Ministry Background and History
For a period of 10 days in October, 1998 Hurricane Mitch pounded Nicaragua with torrential rains that produced landslides and floods. More than 3,000 people were killed nationwide, crops were destroyed, major environmental damage occurred, and infrastructure such as highways, bridges, schools, dwellings, electrical and water supply systems was destroyed. More than 870,000 Nicaraguans – 20 percent of the country’s entire population – were affected by the hurricane and the storm caused an estimated $1 billion worth of damage – equivalent to more than half of that country’s GDP.
The hurricane caused Lake Managua to overspill its banks; thousands of residents fled to higher ground. In the immediate aftermath several large aid societies and foreign countries sent disaster assistance. Displaced residents from the communities surrounding Lake Managua were sheltered in a refugee camp outside of the city called Nueva Vida. Today more than 3,000 families live in the former refugee camp that has very poor infrastructure (roads, water system, sanitation, etc.). Residents are faced with high rates of unemployment and malnutrition.
Verbo Church played an instrumental role in initially establishing the Nueva Vida refugee camp. The church purchased land in the community and opened a feeding center that, at its peak, was serving more than 600 people per hour.
As funds dried up, the center ceased operations. With ORPHANetwork’s help the feeding center reopened in the summer of 2005 and began to feed 60 children daily. As funds increased the feeding center grew to serve approximately 100 children through 2006. With the addition of a new ministry partner, Faithful Stewards, in December 2006, the ministry has continued to grow and is presently providing nutritious meals for up to 280 children each day.
Verbo has taken significant steps over the past several years to re-ignite work in Nueva Vida, placing a full-time staff person there (Pastor Berman Valerio) who oversees the church, feeding center, vocational training efforts and farming project.
If you would like to support this project, please consider making a tax-deductible, one time donation or monthly pledge to ORPHANetwork. You can make a gift online by visiting our Donation Page. Please contact Tom Weiglein for more details at firstname.lastname@example.org or 757-333-7200.