Victory Report: Diplomas for our first and second year graduation class.

8548_669704656402806_501061399_nLast week we received good news from the department of education here in Bolivia.   They finally approved our graduate certificates from our first two years graduating classes.  Because of a change in districts our school had to deal with a ton of legal paperwork in order for the students that finished their studies at Christ Nation School to get their diplomas.  Through several months of hard work we finally received the call and the fruits of our labor.  All of our graduating classes have received their diplomas.  This is wonderful news because these students represent the future of Bolivia.

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2nd Retroactive payment – Bolivia 2014

A few weeks ago I shared with you  the challenges that we have in Bolivia with social benefits for our employees.  Each year depending upon the desire of the government we run the risk of mandatory increases in bonuses, salaries, etc.  It is just a variable of ministering in Bolivia.  This year is no different.
This time it is a 10% salary increase decreed by the government, which is retroactive.  The government has made yet another decree that requires all businesses to pay a mandatory 10% salary increase for all employees.  The government does not consider a difference between those who work in the social help sectors different from the local businesses.  So we are required to pay the increase.  Also the decree is retroactive so it is to be paid from the month of January 2014.

We already paid the first payment of $967 last month.  Now we still have two more payments of $967 ($1,933 in total) the second due this end of the month.  I do realize that giving to government requirements are not the most exciting thing to give towards, but if you are able to help please do so.

Our deadline to supply the need is by the end of the month so if you can help please let us know.  You can give by following the instructions below. Thank you so much again for standing in faith with us that these needs are met and more lives are impacted in Bolivia.

Click here for instructions on how to give to this need.

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Sustainability

As a child I would wake up early in Saturday morning, sit in my pajamas with a huge bowl of cereal, and watch cartoons. You name it, I watched it: Superman, X-men, Transformers, GI. Joe, Thundercats. I loved superheroes. Batman was my favorite. For my 6th birthday I asked for a Batman cake, mask, and cape.    

I liked him so much becausbatmane he had two identities. During the day he was Bruce Wayne, a wealthy philanthropist. At night he was a vigilante that fought crime in Gotham city. The same person, but with two jobs; and he did both amazingly well. The guy must have never slept. Reflecting on my current situation as a missionary in some ways I am like Batman in that I am becoming skilled at two focuses and I like to help people.    

In 2006 and 2007 we learned a lot. We saw the funding from our partners in the USA diminish drastically. It got so bad that we found ourselves contemplating leaving the missionary life because we simply could not afford to stay. (I shared in detail about this in the blog: ‘We have to do something about these dogs’.) The good thing is we survived those two years. We learned that we had to have other forms of income within Bolivia to supplement our finances. We had to change strategies to become sustainable.

Sustainability is a buzzword in the mission world. In the interest of sustaining the ministry we find creative ways for people to become involved in opportunities which generate more funding. Instead of relying solely on donations directed toward the ministry projects people can designate funds which are used to develop more income. Those businesses in return create an alternate amount of income in order to do more mission work. For many people this strategy is a purposeful choice; we made the choice out of necessity.

For several years now we have been working the idea. You would think it would be a great mix for us because I have a degree in business administration. Yet, to be honest, I am conflicted. Here are some of my reasons why:

The cons: divided focus diminishing effectiveness in both areas, significantly limited time to do ministry, meeting the legal employer requirements imposed upon us by the Bolivian government is stressful and burdensome, at times this doubling of our efforts has confused the donors leading them to wrongly believe we no longer need support.

The pros: not starving, things are tight but doable, the liberty of branching out to find creative solutions to our financial difficulties is freeing, we have connected with groups of people that we may not have had it not been for these sustainability projects so our circle of influence is greater, we have gained a deeper understanding of the Bolivian people and the culture of this nation which gives us more credibility.

We started the businesses was because we need funds. Allow me to clarify that we need both sources of funding: donations to the ministry efforts as well as donations towards the sustainability efforts. Truth be told, if we could simply devote all our energy to missions we would surely do so. We can’t at this time, so we do what we have to for survival.  

Might we be moving away from our true calling? You may ask me if my true calling in Bolivia is more maintaining sustainability or ministry in the traditional missionary sense. I would answer: missions. I feel my strongest skill set is that of missions; actually I am not all that good at business. At this time in our life on the mission field we feel it is a necessity that we are involved in business. I look forward to the day when we can dedicate ourselves 100% to missions work. Until then creative sustainability efforts are an answer to some of our funding challenges.

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If you are interested in helping with a sustainability project:

IMG_2394Video arcade and internet. For some time I have been working on a project to place a video arcade and internet in a high-traffic area in our city. I have already purchased 10 video games and I am working on the internet.

If you are interested in giving toward this project the total cost for set-up is $4,000.

The wonderful thing about this project is once it is up and running it will produce funds for the orphanage and our family. 

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Custom Culture Fair

We just had a costume culture fair Christ Nation School.  Here are a few of the pictures of the event.

