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. Fifteen people from Jiñocuao have come to Takoma Park as part of three official delegations. The last delegation visited Takoma Park in May 2019.
A report on a 2011 delegation (PDF) is linked to this website. Pictures from the 2011 visit are also available.
A timeline of visits of delegations and individuals (PDF) from TPPC to Jiñocuao and from Jiñocuao to TPPC is available from this website.
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 firstname.lastname@example.org.
Our sister parish in Jiñocuao, Nicaragua has sent us an Easter letter from the community (PDF) in preparation of the delegation coming in May. A translation in English is given first; the original text in Spanish follows.
The 2019 Jiñocuao Delegation to Takoma Park has come to a close. Gumercindo Betanco from our sister parish in Jiñocuao and Luis Vasquez of CEPAD returned to Nicaragua on Monday. Here is a message from Luis in Managua:
Hello friends this is Luis Vasquez.
First of all, we want to thank you for all the attention you gave us during our time in Takoma Park.
It was a wonderful experience to share with you all and strengthen the relationship between Jiñocuao,
CEPAD and Takoma Park Presbyterian Church.
Friends, we arrived well in Managua. Gumercindo's son was at the airport to pick him up. I called last night to know how he felt and he says he is fine. He is very thankful to you all and now he is going to share with the community all he saw and learned during his visit. We, as CEPAD delegation and partnerships program, are going to visit Jiñocuao to evaluate the visit and share experiences.
Personally I want to thank you for giving me the opportunity to get to know you better and to talk about our organization CEPAD. I hope our work can help more. Please continue praying for our country and for CEPAD's ministry in the communities.
I send greetings to the whole congregation and the host families that opened their homes to us. We always felt welcomed and in family...
Blessings for all the work you do and the time you gave us.
The Jiñocuao Committee of TPPC has received a Christmas letter from the community in Jiñocuao which talks about their harvest and life as a community. This letter (PDF) can be accessed from our website. The first page is an English translation; the original Spanish is on the second page.
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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