The Kellys

The Kellys
Welcome to the Nica Kelly blog! Keep up to date with school "Colegio Cristiano Manto de Gracia" in Nueva Guinea, Nicaragua.

Sunday, December 4, 2011

Manto de Gracia's first preschool graduation

Yesterday, December 3rd, we had our first preschool graduation at Manto de Gracia in Nueva Guinea. It went really well and we had nice weather for our walk to the school (see video). The custom is that the boys are accompanied by a female relative (mom, sister, aunt, grandma, etc.), and the girls by a male relative. The kids are now on vacation until next February. Next year we plan to add 3rd grade and possibly an extra first grade class depending on the registration in January.

Wednesday, November 23, 2011

I'm on to second grade

Today was the last official day of school - kids had their parties and got their report cards. Here is Jenifer "feliz de la vida" because she got good grades and is going to second grade.

Tuesday, November 15, 2011

Shoe shine boys

  As many of you know, we have over time ministered to the local shoe shine boys. The most creative ministry was done by Jim Lugar and a group from his church when they washed their feet.
  Passing through the town of Juigalpa, Barb and I saw a statue in the central park honoring the shoe shine boys as honorable workers. In the case of Juigalpa, this one eventually became the Mayor. We appreciate your prayers for all the young men and women looking to find their way in the world down here.

If you don't get our newsletter, check out the latest at newsletter

Thursday, November 3, 2011

"Four Gospels" Traffic Circle

Nueva Guinea may be small, but we do have something that qualifies as a "rotunda", or a traffic circle. It has been decorated and named "The 4 gospels Rotunda", and each entrance to the circle is named after one of the gospels. Well, I was teaching a Bible study and asked why there were four gospels, and one of the kids said "Because there are 4 streets that go into the rotonda".

If you don't get our newsletter, check out the latest at newsletter

Our groundskeeper learns English

English language t-shirts have a way of showing up in Nicaragua (often from groups that visit). When our groundskeeper, Joel, showed up with this shirt I said to myself "at least he's not teaching English grammar".

If you don't get our newsletter, check out the latest at newsletter

Friday, October 28, 2011


In Spanish, a "tocayo" is someone who has the same name as someone else. Pictured with me is "Roberto", my tocayo from kindergarten.

Check out our latest newsletter at newsletter

Sunday, October 16, 2011

Christ For The Nations

   Barb and I studied at Christ for the Nations Institute in Dallas during the mid 80s mostly because of it's emphasis and teachings on missions.
   Recently, in my visit to Texas, we were able to attend a breakfast for the "Fellowship of Ministers and Churches", the group that I have ministerial credentials with. It was refreshing to return to another place where we have spiritual roots - especially in the areas of worship and aggressive prayer.

Spiritual Roots

   I just spent a week in Texas. The primary reason was to attend board meetings for Church Ministries International (about which I will blog later) and Perrin Ministries. I also had a chance to go to a ministers breakfast at Christ for the Nations, where I graduated many years ago.
   One of the blessings was to be able to be in church at Manto de Gracia in Plano, where we have our roots. I always enjoy worshiping here. Sorry about the quality of the visuals, but it was with my phone. A short clip of the worship group singing "Te Doy Gloria". Worship

Saturday, October 8, 2011

The Bridge to Life

One of the illustrations that helped me come to Christ was the "Bridge to Life" popularized by the Navigators. In this photo Olman is trying to explain salvation by drawing the bridge. We want the kids to come to Christ and to be able to share their faith.

If you don't get our newsletter, check out the latest at newsletter

Saturday, October 1, 2011

Campaign 2011

In November, 2011, Nicaragua will have presidential elections. Daniel Ortega, the current Sandinista president, is running again even though the constitution prohibits someone from being president 2 consecutive terms. But no one seems to be able to stop him. His main competition is Fabio Gadea, famous in Nicaragua as the creator of a hilarious radio drama called "Pancho Madrigal". It will be an interesting month. This picture is taken from our front porch of a caravan of vehicles leaving for Juigalpa to hear Ortega speak.

Saturday, September 24, 2011

Day of the Bible

Last Sunday, we celebrated the day of the Bible in Nicaragua - the 442nd anniversary of the translation of the Bible from the original languages to Spanish. There were special services and, of course, a parade. Check out the picture of all the pastors with their new hats - they were hats left over from the Grace Outreach Center annual golf tournament sent to us courtesy of Tom Pfeil. The president of the pastor's council had each hat stenciled - one side with the name of the pastor's committee and the other side with the pastor's name.

If you don't get our newsletter, check out the latest at newsletter

Tuesday, September 20, 2011

Songs in English

As we teach regular kids songs in the Bible lessons, we are attempting to use the same songs to teach them English. Check out the video of some of the kids(rather poorly made - cutting off some heads) to see if you recognize the song. If not, we will need to look for a better English teacher.

