We want to encourage others to support those who dedicate all their resources and entire lives to helping people in other countries gain a knowledge of God and also a better quality of life.

Eli Lee’s Religion to Relationship Ministry

Kimberly Faith and Eli Lee are long-time friends. They met when Eli and his family framed Kimberly’s house right before they left to move to Nicaragua as missionaries. Kimberly was so impressed with their heart and passion for Christ, that she was led to support their ministry. God has miraculously provided finances through Kimberly’s law firm to build a children’s home and a medical clinic. Eli and his family have taught the Miskito people many practical skills like farming and building. They have also built practical things like a well and installed solar panels for electricity. Through meeting the physical needs of the people, they have been able to reach the people with the good news of Jesus Christ.

Religion to Relationship Website

August 17, 2018 by Eli Lee

Dear ministry team,
I hope and pray you all are doing well. This is not the normal news update like we usually do, but about the needs of the ministry here. I do want to take this opportunity to thank all of you for your continued support for the Lord’s work here among the Miskito people. A huge thank you to the ones that give on a regular basis, which keeps the work going every day, and also to the ones who give for specific things as the Holy Spirit leads you to.
As much as I hate to talk about, and shy away from it, it seems like there are still times when I have to share about the needs in the ministry. I am not asking you for your money, but that you pray, knowing that the Holy Spirit will touch the ones hearts that He wants to be involved in giving for these needs. Because God wants the giving to come from the heart that does so joyfully and willingly, and not because I made people feel like they need to give.
Okay, here is the list:
Our small boat motor that was donated to the ministry several years ago (used) is about to give it up. This is the motor that we use to make many of the little mission trips to other villages a lot. A new motor to replace it will cost right at $3,000.
Our sound equipment — soundboard, speakers, microphones, and cords that we use for all the gospel campaigns are giving out after 5 years of use in the rain forest. The pieces that need to be replaced amount to $500.
Our jetski serves as our run around vehicle. It is used a lot for running to other villages for the purpose of preaching, teaching, and discipleship, as well as for emergency runs to the hospital in Waspam with people who many times wouldn’t make it, or would be disabled otherwise. It has developed a problem with the electronic throttle system and has quit working. Being without it greatly limits our efficiency in doing ministry. The part is not repairable and has to be replaced, which costs $1250.
The lawn mower and weed eater that we brought from the States have been repaired one too many times. They are calling it quits. A new weedeater costs $300, and a new lawn mower costs $400.
The solar system that was donated to the ministry five years ago for lights in our house, as well as power to run the computer in the office and a cellphone signal booster has been a tremendous blessing. The battery bank has been getting weak, and recently half of it went out leaving only half of the weak bank, which we’re hobbling along with. A new bank of batteries costs $800.
In this tribal culture where the people have a difficult time learning by just hearing, a visual is worth a thousand words. We can’t always take the generator and all of our equipment (including the projector) when we go teaching and preaching at our five small churches, so we would like to buy a small projector that can run on battery for a while so we can show videos, demonstrations, and photos to help bring understanding with the teaching. This prpojector costs $500.
This last one is a big one, and is not something that needs to happen right now,  but felt led to put it on because it is a need. Part of our monthly operations cost is paying rent on a building in Waspam. Because everything we do has to come through Waspam, and every time we go after supplies we go to Waspam, it is essential that we have a place there to operate out of.
We have been paying rent on this building for the last 6 years, and now the owner is wanting to sell it. The place is in an ideal spot for us since we don’t have a truck to haul things. It’s in town and close to the river where stuff can be carried to the river without a vehicle. The buildings in this area of Waspam cost painfully close to as much as in the States, (as poor as the area is) because of the merchants who have money. If this building sells, there isn’t another in this location (close enough to the river to cope without a vehicle) for us to rent. Since we now know for sure that this is a long term mission, it would be nice to own a place where we don’t have to worry about the rent money every month, and about the possibility of being stuck to far away from the river to function without a truck.
The price they came down to is $95,000. They are willing to work with part of it upfront and the rest as payments, like we have been paying, if we need to. If this is something you feel led to help with, please contact us.
Thank you for praying about these needs, and for being on our team! We appreciate yall!
Eli Lee

August 5, 2018 by Eli Lee

Dear friends brothers and sisters,

Thank you all for your prayers and support for the work of the Lord in Nicaragua. Leah and I came back to the States for our yearly updates the first part of June. I am came back home now, but Leah is staying for the new grand baby that’s coming the first part of September. I apologize for not putting out an email with our plans when we first got there. I had written one and thought I sent it, but later realized that people hadn’t got it. After investigating I realized it had never sent.
Our daughter Lizzie who has been sick and went back to the States about 3 or 4 months ago is doing much better now. The defective heart valve that was causing her problems ended up not being the root of the problem. After much testing and searching the doctors found that she had celiac disease, which is an allergy to all wheat products and gluten. It had poisoned her system to the point where her heart is about to give out. Once she cut all that out of her diet she immediately got better and has been regaining her strength since. She will be staying in the states for a few more months to gain her health back before she comes back home.
Our time in the States has been really good, connecting with friends, family and many of yall, our support team. Thank yall for being on our team! We don’t take it lightly, that yall trust us with the responsibility of administering God’s resources the way He would have it done.
This visit I’ve been encouraged to see the amount of people who have a desire to go deeper then the normal Christianity we see a lot. I believe God is doing a work in many, bringing them to the point where they realize that the way things have always been done isn’t necessarily the way God desires it to be. But that he desires to lead and guide each one individually according to his great wisdom and knowledge, to fulfill his plans on this Earth. There is so much work to do yet, so many people that need to hear and understand what the love of Christ looks like.
 And to see Christians realize how much Freedom and joy there is in total surrender to Christ, is refreshing. I believe God is raising up a new generation that will be going out with power to fulfill His plans, as more and more are understanding that salvation is not just adding Jesus to your life, but if they want a Saviour they also need to surrender to Him and give Him permission to be the Lord of their life.
I’m also encouraged that God has made a way for us to be involved in Ministry to the Amish people as well. We were part of a four-day Spiritual Revival or Crusades in the middle of Amish Country Ohio. God is doing a great work among my people, the Amish. And I’m excited to be a part of it! There are already plans being made for next year, when we hope to have a few more of these Crusades.
I know many of you are wondering how our safety is in Nicaragua. I was all over Managua when I came through a week ago, and things are pretty much back to normal now by what I could see. The political unrest has definitely taken a toll, and it’s been heartbreaking to see all the chaos and destruction. But where we are out along the river everything is pretty normal. The uprising was about people trying to overthrow their president, a lot like the riots in some of the cities in the states 4 to 6 month ago. There has been a lot of violence and killing but again, there has been no direct danger to our family in KrinKrin.
 The work of leading and teaching the people of our six churches has kept us pretty busy this last year. It is encouraging to see them understand some of the foundational truths about God, and start making the right choices. In a culture where the very fabric that holds it together is total immorality and witchcraft, making the right choice often means being ridiculed and attacked by their fellow tribesmen. Satan is so in control of the culture that literally everything comes against those who choose the road of righteousness. (Like stealing or destroying everything they own, including their animals)
Thank you for your continued prayers for us and our ministry. Please also pray for the ones who are making decisions to follow after Christ. To God be the glory!
Written by Eli Lee

