The ‘Love’ part of the Run

Here we are just a few days before the Run for Love!  As we are knee deep in preparation and prayer (rain, rain go away🤦🏻‍♀️) we are getting excited for this day!  

For those of you who haven’t heard... it’s not to late!!  Invite someone to join you!



Saturday, May 19th, 2018 at 9am


Fox River Christian Church, Waukesha CampusS46W24130 Lawnsdale Rd, Waukesha, WI 53189


Standard: $40
Family: $75*

*Family pricing is for parents and children under 18 living in the same home.



 Now let me share with you the ‘love’ part of this run...

We here at Fox River have listened to God’s call and have partnered internationally to share the Hope of Jesus Christ in both Kenya and Nicaragua!  This run raises funds to help us do just that.   

The Run for Love funds Hygiene Packs and helps a team go to distribute them in Nicaragua.  

What’s a hygiene pack you ask??   LOVE in a drawstring bag!


We build up these ‘hygiene packs’ with very basic (to us) things... bars of soap, shampoo, wash clothes, band aids, fingernail clippers, combs, water bottle, neosporin, razors, tooth brushes and paste, laundry detergent, sewing kit, deodorant, etc... things that we can pick up at any corner store at any moment!  Things we so easily have at our finger tips and take for granted every day.  Things as simple as a bar of soap give us (the team) an opportunity to share about what Christ has done for us!  Through the free gift (because of your participation) we offer them, we share about the free gift Christ has offered us!  A toothbrush gets to be a life changing opportunity!  

This might seem silly to think about, but these packs are changing lives. These teams get to see some of that!

You as runners, walkers, cheerers, crawlers...  are making this possible!  Thank you!

 Pictures of teams in the community handing out the packs.

Pictures of teams in the community handing out the packs.

Life Change

We would love for you to hear from our mission partner, Jenna Nyanje- administrator of Crossroads Academy:

Not all the students we have at Crossroads Academy start with us in preschool. 

Some students enter our school with a story or circumstance that we fully recognize as God being up to something bigger than policies and procedures.

That means that, on occasion, we don’t meet a student until later in their schooling: grade 4, 5 or even 6.

I wrote about ‘Sam’ a while ago, because we knew when we met him and his Grandmother that we were going to be responsible for more than just praying for them in the moment and wishing them provision as they went out.

The truth is, it’s sometimes a risk to take older kids into the school. As best as we try to assess where they are academically we can never really know how well they will adjust and fit into a new school.

Sam began the school year and struggled slightly just like we expected him to do. He was trying his best to fit into a new school as well as catching up on the school work he had missed. We watched this young man work hard. He never quit. This was the beginning of 2017. 

When we ended the first term this year, two teachers came and asked me if they could share some news with me that they knew would make my day. 

Where typically we would see students raise their scores 30 to 50 points, Sam had raised his by 125!!! In one of his math exams, he missed only 3 questions! I don’t know how to say this, but statistically this does not happen. Sam has risen above the statistics and we are COMPLETELY overjoyed.

The teachers were so excited because this is one of THEIR boys. They didn’t give up on him either. We all feel like there is something special in store for this boy.

This school is making a difference and allowing students to meet their highest potential!

Below is a picture of Sam and one of the many teachers who has invested in him, Teacher Margaret.

This teacher has been an absolute blessing to our school. She, like many of the other teachers, go above and beyond classroom work. She deeply cares for these students as if they were her own.

We love you, Teacher Margaret!

 - Jenna 



Life change is constantly happening in Kenya and Nicaragua. Without your generous donations, these stories would not be possible. We serve a good God and look forward to His working in the future.  

When it Rains, it Pours

 Flooded road side Bomani.

Flooded road side Bomani.

Today we’ll hear from O’Neal- our boots on the ground in Kenya!


It’s that time of the year (May-July) here in Kenya when we have cool and wet weather. It’s much waited for as we leave the hot season. The students dress warmly with sweaters as they try to keep warm and dry. The rains that come can sometimes cause flooding!

