• Darrell Cothran

My heart is for Nicaragua, I knew how much people needed homes there. It was what I had to do.

Emma West had just turned 18 when she came to Nicaragua this past April with her brother Ethan and her dad Aaron. Aaron is the lead Pastor at Crossroads Community Church in Virginia. He brought his kids and the first of two teams this year to El Timal, Nicaragua. God has given this family a deep love for the children of Nicaragua. In fact, Emma just did something incredible to help families in Nicaragua as a part of her high school Senior Project! Why? We had opportunity to interview Emma and her family about their love for Nicaragua:

CCM: You made reference in a Facebook post that your week in Nicaragua was the best experience of your life. Why?

Emma: " I loved returning to the country and seeing my friends and family in Nicaragua. Nicaragua is my second home and holding hands with children, giving hugs, going door to door through the barrio and spending time with the teenagers in El-Timal were the highlights of my trip. There is nothing like it!"

CCM: After a two-year absence, what was it like when you first stepped off the bus in the El Timal barrio?

Emma with her sponsored child Melissa

Emma: It was very emotional. It was so good to put my arms around Melissa, the girl we sponsor, after 2 years of waiting! 

In order to graduate High School, seniors are required to complete senior project. Emma chose to organize and hold a 5K Run to raise funds to build homes for families in Nicaragua!

CCM: What motivated you to do a 5K Race fundraiser?

Emma: "I knew immediately that I wanted to do something to raise money to build a home in Nicaragua. My heart is for Nicaragua and being there twice now, knew how much people needed homes there. It was what I had to do!"

Through hard work and great passion Emma was able to enlist 15 business sponsors, more than 20 volunteers and 46 runners. She had everything donated including race shirts, prizes for the winner and door prizes. The end result? $6,045 was raised to build homes and help desperately poor children and families in Nicaragua! Even better, she was able to show the community the love of Christ.

Emma was not alone in her passion and drive. We also spoke with her dad Aaron about his love for Nicaragua and his children:

CCM: What does it mean to you as a dad to see your kids engaged in missions, specifically in Nicaragua?

Aaron: "It makes me cry! I can't even talk about it without crying! They are teenagers and teenagers come with challenges for sure, but when their hearts turn to those that are hurting and broken, it's an amazing thing to watch. I think every parent should clear whatever has to be cleared to get their kids involved in missions. It just gets us outside of ourselves and that's so important in our world today. Take them on a trip to Nicaragua and just watch what God does in all of you.

Aaron's son Ethan took his first trip to Nicaragua this year. He has seen the pictures and video. He has heard the stories, but was able to experience it first-hand:

CCM: What was the best part of your trip?

Ethan: "This was my first trip to Nicaragua and the best thing about the week was being able to build relationships with children and teenagers. I also loved going door to door and giving food to families in need. Another thing that was so great was spending time with Elias, who was 12. I hope to be able to sponsor him on my own one day soon when he gets on the sponsor list. I can't wait to go back in June."

Many of our churches in the U.S. partner with CCM churches in Nicaragua to build long-term relationships. The goal is to strengthen the local Church and Pastor, share and make disciples for Christ, sponsor children, provide food, build homes and empower families to recognize their God-given potential to effect change in a sustainable way. They also send teams down each year to accomplish certain goals and continue building relationships. Lead Pastor Aaron West shared his thoughts on partnering with the local Nicaraguan church:

CCM: As a pastor, what does it mean for your church to be involved with CCM in Nicaragua?

Lead Pastor Aaron West goes door-to-door in Nicaragua sharing the love of Christ

Aaron: "Our church is for Nicaragua. It's been so cool to see my church take this on and own it. We serve Nicaraguan coffee and sell coffee to raise money for projects in Nicaragua. We've committed to try to sponsor every child in El-Timal and are now taking full teams a couple times a year. A huge chunk of our church is involved with CCM and Nicaragua in some way! I love the focus. I love our church saying, "this is what we are going to do together!" We've just felt like there is so much to do in our world that we can get overwhelmed or involved in so much that we don't really make a difference. The focused approach has helped unify our church around a global mission endeavor where God can use a church like us in Yorktown, VA to make a difference year round rather than just one week a year."

Do you want to make a difference in the life of a child in Nicaragua? Do you want to see your church unified around a common goal and focus on global missions? Contact us today! or 864-599-0067.

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