Over the years, I’ve heard the words service and servant misused so frequently that I’m convinced few people actually know what those words mean. I believe, however, that I do know their true meaning but only because of people like my friends David and Tamara Price. David and Tamara are two of the most extraordinary, selfless people I’ve ever met. They have literally given their lives over to the service of others in every possible way.
I first met them over thirteen years ago when I ran the security program at our church. They stood out because of their many beautiful children. They were foster parents at the time and have spent 20 years fostering countless babies, children and teenagers in addition to raising 3 biological and 6 adopted children.
I got to know them better when they helped us out on two different occasions. One when David finished our basement and the other when they helped us with a family member who was suffering from addiction. In addition to fostering, they frequently took in and counseled adults with substance abuse problems.
During those times, I learned of many of their personal struggles. I won’t get into the specifics but will say that they have overcome more than their fair share of hardships….which is why it was all the more amazing to me when they decided to become missionaries in Nicaragua.
I love these people more than words and always get excited when telling others about them. So, I asked them for permission to share some of their story in their own words. I hope you will read it and be as inspired by them as I am. They are not very comfortable asking for help, but if you feel led to take action to support their mission work, I know they will be extremely appreciative. You can also follow their story on Facebook here.
In 2004, I (Tamara) began taking a medical team each summer to hold clinics in remote areas of Nicaragua. A year before our permanent move, we drove over an hour outside of town to the village of Paraiso, a very poor community that was built after the mudslides and devastation of hurricane Mitch in 1998.
We were to be there for one day, doing two clinic sessions, morning and afternoon. We set up the clinic in their school building. We had no electricity or running water but still managed to see a multitude of patients and fill their prescriptions. While there, during our break for lunch, I left the crowd and went to the front of the community and began to “prayer walk” a nice, flat piece of land and asked God to bring a church to this place and its people who so desperately needed Him.
That was that. I thought it was the one and only time we would be in that area but God gave the word for us to move in 2009. We obeyed (without a support network in place!) We knew the vision He had given us to build a church that would be the center of a community, where all things came through and out of the church.
In the summer of 2010, my same group of friends (medical team) came again and asked if we could go back to that remote village again. I put that plan in place. We went and God spoke to us….this was where we would build a church. With donations from 3 churches, the building was finished in 2011. In 2013, we built a small 2nd building for Sunday school for the children.
I had no idea when God had me pray for a church there that we would be the ones to build it. We have seen His hand in so many things like that.
There are approximately 400 people who live in Paraiso. Their average income is $2 per day and things that we might deem as necessities back home are considered luxury items (like shampoo). Many still live in thatch hut houses. Everyone still uses an outhouse and an outdoor shower. Some houses now have pipes for running water BUT there is only water every other day for 5 hours from 5 am to 10 am. We have lots of challenges but a beautiful existence, living from the hand of God. He is their first resource, not the last.
In our home, we have our precious girls, Mila and Tamarita. Mila and Tamarita are sisters. Their mother, Lucia had renal disease which eventually resulted in her death last year. She entrusted us with her girls and we love them like our own. Only God knows and holds the future and we must place our trust in Him.
Mila has just finished her second year at a small Christian preschool. She enjoyed going each day and it was a wonderful experience to be around many other children. Her personal aide, Doris Barcena, helped her participate by guiding her in many of the activities. Now that Mila is 7, we are looking for her next educational opportunity. Having a special needs child in a country with extreme lack of resources, is difficult. Pray with us as we seek out the best place.
Mila is learning more and speaking more, which is wonderful. A year ago we bought her a Kindle Fire tablet for children. It is amazing to see her operate it, flipping through the videos to select what she wants! She understands both Spanish and English but speaks mostly English. Please join us in our continual prayer that God restore and make new pathways in her brain that were destroyed by seizures when she was a baby. He is able and we have seen many prayers accomplished!
Tamarita is two years old. She is a bundle of joy and keeps us on our toes! She loves to play in our interior garden and her very best friend is our dog, Tank. This tiny child that came to us at 3.5 pounds is doing well. Doctors believe there could be a genetic abnormality due to her small size and physical appearance but to us, she is perfect and a miracle. At 2 years old, she has recently grown into a size 6 month clothing. Dynamite comes in small packages!
As our 7th year of service comes to an end, we look back and see all the things God has done in the community of El Paraiso. Words cannot express the joy we have, seeing many prayers answered that we have prayed in faith for years.
One prayer in particular has been to see a deeper desire for the things of God in our youth group. We began with a handful of teens, curious to see what we were doing. The number has grown to around 30 very faithful young people who are hungry to know Truth and have asked for more time in the Word. They come with a list of questions, so much that we have had to set topics for each session to be able to stay on track! Our normal youth service is on Friday nights but we have now started an additional time in the Word for them on Wednesday, two hours before weekly prayer meeting.
We realize that these young people are the future of Paraiso and will influence those that are coming along after them. The Holy Spirit is at work and we are blessed to be here to witness it.
This year has brought many other changes. Our ministry days and times are:
Sunday: Church service for adults and youth, and Sunday School for all the children
Tuesday: Sports ministry to reach the men (baseball) led by our pastor, Yeral Hernandez. He begins with a devotion and prayer.
Manos Creativas (Creative hands) class, which teaches sewing, crochet, macramé, etc.
This class helps the women learn skills and make things to sell and support their families. We have a time of devotion and prayer at the beginning.
Wednesday: New Bible discussion with the youth and then our weekly Prayer meeting service for the adults.
Thursday: Creative Hands class and afterwards, Discipleship training for adults and youth. Numbers are growing in this area, as well.
Friday: Youth group service. This is led by Pastor Yeral and his lovely wife, Karla. They are the dynamic duo and spend a lot of time preparing games and thought provoking lessons for this group.
Another way we are called to meet needs in Paraiso, is to provide vitamins and anti-parasite medication to the children every 6 months. Anemia and parasites are a continual problem due to the extreme poverty. We also purchase medications for those who cannot afford them.
Our long term goals include bringing jobs and businesses to Paraiso. One thing is a small panaderia (bakery). No one in the community has a stove, so everyone cooks over an open fire outside. If they want bread, they must make a two hour bus trip to Leon. We want to build a stone oven and teach skills and simple business principals to operate it.
We also want to put in a ferreteria (little hardware store). No matter what the need is, people have to go on that same bus to Leon to get the simplest of things such as nails, screws, rope, etc. We see the need and believe that God will meet it.
Our sewing classes have really helped to make a difference in several families. The income is not consistent right now but I believe that God will provide an outlet for the girls’ goods. We need to be able to provide more materials and add a teacher. Most of the women are single with children to raise.
We want to personally thank those who have sown financially into this ministry. We know that our Father will bless each of you for being obedient to His call to do so. Praising God for the growth He has given and trusting Him to provide exactly what we need each day.
“God can pour on the blessings in astonishing ways so that you’re ready for anything and everything, more than just ready to do what needs to be done.”
2 Corinthians 9:8
Our operating budget (ministry and living expenses) is just below $35,000 per year. We are in need of more financial partners that will commit to giving monthly. Please prayerfully consider joining us in this ministry to a remote community in Nicaragua. Come and see what God is up to for yourself! You will be blessed!
With love and appreciation,
David and Tamara Price
Donations can be mailed to:
Jesus Centered Ministries El Paraiso project
P O Box 7111
Knoxville, TN 37921