New song

Check out our latest newsletter if you don't get it newsletter

Monday, September 19, 2011

The new improved bridge is under way!

Many of you probably remember (from an earlier post) the bridge we put together with two tree trunks and some scrap wood nailed on top. It has served it's purpose, but thanks to a donation from the City of Nueva Guinea, some money from the parent's group, and from you all, we are building a newer bridge. We had to physically move the old one to start the new one. In this picture you can see both. Will post pics when it's completed.

You can see our latest newsletter at newsletter

Thursday, September 15, 2011

Independence Day Parade

Every February 14th and 15th, there are many Independence Day celebrations in Nicaragua. Generally all the kids from all the school parade on the 14th, and the bands on the 15th. Because our kids are to small to parade (have to be 4th grade and up), we instead, made an independence day "float" to parade on the 15th. It is basically my pickup decorated to the hilt and three little girls on the back dressed in typical dress. It was fun. By the way, the green flag on the hood is our school flag.

Check out a short video Manto float

Monday, September 5, 2011

                           El Mes de la Patria

  All of Central America celebrates September 15th as their Independence Day, the day they declared their independence from Spain.
  In all the schools, the whole month of September is the "Month of the homeland" and it started today as all the kids hung flags all over the school property.

Sunday, September 4, 2011

God at work!

  Joel Jirón has been part of our team from construcion days - as a groundskeeper (6 acres of heavy foliage) and a night watchman. He has, however, had a challenged life in his personal relationships. He has a daughter with one woman and was living with another and her son, as well as a daughter of both of theirs.
  A couple of months ago, he, and his live in both came to Christ, and today, we had the priveledge of doing their wedding in their very simple home.

God is so good!

You can see our latest newsletter at newsletter

Tuesday, August 23, 2011

Building again!

This week we started a new construction phase - 3 new classrooms and a computer lab. We had hoped to wait until next year, but when we had to open up 2 first grade classes, we ran out of space. Here the groundbreaking is shown. I will keep you up on the developments.

You can see our latest newsletter at newsletter

Tuesday, August 16, 2011

Mini missions project

A lot of what happens in our school is a result of planning and work in the USA, from big projects to little. This month, my granddaughter Arwyn helped Barb doing the legwork so that the kids could make their own customized crayon cases. Pictured here is Arwyn in the preparation stage and some of the pre-school kids doing the project. We appreciate all of you who are involved with us.

Sunday, July 24, 2011

Creative ministry to shoeshine boys

Today, Saturday the 23rd, the missionary group from Life Journey church ministered in a unique way to the local shoeshine boys. Pastor Jim Lugar explained how Jesus came to serve, not to be served and how when we serve, we portray that side of Jesus. He them asked them to let the group wash their feet, which is very awkward for them, but they did it and the Spirit really met them. It was definitely very cool.

You can see our latest newsletter at newsletter

Saturday, July 23, 2011

Sharing in the Barrio

This week, a group of kids (and a few adults) from Life Journey Church in Prosper, TX, were with us sharing both the Lord and basic provisions in the barrio in which we live (Zona 8 of Nueva Guinea). They visited over 100 houses leaving a package of basic provisions (rice, beans, oil, salt, sugar, soap, crackers, and of course, coffee). They prayed for each home and also shared the gospel with them.

Wednesday, July 13, 2011

Planting palm trees

Yesterday, the city of Nueva Guinea donated to our school 100 "palmera" seedlings, along with some papaya, jamiaca, and other trees. They have a nursery by the river and wanted to help us with the property we have. We plan to line the road and walkways with the palm trees, and plant the madroño (national tree of Nicaragua) in a central place. In the truck with the trees is "Rodivito", the son of our principal.

Sunday, July 10, 2011

Baby "Belén"

Today, July 10 (which happens to be my birthday), one of our first grade teachers, Cruz Urbina, had her baby. She named her "Belén", which is a beautiful girl's name, but translates to "Bethlehem". When I was in high school, for me Belén (New Mexico) was just a sports rival. She is on maternity leave for 2 months and we really look forward to her return.

Tuesday, June 28, 2011

Father's Day

  In most of Nicaragua, Mother's day is a really big deal - lots of celebrations and a lot of money spent. Father's day, however, is another story - there's a day, but it's merely a blip.
  We decided that at Manto de Gracia we would make it a big deal. On the actual day, June 23rd, we did a "perifoneo" - a pick up truck with loud speakers driving around the barrio wishing well to all the fathers and encouraging them. And then on Saturday, we had a dinner on our basketball court along with each of the classes making a presentation. I explained to our parents (in a poorly attended planning meeting) that it is not just about current fathers, who may not be responsible, but about the future - we want our little boys to grow up to be excellent fathers!

