Updated: Dec 16, 2022
Hope Literacy in Nicaragua is about to celebrate their one year anniversary! The story of how Idalia Flores started a Hope Literacy site in her home country and her personal story is one of a series of God-orchestrated connections and overcoming tragedy through serving. Here is Idalia's story and the story of Hope Literacy Nicaragua.
Idalia's personal story of God's sovereignty
The story of God's hand in Idalia's life started from the very moment came into this world. Idalia was born the youngest of 8 brothers and sisters. After she arrived, the midwife mistakenly washed her in what she had thought was water, but instead was alcohol, and baby Idalia caught fire. Baby Idalia had also been born with the umbilical cord wrapped around her tiny body. Despite those things, not only did Idalia survive, but grew healthy and strong, later becoming a woman devoted to God. As Idalia says, “When I was born, God had a purpose for my life. Satan tries to destroy life, but God has a plan."
Idalia accepted Christ as her Lord and Savior at just 6 years old, and as she grew, quickly became involved in serving in serving God. She started serving with the children in her church, then with the youth. Later in life she went to Central American
University to study English translation. It was there that she encountered some missionaries who had come to her university to recruit helpers for a missionary project and she began serving in evangelistic crusades as a translator and organizer for the next three years.
Connecting with Hope Literacy
A few of the missionaries that she had met though her service invited her to come to Oklahoma City to study at Heartland Bible College. There she reconnected with Jack McCoy, who would connect her with Hope Literacy years later.
Back in Nicaragua, Idalia began teaching English at the university while serving as a part-time missionary in her own country. It was in 2016 that Brother Jack McCoy, who was a board member, connected her with Hope Literacy, introducing her to Dr Wes Saade and Dr. Harry Wilson. She read Dr. Saade’s articles and God planted the seed in her heart to start an ESL Program in her home country.
In 2019, Idalia was working as a translator in a top company when the company closed it’s doors. Once again, God's hand was at work. She realized this was God's timing for her to follow the vision and calling God had given her to start an ESL program. She decided it would be necessary to build a classroom from scratch, and by God’s sovereignty her job's severance pay and help from Hope Literacy allowed for her to start building. Her severance pay also covered medical expenses for her mother, who had fallen ill at that time.
Healing through Serving
Hope Literacy started in January of 2021. Serving the students through ESL has also given Idalia a reason to keep going in the face of grief. On February 4 of this year, a month after the opening ceremony of Hope Literacy Nicaragua, her 94 year old mother died after many years of struggling with blood pressure and heart issues. However, the death of her father, who had been healthy, and on the heels of her mother's death, was much more unexpected. Idalia, her nieces, and her father contracted Covid, but her father did not survive. Within a short amount of time, she was bereaved of the two most important people in her life.
It was her father who first helped Idalia to know Jesus, and she continues to live in that legacy. Teaching English, and more importantly, sharing the gospel, has given her a sense of purpose that keeps her her going. "It has been difficult for me because I've been living my whole life with my parents serving them. And serving these young girls and boys, I'm doing what's best. They are learning English, and that's great, but the most important thing is knowing Jesus and growing in Him. Once we have a relationship with him we will face trials and difficulties, but with his help, we can overcome."
Why ESL in Nicaragua?
The poverty rate in Nicaragua is high, approximately 30% according to some sources. Even those who are a little better off must make many sacrifices to provide for their children a university education. Knowledge of English opens the door to better job opportunities, a door out of poverty, and a way to give back. Idalia's students, who range in age from 14-30 years old, are no different. Idalia charges just a small fee for classes, but if a student cannot pay, she does not close her doors.
But more importantly for Idalia, who also serves in the evangelistic ministry in her church, this is an opportunity to share Christ. "I don't speak anything about religion, I just talk about having a relationship with Jesus, and we pray and sing together. Sometimes students share about their situations and I am able to pray with them."
Idalia currently has 8 dedicated students and plans to add another class for new students in January of 2022. "The Students are very excited and learning, we sing, share the Bible and Bible verses." Idalia says, “Hope Literacy has been of much help to my students and I, supporting us with and an initial donation to cover some start up cost, including books. I want to say thank you to everyone that has contributed to make possible the students' dream of learning English as a second language and most important for me, be able to share the love of Jesus with them.”
Check out below the progress that Idalia's students have made in just a few months!
For general information about Hope Nicaragua, visit their profile on our locations page: https://www.hopeliteracy.org/locations
To view more photos, view their page in our gallery: Hope Nicaragua Gallery