It’s been exactly a month since, late at night, we landed in Managua! It’s hard to believe it hasn’t been longer. The long, two-stop journey from London went smoothly, except for 12 of our 13 cases not making their connection in Chicago. Mercifully, we’d packed first-week essentials in our carry-on luggage, and three trips to the airport later, those cases all made it! From the airport, we went directly to the wonderful Quinta Shalom, a missions guest house with the most fantastic breakfast, while we got set up and ready to move into our house.
The first few weeks were, without a doubt, a challenge! We had very few contacts in the country, so we needed to figure everything out for ourselves – with some help from Google maps and the ex-pat Facebook group! Indeed, when we had to give three personal references to the internet provider, we listed the guy who helped us buy the car and the estate agent. In that context, we’re thankful for our experience in Bolivia. There’s no way we could have pulled this off back in 2006! We’re also grateful for Sergio, the young guy who had been guarding the house before arrival. A musician who performs Christian Reggaeton (here’s a sample: Los Elegidos), Sergio has helped us out in many practical ways as we’ve settled – including killing a Coral snake!
The house is ideal. It’s located on the Carretera Sur, a road that goes up into the hills to the south of the city, in an area called Inglaterra (“England”). Our house in Bolivia was in Condominio Britannia. The kids love it, and we are all enjoying lots of green after years living in the city. On arrival, we realized that we needed to do more work on the security than we had expected. While violent crime is rare, burglaries are common, and the house is somewhat exposed. With razor wire, an electric fence, and an alarm system now fitted, the place looks more like a correctional facility than a home, but we feel safe and secure! In that vein, we’ve also adopted a couple of dogs – Pluto and Daisy – from the local rescue center.
For church we’ve been attending the International Christian Fellowship, which has been a great place to make connections and begin to find some community. We’ve also had some fun! We’ve been to the coast, to the beautiful Laguna de Apoyo, and to Volcán Masaya, one of Nicaragua’s 19 active volcanoes. We also had the pleasure of our first visitor, JD Reed, a friend from Bolivia who was in Managua teaching theology for the week!
In it all, the kids have been absolutely brilliant, patiently enduring endless shopping trips and stepping into a new school with real grace and courage! The school, Nicaragua Christian Academy International, has been wonderful, welcoming Jemimah, Phoebe, and JJ warmly. Each of the kids has made friends and settled well.
Now, with the intensity of those first weeks behind us, family-wise, the next phase is going to be about building friendships and community, getting fully set up and organized at home (we have a builder working on some changes to add plumbing for hot water, a bedroom, and an office space), and hopefully doing some exploring.
In October, Andy will be making his first trip back to Bolivia. Until Christmas, his focus in Nicaragua is on networking and developing an understanding of what’s happening in relation to addiction, including getting to know Quien Soy Yo?, a potential partner organization, better. He’ll also be spending time looking for new charitable funding sources for Novō and working on the final edits of his book, which is due out in April.
We’re incredibly grateful for all who have prayed for us in recent weeks, helped us financially in relation to the transition from Bolivia to Nicaragua, and to all who, month by month, support us. Thank you all so much!
We’re also thankful to God for the incredible sense of peace and assurance we’ve felt since we left the UK and for an ongoing sense of His presence. He has provided what we’ve needed, emotionally and spiritually, as well as practically, just when we’ve needed it.
With much love,
Andy & Mickey
We now have a WhatsApp group where we share occasional prayer requests and arrange a monthly 45-min Zoom pray gathering. The group and the meetings have proven to be a huge blessing to us all. If you’d like to join us, please drop us an email at firstname.lastname@example.org. We’d love to be able to stay in touch with you more closely in this way.
As a family we don’t receive a salary and are able to serve with Novō through the faithful generosity of our supporters. If you’d like to join our support team, we’d be most grateful. You can set-up one-off or monthly donations to our family support online at Stewardship, using this link: www.give.net/20171708