James 2:14-18 ESV

What good is it, my brothers, if someone says he has faith but does not have works? Can that faith save him? If a brother or sister is poorly clothed and lacking in daily food, and one of you says to them, “Go in peace, be warmed and filled,” without giving them the things needed for the body, what good is that? So also faith by itself, if it does not have works, is dead. But someone will say, “You have faith and I have works.” Show me your faith apart from your works, and I will show you my faith by my works.

Its that time of the year again when we start our “Manna Fest” drive for the Christmas Feeding Program. I praise God for all the provisions this year. As a ministry we have given out more food than anytime in the past 14 years. With that said, please allow me an opportunity to share with you the conditions in Nicaragua as of last week.

For the past three years we haven’t gotten near the rain needed to maintain water levels in the rivers and streams. This past June we received a couple days rain and all the farmers began to plant their seasonal corn and beans. After only a few days rain we went for weeks with no rain, not even a shower. The crops germinated began to grow and of course died off. The local farmers lost all their crops. Today I would say the people in the villages are as hungry if not more than when we first arrived after Hurricane Mitch. Last week people started lining up for the hot stew the minute the truck pulled into the village without being told. Last Sunday there was a young man that rode his bicycle from Pascuala and simply said to me, “sir we are desperate for food.”

Pam and I truly thank you for your prayers and support.


Click Here to Download a PDF of the Mannafest Poster

Manafest 2015

Nica news

As the team from Roanoke, VA wraps up its last day in the mission field, emotions run the gamut. We are experiencing joy in knowing that the Lord has used us to further His Kingdom and, at the same time, sadness in coming to the realization that it is nearly over. But we have rest and peace in the hope that He will lead us this way again.

Our day started with Michelle and Mandy sharing their testimonies on the radio this morning and Jay providing a message God had laid on his heart from the book of 2 Thessalonians.

The medical team worked at the clinic until noon, treating nearly 60 patients. The ministry team visited Cofradia school where the children received school supplies, coloring books and Crayola’s, and lots of attention while playing soccer, frisbee, and jump rope.

Following a delicious lunch prepared by Mama Maria and the staff at the kitchen, the team loaded up and traveled to El Platanal where Dr. Karla treated nearly 70 people. The total patients served this week were just under 500.

The beautiful people in El Platanal enjoyed home made stew, compliments of Pastor Reynaldo and Roger. The older children entered into a very competitive game of soccer with the ministry team while the younger ones colored, had their nails painted, and jumped rope.

The day ended with a hike to the top of the Mountain of Prayer where we witnessed a beautiful part of God’s creation.

We prepare to return to Managua on Friday following the radio ministry. As we do so we know we can relive the blessing of the week in our minds as we read our journals on the journey home.

Nica news

Blessings and greetings from Somotillo, brothers and sisters in Christ. The week has been both joyful and fulfilling as the medical and ministry teams have been busy serving our Lord. Since our arrival on Sunday the ministry team of Josh, Jay, Rick, and interpreters Roberto and Roger, have cooked hot meals, distributed clothing, food, and candy to four villages and two schools. The medical team of Dick Williams, Alex Wade, Heather Koran, Mandy Lin, Michelle Mason, translators Tita, Nidia, and Chris and local doctors Carolina and Karla has treated over 300 patients at the clinic.

Testimonies shared by the team on the radio include those of Josh, Dick, Heather, Alex, and Rick. Jay provided the message. Other team members will share testimonies tomorrow and Friday.

We received much needed and often prayed-for rain this afternoon. The river and streams have been very low due to the low rainfall this year, but the Lord provided rain today in a big way.

With only one day remaining in the mission field for the team from Roanoke, VA, if He doesn’t change the plans, the medical team will work at the clinic until noon while the ministry team serves in a school. The entire team will then serve at a village in the afternoon tomorrow.

Nica News

Jeremiah 29:11
For I know the plans I have for you, declares the Lord, plans for welfare and not for evil, to give you a future and a hope.

For almost 15 years Pam and I along with our mission teams have been working in a village called, "PASCUALA." I’m sure many of you have served beside us and have many fond memories of your time serving there. A few years ago GOD led us to start building houses and move many of the families there from plastic houses into something much better. Many of you helped us to work through this and we are continuing to build those houses as God provides the funding. Even through this Pam and I have never really gotten a peace about what God would have us to do as far as the NEXT STEP. Well, a couple of months ago this all changed. We had an opportunity to purchase the school in Pascuala and take over the day to day operations.

