Tío Pablo y Tía Ani

Managua Christmas Lights

Posted by Paul Barmaksezian on January 5, 2017

You know, I'm not sure if we've ever posted what Christmas time looks like here in Managua.  I just found some photos Michelle took with my camera when we went out to see the lights with some of the gals from House 4 at the Villa.  It's too bad I don't have a shot from the distance to see the whole road.  But just to give you an idea, the main road in downtown Managua gets completely decked out with Nativity scenes, loud music, food carts, and lots and lots of people.  It's kind of a crazy scene with all the lighted up trees; no wonder we have blackouts every so often - must be saving all the juice for Christmas! :).

Here is a gallery of the photos from Michelle:

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2016 High School Graduates

Posted by Paul Barmaksezian on November 2, 2016

In the middle of all our residency issues, I forgot to write about something I'm very excited about.  Two of our girls, Reyna and Ileana, will be graduating High School (and, for Reyna, vocational school) in less than a month!  This is a huge achievement (why does that word always make me think of first-person shooter games?) and we're just so proud of them both (I feel like a proud spiritual papa when I see these girls accomplish their goals like this).  See their quick bios below and pray for them.

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Prayer for Our Residency

Posted by Paul Barmaksezian on October 28, 2016

Some folks have been asking for an update on our residency here in Nicaragua - here is the not-so-quick story.

We've been here for 5 years and, thank God, all has gone relatively OK in terms of getting an renewing our residency over the years.  The typical pain and anxiety (this is a big point of anxiety for me) is something we go through every year, with constant changes in the requirements and the multiple trips to get a packet approved.  But each year, after all the pain and waiting, we get approved and keep our legal status here.

Well, this year has been ... let's say ... quite different.  It's election year here, maybe that's why.  But things have not turned out the way we were expecting.

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Helping a Church Grow through Small Loans

Posted by Paul Barmaksezian on October 2, 2016

I love the fact that I get to see and experience the fruit of what we all do down here.  All of you play a huge role in investing in the lives of some very special folks here.  And I am blessed to get to see the results in person at times; it brings such joy to see all that our Lord is doing through all of us to help expand His kingdom.

The 58:7 Ministries loan program, that no-longer little "side" project I'm so very proud of, has made a huge impact on many.  We've helped new families build their first homes, provided much needed emergency funds, helped new small businesses with capital, and recently helped a church grow with a new property.  We've done all this through something we take for granted in the States: cheap credit.  I didn't realize how powerful low-to-no-interest credit was until I came down here and saw the challenges people - especially the poor, but even the middle class - face to obtain reasonable credit.  When used in a healthy manner (no extremes here), credit can really kick start some dreams and provide people with hope and self-esteem.  I love that we, in a small way, provide that opportunity to our community here in Nicaragua.

And, today, I got to see the result of one of those opportunities.  I love the Briones family.  Dalila and Elizabeth have become good friends and part of our own family.  Elizabeth was with us from the very beginning, caring for our home while Ani was homeschooling, and is now running the operations of the bakery business at El Cafecito.  Dalila and I have worked together at the Villa since I first got here, I think, and has grown to be the full-time Accountant for FEI Nicaragua.  Their dad, a solid believer, is the pastor of a small community church in their neighborhood, with services pretty much every day of the week.

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The Villa Names You’ve Never Heard of

Posted by Paul Barmaksezian on September 5, 2016

Here is a simple list of names.  I thought you might want to know them and pray for these names.  They, of course, belong to the men and  women you rarely, if ever, get to hear of at Villa Esperanza.  They are the names behind the scenes.  While the girls are the face of our ministry, these names belong to those who work diligently to keep this place safe and beautiful for the girls, our teams, our CPR program, and so much more.  Each name represents a family; a family who also needs healing, who also receives hope at the Village of Hope.  Pray for them.  Pray that they, too, can see the God has a good, pleasing, and perfect will for their lives.  That they may see that they, too, are the workmanship of God, created to do good works in Jesus Christ.

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