“And the streets of the city shall be full of boys and girls playing in its streets.”
– Zechariah 8:5
The situation in Nicaragua has been stressful for everyone, especially for children. The exposure to conflict and violence can be traumatic for children, causing deep, emotional scars. In response to this situation, we have looked for ways to provide children with outlets for their energy and emotions. Last week, we organized a sports competition with four urban schools, dedicated to promoting peace in Nicaragua.
More than 150 students from the 15 de Septiembre, Napoleón Baldelomar, Edmundo Castellón and Lucidia Mantilla schools spent playing kick ball, hand ball and a variety of other local games. It was, more than anything, an opportunity for the children to forget about the stress that has plagued their lives for the past three months and to play in peace. Teachers and parents supported the event, motivating them to perform to the best of their abilities.
Thanks to your generosity and compassion, we will continue to provide safe opportunities for children to play, learn and grow.
The time of year has come for the annual Rayo de Sol Games to begin. Teams are formed at each school to compete in kickball, handball, and a variety of other fun and crazy games. We love to see the excitement of the children as they train to represent their schools. Teachers, students, and Rayo de Sol staff alike had a great time breaking out of the normal routine to get outside and have some fun. Steven Dávila, a fourth grader at Edmundo Castellón Elementary School, gave us his take on the games and Rayo de Sol’s involvement with his school.
Steven represented his school in handball and proved to be a excellent addition to the team. Although they didn’t win it all, he loved getting to play and compete against the other schools in his community. Even if this year didn’t result in a major victory, Steven and his classmates still have bragging rights from last year when their school achieved 1st place in the soccer tournament. Sports events like the Rayo de Sol Games are critical in encouraging healthy exercise, building teamwork skills, and making school a place where the students look forward to going.
In addition to the sports events, Steven has been deeply impacted by other ways Rayo de Sol partners with his school. He told us that since Rayo de Sol started working with Edmundo Castellón Elementary, “there is more happiness in our school, and more fathers and mothers are coming to the school to help out.” Parents help prepare and serve nutritious meals to the children, cultivate school gardens, and assist teachers with cleaning and other tasks. We have found that encouraging parental involvement in the schools we serve has a tremendous positive impact on educational outcomes for their children. It is a beautiful thing to see the way parents and teachers partner together for the good of the children in their community, and we are grateful to be able to serve a Edmundo Castellón Elementary School.
In our work, we always strive to focus on long term impact. That’s why whenever possible, we involve scholarship students in the various programs we carry out, training up the next generation of Nicaraguans to respond to the needs of their community. This month, Magdiel, Ashlee, Litzy, and Francis helped lead our children’s ministry programs at Máximo Napoleón Baldelomar Elementary School.
Under the supervision of staff member Martha Cortedano, the girls led group games with the kids and assisted in teaching a lesson about the life of Paul. Through a fun animated video and review games afterwards, the children learned how Paul’s encounter with Jesus on the way to Damascus changed his life. Despite being a persecutor of the church, God transformed him into a preacher and missionary that gave his life to spread the gospel. The kids also learned about the persecution Paul faced as a Christian.
The main focus of the lesson was that no matter what difficulties we go through, God is always there to help us. This message is especially relevant given the current situation in Nicaragua, and we are so proud to see girls like Magdiel, Ashlee, Litzy, and Francis stepping up and sharing hope with those who are younger than them.