meeting, or even playing a part in it, but I was so thankful to simply be present.

 

After the meeting, I asked Carla how frequently she held these meetings. She told me every Wednesday at 2pm for the next 3 months they would have them. She invited me to come again the next week, and I gladly accepted, especially considering Wednesday is the only afternoon in my schedule that I have free during the week.

 

The past 3 weeks of these Wednesday Women’s meetings have been absolutely incredible.

 

The first week was about the family and how to build up your children through positivity and words of encouragement. Carla said “todos somos iguales porque somos los hijos del Senor” (we are all equal because we are all children of the Lord).

 

The second week was about how to prevent drug abuse in your family. Carla said “ustedes son ejemplos para sus ninos y si tiene la luz del Senor en su corazon, va a tener la luz en su casa, y los ninos van a tener la luz en sus corazones” (you are examples for your kids and if you have the light of the Lord in your heart, you are going to have the light in your house, and your kids are going to have the light in their hearts).

 

The third week was about how to deal with abuse in the household, whether verbal, physical, or emotional. Carla was talking about how you can’t remain silent if it happens, even though many people do because they worry about what they should say or what they should do in the situation. Carla explained that when she comes to talk at these meetings and present difficult topics, she doesn’t always know what to say. She didn’t study for this specifically and she’s not the most knowlegable person, so how does she do it? “Pido que el Senor me de las palabras para decir por Su Espiritu, y entonces lo hace” (I ask the Lord to give me the words to say through His Spirit, and then He does it).

 

I have been so encouraged to see the way Carla has led these meetings that have been biblically centered on Christ, and to see the way the women in the community have made themselves open and vulnerable to share their thoughts, hopes, and struggles. These meetings have far exceeded any expectations I ever had in my head for what they would look like, and I thank God that He has perfectly orchestrated the meetings, the people involved, and the timing. I am so blessed to simply be a part of the work He is doing in this community, and I can’t wait to see what else He has planned for these women.

 

To read more from Paige, visit her blog at http://paigeseymour.tumblr.com/.


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