 It’s raining! Let’s make a run for the dinning hall. 

It’s raining! Let’s make a run for the dinning hall. 

The schools opened Wednesday. It was a sweet and sour kind of day for the weather was pretty wet, something the students don’t enjoy much. However, being reunited with their friends after 4 weeks of April break made it a bit easier and their spirits were lifted. 

 Bomani and Vipingo girls being girls

Bomani and Vipingo girls being girls

The warm cup of tea and the lunch provided each day at school makes a huge difference in these children’s lives. This enables them concentrate on creating a future for themselves and their communities both in Vipingo and Bomani.

 Vipingo and Bomani meal time 

Vipingo and Bomani meal time 

Please pray for good health as we start the term. This drastic weather ends up effecting our students physically a bit. Lots of colds and some flu. Our second term is also full of activities and events as we look forward to the Fox River team coming in July! 

 Sharing is caring - our students have got me covered from the rain.

Sharing is caring - our students have got me covered from the rain.

In Front Of Our Eyes

It's a wrap.  What a week.  As we have re-entered our world of Southeast Wisconsin, we are left with sore muscles, bug bites, scrapes and bruises, and above all hearts and lives that have been seared by the grace God poured in and through us while in Nicaragua.  We will forever have the memories of the friends we have for eternity, the desire we share with our whole team to someday go back for more, and the prayers of hope and faith that God will use what was accomplished to grow his Kingdom-that the next generation in La Esmeralda will be reached for Jesus as children have a place to learn about him.  

 Pastor Mark and Henry

Pastor Mark and Henry

We saw a community that has changed and continues to change because of the touch of God upon it through His workings in and through Fox River.  A medical clinic that has been source of His healing, a sports program that has led people to know Jesus, and now a children's space at the church that will share the Gospel with the youngest people in La Esmeralda, will all allow God's presence to be greater felt in Nicaragua.  We saw a man begin to change that has worked hard, had a tough demeanor, and wasn't sure a bunch of gringos could pull off the job of building that needed to be done.  By the end of the week he voiced his gratefulness and joy that he had come to know in working with us.  He shared handshakes and even an embrace that would not have been his normal reaction.  This was an awesome working of God as we spent our week in Nicaragua.  We saw another change that was not expected. 

 Children's Facility before

Children's Facility before

 Children's Facility After

Children's Facility After

 Children's Facility Floor

Children's Facility Floor

Nicaragua changed in front of our eyes while we were there.  The city of Managua erupted with protests while we were in the country.  While we were so very safe as we were nearly six hours away from the city and the violence, we have friends and others that have devoted their lives to sharing the Gospel with the Nicaraguans that suddenly found themselves and their families in the midst of the violence.  While we don't fully understand all of the issues, we know most of the violence that commenced was brought on by those taking advantage of the situation.  Very similar to what we have seen in the U.S. cities over the last few years.  We have much concern for friends in the city and the work they have done to be able to present the Gospel to these people.  We still have faith that God will use these times to expand His Kingdom in this community.  

La Esmeralda is very much removed from this environment.  It will not experience the effects of protests.  It still could be effected by the flow of goods and services if order is not soon restored.  Other churches, and the neighborhoods that they serve in Managua have already experienced some serious circumstances.  

Please join us in praying for this situation.  Pray that order will soon be restored.  Pray that it happens with a peaceful resolution.  Pray that God gives a great platform to the churches to lead the change.  Pray while it continues, our missionaries, pastors, and friends stay safe.  Pray that God uses this to grow the faith of all of us that see His hand move throughout the country in many ways.  May God bless the people of Nicaragua.

-Pastor Mark

Check out some other pictures of what we did this week below!

 Don Bismark and Sam Working Together

Don Bismark and Sam Working Together

 Jason and Norvin...those blocks are HEAVY!

