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Chief Storyteller. You can usually find Ivi with a big smile on her face and a camera in her hand. She is passionate about telling stories of transformation and loves being a part of all the good happening here in Nicaragua.

A Family’s Transformation

“Anything is possible if you have faith.” Nora Centeno (38) tells us that she has kept these words close to her heart for many years as she and her husband have worked to build a life together. 14 years ago, Nora and her husband, Adrian Paulino Ruiz, moved out of her family’s home in Chinandega to a home in the community of Dulce Nombre de Jesus. And as they began their new lives, they didn’t know exactly where to start.

“We moved here with two children, so succeeding was essential. I knew that I wanted to raise animals like my parents had, but we couldn’t afford them. I didn’t know what to do. I needed to provide for my children, and I quickly realized that the only way to get food in our new community was to grow it ourselves, but I didn’t know how to farm. In time, with a lot of help from our new neighbors, I began to learn how to grow things. Thanks to God, our garden grew.”

Dulce Nombre de Jesus

The community of Dulce Nombre de Jesus instantly fell in love with Nora’s huge heart and her will to succeed, and the community provided a lot of support for Nora in the beginning. She is a fighter and a determined hard worker who does not shy from a challenge. Instead, she confronts every obstacle wearing her best armor — her inner strength, the love she has for her children, and a phrase that is dear to her, “Anything is possible if you have faith.”

“Thanks to God, our crops grew and we had enough to feed our family. We were grateful because – even though it has been difficult for us to find jobs – we had our crops and a few animals to help us get by.”

“In the beginning, life was very difficult because I had to carry water to my house every day. I walked very far to get it. My husband had to work each day by repairing bicycles, so it was my job to get the water. We didn’t know what to do. We made big sacrifices to take care of our children, and we never gave up. Our faith was strong, and little by little our lives changed and we had a little bit more.”

With a grateful smile, she continues, “I believe that God has blessed us greatly. It was God who brought Amigos for Christ to our community. Amigos has made our lives better by working alongside us to build a water system. They gave my daughter the opportunity to attend a good high school, something that I never got to do. For me, I can’t ask for anything more,” she says. “And now, they’ve given us the chance to have 20 chickens and to be able to earn money for our household.”

Faith that Overcomes

Nora is proud of the way that she and her husband, Adrian, have always been able to provide for their children and of all that they have overcome. Even when they don’t see an immediate solution, their faith remains strong and allows them to step up and conquer any challenge.

When Nora and Adrian’s son was born deaf, they worried that they would never be able to communicate with him. “As parents, we said we have to do something, but we didn’t have the money to send him to a special school.” As their son grew, they could see his frustration because he could not understand much of what was happening around him. They reached out to family and friends and met a woman who spoke sign language. She happily volunteered to teach their entire family. “Thanks to her, we are now able to speak to our son.”

A Family's Love

“For my husband and me, the most important thing is that our children have a future. That’s such a gift. It’s like this little tree right here” she says, pointing to a fruit tree in the field next to her house. “One day, it will bear some of the best fruit. Hopefully, because of God’s faithfulness, the lives of our children are going to bear fruit as well.”

Nora still works hard each day to provide for her family. She takes her youngest son to school, makes lunch and dinner for her family, and tends to her crops. Now, she is also learning how to take care of the eggs and baby chicks that her new hens produce.

Despite the obstacles that this family has already overcome, Nora still dreams big. She and her husband work each day from sun up to sun down to provide a brighter future for their children. Their faith and work ethic are an example for their children and their community.

Life Transformation

Learn more about Amigos for Christ’s community development model that seeks sustainable growth in rural Nicaraguan communities.

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