In Search of a Bigger World

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Sometimes a short-term mission trip is just a beginning. At least, that’s what it was for Carol Van Klompenburg.

In 2008, a team leader asked members of a 2008 service and learning team to the Nehemiah Center in Nicaragua what each of them was seeking from the trip. Carol answered, “A bigger world—mine is too small.”

Over the next 10 days, as her church team from Faith Christian Reformed Church (Pella, Iowa) worked and watched, talked and listened, her middle-class North American world was stretched beyond her expectations.

At the trip’s end, she and her husband Marlo knew they wanted to return, perhaps a month every year in their upcoming retirement. On those return trips, as Carol continued to explore this bigger world, listening amazed to stories of transformation, she took notes and snapshots. As a writing professional, she responded to a nudge to convert these into a book.

The stories she heard—and her own personal story—are included in the book, On Mended Wings: Transforming Lives and Communities in Nicaragua, to be released on November 1. The book invites readers to step into a larger world along with Carol and to meet people whose lives have been transformed by God through the work of the Nehemiah Center.

Ever since its inception in 2000, the Nehemiah Center has been an interdenominational collaboration with a core value of harnessing the power of a biblical worldview for the transformation of people and communities. Christian Reformed agencies Christian Reformed World Missions and World Renew collaborate with others, including  EduDeo, Partners Worldwide, and Worldwide Christian Schools.

On Mended Wings tells stories of transformed Nicaraguans who now work in their communities to ease poverty and birth hope.

  • Lourdes Rivas, an uneducated pastor’s wife forced to make her home behind a curtain inside the church building, has now completed a psychology degree and provides marital training to couples.
  • Daniel Aragón, once a leader in the Sandinista army and a drug addict, is now revitalizing Christian education in Nicaragua.
  • After the death of their infant daughter, Daniel Boniche left his wife, his family, his faith in God. He has returned to all three, and is now a church pastor and director of the Nehemiah Center.
  • The 85 families in El Ojoche were consumed by garbage, disagreement, disease, malnutrition, and death. A decade later they have garbage-free streets, raise vegetables in patio gardens, and have minimized preventable disease.

The book also includes stories of the North American visitors to Nicaragua who, like Carol, have come to recognize their own poverty—lives governed by materialism and selfishness.

Carol, who has written six previous nonfiction books, says with a sense of wonder, “When Nicaraguans see that God is God of all, something HAPPENS. Their lives are changed. I have learned much from them, and I feel as if I have just begun.

“My dream is that readers of On Mended Wings will learn from them as well.”

A 204-page combination of stories, information, photos, and Carol’s journal entries, On Mended Wings retails for $14.99, plus shipping. A royalty for each book purchase goes to support the work of the Nehemiah Center.

The book can be ordered at: this link.The official release date is November 1, but pre-release copies are already available at this URL.

For some people, a bigger world might grow from a short-term mission trip. For others, it just might be launched by this new book.

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