What do you do to educate your kids?

Our kids go to a Christian, Spanish speaking school called NCA Nejapa. It’s about 97% Nicaraguan, with a handful of missionary kids thrown in. Aside from one English class each day, everything is taught in Spanish. Although the school day is similar to an American public school, it does go by the Nicaraguan school calendar, with summer break beginning at the end of November and the new school year commencing in February. Our children spoke very little Spanish when they started but they are all flourishing there. Feel free to sneak a peek at the school, visit the website, or check out a presentation of folkloric dances that the school kids put on each year..

Can you get mail? What is your address? What can we send in care packages?

We can and do get mail at a post office box. Our address is:

Ryan & Sarah Schmitz
PO Box 63
Correos de Nicaragua
Matagalpa, Nicaragua

Please know that sending a box is very expensive and a large box can easily wind up in customs instead of our mail box so smaller, manilla envelopes are recommended.

Here are a few things we struggle to find:
Mint Flavored Tums
Children’s gummie multivitamins
Holiday/seasonal candy, food, crafts, and decorations (even when they go on clearance!)
Children’s chapter books in English
Anything chocolate

How long will your family stay in Nicaragua?

We are classified as long-term missionaries through Global Partners, our sending agency. We are currently serving our second, 4-year term. We have absolutely no plans of leaving anytime soon! Nicaragua is our home now and we will pick up and move only by God’s voice saying otherwise.

What does it cost to live in Nicaragua?

Nicaragua is considered a “cheap” place to visit by tourist standards. It’s possible to live here on very little if you only use public transportation, board with a Nicaraguan family, go without TV and Internet, eat rice and beans each day, and go without health insurance. There are cheap products: fresh fruit, seasonal vegetables, wooden furniture, manual labor, and Oreos but almost everything else will cost you more, sometimes two or three times what it does in the States. Gas and electricity are more expensive in Nicaragua than in all of Central America. All schools require uniforms and dress shoes for children. Computers, American style foods, electronics, cars, and car parts are as much as triple the cost. Depending on where you live, you might need to budget to pay a guard, at least part time as houses can never be left without someone inside, even for a trip to the grocery store. All that to say that it really depends on the person or the size of the family. The more simply you live, eat, dress, and travel, the less you will need to live here. If you are a missionary raising support, we caution you to take all the time necessary to become fully funded. We have seen many, many missionaries leave Nicaragua and one of the factors was that they underestimated the cost of raising a family in a developing country and had to return home.

Can I (my family, a group from my church, my teenager) come for a visit?

Yes...and no :)  One of our main responsibilities here is to be a liaison between the Nicaraguan churches we partner with and churches/individuals in the U.S. and Canada. Ultimately the Nicaraguan pastors make decisions on what types of groups come and what projects or ministries that they join. Our goal is to serve the Nicaraguan church and one way of doing that is honoring and empowering the Nicaraguan pastors to do the leading and decision making. Teams that come should be partners in the ministry, working alongside the Nicaraguan church, serving in ways that fit the vision already in place which is to see: more churches being planted, a preschool and primary school at each church, as well as a feeding center. We work with young leaders that are beginning to reach out to their communities through sports events and with teaching English as well. Teams interested in coming to listen, learn, love, and serve without their own agenda are more than welcome!

As far as hosting individuals and families, this is something that at this time we really cannot do well without interfering with our other responsibilities. We have four, young children that still need help with homework at night and are working with 15 churches and 4 schools, which means that we are stretched thin. If you feel specifically called to spend time here in Nicaragua, we would be more than happy to get you into contact with other missionaries and ministries that may be better suited to host you. Since at this time we do not work with an orphanage and our feeding centers are run by Nicaraguans and for most people, there is a language barrier, it is difficult to find ways in which families with children or individuals can “plug in” for a week.

****A quick note to young adults looking to visit or get a small taste of life in Nicaragua: we strongly suggest that you consider spending a few month to a year as an intern combined with studying Spanish and maybe even living with a host family. You can spend the mornings or afternoons studying Spanish (which you will have to do as a missionary with most organizations) and then during the rest of the day you can be a join in the work with projects through one of our schools or established churches which are close by. Living with a host family would be beneficial in many ways: it is a source of income for local families, it’s a wonderful way to learn Spanish on a practical-everyday level, and it is a perfect way to see if you actually like Nicaraguan culture, can flourish in the culture, and if you could one day lead a ministry in the culture. If you have questions, feel free to contact us at anytime!