This story is about ETU and their new found hope.
ETU is a program founded from the Nehemiah Center and Christian Reformed World Missions. ETU gives workshops for the formation of local leaders in the churches and communities in Leon and Chinandega. The workshops are made up of three components: learning, reflection, and application. During the workshops, the leaders are able to learn and strengthen their knowledge, reflect in what they are doing as leaders and members of the community, and they plan what they can carry out themselves with the resources that they have. In the last year, ETU worked with 41 community leaders and 23 churches in 6 communities.
We sat down with Roberto, the coordinator of the ETU program, as he told us more about this last year and the hope for the upcoming year.
This last year, church leaders realized that the communities weren’t fully taking advantage of the courses being offered through the program. They saw that there was a lack of enjoyment of the gifts and skills of the people. This was very discouraging to Roberto and led to an evaluation of the program. The evaluation brought about a prioritization of the needs to see in what ways the leaders could respond to this problem with the resources they had in each community and there was a redefinition of the programs.
After the evaluation, there was a change in the leaders of the churches in the community and there was a continued accompaniment from Roberto that woke up the local work teams to put in place an action plan for the communities and to execute them. Roberto said, “The hope that I had was that all of those plans prepared for change would be executed in the best way to benefit the communities that consider themselves without a voice and as the least, the last, and the lost.” Roberto now sees this playing out and has a great sense of hope.
Roberto explains that the purpose of this upcoming year is “empowerment of leaders and a focus on their development through the community courses.” This last year the community leaders and churches planned activities for young people with addictions, facilitated a conference with the national police about drugs and their consequences, and a group of youth created a space for recreation where they discussed about finding the meaning of life.
Roberto said, “For me, this is hope because all of these activities that have already been done and will be done are by using the local resources in the different neighborhoods. This is hope because there is leadership with commitment to community service. This is hope because the pastors of the churches are more involved than they have been in the past years. This is hope because the churches are making connections with agents of change in the neighborhoods.”
Starting this month, ETU is teaching a new workshop called Justicia Restaurativa for the next 9 months with the goal of the community leaders being able to resolve conflicts within their communities. A budget meeting was held for this next year and the outcome was positive. Roberto continues accompanying the community leaders in their plans for change. Pray for this program and all that they are doing in Nicaragua.