This is the story of the community we are serving

God's Footprints in Nicaragua (GFN) started in August 2008 by a group from Smyrna First United Methodist Church in Smyrna, Georgia to support local ministries already in progress.  The ministry consists of a feeding program for nearly 200 children five days a week and a Pre-Kindergarten school. The school was started in 2006 to prepare children ages 4, 5, and 6 for an education in their local community. Many of the parents of these children had never attended school and had no idea what was involved in getting their child to school each day. The children had never been expected to sit in a chair at a table and focus and follow directions. This was a learning situation for all involved. Each year about 30 children graduate from the program with the opportunity to go further with their education in area schools.

Another aspect of our ministry, which began in 2008, was a sewing class for women and older girls. Sewing machines and fabric were furnished, and these women now have a means to help support their families and to make their own clothes. More than 75 women have graduated from the program, and in the past several years 9 have participated in a micro-loan program. This was made possible by the gifts of one woman in a church in Smyrna, Georgia. These women are very proud of their accomplishments and have made uniforms for the children who graduated from the Pre-K class.

 

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manchester community at lake managua

Major flooding from Lake Managua in 2008 devastated the Manchester community.  Most of the community suffered the bitter loss of housing and possessions; some even lost family members in the flooding.  After over 3 months of living in a refuge situation, the Nicaraguan government transported this community of people to a settlement named Cristo Rey near Tipitapa (over an hour's drive away). 

 

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cristo rey settlement near tipitapa

Upon arriving at their new home, the Cristo Rey settlement, there was nothing - no houses, no electricity, no plumbing, no trees.  This settlement would need to be established over a period of years.  GFN provided trees such as banana trees to be planted which over time provided shade from the hot climate as well as food.  Eventually electricity was provided to the community, tin-roofed-and-walled houses were built, and the settlement has evolved into a town.

 

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The School in San Sebastián, managua

We are certified by the Nicaragua Ministry of Education for three levels of preschool. Each year 100+ children have attended during the school year of February through November. Third level children (6 year olds) graduate in November and afterward enter 1st grade in the San Sebastián Community School. A large percentage continue on toward graduation from 6th grade and hopefully high school.