Sunday, June 19, 2011

Adult classes

As well as having the school for kids, we wanted to offer adult education. About a month ago, we started Tuesday night classes - 6pm Bible study and 7pm English class. In the future, if things go well, we hope to add adult literacy classes. Appreciate you prayers. Still looking for those long term missionaries to be part of the team!

Thursday, June 9, 2011

You do the hokey pokey

    So, how do you teach left, right, in, out, up, down, to kids that really don't even handle the concepts in Spanish? You teach them the hokey pokey! Check out the second graders with their first attempt. HokeyPokey
    By the way, our adult education classes are going well. We have about 10 come out for the Bible study (4 have received the Lord), and about 30 for English. The adults will soon learn the hokey pokey too!

Wednesday, June 8, 2011

Environmental Awareness Competition

This week we were introduced to the various competitions that happen in town. Even though we don't even have a full grade school, we decided to enter the annual "Envirnomental awareness competition". It involved making a mural with environmental themes and have a student explain it to a panel of 9 judges that were from various governmental agencies, including the Ministry of Education, The Nicaraguan version of the EPA, the Ministry of Health, The Sandinista youth movement, and the local mayor's office (tax money at work). Our first grader, Magdiel, impressed the judges with his knowledge (we had prepped him, but he's pretty sharp and handled himself well in front of the judges). Turns out, that our presentation won the Nueva Guinea prize. I hope we are that good when we have a high school basketball team.If you have a few minutes, you can see our teacher Rosa receive the award with the young man. Eco award

Saturday, June 4, 2011

They do it even here!

As the new kids on the local school block, we are now invited to participate in various competitions. This last Saturday, Elia, a 5 year old from our pre-school, participated in a folklore dance competition. She didn't win, but for a 5 year old, was very composed and did a good job. If you have time, check out the video Elia dance

Profesora Maura

Friday, June 3rd, our second grade teacher Maura Reyes, graduated from the local Christian university with a degree in public accounting. Needless to say, we are all proud of her. She is continuing her studies in the education area. At graduations, the graduates always march from the central park to the site of the ceremony. Check out the video Maura walking

Friday, May 27, 2011

El Día de la Madre

In Nicaragua, Mother's Day is May 30th. Since that is a national holiday - no school - we celebrated Mother's day on Thursday. Each class did some kind of presentation - maybe a poem, a song, or even a dance. After the presentations, the mothers were served a nice meal. I'm including links to a few videos of the kids - one of the pre school Kinder and a folkloric dance by the second graders Second.
  The same day, in the evening, we started some adult education classes. The first hour was dealing with the Christian family and about 15 people came out. The second hour was basic English, with about 30 attending. When there is more help, we plan to have basic literacy classes as well as other Bible studies. As always, we appreciate your prayers.

Monday, May 16, 2011

La profesora Barbara is back

Barb is back in Nueva Guinea for a week, and at recess all the kids wanted to talk to her. By the way, the basketball rims are up and all the people who said they weren't interested in basketball are out shooting hoops. Go Mavs!

Tuesday, May 10, 2011

School breakfast

This week, thanks to many of you all, we started a program of giving the kids a glass of milk, a piece of cheese bread, and a vitamin before school. We gave them each a cup and they have to keep it clean and be responsible to bring it each day. These kids are just kids, although in a different economic circumstance, and we pray that they will grow to be productive adults in Nicaragua and in the kingdom of God.

Sunday, May 8, 2011

Red es rojo....

Teaching English to small children is a real kick. One thing my wife told me was to use songs at every chance. Wanted you all to hear one of our first graders with his "color song". He did, in fact, win a prize for being the first in his classroom to sing it correctly. Check it out Colors

Tuesday, April 12, 2011


Behind our building is a small piece of land that we want to keep kids out of because it goes down to a creek, which is always trouble for kids. The teachers came up with the idea of making 4 small plots - one for each class. Each child brought something to plant and it's fun to watch them come early each day to water their plants. Pictured are a few of the kids from second grade.

And for fun, I'm including a link to a video of the second graders singing a song I made up to help them learn their colors in English. Red es Rojo

Saturday, April 9, 2011

Why haven't you been in school?

Like most schools, we have students who, for a variety of reasons, miss more school than they should. In this very poor area, the reasons vary from "My mom makes me sell because we don't have any money" to "I don't have shoes". The difficulty is finding out and trying to rectify situations.

In this case, Mercedes (left - 13 year old in 2nd grade) and her sister Katherine (10 and in first grade), and their kindergarten sister had not been in school for a week. Well, you can't really send an email or call, and after several trips to the home (pictured with our second grade teacher Maura), we found out that they don't have shoes.