June 13, 2018 by Sarah Lee

“What Does a Normal Day Look Like for You?”

One of questions I seem to get asked the most is “what does a normal day look for you?” This is honestly a really hard question for me to answer because not one day is like the other. I don’t get up every morning and go to a routine job, and I don’t go out in the village every day and preach the gospel either. I am a person who likes schedules and organization so this can be challenging at times; but, I’m also a person who likes adventure so it is exciting some days having no idea what the next will look like. This life style has become normal and comfortable for me and so it no longer seems strange for me to sit and wait an hour because someone is late for a meeting, or decide on the spar of the moment to pack and leave to go somewhere for a week. I like to journal and keep an over the top daily outline on paper of what I do each day, no rich details, just events, because details that may be interesting to the next person have just become a part of my everyday life.

So, “what does a normal day look like for me?” I pondered again one Sunday evening. “How could I2 answer this question so constantly asked me? Maybe I could keep a more detailed journal for a week and send that as an update,” this idea seemed good to me and I decided that once I was back home and more settled into “normal” life I would do just that. “Normal,” I thought to myself again, “what if something else comes up and then it wouldn’t work.” Realizing that if I wait for something “normal” to happen I would never do it because “normal” was more abnormal than the normal abnormalness. So, that very night I began to write a more detailed journal entry of that day’s events for those of you who would love to hear what a normal day looks like for me.

This ended up getting really long, but if you would like to read, feel free.

Here is a week of my “normal” life; ENJOY!

DAY ONE (Sunday June 3 2018)

I love to sleep late on Sunday mornings. This Sunday I happened to be in Puerto Cabeza at Verbo Ministries (it is always a treat to be in Port on a Sunday to attend church services). I had come to Port for several different reasons; the first being that I needed to have some legal documents signed for the ministry, and the second being that there are some children here in the children’s home that are very close to my heart. I had also been asked to run a few errands for some friends while I was here anyways. I had done most of my errands the day before but had a few left to finish today. I had arrived the day before and had originally planned to stay a week but because of political unrest I was advised to head back as soon as possible.

I woke up at 5:30 with no sleep left in me. After a shower (showers here are always cold) I got my bible, journal, and coffee in a rose cup (I am not a coffee drinker but this morning it seemed like a good idea) and sat on the porch to enjoy a few hours with just God and I.

At 8:00 I had a meeting scheduled at the park with the son of a friend who had sent him some money to buy her a phone. I had given him the money the day before and he hadn’t been able to find the phone his mother wanted. So, at 8:00 I left my quiet morning behind and caught a taxi to the central park where I waited for twenty minutes till Abelardo showed up. He had asked me to show him where he could find the phone his mother wanted so he could buy it and give it to me to take back with me for his mother (It would have been much simpler if I had kept the money and bought the phone myself). He was in no hurry and by the time he got his dealings done it was a few minutes close to time for church. As soon as I could get away I flagged down a taxi and headed back to Verbo. I quickly slipped a skirt on, grabbed my bible and got to church only five minutes late.

When church let out I found one of my special little boys and bought him a snow cone from the vendor outside. I bought two more and headed over to the children’s home to find one of my special little girls (who isn’t so little anymore) and share a heart to heart talk and a snow cone.

After a yummy lunch with Pastor Earl and Damaris I set my mind to the document I still needed signed. After trying for an hour to no avail to get ahold of Steve who’s signature I needed, I went back to the children’s home to find one of my little men. I had talked to the director of the children’s home and found that my little man wasn’t doing so well. I talked to him for a long time and wiped his tears and fought back my own as I encouraged him to do better in school and behave well. After assuring him that I loved him and believed he would try and do better, I walked to a friend’s house whom I believed could help me get ahold of Steve to sign the document. My friend was busy recording music with a friend but quit his work and had his friend take him on his motor-bike to Steve’s house. After showing his friend where Steve lived he came back and had his friend take me and drop me off there (confusing isn’t it?). When I got to Steve’s house he wasn’t there and his wife had no idea when he would be back, so I talked with her and asked her to please have Steve come by Verbo to sign his name. The guy with the motor-bike had already left and I had never been in this neighborhood before. I had no idea how to get back to Verbo (the guy who had brought me hadn’t followed any path but just weaved in and out between houses to get there) and there were no taxis in this neighborhood, I had to walk out. This made me a little nervous because I wasn’t sure of the path, plus it is really quite dangerous for a loan white girl to be walking in a secluded neighborhood. I followed the path Steve’s wife had pointed out to me and eventually came out to the main road where I could find my way back to Verbo.

Several hours later Steve must have gotten a little signal on his phone because he responded to the message I had sent him earlier. He arrived soon after and signed his name on the document and we visited for a while. After he left I decided I had time to read a book that I had brought along (I rarely ever read anymore, though before moving here I loved reading).

Supper at Pastor Earl’s house was nakatamal (food prepared in a large leaf) and lots of entertainment from their adorable 11-month-old grandson. Packing and a few more chapters in my book ended a beautiful Sunday.