Praise God that one of our partners stepped up and made the purchase possible and as of last week the deal has been completed. Our plan as of today is to turn the day to day operation over to the Baptist School and continue to see how all this plays into the will of GOD for BWCM. I do know that it opens many doors as far as teaching in the village. I’m planning for our team next week to work with all the mothers and begin a weekly Bible Study. Please join us in praying for the future of our work in Pascuala and for the Baptist School as they begin transforming the school there.

With all this being said I want to give you the opportunity to help with the funding of the school by sponsoring a child. We have 34 students in elementary school and 120 in high school. We are asking our friends to sponsor these children at a cost of $250.00 per year per child. With the sponsorship we will purchase each child 2 new uniforms, a pair of shoes, monthly medical and all the school supplies. If you are interested in sponsorship simply e-mail me at "donald" and I will answer your questions and provide needed info. PRAYING AS WE PROCEED…..

Dr. and Mrs. Donald M Gillette
PO Box 14132
Roanoke, VA. 24038

Nica News

This week has already been an incredible experience, and we are just getting started. Multiple teams have joined together this week at Casa De Shelly to form one of the largest teams ever here. Airline cancellations caused a few delays, but by Sunday night the team was assembled and ready to go. Members from Virginia,Washington DC, Georgia, and New Jersey have joined together to serve the people of Nicaragua. Over 40 people are serving this week, and we have been able to tackle multiple projects each day.

In the morning, we have had numerous testimonies, along with praise and worship led by a combined group of talented musicians and singers. The teams have visited the villages of Casablanca, Santa Teresa, Villa Esperanza, and San Francisco. Several team members have visited local schools each morning, while others have done door-to-door ministry, and the rest have worked on road renovations around the Casa. We have been able to distribute numerous Spanish New Testaments, and we have distributed much joy and happiness through the sharing of clothes, toys, and school supplies. In each village we have provided both medical care and hot food as we have engaged the communities with the love of Christ.

It has been hot, but bearable, and the team is doing great. We have enjoyed getting to know each other, and everyone is serving alongside their brothers and sisters in Christ. We appreciate your prayers as we continue to minister throughout the week.

Nica News

HALELUJAH! Another blessed week in Nicaragua for the gringos from Roanoke VA. As expected we have spent a week in Somotillo witnessing God’s continued work in this area as a result of the Gillette’s faithful labor and ongoing relationship building in the many villages that we were so blessed to visit each day. Their work is a great example of what is accomplished when ongoing intentional love is shared with the people you are trying to reach. Each morning 2 members of our team were honored to spend a few moments on the radio telling either their testimony or words God has laid on their heart to send across the airwaves of Central America. At the final village visit for the week we were blessed with a “God Moment”, as we played soccer with a group of young boys one of the boys began to speak of the radio broadcast that featured the story of the boat which was presented by Britt Smith WOW what a blessing to hear that the youth of this area are being fed by the radio ministry that we were so greatly blessed to be a part of. Earlier in the week we had discussed the effectiveness of the radio ministry and GOD ANSWERED OUR QUESTION!

Just under a year ago Tim and Jay had been to Nicaragua on a medical missions trip and during their time here were blessed with the sometime rare opportunity of leading a male adult to a saving faith in Jesus Christ. One afternoon this week they slipped off to pay him a visit just to find that he had moved. Two villagers at his former village agreed to ride with us and take us to where he had moved but as God would have it as soon as we pulled onto the main road in Somotillo there is Michael walking down the road with his oldest son Miguel, we couldn’t believe it. Had we been just 5 minutes earlier we would have missed him completely! Michael was as surprised to see us as we were to see him walking down the road. We gave Michael and his son a ride home where he told us he had not been to church in several months, and then told us of how a pastor had just been at his house yesterday, and as we spoke Reynaldo, one of the pastors affiliated with Because We Care, drove past on his motorcycle, it was amazing the way God was showing Michael how much he cared for him and wanted a relationship with him.

We have truly been blessed at each village with their openness to hear our words and have been honored to lead several young men and women to Jesus Christ our savior! The Spirit truly goes before the prayers of his people, at each village we could feel God at work and saw the result of what happens when God’s people come together and with their individual talents show love to God’s children…by the way we have been praying for rain all week and our last night in the Casa has been a DOWN POUR!!! HALLELUJAH!!!