Simple solutions - we got them some shoes and they should be back.

Appreciate your prayers. May God richly bless you.

Friday, April 8, 2011

Parent involvement

Even in a very poor community, parent involvement is crucial for a child's education. Tonight we had a parent's meeting with parents of 50 of our 80 students attending - not as much as we want, but better than expected. We did regular announcements, a teaching on parenting kids at different stages of their development, and then we elected our first parent committee (pictured here), to help oversee activities.

Last week we also sent home with the kids a questionnaire to see if the parents would be interested in adult education. We gave them 4 options, and their responses indicated the following priorities: 1) Family classes 2) English 3) Bible classes 4) Literacy. In mid-May, we will do a trial 3 night series on basic Bible principles of marriage and family. If that is successful, we will continue with the other areas.

We pray that God richly bless you all in every way.

Wednesday, March 30, 2011

Mira la hormiguita - the process of education

As a non teacher in a teaching role, I am learning the process of consistently working with kids. Years ago, Barb and I in Managua, feeling frustrated with just doing children's evangelistic programs without the opportunity to follow them up, began a 3 year odyssey into teaching Bible in public schools.
  Today, at Manto de Gracia school, I did a lesson from Proverbs about the ant and how we learn wisdom from it. He has no overseer but works diligently. The little kids, in spite of being hyperactive like all little kids, grasped a principle from the Word, and as we know, it's little by little.
  An advantage of being where we are, it was a short walk to take the kids to see ants working.

Monday, February 28, 2011

36th Anniversary of the founding of Nueva Guinea

   We have begun a week long celebration of the founding of Nueva Guinea. It started off with the local horsemen and their parade, will include a couple of days off school, and culminates on the 5th with another parade.
   Nueva Guinea was founded in 1965 by 17 people (from Somoto and Diriamba), who came based on a type of land grant to establish themselves here in the jungle - thereby the name. They said this jungle was like Africa, and thereby, from Equatorial Guinea, declared this to be "Nueva Guinea".
   The schools are encouraged to do special activities and one of our teachers arranged for a founder to speak to the kids about what it was like to move to the jungle. Victor Ríos told the kids his story, and later, offline, sang a song for us about this event. I recorded it on my camera, and the background noise you hear is a big downpour, but you get the idea (especially if you speak Spanish). Victor canta

Sunday, February 20, 2011

Election year politics

Ahhh politics. You think things are complicated in the USA, and they are, it's even more so in this country that is one fifth the size of Texas. Yesterday, the Sandinistas were in town with their big rally, and today, an aliance of smaller parties, and soon the Liberals will be in town with their candidate. Daniel Ortega is trying to run for president again, although it violates the constitution to be president 2 times in a row. Not to worry, he got a judge to declare that part of the constitution unconstitutional. And the main opposition party is going to run Arnoldo Alemán, who has been president before, but was put in jail after his presidency for stealing the country blind. But fortunately he got out of jail in time to run for president, and yes, get the support of many people. The main parties are the Sandinistas, the Liberals, the Conservatives, the Nicaraguan Resistance, the "Renovated Sadinistas", and a smattering of smaller groups. And even here, while some people pay attention to the issues, each party has it's "yellow dogs". Have a great week!

Saturday, February 19, 2011

First week of classes

The Manto de Gracia Christian school had its first week of classes of the year (the school year in Nicaragua is from mid February to the end of November). We the staff as well as the students were getting used to the school, the time schedule, the classes, etc. Pictured here is the first parents meeting where we explained more clearly the vision, the people in the USA that are supporting the school, and of course the school rule book.
Pre school is from 8 to noon daily, first grade from 7 to 12:15, and second grade from 7 to 12:45. We have to extend second grade a little bit to be able to meet the education ministry requirements and still teach 2 hours weekly of English and one of Bible. My schedule, besides overseeing things, includes 11 classes weekly. But, at the end of school on Friday, it was fun to see the kids leaving and saying "Goodbye teacher".
  The police are working with us providing helping kids cross the main street, and we do seem to have community support up to now.
  We do appreciate your prayers - for us, the teachers, the parents, and the over 90 kids signed up. Shortly we will present a sort of sponsorship program to help cover monthly expenses.
  Have a great week!

Thursday, January 20, 2011

Kids everywhere

Zone 8 of Nicaragua is packed with kids. This week, with the help of my friend Carlos de la Rosa from El Salvador, we did special activities for the local shoeshine boys and for the kids of the barrio. We all know that children are the future of any country and we know that the kingdom of God is generational. God looks for people that will serve Him in their generation and raise up the next one.

I want to thank all the visionary people that are helping us here and to encourage everyone to always look for ways to raise up the next generation to serve Jesus.