Club Cristiano la Esperanza July 2014


Open Hearts Ministries, which ran a school inside Managua’s garbage dump (La Chureca), had to move when the dump was transformed into a landfill in the spring of 2013.  The ministry lost its building in the former  dump, but, with the help of Austin  Samaritans, a property in the new community of Villa Virgen de Guadalupe close to the reclaimed dump, was purchased.  In addition to one large functional building, the sizable lot also had the beginning of a second building.  It had four walls – but no roof, no floor, and no windows.
future kitchen

Austin Samaritans’ mission teams this year have painted the wall surrounding the site, installed ceiling fans in the larger multi-purpose building, and helped plaster the wall of the unfinished building.  The smaller building, when completed will become a kitchen, dining hall, and tutoring area.  Mission participants this coming October will help install a vegetable garden on the property and plant fruit trees.  The garden’s produce will be used for the feeding program and to help the ministry become self-sustaining.

The ministry itself underwent a transformation, when it moved from the old dump site.  Instead of a school, Open Hearts has formed Club Cristiano la Esperanza (Christian Club of Hope), a multi-faceted program to strengthen and enrich the lives of children living in poverty, many of whom lived in La Chureca, the former dump.  The ministry now consists of a Christian pre-school with 98 children, a mentoring program for 200 grade-school students; a twice-a-day feeding program for these children, and more.


A scholarship program has been created, as well as a high school youth group and a La Crosse team which plays in a local league.  Guitar and art classes are also offered.  It is a place full of activity, learning, and joy as children are helped to succeed in school, encouraged to continue their education, and offered a variety of extracurricular activities to explore, while learning how much God loves them.

Adios to Tom


Tom Lye, second from left, completed his three-year Board term with austin Samaritans this summer.  The only reason we let him go was his promise to keep working on our annual Golf Scramble.  Tom has been an invaluable member of the Golf Scramble planning committee, as well as an enthusiastic and faithful Board member.
Beginning first as a player in the golf tournament, Tom became more involved with Austin Samaritans and graduated to service on the Board of Directors, serving as the liaison to the golf fundraiser committee.  In 2013, he was awarded the first ever “Sponsor Magnet Award” for recruiting 16 sponsors for the tournament.  He deserves much of the credit for the 2013 tournament raising significantly more funds than previous tournaments.  He has recruited others to serve on the committee and has a lifetime job as far as we are concerned.  Thank you Tom!


Farewell to Claudia and Bill!


It was with a mixture of sadness, laughter, and deep gratitude that Austin Samaritans bid good-bye and God bless to founding board members, Claudia and Bill Biel.  Claudia and Bill were part of the original group that returned from a mission trip to Nicaragua in 2006 and  felt God was calling them to do something about the people suffering in poverty and deplorable conditions.  After helping to found Austin Samaritans, they devoted themselves to our cause for seven years, including numerous mission trips to Nicaragua.
Bill, a general practitioner in Elgin, Texas, shared his medical skills and expertise while Claudia helped run vacation Bible schools, worked with women coming out of prostitution, loved abused and abandoned babies, and did anything else she found that was needed.  Both of them were willing to dig in and help, whether it was working in the hot sun to build a home in Nicaragua, sharing Austin Samaritans’ story with others, or registering golfers at our annual fundraiser.  We miss them very much, but our prayers are with them as they move on to new challenges and family responsibilities.  They will continue to promote Austin Samaritans and volunteer. They are gone from the Board, but remain in Austin and in our hearts.

May, 2014 Mission Trip


Following the medical mission trip in May of 2014, thirteen people joined Dr. Doty and Peggy Gentry, Board Chairperson, for a general mission trip.  This enthusiastic group ranged in age from 19 to 75 years and included a recently retired fire chief; a psychiatrist; two breast cancer survivors; four employees of Coursetrends, an online marketing solutions company for all things golf; an environmental consultant; and a budget analyst.  What did these people, most of whom had never met each other, have in common?
Mixing plaster at Club Cristiano

Mixing plaster for building at Club Cristiano.

Each of them had a spirit of adventure and a desire to love and help, in some small way, those who struggle in poverty.  Walls were plastered at Club Cristiano, which runs a kindergarten, feeding program, and a grade-school mentoring program.  Vacation Bible School was provided at Colegio Cristiano Presbiteriano (CCP) and at Club Cristiano; Spanish Bibles were delivered to Club Cristiano, breast cancer patients were visited and given gift packets made by the Bosom Buddies cancer support group in Austin.   In addition, 15 lucky children from Club Cristiano made a trip to the zoo.  Each team member felt they had something to give and all received the satisfaction that comes from giving and serving.


Delivering Bibles in Spanish



Casa Base de Salud

I will be in touch by the end of the week, I’ll check in with our clinicians tomorrow to see if any new updates, but I definitely have a handful of stories in mind! I am including a link to a video a student group from Northeastern University created about one of our new ventures, a livelihoods project that is working out of the clinic to improve the economic independence of women through the creation of jewelry. This program is very linked to our health and nutrition programming in La Chureca as we work to support families holistically and address health, nutrition, livelihoods and education needs! The video is great because you’ll get to see some of the new community!