Sister Parish: Our History

The sister parish relationship between The Church of St Edward and Nuestra Senora de Los Angeles (Our Lady of the Angels) in Jinotega, Nicaragua began in 1987 during the second half of the Contra Sandinista war. Our idea was to let them know we were with them spiritually in their struggles during this very difficult time. Since that time we have tried to maintain a spiritual as well as a financial relationship with them. We began helping with various liturgical and social projects after visiting and seeing the challenges they face because of the extreme poverty in that area. It’s impossible to visit them and then turn our backs on their poverty saying only: “We will pray for you.”

The next step after beginning a spiritual and friendly relationship is “faith in action” which includes the many social projects we have tried to help with. Many of the peasants there are coffee pickers and like our migrant workers they work day to day during the harvest and then scratch for their living the rest of the year. The government tries to help solve these problems, but Nicaragua is a poor country and they need outside help. In 2000 we began a relationship with AVODEC, a non government grass roots organization which was already operating and who agreed to help us complete various social projects to benefit the community.AVODEC stands for Asociación de Voluntarios para el Desarrollo Comunitario. Volunteer Association for Community Development.

In 2008 we were accepted as a partner of Feed My Starving Children and we now receive two 40′ containers of Mana Pack food. This is a great blessing to us and those living in extreme poverty in the city and surrounding countryside. The food is donated and we pay the shipping. The food is stored and distributed from a warehouse in the church to our partners, helping to provide nutrition to those in need. Our goal is to continue to expand this mission in the future.

Past Projects

  • Solar light subsidies (residents pay a third of their earnings for light)
  • Oxen project (villages received a pair of oxen to share)
  • Cabbage and tomato project
  • Mid-wife training
  • Doctors to accompany the priest on visits to rural chapels
  • Latrines
  • Shipment of clothes and medical equipment
  • Solar oven and cookstove projects
  • Seed project to train residents how to manage their agricultural products
  • Computer school
  • Toys for the disabled school and the hospital
  • Construction of chapel and homes

Changed Lives

Every day I am in awe of the strength of these people. They humble me in their constant connection with God, starting everyday conversations with: “Yes, isn’t that wonderful! Thanks to God,” or “If God wills it…” I am in awe when the head of the organization of volunteers helping one another says, “Sometimes I feel guilty that I have such a nice home, when some have such horrible living conditions,” (and his home is more or less like a glorified garage by our standards). I am in awe when Vilma has the prisoners in the jail in tears by her prayers, words of encouragement and of God’s love.    – Mary Pat

More than 60 people of all ages have traveled to Nicaragua in the past. Some have traveled four or five times. Many are looking for a way to share our common bond of faith, encounter a new culture, some travel to see first hand how our projects have been changing lives there. It’s definitely adventure tourism without the crowds of tourists. All go because they would like to help people, but all come back knowing without a doubt that they have been the ones who have received the blessings and their lives are changed forever.