SIFT Insight – Summer 2018

In the Summer 2018 issue:
Food for body and soulSIFT SundayA message from Mark Catley

Food for body and soul

Food and drink are an essential part of human life. Sadly not everyone has a good diet or access to a healthy way of cooking.  Two of SIFT’s projects aim to meet these needs.

Over fifteen years ago Julita Alemán realised that children living on the island of Ometepe had a poor diet and lacked many of the vitamins they needed to become healthy adults. This realisation led her to start a feeding programme to enable children living in her village to have a more balanced diet.

Children queuing to receive their glass of high-vitamin milkToday, due to Julita’s advancing age, the programme is run by a team of local Christians although it still meets at her home. Around 45 children attend the twice weekly sessions, on Monday and Friday afternoons. Each time the programme begins with the children singing songs; they particularly enjoy the ones with actions; and listening to a Bible story. At the end of both afternoons they are given a glass of high-vitamin milk and on Friday afternoons they also enjoy a nutritious hot meal. At the start and end of each year the team holds a party for the children where they play games.

Children singing an action songWhilst the children are enjoying their activities Manuel holds a Bible study for their mothers, some of whom attended the feeding programme when they were children. This enables the team to share the Gospel with both the mothers and their children.

SIFT supports the feeding programme by providing funds so that the team can buy enough high-vitamin milk and food for the children.

Using an open wood fire is the traditional way of cooking in Nicaragua and many families on Ometepe still cook this way as they cannot afford an electric or gas stove. Unfortunately this fills their homes with smoke and leads to an increased incidence of respiratory disease. This method of cooking also uses a lot of wood and so is either expensive to run or time consuming for those who collect their wood from nearby trees.

SIFT has been able to source cookers which reduce the risk of respiratory disease by removing harmful smoke from families’ homes through a chimney. These cookers also use less wood than traditional methods of cooking and so free up time and money to be used for other purposes.

We work in conjunction with local communities to select the families who would most benefit from receiving one of these cookers. Each recipient family is taught how to use their new cooker and after a few months they also receive a follow-up so that we can ensure they are getting the most out of it. So far we have been able to provide 48 families with new, healthier cookers.

Traditional wood stove with lots of smoke

From a smoke-filled house…

Woman with her new cooker

…to a healthy kitchen and home

How you can help

General donations to SIFT enable us to fund projects such as these as well as allowing us to respond to needs as they arise and to cover our administrative costs. If you would like to make a general donation to SIFT, either on a one-off or regular basis, please either send a cheque to the SIFT office or donate online. Thank you!

Also in this issue: SIFT SundayA message from Mark Catley

SIFT Sunday

It is always encouraging to look back and see what we have been able to achieve in Nicaragua with God’s help and faithfulness. Over the last 15 years SIFT has been able to help the poor of Nicaragua in practical and spiritual ways.

Our medical team has given over 41,000 consultations to patients on the island of Ometepe and provided them with free medicines. We have enabled 425 children to get the benefits of a good education and partnered with the Hogar de Fe Orphanage as they have cared for 245 children. We have enabled 86 young women to attend Casa Rahab and take the first steps to break free from prostitution.

SIFT Sunday on 29th April was a fantastic opportunity for us to celebrate all of our achievements and to raise funds for our ongoing work. Some churches held special services during which they watched videos and presentations about SIFT and had the opportunity to pray for our ongoing work and the people of Nicaragua. Other churches had the chance to enjoy a traditional Nicaraguan meal of rice and beans.

Thank you to everyone who held a special church service or event to celebrate SIFT Sunday and helped us to raise over £1,200.

Meal at Crossroad Christian Fellowship, Seaton SIFT stand at Milnsbridge Baptist Church Meal at Stroud Baptist Church

Also in this issue: Food for body and soulA message from Mark Catley

A message from Mark Catley

Mark CatleyI write as your new Chair of Trustees to say a very big ‘thank you’ for your generous financial support over many years, your wonderfully faithful prayer support and, to those who have recently taken on the role of Voice for SIFT, that I consider this an extremely important role. I would also like to thank everyone involved in giving physical support, be that sponsored bike rides, car washes, supporter visits to Nicaragua, sponsored walks and a whole host of other initiatives that give SIFT the ability to ‘go the extra mile’.

I have been a Trustee of SIFT since its inception as a tiny minnow of a charity in 2002, when Dick Bell was our Executive Director. I have seen many changes in directors, trustees and chairs of trustees over that period. What I have not seen is any change in the passion to help the needy people of Nicaragua, many of whom are on society’s edge.

Having been to Nicaragua several times makes the tremendous effort of all of SIFT’s supporters very much more real. We are seeing lives transformed, be that at health clinics on the island of Ometepe with the help of our nurses under the guidance of Dr Sandra, or encouraging young people’s education at schools in Bluefields under the careful monitoring of our volunteer, Margaret Storey. Also the work in partnership with the Hogar de Fe Orphanage in Los Brasiles and at Casa Rahab in Granada are similarly giving hope to young people.

I am very keen to see houses built on the Asese peninsula this year to house people who are under threat of eviction with minimal compensation. We are working very closely with the Granada authorities to make this happen.

If you want to get more involved, as a supporter, as a Voice for SIFT or as a potential trustee please contact Ali Wilson for details.

Please keep praying for this vital work. SIFT is a small charity with a very big heart.

Every blessing,

Also in this issue: Food for body and soulSIFT Sunday