Nica News

The day started quickly for everyone at Casa de Shelly. Don decided to peacefully wake us up to the soft music of Norah Jones (just kidding!). As we all got out of bed, the realization came to us that this was our last full day at Because We Care Ministries in Nicaragua. Many of our hearts have been broken by the poverty we have seen, but they were simultaneously pieced right back together again through the kindness and love given freely to us by the family of Christ in Somotillo.

Jim, Kathleen, Mike, Jamon, Rodger, and Johanna all stayed behind to visit a local public Elementary School and a village while the rest of the group made a 45 minute drive to hike up to the mountain village called Cacao. The hike consisted of breathtaking mountain scenery and a peaceful, dusty trail. The Cacao Pastor’s son and brother both came to escort us up the mountain to the Cacao church. They brought four horses with them in order to assist us in carrying medical supplies and food up the mountain. The hiking group had the opportunity to stop at a house belonging to the mother of the Cacao pastor. She had lost her husband last November, and we all placed our hands on her as Dan said a prayer for her. It was a true blessing for everyone involved. As we continued our hour and a half hike up the mountain, we were met with clear blue skies and calming, sweet breezes. When we finally made it to the top, we got to go inside the beautiful church for a service. The Pastor and his family were all extremely welcoming to us, and went out of their way to make us feel comfortable. The team did our typical routine of playing soccer, blowing bubbles, and painting nails with the children. Eventually, the church service started and Dan shared a message with all of us about loving our enemies and seeing Christ at work in the lives of those all around us. His message touched the hearts of everyone at the service. The Cacao pastor then brought all of us in front of the congregation and prayed for us to have a safe journey back down the mountain. We quickly loaded up (because we were running low on water!) and trekked back down the mountain. What a scenic and peaceful day for us all. It was a beautiful way to spend our last full day in Nicaragua spreading Christ’s love and experiencing the beauty He created all around us.

Meanwhile, the group that stayed back had a wonderful time visiting a local public Elementary School. Jim shared his testimony with all the children, and then proceeded to color pictures of the Garden of Eden. When recess commenced, Jim, Kathleen, Mike, and Jamon all went outside to play soccer and Gato Gato Perro (the Nicaraguan version of Duck Duck Goose). The Onion Game also enticed a great deal of laughter. The game consisted of the children and team lining up in a line, and they had to tickle the weakest ones off. The team is currently working on a plan to introduce the Onion Game to American children!

After visiting the school, the team left to go to the Santa Cruz village nestled next to an active volcano. It had been a while since Because We Care Ministries had visited the village due to terrible road conditions. One of the greatest difficulties the Santa Cruz village experiences is lack of water during the dry season. The nearest natural spring to the village barely produces enough water for each person to have one bottle of water a day. During the rainy season (beginning in May) the villagers collect rainwater for drinking, but in the meantime water remains a deadly issue. Don is currently working on a plan to bring more water to the village. As the team all distributed food and clothing to the villagers, Don said a prayer over everyone and gave the villagers confidence in the unending fulfillment that Christ gives.

As the two teams regrouped and showered off their dust-covered bodies, they had time to reflect on their work here in Nicaragua. Although we were only here for several days, we all feel Christ at work at Because We Care Ministries in Nicaragua. Don said to all of us during our time here that God doesn’t call the qualified; He qualifies the called. All we need to do is make ourselves available to God, and He will take it from there. That is our goal as we all begin our travels back to the United States—to constantly be available to carry out God’s will and make disciples of ALL nations.

nica news 3/18

The cool Nicaraguan air sifted around Casa de Shelly as all of us slowly drifted out of bed. As the sun began to take control of the sky, Jim chased and played hide-and-go-seek with a little girl (the daughter of our head cook) around all over the compound. How marvelous to wake up to the sound of a child’s squeals and laughter!

Emily Freese, Jordan, Emily Jensen, Brent, and Dan were all featured at the radio station today and shared their testimonies. Jordan and Daniel (Andrew was temporarily replaced!) sang “How Great is Our God” together on the radio as well. Their beautiful voices touch the hearts of many Latin American listeners. During this time, the group back at Casa de Shelly was busy chopping vegetables for the stew that would be made for the El Madrono villagers later this afternoon. Donation bags were also being stuffed to the brim for the villagers.

