mission stories

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.

Hill Country Bible Church Dripping Springs July, 2014 Mission Trip


Austin Samaritans hosted a family mission trip for Hill Country Bible Church Dripping Springs July 26 through August 2.  Lead Pastor Jason McNutt, Executive Pastor Steve Isgitt, and 13 others from the church, including three family groups, spent a week in Nicaragua.

Their hearts were deeply touched by the plight of many women and children, who are not only living in poverty, but who are wounded by physical abuse, sexual abuse and exploitation, abandonment, and malnutrition.  As one team member put it, “God has shown us some things that are hard to bear.“  He also reflected, “we see plenty of grace and mercy in action, in the work of people living out their lives to serve ‘the least of these’ “.


We pray for this church as they seek to follow God’s leading in discerning if ministry to the people of Nicaragua is in their future.

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



The Miracle of Adriana

Six-year old Adriana came to the Matagalpa Re-Nutrition Center in April of 2013.  Due to an intestinal disorder and her parents’ limited resources to help her, she weighed only 20 pounds when she entered the Center. She was anemic and unable to eat without severe pain.  She could not even sit up by herself.  Adriana was taken to a pediatric stomach specialist, where she was treated and put on a strict diet.  
Steve Reed with Adriana

Adriana being carried by mission trip participant in April, 2013.

With many prayers and lots of loving care and good nutrition, little Adriana, now seven, has steadily improved.

She can eat anything now and has a very healthy appetite.  The Center purchased a pig in the spring to be ready to eat at their Christmas celebration.  In October, Adriana told Brenda, the Center Director, that she would not leave the Center until she ate the pig at Christmas!  And she did exactly that.  We are grateful to God and to the Matagalpa Re-Nutrition Center for the miraculous recovery Adriana has made.

Adriana eating pork_Dec. 2013

Hooray for Adriana and the Matagalpa Re-Nutrition Center!

Adriana_Dec. 2013Adriana with her mother just before Christmas 2013.

Austin Samaritans received a Christmas thank you letter from the Matagalpa Re-Nutrition Center, one of the missions we support in Nicaragua.  We were thrilled to read about how well little 7-year old Adriana is doing after being at the center for six months.  An excerpt from the letter reads:

Children all over deserve a healthy happy life but that isn’t always possible. The center provides a shelter for children to help them feel safe and return them to a healthy state.

Your faithful donations you have made the center a reality for these malnourished precious children. They not only receive food but also but are shown the love of Christ through the nannies who care for them.  The nannies are so good to sing praise songs with them before their meals and teach them to pray.

One young girl Adriana, was severely malnourished. One of the nannies told me that one of the first nights that she was there she heard someone singing and when she went searching to find out who it was Adriana. Adriana was singing ‘Lift My Arms Because I don’t have the Strength’. It is a song of someone very weak wanting to praise God. God has healed her and she is a happy healthy little girl.

Read more about Adriana.

Keith on the April 2013 Mission Trip

Board-of-Directors-Photos-Keith MartinsonWhy would someone go to Managua, Nicaragua just to paint a building?  Well – every time I go to Nicaragua I am overwhelmed by the poverty of the country, yet surprised by the joy that I see in the children I meet.  These children, mostly of grade school age, just ooze enthusiasm and are full of love, like children everywhere. However, I know that one day they will grow up, become teenagers, and then adults, and realize how limited their opportunities are.  This may cause them to fall into a life of despair and to begin developing destructive habits – taking drugs, engaging in prostitution, stealing.
That is why Austin Samaritans supports certain organizations in Nicaragua.  The support consists of providing grants to the organizations and bringing mission trip teams to do construction, facility maintenance, or provide relational activities for the children.   We work with these organizations to improve the children’s chances of having a wider range of opportunities when they grow older.

On our most recent mission trip we painted the interior of a facility that serves as a preschool and study center for children that live next to the Managua city dump.  I know this isn’t that much of an accomplishment, but it is rewarding to know that even our little contribution helps keep this oasis alive in an area of abject poverty.  It gives one hope that these children will have the chance of a better future.



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