DAY TWO (Monday June 4 2018)

My alarm didn’t go off at 4:10 like it was supposed to. I flew out of bed at 4:49, got dressed and out the door in five minutes. A friend was waiting with his motor-bike to take me to the bus station. I wasn’t the only one late though; the bus itself was late and pulled into the station just as I did. Approximately 40 people already waited impatiently and as soon as the bus came to a stop a mini stampede occurred. I stood back and watched for a while as everyone tried at once to squeeze through one narrow door. After things calmed down a bit I too stepped onto the already crowded old school bus. Today it was said, only one bus would be making the trip as the other was broken. I debated climbing up on top with the cargo but decided first to see what the inside held. The isle was full and seats occupied, only a few remaining seats left with backpacks placed on them showing that it was reserved. The bus driver (I had been acquainted with him from previous travels) sat quietly on his seat watching as people stuffed their backpacks and bags in the overhead bin and fussed that there wasn’t more room. I greeted the driver and he replied with a friendly “good morning”, then called to a lady sitting only three seats back and asked her to remove the backpack that was beside her and motioned for me to take the seat. An hour passed and the bus filled till it seemed it would pop at the seams. We were packed like sardines on the inside and the top was also loaded with lots of cargo and about twenty-five people. Thankfully Chele is a carful driver and we made the trip from Puerto Cabezas to Waspam safely in five hours.

Upon arrival I jumped off the bus and dashed through the rain to a taxi of whom the driver was a friend. After he had dropped the other four passengers off he brought me to our rented house where I left my backpack and then walked up the street to buy minutes for my phone and a few groceries for lunch. I cooked and ate a simple lunch then walked fifteen minutes to the internet café where I had a short meeting with one of the ministry board members. Afterward I slipped away to missionary friends Tom and Nutie’s house to say good-bye before they leave for vacation tomorrow. Tom generously gave me a ride back to my house where I quickly busied myself withdrawing money at the store next door, paying the house rent, getting the money, I had withdrawn, changed from dollars to cordobas because the store I had withdrawn it at only had dollars. I got back to the house and had a random lady ask me to help her with her English homework. I spent fifteen minutes trying to help a total stranger, who knew no English whatsoever, with her English homework (because when you speak Miskito, you are Miskito, and Miskito people always help each other out when they are in trouble). I then talked with a boat guy and “secured” a seat on a boat that will be going upriver in the morning.

I walked back to Tom and Nutie’s house to drop off a package for them to take to Managua for me, because there is no mail service here. Nutie dropped me off back at the house with their four-wheeler where I cooked and ate supper, packed, and curled up by the fan and read a good book, rain pattering on the dark street outside.

DAY THREE (Tuesday June 5 2018)

This morning my alarm did go off at 4:15 like it was supposed to and I prepared for the day’s journey with final packing, heating leftover rice and beans, frying an egg, carrying water to flush the toilet, and making sure the house was presentable for the next person coming through. At 5:00 I took my bag down to the long dugout boat, then climbed the ninety-six steps back up to the house to bring my backpack. The boat driver was rather slow getting around and we didn’t leave Waspam till 7:00. We had a 40HP motor on the back of the long boat and with about a dozen people and a bunch of cargo we were loaded decently but not excessively. I chose a nice sitting spot on the four-inch board nailed along the edge of the boat. I got to ride next to the sister of the boat driver both of whom I was acquainted. She is a sweet lady and I enjoyed visiting with her and playing with her four-year-old son. At 12:00 we had our first rest stop in a little village in Honduras. Only two more hours in the sun (praise God we had no rain) and I was home with my family. But how empty the house felt. My parents and Lizzie and Mary are all in the States at the moment. Chris had gone upriver to visit a pastor and wouldn’t be back till in the morning, and John was out working in the jungle. After sharing a few stories with Camille, Katie, and Eva, I took medicine (that someone had sent from Port for their mother) up to the neighbor’s house. A large group was gathered on their porch just chatting about life, politics, crops, and the weather. After visiting with them a while I gave Daviana her meds and returned to my house where I just hung out the rest of the day playing with the neighbor girl’s sweet baby and visiting with those who stopped by the house. Rice and beans were heated for a simple dinner and after we had filled our stomachs, we had a family share time and prayer before we turned in for the night.

DAY FOUR (Wednesday June 6 2018)

In our house we have lots of adult women all involved in ministry; and along with ministry comes lots of house work. To make that each of us can still be involved in the ministry that God has called us to, yet carry our share of house work we divided it out in days. Wednesday is my day to be responsible for the house and the kids.

I got up at 4:30 to spend a little time with the Lord before the business of the day began. At five I found my way to the kitchen where I made a breakfast of fried beans, eggs, fried bread, and coffee, for the family and for the two guys John had hired to help him plant corn and plantains. Over breakfast I quickly cooked rice, boiled green wild plantains, and made spaghetti soup for John to take out with him to the jungle for him and the guys for lunch. After breakfast we read 2nd Peter chapter 3 for family devotions both in English and Miskito as the neighbor girl had joined us for breakfast and devotions.

After devotions the house quickly cleared as everyone went about their own business, John to the jungle, Camille to teach school, Eva to do laundry, and Katie cleaning the storage room. I busied myself with washing dishes, heating leftovers (we have no refrigeration so this is the way we keep food from spoiling), loaning a friend our scales because they killed a cow and were selling the meat, buying milk from one of the village boys, sweeping, mopping, and getting our kids (a group of fatherless children that we take care of most days) off to school.

After I had the house all cleaned and the kids sent off to school, I began cutting up and grinding the three pounds of beef that I had bought. The gang of six little boys (ages 6-8) from our neighborhood decided to drop in and hang out for an hour. A reckless bunch they are, but if in the right mood can be quite sweet and fun. It is amazing what speaking positively to them and expecting them to be good can do to even the misbehaved children. “Yes, you can look at the book because you are going to be very careful not to tear it.” They were so careful!  An hour passed with bible story books, playing fishy, and constant questions to be answered before all of a sudden, they were gone as quickly as they had come.

