Mission to Nicaragua
The Rev. Jerry Moriss, Canon for Rural Church Ministry for the Episcopal Diocese of Dallas, is returning to Nicaragua this spring to dedicate a new school and community center. This will be Morriss’ third trip in the past two years to one of the poorest Latin American countries.
During his first trip in 2016, Morriss met an elderly couple who was in desperate need of a proper home. On his return, with the help of his former congregation at St. James in Kemp, he was able to raise the funds needed to build a new three-room home for the family. Prior to his leaving St. James in January, the congregation donated funds for additional housing. Morris realized that most small churches can’t accomplish the big projects that larger churches can, but the collaboration of several small congregations can make a meaningful contribution. Morris, with the help of Food for the Poor, bought together a coalition of additional churches who have embraced the San Rafael del Sur project, consisting of 39 furnished homes, a school, and a community center complete with water, sanitation fruit trees and livestock.
The buildings are built on a cement foundation, using concrete blocks and are designed to withstand a Class 4 hurricane. The homes are built on property owned by the beneficiary who contributed to the building by providing manual labor.
Food for the Poor is an Interdenominational Christian relief organization serving 17 countries in the Caribbean and Latin America. In the past 35 years they have built over 115,000 homes and provided more than $10 billion dollars in aid. Clean water projects provide lifegiving water and sanitation to hundreds of thousands of people in need. Solar systems are providing power in areas where there is no electricity. There are fruit tree projects as well reforestation programs and aquaculture projects. One of the primary goals is to help those in need become able to be self-sufficient and productive members of their communities.
Forbes magazine has given Food for the Poor and outstanding rating as 96% of all funds raised go to support those in need.
Morriss seeing the need first-hand gave him the desire to be a part of Matthew 25, when Jesus said to his followers, “In as much as you have done it unto the least of these my brethren, you have done it unto me.”
Seeing people living in this kind of poverty was eye-opeing, Morriss said. “I have seen the poor, I have visited in the orphanages and I have spent time with the people and I want to do all that I can to share our abundance with those in need. We all know that there is a world out there in need, but until you have walked in those people’s shoes most people can’t really imagine how great the need really is.”
Last year, more than $15 million dollars built 10,000 new homes, and $4million paid for fresh water and sanitation. More than 3,600 tractor-trailer loads of materials provided medicines, medical supplies, clothing and food.
Morriss said, “even with all of that, the surface is just being scratched. The recent storms that have ravaged the Caribbean countries in recent months has made the need much greater. I am looking forward to returning to Nicaragua shortly after Easter to participate in the dedication of this project.”