There are plentiful opportunities for volunteer work in Nicaragua. There are so many opportunities and so many blessings that my family has experienced.
A year and a half ago, we had no plans to move to Nicaragua with my whole family, but since moving here there were plenty of opportunities where we have been able to serve the communities as well as the Lord. My daughters, who are 9, 12, and 13 year old, serve at the orphanage 3 days a week. My wife and I have attended prison ministries. We shared the Word in some of the jails in Nicaragua, which I could not fathom, but it’s happened. There are people who live in the city trash dumps here and we know a lot of people who have served there and, personally, we go in the trash dumps and play with the kids, talk to the families, get resources, food, and clothes.
There are also some opportunities to volunteer in some of the smaller departments around Managua by building churches, schools, etc. Some friends of mine in the small departments help 4 ladies to get their cancer medical treatment, which is about a 2-hour drive from Managua to where they live. These people bring these ladies to Managua to receive treatment. They put them in a hotel and then drive them back the next day. There are just so many opportunities for ministering or volunteering here in Nicaragua. It’s incredible.
For me, it’s been wonderful watching my daughters and my son play with children that really have limited to no financial resources and just all of them being transparent because they are just children playing baseball. To me, it’s just been an unbelievable experience for my family and for me to witness that has just been tremendous.
There are plenty of opportunities to serve in the US but Nicaragua is the second poorest nation in the Americas next to Haiti and it is the safest country in the Americas. That tells me two things:
1. There is a huge need for serving, whether it is a feeding ministry or an orphanage or whatever it be.
2. It also tells me that there is an ethical standard amongst the poor that attracts me.
My wife and I are involved in feeding ministries. We go to parks and feed the homeless just like we do in the US. We are involved in different ways. Here in Nicaragua, it feels more personal. It feels like we are making more of an impact in this community than we were in the US. To my family and me, it feels more here like we can potentially change these kids’ lives.
A friend of ours is a full time missionary here in Nicaragua. She found a little girl at 3 years old, huddled up amongst stray dogs in an abandoned house. Her parents ran prostitution out of their home in the day and having little kids around the house is a bad for the prostitution business so they literally sent this girl out at 8 AM so she is not able to come home until about 8 PM. She is out to wander the streets until 8 PM at 3 years old. Our friend found this little girl, they talked to her parents, and this is little girl to fight for everything at 3 years old. They found a distant aunt that took her in but our friend spends Monday through Friday with her. Now, if you see her, she smiles, she shares, and when she sees a man, she wants you to hold her. She won’t let go of you. She wants to play with the kids. That is one life that you can literally multiply by serving here in Nicaragua.
I do a self-defense class on Saturdays at a community that is right outside the city dump and my target are young men who are 16 to 22 years old. These are young men that could change course in this country. I teach faith-based self-defense, which goes from being a victim to controlling your life through God and how we sometimes find ourselves in a choke hold and we feel that we lost. I teach them how to get out of that chokehold, and take a positive turn from that experience. I’ve done that and I’ve served that way. I had to build the influence in the lives of these young men to make a positive change and change what they would otherwise know because, in these cases, their parents aren’t being good role models.
(Eddy Marin-Ruiz teaching faith- based martial arts to neighborhood kids, pictured.)