It was now time to start lunch; we had fresh meat so we would have a treat. Rice, beans, plantain chips, and cubed beef chunks in tomato barbeque sauce. As I chopped, fried, and stirred I had another little fellow, with his slingshot strapped on his head, join me in the kitchen following me everywhere I turned. He had caught a dragon fly and brought it to show me. The little fellow was a nine-year-old boy disowned by both father and mother, left to be raised by his grandmother who scarcely cares for him. He often talks of suicide and death, saying life was too painful to live. As he followed me around telling me of his bird hunting expeditions and the bugs he found it was easy to hear his cry for love hoping someone would care. I listen to his stories and tried to speak encouragement and love into his life while in my heart whispering a prayer for this poor child.

Chris had come back from Kitaski at 10:00 and joined our little group for lunch. I had cooked enough food for all our kids, expecting them to come for lunch but they didn’t show up till later in the afternoon (this is common, but if we don’t cook enough and they show up five minutes beforehand it is much worse than having leftovers to deal with).

After I had washed the lunch dishes I set myself to cleaning the crammed little office space that seemed impossible to keep organized. At 4:00 I all of a sudden realized that I had forgotten to make bread dough, and if I wanted to make our special supper of burgers and macaroni salad I would have to bustle. I mixed the bread dough and put the macaroni, eggs, and potatoes on to boil. Chris was working on the nonfunctioning signal buster attached to the rafters, which had been eaten by bugs, and made a layer of wood dust on everything in the house, people and things alike. I served our guests ripened bananas, and at their request took photos of their new baby. I chopped onions and when realized I needed to pick more peppers I ran down the stairs breaking half of the rotten bottom step off as I went (with so much rain, moisture, and so many bugs things just seem to wear out really fast).

Right after dark, after everyone else had gone home, we enjoyed our luxurious dinner, of burgers, macaroni salad, and imitation iced tea, which was room temperature (aprx. 90 degrees). The boys played guitar and we sang as I washed the dishes and the other girls took turns in the shower. Us girls then sat down and redid the house-keeping schedule for the time while Mom is in the States.

We kinda have started a tradition of reading missionary biographies every year while my parents are in the States, so Camille pulled out a book “Making Jesus Lord” and read aloud to us as we sprawled out on the floor and the bench. After a chapter we decided it was late (9:00) and we better leave the rest for another night. We had a short share time of how are day went, what we saw God doing, and shared prayer requests. We then prayed together and each found our beds.

DAY FIVE (Thursday June 7 2018)

At 4:45 this morning when I woke up the first light of dawn gave a beautiful glow to the wet world outside. As I stood on the top of the steps and brushed my teeth I could hear the distant roar of yauhuk (a water falls miles away on the Waspuk river) and knew that the little river must be flooded. After a refreshing cold shower, I walked out through the drizzling rain to unlock the gates that kept out vandalizers during the night. Personal devotions, breakfast, family devotions, and my day was well under way. After spending half an hour standing out under a tree trying to catch just enough signal to send a small message to my parents, I decided it was time to put my attention to my little 5×8 office space that needed some organizing. I picked up my computer to put it away in its place but decided it was more important to finish some work I had left undone. So, I set my computer back on the messy desk and worked till lunch time to finish my project. After a yummy lunch of squash and tomato soup (squash and tomatoes given by one of our neighbors as a gift) with rice, I put my computer away and began the tedious job of organizing the small office space. I finished the job by 4:00 with a great feeling of accomplishment.

The evening before we had decided to pick one specific person each day to pray for. Camille was the person of the day, so, having finished my work I grabbed my journal and looked for a quiet place in the children’s home to spend some time in prayer. About an hour later I came back to the house where Marcos had just come back from visiting one the small local churches in Klisnak. We all leaned in with anticipation trying to hear the events of Marcos’ day over the pounding rain on the tin roof that kept us dry.

Eva heated some beans and set bread down for dinner then popped some popcorn for us to snack on the rest of the evening. Another hour of story-time, a time of sharing of what each of us had seen God do during the day’s events, prayer, good-night hugs, and then we all snuggled in under our blankets with the rain still coming down.

DAY SIX (Friday June 8 2018)

4:30 seemed to roll around way too quickly and another day began with personal devotions, breakfast at 6:00, and family devotions. The two large tubs of laundry that had hung on the porch all day the day before needed to be rehung again this morning. I scanned the gray sky looking for any little glimpse of sunshine but found none; instead it looked quite promising for rain. “Forget about rain,” I thought to myself grabbing a bedsheet and hanging it on the line, “we need dry laundry.” I knew full well that I would probably have to take down and rehang all the laundry under cover about the time I had it all hung. Washing laundry on a washboard or on a rock in the river can actually be quite enjoyable, but taking it in and hanging it back up 4-6 times a day, or hanging it for three to four days in a row because of rain is sometimes a trying job for me. Dry season (February-April) is my favorite time of year, this being one of the many reasons; but this isn’t dry season so the battle of drying laundry is just a part of everyday life. Thankfully today even though the sun never showed its face once, the majority of the laundry was dry enough (if used within the week) to fold and put away by the time the rain started at lunch. The rest of the laundry I hung under the porch for the remainder of the day, then we would try again tomorrow.

Besides hanging and taking in laundry, I spent the rest of my day working on accounting for the ministry. This is a big job, but one the government requires and someone has to do it. It seems every time we think we have figured out everything the government requires we find out more restrictions and requirements. I think ministry would be so much more fun if there were no such thing as legal paperwork, but this too, has to be done if we want to minister here, so I spent all day in the office doing just that.

Outside my office window is a tall rose-apple (pera) tree full of bright red ripe rose-apples. I enjoyed watching all day as the village children came and asked for permission, then picked and enjoyed its juicy ripe fruit. My heart felt so full! So much had been accomplished since in the five and a half years we’ve been here. There is such a thing as RIPE fruit, and the kids all love it. Permission is asked rather than constant stealing, and though it would seem easier at times to just let the children have free range to the trees, it has been a huge opportunity to teach respect (for both rules and fruit trees). As harsh and cruel it seems to the children when we don’t permit picking the fruit when it is still tiny and green, there is so much joy in their eyes when they get to bight into a juicy rip fruit instead.

