Joyce Gaudern, a retired teacher from Ripon, has visited Nicaragua three times since 2007 and has helped home-school Joshua and Esther, children of Barry and Susana Davis. Barry and Susana are British/Korean missionaries who founded Carazo Christian Academy. Joyce had the privilege of observing the school’s progress first-hand.
Carazo Christian Academy (CCA) in Nicaragua, Central America, is a wonderful testimony to God’s faithfulness, power and provision!
In 2005 the Lord gave Barry and Susana the vision for a bilingual school, providing high quality Christian education for Nicaraguan children, from three years old right through to college student level. The possibilities for further training are innumerable!
Nicaragua is one of the neediest countries in the Western hemisphere. It has had a turbulent history, including revolution, civil war and various natural disasters, so it lacks the foundations of a stable society.
It is a beautiful country, with many untapped resources, but Communism has sapped initiative and left people fearful of taking responsibility. There is much poverty, under-employment and political uncertainty.
The evangelical church is weak, having experienced rapid growth without strong biblical teaching since the 1980s. Barry and Susana hope that, in the future, children educated at CCA and trained in servant leadership will be able to address some of these problems.
The school’s top priority is the development of Christian character; its mission: ‘preparing a generation to change the nation’. Inspired by these aims, the Davis’ bought a disused coffee farm in a pleasant, rural setting, close to the village of Dolores, and set about the daunting task of gradually transforming it into a huge campus.
Several local men are employed in this ongoing project. By February 2007, with the additional help of teams from New York and Yorkshire, four large, well equipped, attractively decorated classrooms and a playground had been built, ready for the start of the new academic year.
One teacher and four pre-school pupils didn’t seem a promising start, but God has honoured the faith and obedience of his children in following his leading and the work has grown steadily.
Each year another grade has been added, so now there are six classes, 100 pupils and seven fine young Christian Nicaraguan women teachers. The original one has been promoted to the position of sub-director! There is now a need for Christian Nicaraguan men to join the staff.
Monday morning begins with Chapel — a whole school assembly which includes singing, memory verses, a Bible story and prayer time, reflecting Barry’s background as a former UBM team member.
In addition to Maths and Spanish, which are taught in Nicaraguan schools, the curriculum includes English, Music, Art, Science and RE. The teachers have the freedom to speak openly about their faith and pray with their classes.
The Chinese church in Managua is taking a great interest in the project. Each week several members make the 30 mile journey to help with computer studies and special needs, as well as teaching the older pupils Chinese.
Korean, American and British volunteers have spent various lengths of time at CCA, teaching English and mentoring the teachers. Teams continue to visit regularly, providing extra-curricular activities for the children and helping with ongoing maintenance work.
Accommodation is provided in a large, well appointed house, with fantastic views of the jungle and of Nicaragua’s glorious sunsets.
Other buildings have been added during the last four years. There are three new classrooms and a splendid office block, which also houses an excellent library and computer suite.
A second playground is proving popular with the primary school pupils and work on an auditorium has just been completed.
This will be used for whole school gatherings, special events and outreach to the strongly Roman Catholic local community, through AWANA Bible-based, activity clubs.*
Every family makes some contribution towards the cost of education at CCA and it is Barry and Susana’s desire that eventually the culture of dependence on outside help will be reversed and the school be able to break even financially.
Nicaraguan parents are demanding in their expectations of the school, but some are noticing positive changes in their children and commenting appreciatively.
The children are delightful, confident in their learning, enthusiastic about speaking English and, best of all, relate the Bible teaching they receive to real life situations.
Barry and Susana are now spending a year in the UK and have prepared the Nicaraguan teachers and ground staff to take full responsibility for the school in their absence.
This will be a big challenge for everyone, but also a great opportunity to trust God in a new situation. The Lord is the one who has brought the school into being and its development is inexplicable without him — ‘this is the Lord’s doing; it is marvellous in our eyes’ (Psalm 118:23).
It is the longing of the whole staff that the lives of children, families, communities and the nation will be transformed by the power of the gospel message being shared at CCA.
If you would like to know more about this amazing venture or give prayerful or financial support, please access website http://www.nicca.org.
*AWANA — derived from the first letters of ‘Approved workmen are not ashamed’ (2 Timothy 2:15) — is an international, evangelical, non profit making organisation. whose mission is ‘to empower Christian leaders worldwide to train children and youth to know, love and serve Christ’ (www.awana.org).