Jason and Norvin...those blocks are HEAVY!

 The concrete crew!

The concrete crew!

 Nolan Welding

Nolan Welding


This morning we started early at 5am and hopped on the bus to head to the airport.  We have made it through security and are waiting on our first flight.  As always this day is hard as we are eager to see loved ones but are saying goodbye to new friends. 


“This has been an amazing week. Not only in what God did through our team to help with the church construction projects, but what God did through the local people to touch each of our hearts. I know I will not be the same. I won’t be able to watch another mission’s video without emotions overcoming me. As I leave today it is with a sadness to leave new friends that will always have a place in my heart. May God continue the work He has started to completion.”

-Sam M

God has been at work this week in each one of ya that are on this team, whether Gringo or Nica. It is exciting to know that today there are children sitting in the building hearing about Jesus and getting to have a space of their own for the first time ever.  We cannot wait to see how God continues to write this story!  

Pray for us as we travel home today.  For safety and health and the energy to do it all. Pray today for our friends here in Nicaragua and for the country as a whole. We know that above all God is in control! 



The Called Dozen


As we began planning this construction trip, we had hoped for 20 men that would go to Nicaragua. The deadline for us to release tickets came and so we prayed that 15 would grasp the vision of this trip and enlist to go. The next deadline came and we still only had 13. Shortly after that one dropped out. That left us with a dozen men. As God always does, He knew exactly who He wanted to be on this trip and tackle this construction project. I am so reminded of the story of Gideon from Judges chapter 6 and 7 as God brought this specific team together.

The men who have been here represented God and Fox River at the highest level. They literally put blood, sweat and tears into every day's work. It has been such a privilege to have been able to lead this group of men to Nicaragua. The willingness of these men to pour all of their physical strength into the work left a lasting impression on the people here. I promise you, they left nothing on the field. They were spent at the end of each day. 

So much so that the Nicaraguan man charged with being the contractor was impressed with their teamwork, tenacity and willingness enough to say, he would love to work with them again. This was a testimony of their relationship with God and their love for these people in La Esmerelda. This is an important witness as this man is not a believer but at the end his heart was softened and he was touched by these men of God. Pray that he will continue to see the truth of God and receive Jesus.


Today has been a travel day. Though we are at the end of our trip and headed home to those we miss, love and are eager to see, it is not easy to leave the wonderful new amigos with which we have built eternal relationships. Because we trust in our God, we know we are brothers and sisters now and forever. However, for those of us who have been here this week we have a familial bond that we long to hold on to and heading out today was not easy.

As I stood back and watched this group of men hug there friends they had worked hard with all week it was easy to see that God and this place called La Esmerelda, Nicaragua had grabbed their hearts in new ways. Though we can't communicate as easily as we would like, the long handshakes and full embraces definitely said what all were desiring to communicate. We love this group of people and will share more time together if God allows it here on Earth but for sure in Heaven.


Flexibility is always the key word on a missions trip. We have great people who work very hard to plan and make all the arrangements for those of us who go around the world representing Fox River. We could not accomplish all that we do without them. Even so we rarely get to make it all work exactly as planned. Again, the need to make changes to our day today made flexibility key. We traveled just a short way today instead of the whole trip back to Managua. We will complete the longer part in the morning to get to the airport. With that today has been much more restful. We got to our lodging and had a great lunch and have been hiking, touring the grounds of this beautiful facility and just relaxing.


Please pray for the country of Nicaragua. God is very much at work here and Satan is trying to destroy that. The country is very much at a crossroads and could change in ways that challenge the work of God's people here for a while. Pray for the church and medical clinic in La Esmerelda as these are changing a community for now and eternity. Pray for Pastor Denis and his wife Karen as they minister to the community by teaching the Gospel and managing the clinic as well as leading in so many other ways. Especially for Karen as she carrys their second child to full term. Pray that this new children's facility that has been constructed this week will bring the next generation of Nicaraguans to faith in Jesus.