On one occasion I had stepped out of the office into the main room to get some fresh air when I was given an opportunity to get lots of it. The neighbor’s pig had somehow found its way inside the fence and was out under the rose-apple tree digging up our yard. Eva and I decided if we chased it, it would slip out its hole, then we could close it up. The silly pig wouldn’t be chased but just stood there not fearing us as he ought to, until we started throwing sticks at it (we never actually hit it, but they all know what sticks are). The thing must have forgotten how it had come in because he just ran in circles when we chased it. By the time we had given up that it would find its own way out the thing had gained a healthy fear of us and we couldn’t just catch it. We chased it till we had it cornered, then Eva jumped on top of it as it tried to make its escape. Eva took the back legs and I the front and we pitched him out the gate (no harm was done to the pig).

After a dinner of rice and beans, fried squash, and tortillas, prepared by Camille, we decided instead of story-time tonight we would watch a new movie that Mary had brought six months earlier. We all enjoyed the inspiring true story of “MULLY”, then talked late into the night (10:00).

DAY SEVEN (Saturday June 9 2018)

My mom usually takes Saturday forenoons in the house, but with her being in the States I had agreed to take the job. Camille made breakfast but then left to go do her laundry and the house was mine. I had just finished washing dishes, putting the house in order, and sweeping under the house (our house is built on stilts), when Marcos came back from Kitaski (this is a village about an hour upriver from KrinKrin by boat) where he had been in an all-day meeting the day before. We all quickly gathered around to hear how God had intervened against the strong opposition that had been building and come to a head against the work that was moving forward there. How exciting it was to hear all that God had done in this important meeting, favor from government leaders, church leaders, and the people against the one who was trying so hard to bring the work God was doing, to a halt. We could finally move forward freely with the work that God had called us to do in the village of Kitaski.

Saturday afternoons are one of my favorite times of the whole week. It is a time I try to set aside for just me and God. Around 2:00 I grabbed my bible, journal, pens, and earbuds and headed out to the unoccupied children’s home for a quiet place to study, meditate, and pray. 5:30 rolled around really quickly and I left my place of prayer feeling refreshed and filled to the brim with God’s presence.

Chris had gone to visit a friend so we had no story-time this evening. We sat around and laughed and talked till Chris came back at 9:00 then decided it was time for bed. Despite our decision to go to bed on time, our conversations took us on into the night and at 9:30 we still found ourselves talking about God’s goodness and love. Finally, at 10:00 we dispersed and went to bed.

DAY EIGHT (Sunday June 10 2018)

At 5:00 I woke up with the sound of Chris and Marcos moving around preparing to go visit Klisank (a village a little way down river and up a smaller river) where they had a meeting scheduled to deal with some conflicts with some of the church leaders we work with there. I got up and closed the wooded shutters in our bedroom, trying to block all the light I could, then climbed back into bed and slept till 8:00. After a long shower I unlocked the gates and fixed myself a cup of coffee (coffee must be a Sunday thing).

Katie carried her computer and a cd from Camille’s home church out to the children’s home where we gathered to listen to a message from Camille’s pastor on “The pleasure of God’s presence”. After the message we shared experiences and exhortations with one another before dispersing.

After a yummy lunch of chili and cornbread with six from our family, ten village children, and a neighbor couple, we all just hung around for a while visiting with those who stopped by for a visit or to pick pera (rose-apples). After several hours I left Katie with a house full of children and neighbors who had stopped by, and found Camille to share a heart to heart talk. I feel so grateful to be able to have family and friends who love me and listen to my dreams and disappointments, also sharing bits of wisdom and encouragement.

A large village meeting took place this afternoon about the possibility of changing the leaders, and I decided to sit in and see what comes out of the ordeal. A lot of arguing and yelling took place and nothing was accomplished, as usual.

Chris’ meeting in Klisnak had gone well and he came home just as the village meeting ended, so I went up to the river bank to meet him. He had brought a young couple with him that would be spending the night at our house than walking back to their village in the morning. I quickly cooked a meal of beans and rice and served it with cheese that we had bought the day before from some Spanish farmers.

Story-time was different tonight as the young man talked for hours about his childhood experiences living deep in the jungles sometimes alone for a month at a time while his father left to see after business. He spoke of encounters with tigers, thieves, wild hogs, murders on the run, hunters who found him lost deep in the woods after dark. He spoke of carrying a hundred-pound bag through the mud at the age of ten, and being beaten by his step father when he stumbled and fell under the weight. What hardness these experiences had created in this young man; he spoke of them with such a lightness as though they were fond childhood memories. To him they were just normal life.

Our eyelids finally became heavy and our story teller realized it was time for bed. We spread out two mattresses in the main room for the couple to sleep on, and we each found our own beds after a short time of prayer.

Conclusion:

And so goes another “normal” week in my life living along a river in the rainforest of Nicaragua with an indigenous people group called the “Miskito People”. I hope this has been helpful in answering the questions of what a normal day looks like for me. I hope you have enjoyed!

Note: When I read this to my siblings, their comment was “wow, life is so much more interesting when it is written down as a story.”

God bless each of you as you go about your normal life activities. I challenge you to take at least a week to look for blessings and interesting things that God is doing in your life that you may just take for granted. I bet there are more than you realize!

Your sister in Christ, Sarah Lee

May 13, 2018 by Sarah Lee

Greetings friends and neighbors,

I hope all of you are having a blessed Sunday!

Many of you have been praying for Lizzie and we really appreciate it. After doing much testing, the doctors found out that she suffers from celiac disease. She will be staying in the States for some time to let her body recover. Thank you for your continued prayers.

 

Discipleship Classes Part 2 (Lee Family Update)

My day usually starts at 4:45 each morning, but Sundays we take the pleasure of sleeping in as long as each person desires. And so it was this beautiful Sunday morning; a small noise woke me at 5:30 but I quickly squeezed my eyes back shut hoping the bright light coming in through the open windows wouldn’t fully wake me up. I had just dozed back off to sleep when Marcos called at the door. I flew out of bed and into the main room of the house before I was even fully awake. Marcos had climbed over the little wooden gate, locked against vandalizes, and came to ask for the storage room key. He would be taking the tiny 9.9HP motor and the little boat to go to several villages upriver and hold a meeting with one of the local churches there. This would be his third day in a row of being on the river traveling from one village to the next holding meetings with local church leaders and congregations dealing with major conflicts. If any of your reading this think of it or find the time, please remember Marcos in your prayers. A man of integrity and passion, though near burn-out from constant hurt and attacks against the work he is doing, he continually goes back to the One called him. His work is not an easy one, but the One who calls us is faithful.

