Hurricanes Eta and Iota Flood the Ixil with Severe Impact

Leanne Sierra Uncategorized 1 Comment

Heavy rainfall from two back-to-back hurricanes in less than two weeks has devastated the Ixil region of Guatemala. Hurricane Eta, a Category 4 storm, hit the Ixil region around November 5-8th with torrential rain. A brief respite from the rain in mid-November allowed our Nicolás Christian School graduation to take place on a beautiful, sunny day with roads that allowed Professor Braulio (principal) and Ivan España (Country Director) to visit every graduate’s home in every village to bestow diplomas and offer congratulations. Circumstances changed drastically when Hurricane Iota hit Guatemala a few days later. Massive rainfall led to severe flooding that destroyed 65% of the cornfields, killed livestock, ruptured and collapsed roadways, and washed-out bridges. Mudslides killed several people, and entire villages were rendered uninhabitable. Sumal Grande and Sumalito villages suffered significant damage in Hurricane Eta. Even before Hurricane Iota hit, the International Federation of the Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies (IFRC) described the situation in the Ixil region as a “major humanitarian crisis.” IFRC planned a large-scale disaster response, but at least initially, most of the communities have were left to fend for themselves. Groups of Ixil volunteers helped to evacuate those stranded by high water. Hurricane Iota delivered the knock-out punch only a few days after NCS graduation with tremendous rainfall (more than five inches in 48 hours), flooding, and mudslides destroying essential roads and bridges. The villagers from Villa Hortensia 2 and Villa Hortensia Antigua evacuated to Cunen (where Professor Braulio lives). Villagers from Santa Avelina 1 and 2 walked for hours to reach refuge in Villa Hortensia 1. Several mudslides and flooding led several families to evacuate Cajixay. Some Cajixay families fled to VH1 and others …

Are you willing to be a Social Media Ambassador for NFE?

Leanne Sierra Uncategorized Leave a Comment

Hi, I am so grateful for our donors and volunteers for Nicolás Fund for Education! I am writing in hopes that you will agree to be a social media ambassador for NFE on Giving Tuesday, December 1st!   You choose when you post as long as you post on December 1st!  Post about WHY you support NFE in ALL forms of social media you use: Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, etc. Encourage people to donate directly to NFE on our website, or you may choose to create a personal Facebook fundraiser that benefits Nicolás Fund for Education.  If you do run a personal fundraiser on Facebook, please reach out to thank these donors yourself. We are not given their names and addresses by Facebook. You can use your own trip photos and stories to explain why you support NFE, or you may use one of these three images (click the link to see and download the images). If you are at a loss for what to say, here is a suggestion: “Nicolás Fund for Education provides secondary education for indigenous Mayans in the mountains of Guatemala. In this region, less than 20% of children attend school beyond 6th grade. Free education stops after 6th grade and most families in this region cannot afford to pay tuition for students to continue their education. Nicolás Fund for Education donors give the gift of education to these students, providing excellence in education for these young men and women that will help them become the future leaders in Guatemala. Education is the #1 way to combat poverty.” Please include the two hashtags #GivingTuesday and #NFE in your posts so we can find them. You can also @mention us, so …

God’s Guiding Hand at Nicolás Christian School During COVID-19

Lavelle Freudenberg Uncategorized Leave a Comment

Kaen Ta Kab’al – Stay at Home “God has gone before us. He has prepared our school in ways none of us could have anticipated.” These are the words of Becci Merritt, NFE President, and Board Chair, as she explains how Nicolás Christian School has been able to help its students, staff and their families in Guatemala during the COVID-19 crisis. Miraculously Prepared Who could have known what 2020 had in store for the world – governments, schools, businesses, transportation, and healthcare have been turned upside down over COVID-19. While schools around the world scramble to figure out how to educate their students with their doors closed, Nicolás Christian School miraculously finds itself able to keep its students learning through a just-in-time final delivery of electronic tablets and a pre-planned approach to deliver digital learning to remote villages.  The system, initially designed for distance education, is ideal for at-home learning.  Within 24 hours of the first COVID-19 case being identified in the country, Guatemala instituted strict quarantine rules which affected NCS overnight. In Ixil, the quarantine rule is called Kaen Ta Kab’al, which means Stay Home. All schools were closed, both public and student transportation were shut down, and the means to provide the breakfast and lunch for students during the school day were cut off. But, through the grace of God, Nicolás Christian School’s preparations during the previous three weeks were able to be implemented quickly. To be ready if and when the first case arrived in Guatemala, a cleaning plan had been established the first week of March using a solution of diluted bleach to disinfect all surfaces in the school, and a nurse was brought in to teach proper …