Thank you Fox River for your support of International Missions through My Gift for Jesus. You are making life changing, eternity changing differences for people you may never know until eternity. They thank you and this team will bring that message home with them to share with you. Together with God, we are Contructing a Future.

Pastor Mark


Building for the Kingdom

Kerri shares a little about the end of the day yesterday and Mark G writes about how he has seen God move this week... 


Last night after a hard day of work we headed to church and were able to fellowship with the community again.  We had a couple people from our team help lead worship.  It was awesome to worship together and know that no matter what language we are singing in God understands and is glorified. Something really special from tonight’s service was that Logan played and sang with Norvin, the worship leader here.  They sang “Oh Praise the Name” or “Alabare El Señor” together in both languages switching off verses and choruses and at the end singing in unison both languages.  It was great.


At the end of service the church thanked us for being there and gave us a gift of coffee 🙌🏽 and then prayed over us and over the things that we are helping to build to be used for Gods Kingdom here on earth. Denis reminded us that this was not goodbye because we do have one more day of work left!  Hahaha! ~Kerri

 Mark at the waterfall.

Mark at the waterfall.

Praise God!!!


What an amazing journey this has been. Words cannot accurately describe the tremendous work that God has accomplished this week. He hand picked people from 2 different countries, of all ages, with varying backgrounds, skills and abilities to complete the task of building a couple buildings and, more importantly, some relationships; all for the advancement of his kingdom. I am honored to have had the opportunity to work along side each and every one of the team. The accomplishments of this week are evidence that God will equip the called!


As we wrapped up our work today, I sat back and was in complete awe of the changes that had occurred over the past week. I saw some great progress on the children’s center as we have the walls built up 3 courses and we poured the concrete slab. I also saw the bathrooms with the walls built up and the plumbing trenches started. The septic system had the walls completed and the sidewalk was near completion. This group did some amazing work! The bigger changes were changes that I saw in the group. Throughout this week, all of us bonded and either built upon relationships we already had or created new relationships.

 She can see her future being built right in front of her.  

She can see her future being built right in front of her.  

 finished floor of children’s building.

finished floor of children’s building.

I can’t believe that I almost didn’t say yes to God’s calling for me to be part of this team.

-Mark G

 Team time

Team time

 The whole team!

The whole team!

Will you join us in praying as the team starts preparing to head home?  Pray for an enjoyable last day, safety for and everything in between! 

In a Heartbeat

Nick gives us a look into his experience this week...  These stories just never get old! 

 Nick and Nolan 

Nick and Nolan 

Hello all,

Today started off like any obnoxious bus honking his horn at roughly 5:45. We then spent the rest of the morning spending quality time with each other, then it was time to head up to the pavilion for breakfast.

Breakfast included pancakes, mango, watermelon, and rice and beans. There was plenty of coffee to go around as everybody fueled up for the long day ahead. The food has been absolutely phenomenal every single meal. It’s really hard to pinpoint a favorite meal that we have had this week.

After getting to the church, we were given our daily debriefing on the work that will be performed today, which included; finishing the walls for the children’s center, leveling the sidewalk, and stacking the last 100lb blocks in the septic tank. Norvin and I sure spent a good majority of our time in that hole. We were very grateful to have seen that last block in place. It just seemed that we each gave that look of exhaustion to each other any time we had to stand another block up, which then resulted in a laugh as we continued on our project.


Before we even arrived, I wondered how these tasks would be completed if we couldn’t even understand each other. I was very nervous that a lack of communication would cause lots of issues and be a headache. We slowly learned that language wasn’t much of a barrier at all. With the help of our translators we were able to adapt to the new situations we found ourselves in. I think it was a great learning experience for us gringos and the Nicaraguans to exchange words and learn quite a bit from each other. I have learned many words and the meanings to go with them, that it makes working hand in hand with the Nicaraguans a breeze, most of the time anyway. We started to understand the processes and at certain parts I found myself a few steps ahead of my work partner and it made everything easier. The relationships that we have made with each other, both us from Fox River, and the Nicaraguans is like a family.


