Monthly Archives: January 2013

Apply for Internships with HOPE International and Esperanza Internacional

Hi friends and family,

Many times throughout the past year people have asked me how they, or someone they know, can work directly with one of the organizations I’ve worked with. Each year, organizations like HOPE International and Esperanza Internacional offer internship and fellowship opportunities open to college aged and 20-somethings with a desire to volunteer, serve locally and/or internationally. Honestly, this is the best opportunity to get involved in this kind of work because they are listing exactly what they need during a specific timeline.

So if you’ve enjoyed reading about my volunteer experience with the mission work I’ve been doing in the Dominican Republic and Nicaragua and know of someone who’s a college student, recent graduate, or 20-something with a similar desire to volunteer and travel, here are some opportunities for them to apply.

Please apply! HOPE International and Esperanza Internacional There is still time!

Feel free to have your son or daughter, nephew or niece, neighbor or friend apply directly using the information below, and email me with any questions about work/life in the Dominican Republic with HOPE International or Esperanza.



2013 Summer Fellowship ProgramApplication submissions for the 2013 program will be accepted beginning on February 1, 2013 with a final application deadline of March 1, 2013. Incomplete applications and those received after the deadline will not be eligible for consideration.

The arrival date for summer 2013 internships is June 2, 2013 with Orientation beginning on June 3, 2013. The Fellowship is an 8-week program ending on August 1, 2013.

The 8 week Summer Fellowship is a concentrated version of the resident internships for those who cannot serve an entire semester. This program aims to inspire and equip future leaders to help in poverty alleviation.

Click here for more information on the Summer Fellowship Program

GROW Internship and Fellowship ProgramHOPE International’s internship and fellowship opportunities are designed for individuals seeking to develop spiritually and professionally, while gaining valuable experience. HOPE interns and fellows enjoy the benefits of a challenging and meaningful opportunity, while working in a spiritually nurturing environment. During this opportunity, you will experience spiritual formation, professional enrichment, and significant involvement.

Internship opportunities are semester long opportunities geared towards students. Fellowship opportunities are longer term assignments for professionals.


“Education is a Battle for the Mind” (Jan. 2013)

edify_logo  hope_logo
 Aaron Roth – – “Education is a Battle for the Mind – Jan. 2013

Hi family and friends, I just celebrated my 30th birthday here in Nicaragua during the last week of January. I felt really blessed to be able to hike around a volcano and swim in a lagoon of a volcano crater. Yes, I realize that sounds pretty absurd and possibly like fiction, but Nicaragua is a beautiful country with many volcanoes and natural points of interest. If you feel like celebrating your birthday here, just respond to this email. Blessings, -Aaron

At precisely the moment the money changer was explaining to me where a large evangelical church was located in Granada, a woman and her daughter walked up to him and unrolled a $100 American bill. He pulled out his calculator, performed a calculation of the bank rate for that day and showed her the numbers. She nodded “yes.” Her face was downtrodden and her daughter looked ambivalent. The enormous stack of bills in his hand flipped back and forth as he plucked out the colorful currency from large denominations to small. It sounded like a oft repeated rhythm here on this busy street corner.

She received her Cordobas (Nicaraguan currency) and they walked away. He continued with the directions to “La Iglesia de Restauracion” (The Church of Restoration) as if nothing outside our innocent conversation had transpired.

IJan-13-News-02 don’t know exactly where this local woman had gotten such a large bill, but I think I can connect the dots in this particular situation. Like in many impoverished countries, with the high frequency of tourism and enormous economic poverty, women sometimes engage in prostitution. I don’t want to give you the impression that this is what Nicaragau is like throughout the country or what it should be known for. That would not be true, nor would it be a fair representation to the beautiful countryside and Nicaraguan culture I have come to enjoy over the past month. Indeed, it is a complicated issue, an economic pressure driven by the divide between the rich who are in power limiting free market commerce from taking shape and the desperate poor waiting for more jobs.

According to the UN, Nicaragua is the second poorest country in the Western Hemisphere next to Haiti. Nicaragua struggles with unemployment, poor education, and a weak (but growing) economy. I do believe there is hope on the horizon though, as I’ve met with many churches, Christian missionaries, development organizations, and Christian and Catholic schools. They speak of a population moving out of poverty and the importance of the formation of good character as the nation continues to grow economically.Jan-13-News-05 Progress may be slow, but it is arriving.

I joined a group meeting last Wednesday of an organization called ACECEN (Association of Evangelical Christian Education Centers of Nicaragua) is proactive in it’s approach to changing the culture and the future of Nicaragua through education. They teach teachers how to educate children through learning modalities, technology in the classroom, and creating a curriculum that both imparts Biblical values and lives them out. I began to see what a powerful force education can be here.

Within their network, they deliver their program of training on a bi-weekly basis to schools and weekly to others. Many times they incorporate special subjects like preventing child trafficking throughout Central America in a partnership with Christian Reformed Church ( As you look to the map here on the right you’ll see that there are trade routes running in and out of this part of the country. As mentioned before, the drug trade, human trafficking, and illicit activities are not just problems of Central America, they are found in every part of the globe where there is poverty.

Jan-13-News-04With Edify I have been visiting schools and meeting with organizations like ACECEN to see if they’d be a good partner for Edify as they currently work with Christian schools in Nicaragua. ACECEN “promotes the development and improvement of Christian schools, preparing students to excel professionally based on biblical principles so that they become agents of transformation in society.”