Once the team regrouped, the men were sent out to finish digging the trenches for the Mission Office. They also poured cement to solidify the foundations for a new building by the office.

Meanwhile, the women all headed to a special needs Elementary School to interact with the children. We all sang, danced, and shared Bible stories with the children. Grins were spread across everyone’s faces, and hugs were given generously! After visiting the special needs school, the women continued on to another public Elementary School. We danced and sang again, and brought pipe cleaners to make shapes and bracelets with. We then headed outside for recess…lots of running, frisbee, and soccer!

The men and women regrouped for lunch—why on Earth were the men so sweaty??? We proceeded to have an American lunch of hotdogs, chips, and chocolate cookies in the sunshine. Don was conducting pastor training with 36 of the local Nicaraguan pastors throughout the day. Don also had the opportunity to share the Biofuel project headed by Brent, Emily Jensen, Emily Freese, and Andrew that results in heat for cooking meals. The biofuel burns very clean compared to wood fires that the villagers use; if the project is implemented into the community it could mean a decrease in common respiratory infections caused by breathing in wood fire smoke inside of houses with poor ventilation. The Capstone team is conducting a field test on the project today!

After lunch the team was ready to go to the El Madrono village. The village is fairly secluded and nestled in a small valley. Medical care was provided to the children as balloons were inflated, bubbles were blown, baseball and soccer were played, and pictures were colored. Brent apparently has the divine ability to rap—who would have thought?! He conducted a rap for the whole village with the help of Jordan, Molly, Emily Jensen, Lily, Beau, and Daniel. The rap told the story of Jesus feeding 5,000+ people from only two fish and five loaves of bread. Oh yeah…a majority of the rap was also in Spanish, way to go Brent!

On our dry and dusty ride back to Casa de Shelly, we all had the ability to reflect on our days. If we are Christ’s body, we should always be reaching, preaching, and showing the world His love—not solely in Nicaragua. We are all on fire for the Lord in Nicaragua, and there is no reason for us to stop when we return to the United States. It is a constant passion that all Christians should have deep in their hearts—to serve God by loving His people.

P.S.—The Naval Academy group apparently wasn’t tired enough from the day and were caught doing pull-ups outside Casa de Shelly. Hooyah!

Nica News 3/17

Our day started much like any other day at Casa de Shelly. Don shook, bang, and wrestled with the doors to our bunkrooms like a mad man. Needless to say, he got the job done separating us from our beds! Once we all brushed our teeth and reintroduced ourselves to the stiffness in our muscles from shoveling dirt yesterday, our morning devotional commenced in the living room. Andrew Flegge shared a message about identity and the struggle that many young people have with it. Andrew referenced Romans 6 and the need to find our identity through serving God’s kingdom, and realizing that we are His children first and foremost.

Next on the agenda was the radio telecast. Megan, Daniel, Kerri, Kyle, and Jackson all headed over to the radio station to share their testimonies, along with our dynamic duo worship team—Jordan and Andrew! The radio station reaches areas of El Salvador, Honduras, and Nicaragua. Rumor has it that the station also reaches parts of Florida…so tune in North America!

While the radio station group was sharing their testimonies, the rest of us stuffed three donation bags full of clothing items and shoes. The three teams then proceeded to split into their respective work assignments and head out. Today Team A had the privilege to go to the Baptist School of Somotillo and share our testimonies with the school children. Tears were shed as each of us opened up to the children and shared the ways in which Jesus changed our lives. There were many heartwarming moments this morning. Team A then left the school and witnessed to the local community about Jesus. The majority (~88%) of Nicaraguans are Catholics. As opposed to North American Catholicism, Catholics in Latin America worship Mary, and believe that good deeds will get them into Heaven, not Jesus. The remaining 12% of Nicaraguans are mostly strong Christians.

Teams B and C continued to haul, sweat, and dig for the construction project. Sunburns are starting to make their marks–no amount of sunscreen can protect these gringos!

All three teams met up at Casa de Shelly again at noon for lunch. The smell of hot, fresh chimichangas hung in the air as we all dug into a delicious meal. We are truly blessed beyond measure with the quality of food at Casa de Shelly. The majority of the people in the villages we visited have only a palm of rice to eat every day, along with a few beans and a tortilla if they are lucky.

