The group makes an impact globally, too. Each year for nearly a decade, Faithful Stewards has traveled to Nicaragua to assist a village that was devastated by a hurricane almost 20 years ago. This year, for their ninth annual trip, 22 high school students joined them and spent their spring break working at the refugee camp.
“It’s always eye-opening and impactful for our entire team, as well as for the people there.”
During their recent visit, they organized a sports camp and vacation bible school for 160 children each day, along with an Easter egg hunt. A day was dedicated to a water park outing for over 200 kids and afterwards the entire group was treated to a meal at their favorite eatery, Tip-Top chicken. Volunteers from the group served them their food. They also delivered 25 beds to people without bedding, repaired seven homes with major health-compromising conditions, and reinforced its continuing efforts in the refugee camp.
“A meal program has been established that feeds 200 children daily before and after school, and we built a bakery that provides 15 people with full-time work,” Brandon explains. “Our involvement has helped start a classroom to provide English classes and education to 400 children weekly.”
Back in El Dorado Hills, the group fulfills many services to the local community. “Here at home we focus our efforts on whatever needs are presented,” Brandon says. “Some examples are a weekly disc golf program for teenage boys, picking vegetables and fruit for a local food bank, soccer sponsorships, and support at low-income apartments.”
Holidays are always busy with the group’s Thanksgiving meal outreach and “Adopt a Family” Christmas program. “It’s interesting to look back at the past nine years and see the different directions this journey has taken us on,” Brandon says. “Our goal is to create awareness of ways that we can contribute to the lives of others. We would love to see our community known not for how much we have, but how much we give.”
Most Memorable Experience -
"It is really difficult to narrow down a most memorable experience! I can think of so many stories of moms crying with thankfulness, pride and gratitude of a husband that is now able to support his family through some of our work ventures, baptizing children, watching them compete in soccer and have presents to open on Christmas morning. One story that does come to mind is on my first trip to Nicaragua I met a special girl named Johana. It was actually on our very last day and we only met for a few hours at a small carnival we were running for the children in Nueva Vida. We bonded instantly and were smiling and holding hands and shortly after we were faced with saying good byes. It was tough for both of us to connect and then not know if we would ever see each other again. I told her I promised I would return next year and see her again.
A year went by and we had organized our first team trip of 30 people to come back to the same community. I had often thought of Johana but wasn’t sure if she even remembered or thought I would ever come back, or even if she still lived there. Our first day at Nueve Vida our team was helping in the feeding program. For hours I kept scanning faces as they arrived and hoping one of the children would be her. I remember all of a sudden glancing out at the street and saw her face beaming and our eyes locked in on each other! It was such a special moment. I was so excited to see her again and to know she felt exactly the same way. That was 10 years ago now. I have seen Johana every year since then and we are now able to support her future by sending her to a local university where she is a top student." -Brandon Mecier
Brandon and Johana
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