World Challenge’s partners in Nicaragua are continuing to bring relief to victims of Hurricane Eta and Iota who lost everything to the storms.
Paula Contreras and her husband lived in the community of Wawabar in Nicaragua. Together, she and her husband ran a small family farm and fishing business. When her husband passed away, Paula was overcome with grief. She soldiered on, working to maintain her livelihood, but the sorrow of losing the person closest to her felt like a wound. Her daughter also lived in the community, and her presence was a balm to Paula over the next 10 years as she worked to rebuild her life.
All of their lives were turned upside down by the two hurricanes that swept across the coastlands. Paula was transferred to a shelter by the local authorities, and there she stayed until permission to return was granted. She returned to Wawabar only to discover that everything was lost. Her farm animals, the work tools and fishing boat — There was nothing left behind. Paula found herself in the midst of heavy misfortune, poverty and disappointment.
Trusting God to Provide a Home
Even almost 18 months after the devastating passage of the hurricanes, Paula was homeless, without much of the resources to rebuild her life to what it was before the natural disaster struck.
Her neighbors and her daughter gave her comfort, helping her to build a small shack. It was too small, though; and the roof had many leaks that left Paula soaked to the bone whenever it rained. Insects were constantly getting inside her shanty, and she was constantly deal with bites and discomfort as a result. Through the year and a half of her suffering, however, Paula prayed and clung to the belief that God would provide for her.
World Challenge’s partners, Metanoia, came to the area after the hurricanes to help build new homes for those who had lost theirs. They focused first on individuals who had children with disabilities or were supporting an elderly parent. Reflecting on this time, Paula shared, “When I became aware of the housing project that Metanoia started here in the community, a light of hope came into my life. I trusted in God that he would give me a house. Whenever they came, I would always go to the shore to receive them and ask them if I could receive a house until one day I got the good news that they would give me a house. I am very grateful for everything they have done for me. My life as of today has changed completely, and that is thanks first of all to God and to you!”
When Paula’s house was finished, she was able to move in and enjoy the blessing of a safe, cozy home for the first time in many months.
The Work of Biblical Compassion
The word compassion in the Bible is not simply having sympathy for someone. It denotes empathy in action. True, biblical compassion is being moved to do something to help others. World Challenge and our partners like Metanoia firmly believe that we should take seriously scriptures like “What good is it, my brothers, if someone says he has faith but does not have works? Can that faith save him? If a brother or sister is poorly clothed and lacking in daily food, and one of you says to them, ‘Go in peace, be warmed and filled,’ without giving them the things needed for the body, what good is that?” (James 2:14-16, ESV).
In the spirit of this active compassion, Metanoia have started the following initiatives:
1. We presently have 10 women living in the widow’s home at our Centro Vida-Tipitapa location. These precious ladies are under 24/7 care and supervision and have really become a part of the Metanoia family.
2. At our Centro Vida-Matagalpa location, we regularly serve 60 elderly people and 90 children. Not only do these individuals come to our center for food and worship, but our team often goes up into the mountains to visit them at their homes.
3. Thanks to World Challenge’s support, we were able to build 20 homes last year in Wawabar for people who were left homeless after Hurricane Eta and Iota. This year we have been able to give away one completed house and have four more currently under construction.
Thank you for praying for us and our partners and for supporting such works of compassion as this building project in Nicaragua! It has been a great blessing to individuals in desperate need like Paula and many others.