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Posts Tagged ‘Christian peace corp.’

la-chureca-resizeMy plane landed late that evening in Nicaragua and after clearing customs was immediately comforted as I recognized my old friends’ crazy smiling faces through the terminal windows in the midst of the chaotic crowd. After some brief hugging and hand shaking in the open humid topical air we loaded into a van and headed an hour out of the city to the orphanage they had all worked hard to establish. On the way they shared what they had been doing through the missions’ partnership, and about the political, social and economic condition of Nicaragua. I learned that the unemployment rate was over 50% and the extreme poverty that resulted was having a devastating ripple effect on a country that had once been considered one of the wealthiest in Central America. 

Since I arrived a couple of days before the conference started I had the chance to hang out with my old comrades and experience what they had been doing. On one of the days they took me to visit the Managua city dump which provides trash disposal for some two million people. Visiting a dump in a developing nation isn’t something that most tourists would do; but if you want to discover the truth about a society’s condition it is the most revealing place to begin. It tells the story of the cycle of poverty in a way that would both shock and devastate people who aren’t spiritually prepared to see it. As heartbreaking as it was, what I saw that day in Managua is not unique; it is a scenario that is reproduced in nearly every city in the developing nations of the world. Thousands of people literally spend their entire lives in these dumps; some never even seeing the outside world. This is their entire livelihood. Their houses are built from what can be savaged from the refuge; their food comes from its waste; and whatever income is made by cashing in and recycling the debris. 

We stood on a hill that rose above a landscape of miles of garbage, observing truck after truck dump its towering loads. With every load literally hundreds of people – men, women and children – stormed the trucks hoping to be the first to extract the precious resources that the rest of their society considered useless garbage. We were told that it wasn’t uncommon for people in their zeal for trash to end losing their lives after becoming buried alive under the discarded piles of rubble. Looking from our vantage point I could only think of what hell must be like. Here and there methane gas pockets erupted in flames, which was another common source of devastating injury or death to the people who inhabited that place. Everything was polluted far beyond anything I had ever seen. Children swam and bathed in a small lake that was not only surrounded by trash, but had decaying rubbish floating in it. As I viewed the hopeless scene before me, God was re-breaking and renewing my heart for suffering humanity – reminding me again that I couldn’t hide behind busyness, feeling overwhelmed or extreme weariness. I had to do something. I could never cease being an active participant in his Kingdom. I could not give up. I had to collect myself and muster up the courage by his Spirit to continue to run the race to the end. Read the rest of this entry »

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Entry #53 – Vineyard College of Mission @ Timber Butte

   Posted by: trobinson    in Education

Students built 300 feet of fence in two hours
Students built 300 feet of fence in two hours

 A sustainable life is purpose driven

The decisions a person makes about the direction of their life in their late teen years and early twenties will set them on a trajectory that determines the course of their entire life. During these young adult years I believe every person should set aside time to ask the real questions.  Questions like: Who am I? What am I made for?  Is there really a God who knows and cares about me? And if he gave me the gift of life, what is his purpose for it?  If these serious questions aren’t asked and answered it is easy to make wrong choices and either waste precious time discovering meaning by trial and error or possibly missing it all together.  Without direction and the conviction that God has put you on the earth for a purpose many fall into a status quo life that ends in social conformity and missing the uniqueness of God’s divine plan. 

scan00011This past week eight VCOM students (Vineyard College of Mission) accompanied by their leaders came up and spent two days with Nancy and I here at Timber Butte.  The directors of the school, Michael and Terra Montford, asked Nancy and I to share how we had discovered the path we have taken and how God had directed us on it.  Using Romans 12 as a Biblical reference we shared our life story and exhorted them to investigate what the scripture means when it says; “Don’t copy the behavior of and customs of this world, but let God transform you into a new person by changing the way you think.  Then you will know what God wants you to do, and you will know how good and pleasing and perfect his will really is”. [Romans 12:2]  As the students sat in the comfort of my study Nancy and I shared how we had pursued God throughout our married life and how we had heard him through the use of spiritual disciplines such as solitude, prayer, Bible study and living a life in the context of purposeful community.  We’ve always considered it a real privilege when we get the opportunity to invest in young people who are so deliberate and serious about their lives. 

As a part of their time with us the students took long walk; some even climbed to the top of Timber Butte to spend purposeful quiet time alone.  In addition to that they built 300 feet of fence that would have taken me two days to do alone.  With the help they provided the job was completed in just two hours.  Like the Amish so famously say, “Many hands make for light work”.

 classroomVCOM has several unique courses of study.  The students that visited us this week are part of SOBA (School of Biblical Action.)  SOBA is an intense fulltime six-month track that takes place both in the classroom and doing outreach events.  In addition to SOBA, the VCOM leadership has been developing a number of other educational opportunities for anyone of any age who desires to pursue a life of ministry. Children in Crises is a program that orientates and equips people to work among suffering children worldwide.  It especially focuses on human trafficking and the present day global slave trade. Missions Medics is another course that prepares people to bring medical aid to the developing world.  These programs are presently in session while the VCOM leadership is in the process of developing two other courses of study:  Worldview Video School will equip those who desire to document and communicate worldwide crises and need through the medium of film; and the School of Environmental and Social Impact will focus on agriculture, water development, reforestation and other environmental issues that are becoming major contributors to extreme poverty.  All of these schools come under the umbrella of VCOM and can be explored further through the website [] or by calling our office @ 208-377-1477.

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