The ACECEN team was receiving this special training to impart their program of educational services to the 150 schools in their network. They will carry this message of justice, hope, and redemption to directors, teachers and students. By starting with the youngest children they are laying a platform to help them understand what is good and what is bad in the world and how to know the difference.

Isn’t it amazing that education can become a weapon in preventing things like the drug trade, child trafficking, and prostitution? It all starts with providing a solid foundation of values and one value that ACECEN continually promotes is that school is a safe place and the teachers are protectors and believe in the students ability to succeed.

I think sometimes we have this image in our minds that the evils present in our cities or in the developing worlds are always shady looking strangers that pluck out kids from their homes and put them up to selling drugs or get them involved in illegal activities. Very often, it’s not a presence or a force of bad examples, it can be simply a lack or an absence of the good ones. The values of culture, whether good or bad, are transmitted in the street, within neighborhoods, in markets, on TV and radio, all play a part in helping to form what is good and what is right in these young minds.

If we don’t help provide good solid examples of strong, loving leadership, children will find examples of it as soon as they leave school. That is what scares me. Haven’t we seen too many evils against children, and worse, youth against youth? There is a real and present battle for the minds of the youth, and I am encouraged to see organizations like ACECEN are out on the front lines loving children and teaching them how to live in this world.
That is our goal with Edify as well. We work with schools to help them provide a better education to their children, better routes to get sustainable employment through vocational training, and bring the hope of a real Savior who came to fight for them and defeat that which is evil.

I believe children need that.

Jesus said, “Let the little children come to me, and do not hinder them, for the kingdom of heaven belongs to such as these.” (Matthew 19:14 NIV)

I pray that as you see opportunities to help the most innocent of our society, God gives you a way to participate.

Blessings to you and your families,
Skype: aprothwm05

Sunset Delivery on the Pacific

You know when you were little and you were so excited that it felt like you were weightless? Had a helicopter spotted me on Saturday night, they would have seen a young white male galloping as fast as my little legs could carry me across shore bank to get a better photo. Yulia was giving birth.

Well, that’s the name that Steven and Freddy gave her when I asked.

Initially, I was strolling across the beach adding more digital memories to my new pacific sunset obsession. I saw a young man wave his arms toward me. I speak Spanish, but not Spanish arm signals. I couldn’t figure out what he was saying. I guess I missed the 50 pound sea turtle eight feet in front of them making her way up the bank.

Freddy runs up to me and says, “Don’t go towards her, you’ll scare her off and she’ll go back into the ocean!”

He’s calm. I’m not. I’ve never in my life seen a sea turtle outside of Finding Nemo and there’s a behemoth of a sea creature slowly making her way up to deliver the eggs. As were standing there watching her, it’s then I ask the boys what her name was. They didn’t get the joke. So I explained, and assuredly Steven says, “Yulia.” I mean, I suppose it’s with a “Y” here. You find that a lot in Spanish. From Yenny to Yoseph. Seriously, I”m not yoking.

So Yulia is making her way up the beach and I want to get a better shot. I’m not sure who she’s going to let into the delivery room. Usually it’s just family and parents, and as a white dude fresh off the plane, I’m not sure she’s comfortable with me helping her with Lamaze breathing techniques.

I’ve got to get a better shot. And the boys scream at me to not let her see me, because if she does, she’ll scramble back to the water.

It’s then, that I returned to my glory days of the Ukrops 10K. I mean, I was never good at running 6.2 miles, or should I say, without a costume. When I was Ms. Pacman or pretending to release a curling stone for the RVA Curling Team I finished in 1st and 2nd respectively.

I’m sure those boys had never seen such a ridiculous looking gringo bound through the sunset setting sand making a wide arc as to not disturb the hallways of the labor and delivery ward of Gran Pacifica.

I perched up high on the bank and got some photos of Yulia carving out her nest with her enormous flippers. It was then when I realized that I wasn’t in Kansas anymore. Or Richmond, or Broadway, or most shockingly, I wasn’t in the Dominican Republic where I had called home the past two years.

I was on the pacific coast watching a sea turtle preparing the way for 50 or 60 or who knows how many little ones would be making the journey back to the sea in 40 days from the 20th of January.

She started dropping the little ones into their resting chamber; I knew because the boys were squealing and shouting at me to come closer.

They let me take one out to look at it. So beautiful next to the sky.

(Don’t worry, I put it back!)

I just sat there. Motionless. Watching Yulia do what she and the rest of her young mothers club do this time of year. She was huge, and didn’t look to be struggling. The boys said I should feel her shell. That it was as hard as armor. I really don’t remember one of the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles being female. April was the reporter, but now I know I’d write a petition to Splinter to consider Yulia. She would offer much needed grace and elegance to the quartet.

I felt so grounded to the Earth. To witness a sunset. To hang out with two local fisherman. To watch a sea turtle pretend like she didn’t mind the spectators. I looked up and I saw the stars of the sky.

Earth and Heaven and sand and the end of day, the beginning of a journey.

When Yulia was done, the boys thought it customary to return her to the water. I can’t imagine how depleted her strength was, nor how heavy she weighed. The boys squealed again under the weight. I was thinking, “Well, she’s probably a lot lighter now, you know?” They had to set her down to take a break. She kept moving toward the water. They picked her back up and set her back in the cool, calm ocean to take her back home. Steven collapsed in the wet sand.

I thanked my new friends for helping me with my first sea turtle birthing experience. I felt like I needed a cigar to celebrate the birth of 60ish sea turtlings.

I lingered for awhile. Then slowly walked back to the others. Just trying to take it all in.

. . .

How beautiful life can be, how majestic a turtle, a sunset and the sea.