Miracles in our Midst: God Blesses a School in Nicaragua
Ryan and Sarah Schmitz have worked as Global Partners missionaries in Nicaragua for the past 10 years. One year into their time there, they began developing relationships with teachers, students and families at a nearby school, where they would begin to teach English and coordinate sponsorships. Most recently they have brought a vision to the school’s construction and renovation projects. They’ve helped build two classrooms, new bathrooms, renovated six classrooms, as well as supplied and repaired desks. When the school was faced with a shutdown due to the pandemic, things felt heavy. Today, things are feeling more hopeful.
She blinked back tears, her voice cracking, “We have to close the school. We are exhausted.” The sleepless nights, the dark circles under their eyes, the stress of striving over lesson plans only to see fewer students with each passing month. The lack of supplies had all taken a crushing toll on the teachers at the Friends of the King Wesleyan School.
Their vision had been clear: be a missional light in the community. The teachers taught math and reading but they daily pointed students to Jesus. As missionaries, we had walked alongside them with student scholarships, but we also cheered them on to sustainability as families began to be able to pay part of the tuition.
Finding the perfect balance of helping without hurting is never easy, but the balancing act that we had achieved over many years was in for a rough surprise. As Nicaragua grappled with two years of civil uprising and unrest followed by two years of the pandemic, the school had taken a beating. Families in the neighborhood were in constant transition trying to deal with the fallout. The economic challenges they faced were enormous as factories closed and money was needed for medicines and doctors to treat COVID-19.
Our role as missionaries was flipped upside down from hosting teams to facing years without flights. We were surrounded by a whirlwind of needs. In the midst of this heart-wrenching, lonely time, God provided a miracle through generous churches and families that saw the need and came alongside the school. This year we’ve made renovations, provided jobs and enrolled more students. The team there is now strong. We are one church. When we were weak, our brothers and sisters saw us struggling and generously provided. That is the Global Church in action: one that cares and loves in practical ways. The school doors are open, children are learning and hearing the Gospel, and they have hope for the future.