Volunteer Opportunities

Leanne Sierra Uncategorized Leave a Comment

Nicolas Fund for Education is growing and we are looking for volunteers to expand our impact!  Would you be interested in contributing to our students’ education with your time and talents? Here are the main ways you can make a difference at NFE: Fulfilling a Dream Volunteers Our main fundraising event is the Fulfilling a Dream happening this year on Friday, April 26th in South Sound and Saturday, April 27th on Mercer Island.  Some volunteer positions available are: Volunteer Coordinator (Mercer Island) –  do you have great people skills and can coordinate and connect volunteers?  We need to you help keep track of the big picture of our event volunteer logistics. Dessert Volunteer Coordinator (South Sound) (Mercer Island) – do you love all things desserts and want to organize a team of bakers to provide a variety of sweet noms for our event? Table Host Party Coordinator (Mercer Island) – all the table hosts get together before FAD to celebrate another year of God’s faithfulness and plan for the event.  We need you to help coordinate the details for that party! Set-Up/Take-Down Volunteer (South Sound) – Arrive early to help set and decorate tables, make coffee and arrange desserts, OR stay late to remove and package decorations, take down tables and assist with light cleaning tasks. Communications Volunteers As we continue to grow and expand, sharing our stories on social media and our website becomes more and more critical as we reach new people. Some available volunteer positions available are: Story Content Coordinator – If you love sharing and hearing great stories from our villages, then this is the position for you!  We need someone to talk to people who …

Rekindling Old Friendships: Epiphany Parish and Belen

Leanne Sierra Uncategorized Leave a Comment

The November 2018 Impact Trip team included some special people: team members from Epiphany Parish.  In 2005 they partnered with the village of Belen through Agros International and are now rekindling their partnership by providing scholarships for three students to attend Nicolas Christian School.  We are so grateful they walk alongside these students as the future leaders of Belen! Check out our student page to pray for our students by name and donate to support their dreams!

Village Spotlight: VH1

Leanne Sierra Uncategorized Leave a Comment

By Barb Martin – Friends of Villa Hortencia Uno Luciano Castro Tum begins the morning at 4:30 am weaving cloth to be sold as part of the family business. He is a 9th grader in Villa Hortencia 1 where he receives his lessons via distance learning from the Nicolas Christian School in Nebaj. Luciano, a 20-year-old has been waiting for an opportunity to attend school past 6th grade. He is a member of the first graduating class of 9th graders in Villa Hortencia 1. It takes approximately 4 hours to weave one section of cloth which will be sold in San Juan del Quiche, a 2-hour walk over the top of the mountain and then a 4 hours bus ride to the market. In November, Luciano graduated from 9th grade at the ceremony in Nebaj. He is now excited about completing the first ever 10th  and 11th grades.  His goal is to graduate from University with a degree in engineering. He is the top student in his class with a promising future thanks to the donors who support education in the Ixil area.

Village Trip Experience

Leanne Sierra Uncategorized Leave a Comment

Villa Hortencia Uno – Gail Hall, Chapel Hill Church When I first traveled to Guatemala in 2009 I thought I was going on a beach mission trip – how fun! Instead, I landed on top of a mountain at the end of a road, in an area largely forgotten by the world and their country. Despite the death and destruction all around them from the civil war, the Maya people survived with their faith intact. I fell in love with these people and the land, now coming here 1 to 2 times a year. In fact, I told the villagers once that my husband thinks I have a boyfriend here as I go so often to visit them! The more I came to know the people in this village, the more I realized that despite all our differences we share the same dreams for our children and for their futures. Dreams of health, education and a better life. I now have watched the children of VH1 grow up, from crazy kids running around the fields to well-behaved students excited to be a part of the new future. I am so thankful and excited that through the Nicolás Fund for Education, middle and high school is now a reality for those families willing to take a scary step and encourage their children to be a part of a new future. The villagers of VH1 all give their thanks to us and pray that God will bless us for our help. One of our students summed it up beautifully: “The goal that I have is like a dream, and now I can reach that dream so my goal becomes a reality. ” …

Introducing eWAVE: Education With A Village

Leanne Sierra Uncategorized Leave a Comment

New year, new seventh graders, and new partnerships! Nicolás Christian School starts their new school year in mid-January and we already have an eager batch of seventh graders ready for middle school. Would you, your church, or your small group be interested in sponsoring the new students from a village this year through eWAVE’s “education with a village”? This program gives you the opportunity to support a small batch of students from a village on their educational journey. Get to know them personally through mission trips, video conferencing and personalized communication. Supporting them through donations, visits, communication and prayer shows our students how much they are valued and cared for. This partnership can be scaled for any budget – check out our website for more info and contact us with any questions!

Giving Tuesday

Joshua Rystedt Uncategorized Leave a Comment

Please support Nicolás Fund for Education on Giving Tuesday, November 27th by making a donation!  Giving Tuesday is a global day of GIVING that takes place after Thanksgiving and before the holiday season. It is a movement intended to help counter the consumerism of the holiday season and raise the holiday spirit through giving to others. What a great way to start the holidays! We have an NFE donor willing to match all contributions up to $1000! You can also support Nicolás Fund for Education by using your social media to encourage others to donate to Nicolás Fund. This year, we are asking all donations to go through our website.  Share this link to to our #GivingTuesday donation page: https://nicolasfund.org/givingtuesday-2018-donations/ Matching Donations Don’t forget many employers match donations. This is a great way to see your donations go further!