Our Sister Parish in Jiñocuao

Our Map of Jinocuao

Sister Parish (sĭs'tər păr'ĭsh) n. 1. Accompaniment. 2. A journey on the side of the poor. 3. A relationship of equals that nourishes and challenges. 4. An invitation to be vulnerable. 5. Solidarity. 6. A bridge of prayers and friendship.

Takoma Park Presbyterian Church has had a sister parish relationship with the Nicaraguan community of Jiñocuao since 1992. Over the years, 47 members of the TPPC community have traveled to Nicaragua to spend time in Jiñocuao, either through one of the seven official delegations, while traveling independently or with other groups. Fourteen people from Jiñocuao have come to Takoma Park as part of three official delegations. The last delegation visited Takoma Park in May 2011 - a report on this delegation (PDF) is linked to this website. Pictures from this visit are also available.

Jiñocuao is a very small community located in northern Nicaragua, near the Honduran border. It is on the map here, but you are unlikely to find it on other maps. For reference the nearest large town in Somotillo.

There is an archive of articles that have appeared on the TPPC website since 1999; they chronicle the history of our involvement with the Jiñocuao community.

Past letters from the Jiñocuao community to TPPC are available on this website. Pictures from our last delegation to Jiñocuao are also available.

For more information on our relationship with Jiñocuao, contact the committee through jinocuao@takomaparkpc.org.

September's special offering : Jiñocuao

TPPC has had a sister relationship with a small church in Jiñocuao, Nicaragua. Special offerings will be collected during the month of September to support this continuing relationship. After consulting with the leadership of the San Jose Church, we propose that the funds be used for the following activities:

  1. Water collection for home gardens;
  2. Scholarships;
  3. Future Delegation for a visit to Takoma Park

To contribute, please make a check out to TPPC with the notation "Jiñocuao Fund" on the memo line. Place your check or cash contribution in the special offering envelope in the pew, check the Jiñocuao option and put it in the offering plate.

Holiday Letter from Jiñocuao

This holiday letter (translated from Spanish) was sent from the San José Church, our sister church in Jiñocuao, Nicaragua, to the Takoma Park Presbyterian Church on Dec. 30, 2016. The high school, scholarships and rainwater harvesting project mentioned in the letter were all supported by TPPC.

Merry Christmas and a Prosperous New Year,

May Christmas help us always keep the baby Jesus in the crib in our heart. Born between us with the brotherhood relationship that we maintain and we will maintain throughout our lives, passing from generation to generation.

We have done community activities such as the pure conception of Mary, the inns and different reflections that lead us to live a season full of peace, brotherhood and wishes to be better every day.

This past December 5th the first high school graduation was held in our high school, 23 students graduated hoping to find opportunities for college and technical studies to help their families and the community.

Also the Council of Protestant Churches of Nicaragua (CEPAD) informed us of the money for the scholarships of students who will get their university degree, the funds for the rainwater harvesting project and the scholarship for the volunteer teacher Yelson Carrasco and that soon we will receive it.

We appreciate every gesture of love towards us and we hope to achieve good results in the spiritual, community and social arenas for the coming year. May God our Father grant you many blessings. We send greetings to the Jiñocuao Committee and all the members of the church.

Affectionately, Takoma Park Presbyterian Church Committee of Jiñocuao,
Coordinator Julio Huete

April Letter from Jiñocuao

Jiñocuao, Somotillo 29 de Abril 2016

Dear brothers and sisters, that the peace of God dwell in your hearts and in your homes are our fondest wishes. Thanks to our Higher Being, we stay lively and full of faith. In this month, we find it difficult to live as temperatures rise, generating much heat during the day and at night.

Currently we are experiencing a water crisis, the river is dry, there are only a few small deposits of water to wash clothes and water the cattle. Wells that give us drinking water have mostly dried up. In La Ceiba (a sector of Jinocuao), there is queuing up from dawn to get 40 liters of water, negligible for a family of up to 10 people. In the sector of Papalon it is the same, the well that supplied the population has dried up and people have had to move to another place. Other sectors also suffer. In the case of La Plaza, that has a mini aqueduct, people are rationing water every other day.

We want you to pray that there is enough water. Although rain has fallen twice recently, still water levels do not rise. This year the phenomenon of La Niña affects the Central American region, which gives much hope of life, as long as there is no problem with hurricanes.

On the other hand, there has been training of 19 producers from different sectors of the community in home gardening with the good intention that every family has its own garden and can survive the effects of climate change. The secondary school garden is serving as a model, as the students practice their skills at home.

Always we pray that God keeps you and we continue to be sister churches for eternity. From our community we send greetings and hugs to all our brothers and sisters of the Presbyterian Church, wishing that God allows us to meet again.

Lovingly your sister community of Jiñocuao

Translated by David Olson

Easter Letter from Jiñocuao

We received a lovely Easter letter from our brothers and sisters at our sister parish in Jinocuao, Nicaragua. It recounts the many Easter activities they are undertaking and ends like this:

"On Sunday, the day of the resurrection, we joyfully celebrate Jesus Christ's victory over sin and death. Brothers and sisters, despite the drought, we have life. Our wells are drying up but we continue strong in faith. We wish you a Happy Easter and that our Lord Jesus Christ bless you. We greet the Jinocuao Committee and all the families of Takoma Park Presbyterian Church. On behalf of the community, your brothers and sisters, Paula, Rosa and Julio."

TPPC Helps Teacher Advance Career and Stay in Jiñocuao

Pablo Antonio Díaz Herradora’s dream is to stay in Jiñocuao and teach the children of his community. And, thanks to Takoma Park Presbyterian Church, that dream is coming true.

In 2013, TPPC had a campaign that raised $6,000 to support the building of a classroom in Jiñocuao's secondary school and a delegation from TPPC traveled to Jiñocuao to help build the classroom. Before the school was built, students had to travel to Somotillo, 15 kilometers away, to attend secondary school. Many poor families could not afford the transport.

In 2014, TPPC had another campaign to raise money for a scholarship program that supported three volunteer teachers for a year to continue their studies, so they could get their diploma and, therefore, a teacher's salary paid by the government. Some of these volunteers had been teaching for years without a salary because the government will only pay salaries to credentialed teachers.

Pablo, 22 years old, was one of three Jiñocuao teachers who were paid $60 per month by the TPPC scholarship to defray the cost of their education at Universidad Nacional Autónoma de Nicaragua, León. Pablo, who is single and lives with his family in Jiñocuao (his mother died in 2008), used the money to pay for tuition, books and transportation.

Pablo teaches science, Spanish and literature at Jiñocuao high school. He loves teaching and expects to earn his bachelor's degree in 2016. Pablo worked at the school for more than two years without a salary but now has a diploma which allowed him to start getting a government salary. He hopes to advance his career by earning a master's degree, which is very rare in Nicaragua.

"After I get my bachelor's degree this year, my dream is to stay here and work in my own community," said Pablo. "Thanks to Takoma Park Presbyterian Church for trusting us and giving us this opportunity to be teaching in a classroom and not be sitting under the shade of a tree."

"When I started studying at the university, I was like a ship in the ocean moving from one side to the other with no target and no goal but, with the opportunity that you have given us, we now know where we are going. We are really pleased and we are thankful for all the support you have given us."

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