Beginning Tuesday, May 15th, we will be hosting six days of intensive discipleship classes for an estimated 8-100 people, all of whom we’ve grown to know and love. We are super excited that, as of last night, we have completed material for a two-week intensive discipleship course in the native Miskito language. We held the first half of the course here in November and then again in March, and will now be combining both groups for this second part of the course. Much time and effort has been invested into getting these materials together and translated. They cover basic topics like, total surrender to God, leadership in the home, individual roles of the husband and wife, and raising your children God’s way.

Pray that the hearts of the people will be opened to receive and learn, and that the chains that have bound the Miskito people for hundreds of years will be broken. Pray for the one or two that will take the Word of God seriously, that they will be able to follow God with their whole heart and stand when most everything in their culture comes against them. The battle is very real! It is no easy thing for someone to step out of the things that their whole culture is made up of. Pray for them! Pray for us! Pray for Dad as he teaches that he would have strength and a clear mind. Pray for Chris, as he has been sick, that he would feel better and be able to drive the boat to bring the people. Pray for John and us girls as we cook and feel the people. Pray for Mom as she sits in on the classes with the people, giving them an example of a godly woman who supports her husband whole-heartedly. But most of all, pray for this place to be saturated with the Holy Spirit so that no one can leave here denying the truth of God.

Thank y’all for being so faithful in praying for us and the Miskito people.

Your sister in Christ,

Sarah Lee

 

April 29, 2018 by Camille

I sit here under the Lee’s house in the midst of the first big rainstorm after dry season. It’s beautiful, the kids are running out in it and the cool breeze feels amazing after a couple months of dry heat. My heart if full as I think of who God is and how He works with us. I can hardly believe that we have reached this point in the year already, seems like I just barely got back to Nicaragua!

This biggest thought over the past month or so for me has been the idea of the radical discipleship that God invites us to. I find myself facing new challenges where I must again resolutely give myself to Jesus and decide to be willing to trust Him fully. It’s a kind of dying (2 Corinthians 4:11) but then the cross brings new life. I believe God is 100% trustworthy and we can go as far in trusting Him as we will. He is amazing!

In the ministry, life keeps hopping right along. We had a week of family discipleship classes April 10-15 held here in the property. I helped with cooking (lots of of rice and beans in big pots) and got to know some of the families a little better. We will have another week of similar classes May 15-20. God has given Eli and Marcos a vision to better equip these baby believers (and many who don’t even have a relationship with God yet) with basic truths and salvation and Christian living.

This was the final week for the first quarter of school. Homeschool has blessed and challenged me so much. I love spending my morning with these precious little ones. The first week in April, Jesse decided to leave the ministry and take his family away from Krinkrin. Though we had seen some trouble on the horizon, it was quite a blow fro all of us to see this family leave after we’d been working with them for over six months. I had to make some big adjustments in school too with 6 fewer students, and I really, really miss them!!! Another Miskito family is planning on being here in Krinkrin for a while for some discipleship and has asked me about teaching their children (age 5 and 7) during that time. Our afternoon tutoring class ended April 9th with a happy celebration where the 12 students presented to their parents and friends the things they’d learned. By now, most every 6-12 year old in Krinkrin has gone through the class. So I’m putting it aside for the moment and seeking other opportunities God will give me to be more involved with the people here.

One of those opportunities may be to start up a Bible study for young ladies again. Since coming back in January, I’ve been busy with teaching, and most of the girls whom I had built relationships with earlier are no longer living here (they’ve gone to Waspam for school, or moved to other villages), so it would be a completely new group. But God again put a burden on my heart for these girls who are so lost without Him when we had a girls’ camp here on March 23-24. All the girls had a really special time together with games and teachings and good food and missionary friends from Port, Waspam, Illinois, California, and Oregon!! It was super encouraging for me and the Lees too. Thank you all for coming, and for your prayers!!! Please continue to pray for these girls and for God’s direction in a Bible study.

We had bean harvest throughout the month of April, which was fun to watch and even help some. On Easter Sunday, we had a little sunrise service out in the bean field and then enjoyed rice and coffee cooked over the fire and a swim in the creek before heading home. Pray for Lizzie (Eli and Leah’s youngest daughter) who has been having health problems and was getting to the point where she needed some serious attention. God allowed her to travel to the States and she is there now with Mary, Moses and Anna Lee and having tests done. Pray also for my residency process. I have turned everything in but am now waiting for a phone call so I can go and get my new ID card in Managua and have permission to stay another year in Nicaragua. God is good, He’s the Father of glory, wisdom, knowledge, riches and power who gives us hope, an inheritance, enlightens our eyes, and lavishes His grace on us!! (Ephesians 1) I’m grateful for what He’s doing here and that He allows us all to be a part! Your love and prayers and notes of encouragement are a huge blessing. Thank you!!!

~Camille

March 28, 2018 by Sarah Lee

Do I have the strength to love again? The question is so real and heavy to my heart. No! The answer is always no! The burden is too heavy and the heart breaks too painful; I literally cannot love again. When I hit rock bottom like this I always find myself returning to the love that Jesus has shown me and has in turn asked me to show to others. I, in my own strength cannot continue loving but because He continually pours His love into me, that love within me gives me the strength to continue loving.

Eighteen months ago, I experienced something incredibly amazing with a team of amazing women pouring into the life of a group of 38 teenagers. The experience blew me out of the water; seeing girl’s burst out of their shell of hurt and abuse because of love. We had hosted a girl’s camp for all the girls in KrinKrin ages 12-18. A two-day event that was totally above and beyond anything that I could have ever imagined. These girls who have experienced so much abuse and hurt and who live in a culture where they are expected to act as adults long before their time suddenly became little girls with giggles, hugs and laughter, all of this because they felt the Spirit of God and a little bit of love in a safe place. Deeper relationships grew out of this as well and I found myself mentoring a group of young ladies almost daily over the past year. My love for these girls has grown really deep and I would do anything to help them come to salvation in Jesus. So much growth seemed to be taking place as I watched these girls step out of what their culture expects them to do. Oh, my heart was so happy; they really seemed to be understanding what the love of God was all about. But oh, the pain when slowly they began to make the wrong choices and nothing I could do changed the results of their choices. Some of the relationships died out while some still exist though not the same as before.