Beyond all that, this trip has done nothing but humble each and every one of us. I doubt any man on this trip is walking away unaffected. To know the reasons behind what we were doing, the amount of people we will help is absolutely tear jerking. You think of problems we have at home, and they are nothing compared to the things they deal with here.

 Keith, Nick and Nolan Runnells.  So cool to see this this Dad and son trio serve together!

Keith, Nick and Nolan Runnells.  So cool to see this this Dad and son trio serve together!


If anybody were to ask me if I would do this again, I would say yes in a heartbeat. To know I’m doing so much for other people that I will probably never meet, or even hear of that are 2500+ miles away from home is an amazing feeling. This is something I will never forget.

So far, one of my favorite moments I had was getting to ride one of the motorcycles with Olvin to church Sunday morning. I never thought I would travel so far from home and have an opportunity to not only ride a motorcycle, but fix them up for Pastor Dennis and anybody else who uses them. Motorcycles are not only a means of transportation but they also can be a life saving measure. So to make sure that these bikes will be in a great functional condition for them was a real treat. We replaced a clutch, changed and adjusted the brakes and replaced a tire. We also did some general maintenance on them to make sure they were in tip-top condition when we left.


 Now it’s off to church for Thursday night service.

-Nick Runnells


The wonderful ladies making sure the guys are taken care of and translating so the teams can communicate!  Thanks Kerri and Donna! 

A Step of Faith and Story to match

Today Marc M shares his story of how he is being used and Changed by God this week!  Make it to the end because it’s a great story and there are some ‘day end’ pictures so you can see the progress!..


What. A. Day. What. A. Week.

Amazing might be an understatement while trying to describe this experience. Life changing is probably more appropriate. What exactly that means though....only God knows!!

Personally, being here in La Esmeralda is nothing I could have prepared for. When I made the decision to join the team down here, I had no idea what I was getting into. I feared the travel and health risks. I feared the communication barrier. I feared whether or not this trip was really for me.

But with Day 5 of our construction efforts now in the books, I know this is exactly where I am supposed to be...right here in La Esmeralda alongside my new found friends. Men from Fox River that I didn't know before this trip that I'm now proud to call my brothers. The Nicas that I feared not being able to communicate with I have made some amazing relationships with. God placed me here with all of them for one common build His Kingdom by actually building things that will mean so much to the Nicas that call La Esmeralda home. 

 Marc and Olvin

Marc and Olvin

One Nica in particular, Olvin, is one I will never forget. He and I have formed an amazing friendship in a very short amount of time and regardless of our communication struggles. We have similar personalities and have definitely had our fair share of laughs. He says "Bruno Mars" and I sing "Grenade" for him...although not very well. Silly little things to others but lasting memories for me. 


As for the actual construction happening around here, I'm beyond impressed by this team of men. In essentially 4 plus days, we have most of the bathroom exterior walls complete, the septic system walls almost complete, the sidewalk ready to be poured with concrete tomorrow,and the part I'm most proud of....the children's facility has walls going up!!!!


Just saying that makes me think of the Gateway Worship song, "Walls Are Coming Down". Well let me tell you, down here we're singing "Walls Are Going Up, Walls Are Going Up, Oh Oh Oh Oh..."!!!


When we were at church on Sunday, the children met in their children's facility despite not having any walls around them. I pray that before we leave we can get the rest of the walls up so those kids can start to feel the hope and the love this team is pouring into them.


I look forward to what the next few days has in store for us as we continue to do God's work.

Blessings to all back home and I'm sorry about the snow...I'm currently recovering from sunburn!!!  ~Marc M


Check our the progress and bonus picture below...


Motorcycle work is happening too!!


It’s so cool to see the progress they are making.  


And a beautiful sunset to close the day of hard work!