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Strike-a-thon fundraiser

bowlathoniconA few years ago we started something called The Strike-a-thon fundraiser. Whenever I have a bowling championship we invite people to pledge $1 a strike for The House of Dreams Orphanage.

This weekend I participated in the first national bowling championship this year in La Paz, Bolivia. We had $5 a strike in pledges. In the three day event I knocked down 76 strikes raising $380 for The House of Dreams Orphanage. The sum was not as high as other years but the amount almost covers the month rent for the home so a little goes a long ways. Thank you so much to all who gave towards this event.

If you missed out on this weekend’s championship our next championship is 6th through the 8th of September so if you would like to get in on the fun and help the dreams please let me know.  

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Putting Together the Jigsaw Puzzle

thFor some time now our two youngest children have been accompanying Angie on her volunteer day in the orphanage.  They usually do not do much volunteering being 6 and 7 years old.  Mostly they go to play with their friends.  So the Dreamers know the Washington kids.

One of the things that I enjoy most about working with the 14 children in The House of Dreams Orphanage is that we get to be there as they try and make sense of the world around them.  I call it the jigsaw puzzle of life.

A 1,000 piece puzzle comes together disjointed and separated as we try our best to put the pieces together so they make sense. The worst thing in the worl10406774_10202980778855316_1677886519754315373_nd is working all week to put together a puzzle only to find out at the end that there are missing pieces. We have the privilege to help supply some of the missing pieces to the kids at The House of Dreams.  

Recently Shirley, one of the dreamers, asked Angie a question to help her put together her jigsaw puzzle.

“Where do your children come from?” Her head cocked to one side as she looked at one of the pieces.

“Are they adopted?” Her forehead crinkled ever so slightly as she tried to reason together the seemingly disjointed pieces.    

“One of them is adopted,” Angie said.

“Which one?” Shirley asked. Her face relaxed a bit so that the new information could sink in.

With each piece of the puzzle she is not simply answering questions; she is making sense of the world, of her life.  That is one of the blessings we have working with the children in orphanage.  We get to be present when they are making sense of their world. 

 

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Special Appeal – Retroactive Salaries

panoramica-del-tunariIf you have been following us over the last several years you have seen that one of our biggest challenges in working in Bolivia is the ever increasing government requirements of employers.   Last year if it was not for the generosity of several of our friends and family we would have not been able to pay the triple salary for all employees at the end of the year that the government decreed for the final month of the year. We are so very grateful to all who gave so sacrificially to help us meet that need. For a mom and pop ministry trying to stay alive your generosity made all of the difference. 

With this letter I am writing you yet another appeal for a similar situation. This time it is a 10% salary increase decreed by the government, which is retroactive.  The government has made yet another decree that requires all businesses to pay a mandatory 10% salary increase for all employees.  Unfortunately the government does not consider a difference between those who work in the social help sectors different from the local businesses.  So we are required to pay the increase.  Also the decree is retroactive so it is to be paid from the month of January 2014.   

Roughly the need is $2,900 for the employees in our Christian school, orphanage, and ministry office.  I do realize that giving to government requirements are not the most exciting thing to give towards, but if you are able to help please do so.

The more we pray about it the more we come to the assurance that if this is something that is required by the government for us to continue the ministry in Bolivia we are sure that God has had these challenges in mind and also has supplied for the need through people like you. 

Our deadline to supply the need is by the end of the month so if you can help please let us know.  You can give by following the instructions below. Thank you so much again for standing in faith with us that these needs are meet and more lives are impacted in Bolivia. 

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Here are the instructions on how you can give to us: 

If you need a tax-receipt:  If you need credit for your receipt Encouragers International is able to provide that for you.  Simply follow these instructions:

(1) Give online through paypal: https://www.paypal.com/cgi-bin/webscr?cmd=_s-xclick&hosted_button_id=5LGBSM2UFXWVL

(2) You can send a check payable to: Encourage International.  Our names cannot appear anywhere on the check. To make things easier we are going to receive all of the checks in our PO BOX in Missouri and forward them to Encouragers.

Make the check payable to:  Encouragers International

Mail the check to:  Christ Nation Ministries PO BOX 8644 St. Joseph, Missouri 64508

If you do not need a tax-receipt:  Some of our supporters do not need a tax-receipt for their giving.  If you do not need a receipt you can simply give directly to us.  The benefit for us is that we do not have to pay 10% to our service organization.  You can give simply by:

(1)  If you do not need a tax-deductible receipt (you can save us 10%): https://www.paypal.com/cgi-bin/webscr?cmd=_s-xclick&hosted_button_id=DAZU24EPGC3J2

(2)  Send a Check Payable to DaRonn Washington to PO BOX 8644 St. Joseph, MO 64508

Remember if you give this way you will not get tax-credit for your giving.

EXTRA OPTIONS:  We are also able to offer that your on-line gift is reoccurring and also provide you with a reminder each month to send your gift in if needed.  Simply let us know if you need any of these services.

Thank you again so much for partnering with us.  Whether you are helping the church, orphanage, school or our personal family we want you to know that your generosity makes all the difference.

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