As for the past several months I have worked on planning and preparing to host another girl’s camp the question has constantly been on my heart: “do I have the strength to love like that again?” Oh, the two days would be easy, but what about the follow up? What about long-term relationships that would need to take place? What about the disappointments of seeing girls who I pour my whole life out for, turn and make bad decisions our even give in to the lies of the enemy to try and destroy my family. Oh, how much more I need to be filled with the love of Christ! Every day I need to be filled up again with the love of my savior so that I can love as fully as he has loved me; love without boundaries!

The past week has been totally amazing! Working with an awesome team of ladies on fire for God and hand-picked by God to serve on this team. Seeing girls who are bound in fear and shame blossom into beautiful flowers accepting of love and full of laughter is beyond what words can describe. Seeing them go back to their homes and everyday life was really hard but be are trusting and believing that all the words spoken and all the love shown will not be in vain; they will be seeds planted that will grow to bear fruit at just the right time. Please be in prayer with us for these girl’s that God’s Spirit will go with them and constantly remind them of what they learned and the love they received during those two days. Also pray for us on the ground that we would open our hearts to love fully and completely even when things get hard and painful. Things aren’t always easy but with the love that God gives us and through your prayers we will have the strength to continue loving even on the hardest days. These lives are so precious! Pray with us that they would be a generation that rises up to change their families, villages and the Miskito nation.

Thank You!

Sarah Lee

November 22, 2017 by Eli Lee

Dear loved ones,

I pray that you all are doing well, and that you are living in obedience to God and in the shaddow of His grace. We had a very interesting and exciting week this past week. We had 65 people here all last week, giving them about 6 hours of classes each day. The classes were on God’s law, repentance, surrendering our life to God, and salvation by the Holy Spirit.

The people where from the little Baptist Churches that we are leading now. Since there are only a couple of pastors, and those don’t understand many of the principles of God’s word, we decided to bring them all here and teach them. Later after we have had time to train some pastors we will be sending them out to the churches to teach the people, but for now this is the better option.

The teachings were pretty intense, but the people listened well. And God was faithful to have His Spirit here at work teaching the people and giving them understanding of what they heard. The principles and teachings of God are so contrary to the culture where they grew up in. And most of traditional Christianity that is here hasn’t separated those two out. They have just mixed Christianity with the culture making one big awful stew, where many pastors are also the village witch doctor.

There were times when there was great discontent and even anger that rose up when they heard the teachings, to which I would at times just have to lift up the Bible and remind them that I’m reading out of the Bible and not something that I am just making up. Amazingly almost all of them stuck out the 25 hours of classes, plus discussion time, plus a total of several hours of preaching during church services in the evenings.

Many of them were seriously wanting to know the will of God, and were very grateful to be able to receive these teachings. All of them heard and understood things about God that they had never understood before. We gave everyone of them a new Bible in there own language and encouraged them to read them daily. For the ones who couldn’t read, we encourage them to have a family member that could read to do so every day. We gave them a paper with scripture references on many different things in life, to help them find answers to their questions. It was an amazing opportunity to be able to pour the truth of God into these precious people.

I would like to share the story of one individual who came to the classes. As Chris was bringing the people with our big boat, he was just ready to push out from this one village when a young man came running down the bank and jumped into the boat. Chris told him that these classes are only for the members of the Baptist churches, because of space restrictions. Chris tried and tried to get him to get off, but he just hunker down and refused to get off, so Chris finally gave up and brought him anyway.

He went through all the classes and listened intently. But the real story didn’t come out until he went forward after the preaching on Sunday morning and wanted to give his life to Jesus and follow him. After asking him a few questions, this is what he told us.

“On Tuesday morning I was laying in my hammock on my porch sleeping. I saw a man in a white robe walk up to me and got ahold of the rope of my hammock. He shook my hammock and said, ‘Get up and go to the river and get on the boat that’s leaving.’ I was sleepy and didn’t pay much attention, but nestled back down to go to sleep again.”

“He shook my hammock this time more vigorously and said, ‘Get up and go to the river now, the people are leaving.’ I sat up in my hammock and I asked him, ‘Where are they going?’ ‘They are going to KrinKrin to receive Bible classs there’ the man said, and then disappeared.”

“I woke up out of my sleep with a jerk and scrambled out of my hammock. I looked toward the river and there was a big line of people heading that way. I tried to get to my senses to figure out what was really going on, but realized that they were actually leaving. So I grabbed a couple of shirts and a pair of pants and stuck them in to a bag and took off running for the river. I got there just as they were pushing out, but I still jumped onto the boat and came.”

“On the way I got really scared, so that I was shaking. Because I knew how bad of a man I was, and that I did not honor God with any part of my life. So the idea of going to Bible classes really frightened me, because I didn’t know what God was going to do with me.”

“In the classes I listen to God’s laws, and that by breaking just one law was enough to send me to hell. I always knew that God was an angry God, because that’s what everybody told me. But then I heard that God had pity on the people, and for the first time ever I realized that Jesus came to the earth to pay for the price of my sins, and that he did it because he loved me. I still had trouble accepting the fact that God was a loving God, until that night when I saw the Passion Of Christ movie. When I saw how they beat Jesus, and that he did not hit back once, even though he had the power to destroy them all, I knew that His love was real.”

Our God really is an amazing God, and he can do whatever He wants to do! Last month we married a young couple in one of the villages, who realized that living in sin severs God’s blessings and protection. That too was an amazing time where God’s Spirit took His words from truth and penetrated the hearts of many who were there.

I praise God for allowing us to be a part of His work here with the Miskito people. I also want to thank each and everyone of you who is a part of our team by your prayers and support. God is using you to accomplish His will here, to set free a tribe that has been suppressed by Satan’s lies for too long. Please do continue to pray for the work here, because like always where there are victories won for God’s Kingdom, there is huge opposition from Satan and his clan. The struggles and the threats are real, but so is our God.

