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Making a difference, one bead at a time

Nuevo Jicarito, meaning new hickory, is the name of a small village in Nicaragua where Halifax County resident Jennifer Chappell is making a difference.

Performing mission work with her mission group Save Them One by One, Chappell has traveled to Nicaragua for almost five years. Since 2008, she has tried to go twice each year. 

Being in this Third World country has opened her eyes to hard to believe living conditions and pitiful situations these families find themselves in.

“No one really understands the situation that these families are in until they see it,” Chappell said. “These families do not have money for food, clothes or education.” 

Instead of being only a caregiver for these people, Chappell has found ways to help them help themselves.

In March, she began a program called Beads of Love. Chappell found online how to make paper beads and showed 10 ladies in Nicaragua how to do it. Since then, they have made and sold approximately 300 necklaces. 

During her travels to Nicaragua, she met an 11-year-old girl who learned how to make baskets. 

 “At the beginning of my last trip, I gave them the supplies to make beads and baskets. Then, at the end, I went back to the ladies and child and picked them up,” Chappell said. 

 “When I get back (to the United States), I have beads and basket parties which are similar to any other jewelry party. I show videos of my trips and talk to everyone about the mission group and then the ladies shop.” 

Chappell sells the bead necklaces for $10 each, and the basket prices vary depending on size. All the proceeds go to the community where the 10 ladies and 11-year-old girl reside.

The community of Nuevo Jicarito is also in the process of building a new church thanks to Save Them One by One. The community currently has church services outside of the pastor’s house, so when the weather doesn’t permit they cannot have service. 

 “Save Them One by One is working hard to raise money for supplies to give to the community who are building the church themselves,” Chappell said. 

 “They are about a fourth of the way through, and we need approximately $5,000 more to finish. To help raise some more of the proceeds, we will be having a car wash and bake sale June 30 at Advance Auto in South Boston.” 

Chappell also is in the process of coming up with more fundraisers. 

Another way that people can support the children in Nicaragua is by sponsoring a child. It costs a once a year price of $25, according to Chappell. 

This one-time cost of $25 covers one child’s school uniform, school supplies and shoes. 

A total of 512 children in the child sponsorship program, and 100 of these 512 still need sponsors. 

When one sponsors a child, he or she will receive a picture of their sponsored child and information about them. When sponsoring a child, the sponsor will be asked the following year one time if they would like to sponsor again. 

Over the years, the people of Nicaragua have found a special place in Chappell’s heart. Chappell hopes to return soon to see how the church is going and visit her Nicaraguan families. 

Before she leaves again, she hopes to find more people willing to help, churches that will allow her to speak about the missions, and even some who are willing to go experience Nicaragua with her so they too will understand the critical needs.