Our church in Santa Matilde is the second most developed. We have been serving here since 2007, thanks in large part to a congregation in Huntersville, NC. The church name is Fuente de Aqua Viva (Fountain of Living Water). It has nearly 100 active members made up of roughly: 80 children, 10 youth, and 10 adults. Services, womens’ bible studies, English classes and other activities make up a typical five-day week. The church property has two properties: one for church activities, and the other for planting and harvesting.
Domingo Dolmos- elder
Domingo de la Concepción Dolmos Cruz is an elder at Iglesia Agua Viva in Santa Maltide. He also helps out in the garden in Santa Matilde and runs the church service when Pastor Walter cannot be there.
Doming is married to Brijida Isabel Membreño Campos, who is also an active member of the church. Together they have one son, Domingo Jose Dolmos Membreño.
Domingo started following Christ a number of years ago when a potentially fatal situation left him crying out for God to save his life. The Lord protected him and Domingo has been living his life to glorify Him ever since. He says being at the church and working with Pastor Walter has significantly improved his walk with God and encouraged him in so many ways.
Domingo is a much loved member of our New Song family and is so good at exhorting any person that is in his life. He encourages them that God provides everything that we need and when we listen to Him and live a life devoted to our Savior, we will be richly rewarded with blessings in heaven.
This dance class is for all age that want to participate, but the average ages are between 4 and 18 years old. There are regularly 28 participants in this class. Jovanny Rodriguez teaches this class as dance has grown, in him, into one of his biggest passions and a way to glorify the Lord. He says, “Dance is a form of expression, an art, that allows you to say and express with movements in full freedom what you feel. Teaching this class has attracted me again to what my passions are.” This is a time to teach and instill a better direction for their lives and they are taught how to express themselves. The kids are encouraged and do explore their emotions. The vision for this class is to begin with performing dances for the church and then expanding into a ministry for the whole community.
An English class was started because of a need in the community for extra help for students. Many children in school needed tutoring and specific instruction for their English classes in school. At any point there are between 8 and 23 students in the class. There is no other program like this in the Santa Matilde community where students can come and learn basic English building and supporting the foundation they learn in schools. This is a more direct, student by student based class than their normal classroom. Students do better in their English classes in school when they supplement their regular school with these extra classes. Jovanny Rodriguez is a youth in the Candelaria church who speaks very good conversational English. He loves teaching and working with kids and youth. Instead of the American staff simply coming in and running a class, Jovanny is being empowered to really take control of the class.
Ervin Antonio Arroyo Garcia is one of the garden workers for the Santa Matilde church.
He is married to Derma del Socorro Balladares Alvarado. They have 4 children – Jayson Antonio, Britney del Socorro, Natalie Jaoscar, Lisa Margarita.
Ervin has been working for New Song for over a year assisting Pastor Walter in Agua Viva, the Santa Matilde church plant. The more he works in that church, the more his relationships with the community there gain reliance and dependency on his servant’s heart. Whatever thing that needs to be done, big or small, Ervin gets the job done with a joyful spirit.
Ervin says that since he rejoined the Christian faith 6 years ago, he has really enjoyed growing in the Lord and having Bible studies with other Christians to learn more about God and be in the presence of other believers. Ervin dreams to see the Santa Matilde church continue to grow, and himself alongside it, in the future.
In Santa Matilde, New Song staff offers tutoring for any child. Any child can come for the once a week tutoring and homework help sessions. We provide kids with the materials they need to complete assignments as well as encouraging them to do their best in school. For many students, this is a time of empowerment and growth in their academic studies.
In all four communities, New Song staff offers tutoring for any child. In Santa Matilde we host grade level classes once a week in English, reading, and math as well as homework help. Children in Nuevo Amanecer and Candelaria are able to come to individual tutoring sessions for help in their classes. We also have community English classes in Santa Matilde, Nuevo Amanecer, and La Isla. The purpose of these classes and tutoring sessions is to support students in the sponsorship program and to empower all children to succeed in school.
Our Sunday program in Santa Matilde generally serves between 50-60 children ages 3-15; however, the second Sunday of every month we feed children in the community in conjunction with our Sunday school program. On these Sundays our numbers generally double and we have around 110 children.
We are walking through the entire story of Jesus through The Jesus Storybook Bible. Pastor Walther Varela says, “We have a wonderful group of dedicated teachers.” The children are divided into age/gender based classes with girls 3-6 taught by Isabel, girls, 7-12, boys 3-12 taught by Domingo, and all children 13 and older taught by Pastor Walther. Pastor Walther says, “I think it’s important to separate the older ones. I want to teach them how to teach the younger kids. We also desire to train and empower them to take part in the church services.” We want to teach the older children to be role models for the younger children.
Whispers can be heard throughout the village of Santa Matilde when 70-year-old Secundina walks down the streets of the village on her way to the bus station. They’re often the same whispers that can be heard when 61-year-old Maria walks around the village. Both of their stories and situations, along with most of the women in Santa Matilde, are far too familiar.
Since Secundina’s husband died of kidney failure over ten years ago, neighbors began saying she was crazy. Though the gossip and whispers aren’t entirely justified, over the years Secundina has given them reasons to believe it. After all, Secundina has struggled with depression and Diabetes for a long time. Maria’s husband died of kidney failure six years ago. Her emotional well-being wasn’t as turbulent as Secundina, but her husband’s death left her with seven troubled children.
While walking to the bus station, Secundina often has her granddaughter with her. Though she enjoys the company of 10-year-old Veronica, but she has other reasons to bring her along as well. On most days, Secundina begs for money at the bus station, but that doesn’t work nearly as good as when she can persuade Veronica to sing for those waiting to depart on the buses. Secundina works, too, when she can, but even with the begging and the singing and working there are many nights her and her granddaughter have no food on the table.
Two of Maria’s children are doing well. They live in Managua and are working. The other five are either deep into drugs or are alcoholics. There was another – a fifth son – but she doesn’t speak of him often. He was an alcoholic, too, but one day he stumbled into a river drunk and was taken under. He was already gone when they found him. Despite Maria’s other troubles, she finds her sons to be the most difficult one. They often steal from her – a few months ago one son stole her television.
Secundina receives little help from any of her six daughters either. Two of them are prostitutes and three live in Managua. She rarely hears from them. The other daughter, Roxanna, the mother of her granddaughter Veronica, is pregnant again, although she decided to give Veronica up many years ago. Along with her boyfriend, Roxanna often takes advantage of the few things Secundina does have. Secundina, Veronica and Roxanna have many times all slept in the same bed, while Roxana’s boyfriend slept in the hammock.
When a stateside church built Secundina a new house, one villager speculated that without their help, she may have been forced to abandon Veronica, or even sell her into prostitution, a seemingly impossible reality for impoverished and broken Nicaraguans. Now, Secundina is able to raise Veronica in a proper house, without sleeping three to a bed. Independence Hill Baptist Church built a new house for Maria as well. She was built a brick house – a secure house, one that will prevent men from stealing from her. They are both so thankful for their house, and they are now attending a weekly women’s group held by the church in Santa Matilde.
The church is continuing to work with Secundina to bring physical and spiritual healing to her life.