We love y’all! Eli for all the Lees

March 5, 2018 by Sarah Lee

It seems like just a week ago that I sat here and wrote an update to send out to ya’ll but I realized today that it has been over two months since many of you have heard from our family. When you are busy doing what you love time just seems to get away from you. So today I’ll try to really quickly give an outline of what has been happening here since the beginning of the year.

With the beginning of the new year came a lot of preparation for a large Pastors conference. Lots of scrubbing and cleaning, slitting firewood, sorting rice, and building a temporary kitchen. Much of the community pitched in to help out as they could. The big day finally arrived and Pastor David Gidcumb and Brady Weldon joined us from Missouri and Tennessee along with 250 pastors and church leaders from along the river of every denomination and religion. Two full days of powerful, Spirit-filled teaching sent the pastors and church leaders home with a plate full to chew on and feed their congregations.

A week after David and Brady left we were joined with a team of four from New Harmony Church and a friend from Ohio to help pack and distribute 150 tubs full of necessities for families in need in two different villages presenting them as gifts of love from God.

Upon the departure of the New Harmony team we were joined by a group of seven from Georgia who braved the mud of what would usually be dry season. They began the erection of a fence around the new medical clinic along with lots of rain breaks to invest in the lives of the local children.

Last but not least a team of seven from Ten Mile Church in Illinois joined us and began the work of draining the swamp around the children’s home that has been causing constant mold. This team also joined us on several journeys further up river visiting small local churches preaching and giving encouragement. After a week of amazing service, the team headed back to the States leaving April Tennyson behind to serve alongside our family here for the next two months. April has been an amazing support for me as the family has been dispersed in all directions with ministry opportunities the last several weeks. She has been giving piano lessons to two boys who have shown great interest in music.

My Dad just left to go to Ohio to speak at an Amish Awareness Conference held by MAP Ministries. Camille went to Managua to renew her residency, and Katie went to visit some of our missionary friends. We anticipate a very busy next few months with the hosting a teen girl’s camp on March 23-24th followed by discipleship classes here in KrinKrin for approximately 80. Right after that we plan to host more discipleship classes in Honduras for nearly 80 pastors and church leaders.

Keep my sister Lizzie in your prayers as she will be going down river Tuesday to go to the hospital to get testing done. She has been feeling poorly for some time now and we believe she may have bacteria in her blood that is causing her lots of health issues.

OPEN HOUSE

As I get busy here with life and ministry I sometimes forget to stop and look how blessed I am to be here, right where God has me, serving Him to the best of my understanding. But every now and then, especially at this time of the year when we’ve just had lots of teams come from the States to help out and encourage us, I like to step back and remember the feeling of when everything was still new. So many strange new smells, sights and sounds that captivated me that first year. A whole new language to learn, laughing at my own blunders, and the excitement of finally being able to hold a conversation. Washing laundry in the river on a washboard, and learning to walk in the ever-present mud as well as carrying a bucket of water on my wobbly neck through it. Naked children, skinny dogs and pigs, tiny horses, cooking over open fires, and eating in candle light. Lots of new flavors (pleasant and not so pleasant alike). No privacy, funerals and wakes with loud wailing, along with very little outside communication. Learning all 400 names of the people living in our village, then trying to put family lines together. Everything was new and kind of exciting! Everyone had a nice face to show and it was pretty easy to love them all. They were all so kind and welcoming!

A year passed and I finally felt like I could communicate perfectly fine in Miskito and I knew the names and faces of everyone that lived here, young and old alike. We held regular bible studies at our house with large attendance and we were very involved in the community. But than something seemed to go wrong! Some of the nice faces turned ugly when not given all they wanted and the witch doctors began their slams against us. The newness wore off and the sights, sounds, flavors, and culture weren’t as exciting anymore. As jealousy began to rage more rampantly through the village I had to begin to make a choice every day to love them any way despite the way people treated me or my family. We just couldn’t make everyone happy anymore! Oh, the bliss of ignorance! How much easier it is to love someone when we don’t see their flaws all the time. Wouldn’t it be so nice to have a house where we could close the doors and just invite Jane over for coffee when it is convenient for us. “I just love Jane, I had her over for coffee yesterday, she is so sweet,” you say. You close your doors and invite her back whenever you are ready to see here again. But what if Jane got comfortable around you and you saw her beating her child and yelling at her husband. What if Jane just walked into your house whenever she wanted without knocking? What if she asked you constantly for your things and when you didn’t give them to her because you love her and don’t want her to get a welfare mindset, she became angry and called you ugly things? What if after doing that she turned around the next day and asked you again for your things? Would you still love Jane the way you did when you had her over for coffee every once in a while? Is she still sweet Jane? But wait a minute! What if I am just like Jane? Isn’t that the way I act toward God so many times? I get jealous because others have it easier than me. I constantly ask or demand things of God and get angry or frustrated when I don’t get them or things don’t go my way. But He loves me totally and fully and only wants what is best for me. He sometimes doesn’t give me everything I want because He is all-knowing and knows that if He were to give it to me when and how I wanted it would only be harmful to me. I believe when we get upset and frustrated and even angry because things don’t go quite the way we want them God is standing right there watching, yet he chooses to continue loving me anyway despite of what I have just done. He sets the perfect example for me than gently reminds to follow suit despite of what Jane said or did to me. After all I am no better than Jane herself!

Today if you are struggling to forgive someone or love them, I encourage you to reflect for a moment on what God has done for you and that he never closes the doors of His house just because He would rather not see you today. Open the doors of your heart today and let the love that God has poured in flow onto the next person even if they are totally undeserving; remember you don’t deserve His love either yet He gives it to you anyway.

In Christ, Sarah Lee

Instituto Educativo Cristiano – Panama/Columbia

Robert Creech and his family are missionaries sent out of the Mission Blvd. Baptist Church to the country of Panama. What he began in Pamama has now extended to Columbia, Venezuela and Cuba. He has trained indigenous missionaries who started many churches. In Panama, missionary Christobel Yanez, has written a school curriculum for all grades based upon the principles in the Bible and the Gospel. It is being utilized by the Panamanian government in their public schools! This amazing ministry has also began to spread to Columbia. Faith Strong has raised funds to assist with several aspects of this incredible ministry. We are so blessed to be part of this extraordinary opportunity.

 

Bethel Missionary Baptist Church