Our residential program for girls in Nicaragua, Villa Esperanza (Village of Hope), was established in 2008 as a response to the urgent situation many girls were facing living in Nicaragua’s largest open-air landfill. These girls were exposed to extreme filth and severe malnutrition, at risk of physical abuse, rape, drug abuse, pregnancy, and were sometimes sold into prostitution by their family for first access to incoming garbage.
Villa Esperanza was created to give these girls an opportunity to live in a safe, supportive environment, get healthy, learn life-skills, get an education and pursue a career – something that for many would’ve only been a dream. Since the Villa opened, more than 70 girls have been rescued, introduced to Jesus and the healing power of the Gospel, and offered the chance to fulfill their God-given potential!
As other needs in the community have arisen, Villa Esperanza has sought to meet them. Here are all the ways Villa Esperanza ministers in Nicaragua.
Providing teenage boys and girls with necessary items for their education (uniforms, supplies, bus fares, etc.) and regular spiritual discipleship so they can pursue a quality education and a vibrant relationship with Jesus Christ.
A twice-annual, five-day discipleship camp for boys (as well as monthly one-day retreats) to provide vocational training, recreational activities, and a Christian mentoring atmosphere, teaching them life skills and how to become spiritual leaders in their families and communities.
Providing a residential haven for bright, motivated young women coming from extremely difficult circumstances that would prevent them from flourishing. This exclusive live-in situation is designed to equip and empower young women with the potential to be future leaders and influencers in Nicaragua.
A poverty-prevention training program aimed at fighting Latin America’s highest teen pregnancy rate (30% become teen mothers), which many call the “door” to repeated poverty. This program teaches the Gospel and the value of sexual abstinence to thousands of teens in the Nicaragua public school system.
Visiting Forward Edge mission teams will continue to invest in local schools, churches, and communities with maintenance and construction projects, evangelism and discipleship.
Plans are being made to begin regular discipleship, tutoring, and health check-ups to local primary school-aged boys and girls at the Villa campus.
Gloria started working with Forward Edge in 2000, she worked as team coordinator where she hosted teams and managed projects. Gloria married her husband, Wilbert, in 2006. Gloria and Wilbert, along with their two kids Jacob and Naomi serve at the Villa Esperanza — a home for girls at risk. Her passion is for girls and what the Lord has in store for them. Gloria and Wilbert both live in Managua, Nicaragua overseeing the Villa Esperanza.
What drew you to the mission of Forward Edge? I was drawn to work with Forward Edge because I learned through them that God uses ordinary people like me to do extraordinary things, the simplicity to serve God using what we have and the truth of being ourselves in the process.
If you could have dinner with any person in history (excluding Jesus) who would it be and why? Dinner with my dad who is no longer alive. He taught me so many things, but I still have so many questions for him.
What is something about you others are often surprised to learn? I have a sense of humor; people think I don’t have one.
Wilbert and Gloria met in 2003 and got married in 2006. Gloria has a passion for children, Wilbert has a passion for youth. Both had a dream to serve their country and to use their talents to help those most in need. They both helped start Villa Esperanza with Forward Edge in 2008. Wilbert helps oversee a program called Creating Positive Relationships (CPR) for the youth around the Managua region.
What drew you to the mission of Forward Edge? I was drawn to work with Forward Edge because I am empowered to not only help the girls at the Villa but to serve the communities and schools around us. Forward Edge has helped me be light and salt to Nicaragua.
If you could have dinner with any person in history (excluding Jesus) who would it be and why? Mother Teresa. I would have so many questions to ask her. She gave so much and had so little.
Any team of 10 or more is invited to serve in Nicaragua. Total trip cost for each team member is $995.
90 DAYS BEFORE DEPARTURE
30 DAYS BEFORE DEPARTURE
Trip Fee Includes:
Trip Fee Doesn’t Include:
Throughout the week, teams will be involved in planned activities to expand the kingdom of God in our partner communities. Our service-learning trips can include:
Forward Edge will work directly with your group leader to match the gifts and desires of your team to the projects and needs that have been identified ahead of your arrival.
PASSPORTS: A passport is required to enter Nicaragua. No other identification is needed. If you already have a passport, be sure that it extends at least six months past the date of your departure from Nicaragua.
TRANSPORTATION: All ground transportation on location is included in your trip fee. Transportation to different ministry sites is provided by certified and licensed Nicaraguan drivers in private buses.
ACCOMODATIONS: Teams get to stay right at Villa Esperanza. Each team home will have twin size bunk-beds with sheets and towels provided. There is a shower and bathroom in each of the homes. Meals will be prepared by local Nicaraguan women, and you will eat as a team in the Rancho.
The government of Nicaragua does NOT require any shots or immunizations to enter the country. However, Forward Edge highly recommends that all team members are current in the tetanus vaccination, and that they consult a personal physician for further recommendations.
ZIKA, DENGUE FEVER, and MALARIA: Please speak with your physician and visit the CDC website to understand the risks and recommendations associated with these diseases.
TEAM PACKS: Once registration is complete, Forward Edge will send the team packs. Each will include a t-shirt, a Mexico Team Member Manual, a devotional, and other Forward Edge items.
SCHEDULE: Each day your team will experience a morning devotional, an evening debrief, and relationship building opportunities through serving the local people.
Sheri's Forward Edge experience began in 2000 when her ordinary family got a last-minute call that a missions organization needed help the following day for a weekend conference whose scheduled worship leader was unable to attend. Her family of five thought they were saying yes to a weekend, but God had additional plans. Just a few months later, David, Sheri's husband, took leave from his job for a three-week Forward Edge trip serving Kosovar widows alongside Albanian missionaries. From that point forward, broken for the broken-hearted and motivated by God through the humble servants at Forward Edge, David and Sheri began facilitating teams to different Forward Edge locations when they could. There were long dry periods of time that felt very ordinary — it seemed God was leading them to just be faithful in their ordinary lives — in the marketplace. And then there were times when God was asking for a little more. In 2005, they, along with their three kids, resigned from their jobs and ordinary lives and moved to Tiranë, Albania for a one-year assignment to serve and love this previously atheistic country and her people.
Back in the states, life continued ordinarily as they resumed day jobs (Sheri an engineer, David a surgical technologist), finished raising their kids, and facilitated Forward Edge teams. Since 2007 Sheri has worked in a local school district, most recently managing capital construction — building new schools and renovating existing ones. She is overjoyed to now be serving alongside the staff at headquarters, building for eternity instead!
Sheri is passionate to see the glory of God in people as they walk in freedom and confidence in who they were created to be, understanding His immense love for them. She is continually overwhelmed by His demonstration of His glory through the beauty of creation, whether watching the sunrise on the drive to work, kayaking with her husband on a Pacific Northwest lake, or hiking and camping in the mountains with their married kids.
What drew you to the mission of Forward Edge?
The fact that God uses ordinary people to serve him with whatever they have!
If you could have dinner with any person in history (except Jesus) who would it be and why?
I would have dinner with my grandpa who died before I fully understood the power of prayer. A farmer and rural college maintenance man, tennis champ, and traveling worship leader himself (he played the saw!), I've heard stories all my life of his dedication to prayer for his family — I'd like to thank him and continue to learn from him.
What is something about you others are often surprised to learn?
People are usually surprised that I'm an engineer and got to work in San Diego right next to the ship where the Navy dolphins trained.
Hi! I’m Sheri, the Nicaragua Team Coordinator. I look forward to working with you to plan your life-changing week in Nicaragua!
If you’re interested in organizing a team of 10 or more, you can contact us by filling out the short form below. If you’re an individual looking to join a team, you can scroll through our list of open teams here.