Click the link below for a copy of the 2014 Gateway to Hope Garden Tour

2014 map_rev

Gardeners and their addresses are:

  • Jan and Fred Koogler 1208 West Third Street
  • Pearl Menninga 308 Vermeer Road
  • Diane and Jim Nelson 1002 Monroe Street
  • Nancy and Clarence Spoelstra 1109 N. Prairie Street
  • Bob and Lois Vermeer 823 197th Place (Note that the Vermeer address is a correction of an address incorrectly listed in some publicity materials published earlier.)


Five Gardens in Pictures


Click on Garden name for a full-page spread of gorgeous garden photos.

Menninga Garden
Nelson Garden
Spoelstra Garden
Vermeer Garden

2014 Gateway to Hope Garden Tour June 27-29


Looking Back, Looking Ahead

(Final Post for the July 2012 trip)

Friends of Chinandega Clay Symbol

Following vacation Bible school and a tropical shower, we create a circle of chairs in the Nazarene Church courtyard. A woman sweeps leaves and VBS debris from the newly laid cement that surrounds us. In an adjacent corner sound the scraping shovels of four men mixing stones and mortar to lay another section.

This humid Nicaraguan late afternoon we are meeting with leaders from the five Chinandega churches to discuss our ongoing partnership. Nicaraguan pastor Henry Cruz distributes sticks of colored clay and tells us to separate into a North American and Nicaraguan team and construct a symbol of our relationship.

Our team talks and molds, talks and molds—and what emerges has a cross, two stick figures, and a globe.  The cross is three winding strands, representing our two nationalities and our Creator. Two people kneel before it, holding joining one hand at the cross and touching the globe with the other. Where their hands touch the globe, it is a verdant green—springing to life and spreading down to over the globe’s black underside.

When we join our Nicaraguan friends we are surprised by the similarities in our clay creations. Their model, too, has a cross. And it tops two touching hands. One flows from a US flag and the other from the flag of Nicaragua.

Nicaraguan churches’ clay symbol

In the conversation that follows this and our reading of the story of Ruth’s commitment to Naomi, we all talk about our learning from our cross cultural interaction, our unity in Christ, and our desire for an ongoing, long-term relationship.

We will pray for each other. We want to learn more about each other, perhaps even each other’s languages. And we want to meet again.

We do not set the date for that or make specific plans. That is still to come.

But this much we know: In the power of the cross of Christ we want to continue hand-in-hand for Him.

Travel Sites and Scenes

Today (Saturday) we returned to Managua from Chinandega. We think it’s a good day to share with you memorable sights and scenes from the week.

Nicaragua: Land of Tropical Trees and Flowers

Nicaragua has tropical beauty year-round, but now—toward the end of the rainy season—the vegetation is especially lush and rich. Below is a small sampling.

A Week of VBS in Five Different Churches

In our week in Chinandega we helped five churches with a day of vacation Bible School. Each church planned its day, and we helped them in the roles they asked us to do. In some churches we told a story of three trees that became a manger, a boat, and a cross for Jesus. In other churches we helped with crafts. And sometimes we helped to serve lunch.

The programs varied, but often included songs, Bible stories, crafts, outdoor activities, snacks, and lunch. After completed today at the fifth church, we have worked with 300-350 children.

Below is the story in photos and captions.

At Manantial de Cristo several groups of children sang Bible songs without accompaniment.

At Assembly of God church, children made a picture frame, a basket and a folder.

We told the story of three trees at several churches.

At the Nazarene Church, children participated in a poster contest.

Children at Living Love church made a mobile that says Jesus loves them.

The Church of God blocked a street with desks for outdoor games.

At every church, the children enjoyed hamming it up in front of the camera.


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