After lunch, we all headed to San Francisco village past El Laredo village that we visited yesterday. A hot meal was cooked for the people, and they all gathered around the missionaries to listen to our Bible stories and run and play with us. Worries melted away for a while as little girls played jump rope, young boys played with balloons, and mothers had their nails painted. A large game of baseball and soccer with a majority of the village adolescents also ensued.

Men, women, and children again lined the roads as we left the village waiting for the clothes and shoes that we threw out of the trucks at them. It was difficult to pace ourselves with the amount of donations we threw at the hundreds of people waiting for us—seeing the looks of desperation and pleading on so many faces makes it hard to slow down the pace.

As we rode back to Casa de Shelly with empty bags and full hearts, the sun began to recede once again. Jesus will always satisfy, and is always watching over the people in the Villages, even when we aren’t there. This simple fact gives us all peace in our hearts knowing that all of us are looked after by one Mighty King.

Nica News 3/16

The sharp cry of a rooster and the howling of Don woke all of us up at 0600 sharp. The words, “Wake up Gringos, time to go and be missionaries!” penetrated every wall. All of us proceeded to gather for a devotional about faith by Jackson Niketas. Jackson referenced Hebrews 11 and God’s ability to call each and every one of us to be His workers.

As the sun stretched higher into the clear, crisp Nicaraguan sky, a group of us all went to the radio station. Molly, Beau, David, Sierra, and Alex rode in the back of Don’s truck in order to share their testimonies with a large portion of Nicaragua. Jordan and Andrew came along as well to sing live; they both did a fantastic job!

Our group was then divided into Team Alpha, Team Bravo, and Team Charlie. Team Alpha had a delightful time in the sunshine digging trenches at the ministry headquarters in order to make room for a pump. Stories were shared, roots and rocks were uprooted, and blisters were formed. Water was certainly a necessity for all!

Team Bravo went with a dump truck to a nearby riverbed to gather gravel. There was no shade to find at the dig site, so they enjoyed the breeze driving to and from the dig site. They used shovels and buckets to fill up the dump truck while locals did the laundry in the river and their horses ate the grass growing near the riverbed. It was great to see progress made via heaping piles of gravel.

Charlie platoon advanced through a local neighborhood in Somotillo. Along the way the members, with the help of a local pastor and several translators, spoke with the residents door to door. Every person that was visited listened intently to what we had to say. They listened to the testimonies of the missionaries, and heard the gospel from Pastor Ronaldo, a local pastor in Somotillo. The greatest moment for Charlie platoon was when a group of young women accepted Christ as their savior! The young girls, as well as most of the town folk, knew about Jesus, but did not have a personal relationship with Him. It was a wonderful encouragement to see be truly desire a close relationship with Jesus!

The three teams returned to Casa de Shelly (the compound that houses the missionaries) for some much needed rest and food. Donation bags were meanwhile stuffed with items such as shoes, shirts, hats, toys, and candy to throw out to the hundreds of Nicaraguan people waiting on the side of the road. Smiles, frowns, and looks of desperation were all tattooed on each of their faces. Unclothed children walked through the streets and ran when they saw our mission trucks approaching. We all yelled “Christo te amo!” (Christ loves you!) with every item that we threw at them. One of the most encouraging things to see was the respect that the people had for young children and the elderly. Mothers were ecstatic to receive small shirts because they knew that one of their children or other children needed it. Adolescent boys were equally excited to receive dolls because they equally knew that somewhere there was a sister, daughter, or friend that needed the doll. The lack of greed demonstrated by all of the people was heartwarming.

Our trucks pulled into the El Laredo Village and were quickly surrounded by smiling and giggling faces. The villagers knew that a hot meal and abundant love was going to be given to them by all of the missionaries. Nails were painted, games were played, and Bible stories were shared. Most importantly, though, Christ’s love was exemplified through all of our actions. Concepts of poverty, hunger, and desperation were replaced with compassion, friendship, and kindness. We spent three hours in the village and then had to return to Casa de Shelly. On our way back, hundreds of people again lined the streets begging for the items we were throwing out of our trucks. As the sun started to lessen its intensity in the sky, we looked back at the frowns that we had the privilege to turn into smiles, even if they were only for a short while. Items can satisfy for a moment, but the love of Christ and memories made will stay in all of our hearts forever.