Our Mission

Our Mission

“516NOW exists to help build holy, prosperous,

sustainable communities in every country of the world”

(starting with Palacagüina, Nicaragua)  

We are inspired and driven by Matthew 5:16 – letting our light shine through good works so people will recognize and glorify their loving heavenly Father. We remove obstacles that prevent people from seeing the saving grace of Jesus Christ and the transforming power of the Holy Spirit.  (See also our HISTORY)

We seek to glorify God through good works to improve the quality of life for people in need by:

  • Working together with people in our target communities

  • Ensuring that all projects are sustainable

  • Pointing to God and glorifying Him in all we do

  • Facilitating the involvement of key individuals inside and outside our communities

What’s in a Name?

We are inspired and driven by Matthew 5:16  letting our light shine through good works so people will recognize and glorify their loving heavenly Father. We also feel a sense of urgency. The world needs us NOW. So, our name is combination of our guiding verse and our urgency: Mathew 5:16 + in action today = 516NOW

“Let your light shine before men in such a way that they may see your good works, and glorify your Father who is in heaven.”

Matthew 5:16 

There is real synergy of operating under a single banner and seeking to meet the full scope of a community’s needs: physical and spiritual. As we have continued God’s work, we have seen the community rallying around 516NOW.

  • A box of 516NOW t-shirts was stolen in 2012 and the shirts started showing up all over Palacagüina
    (Genesis 50:20 You intended to harm, but God intended it for good)

  • The clinic painted the 516NOW logo on the side of the building and the local baseball team (former national champions) had the 516NOW logo put on their jerseys and it will soon be painted on the baseball stadium.
    (Psalm 64:9 …they will proclaim to works of God and ponder what He has done)

  • Outside organizations visiting Palacagüina (World Race Teams, churches from Nebraska & Canada, and college student groups) all operate under the 516NOW name.
    (Psalm 20:5 … we lift up our banners in the name of our God)

  • In the summer of 2013 a 516NOW mission team was welcomed to the city by a parade through the center of town.
    (Psalm 84:11 … the Lord bestows favor and honor…)

516NOW began in 2010 when John Barrett, David Rhodes and another gentleman took an exploratory trip to Nicaragua. The group met Jaime Blandon – an old contact David had worked with in prior years while serving at another church. In previous years David’s church had worked with Jaime to build 10 buildings for churches in communities around Condega, Nicaragua. As they toured those buildings, they noticed that several other churches were closed or had dwindled dramatically in numbers. God was clearly telling us we needed to do something beyond simply building church buildings, yet in neighboring Palacagüina a local church was meeting in a rented home. The church was out of space and facing an uncertain future with their landlord who were attempting to sell the building. It was also clear that they needed help.

The following summer, John and David led a Milestones Church group to Palacagüina. During that trip major progress was made on the construction of a new church building, a dental clinic was conducted, local pastors were trained, and a children’s program was conducted. This multi-pronged effort was the first indication of the broad-based ministry that was to become the foundation for 516NOW.

In early 2011 John, David and Scott Votey met with community leaders (see our MISSION and VISION for details on this). They spoke with the mayor, superintendent of schools, chief of police, and director of the medical clinic. In those meetings, the group stated that they believed in Jesus Christ and, while they wanted to help the community, the core intent was to share the gospel message. All welcomed the offer of service. The mayor, for example, showed a list of 100 goals she had for the community and invited help with any or all of them. The trip opened the eyes of the Spartanburg church team to the huge needs and the incredible opportunities for ministry in this new place.

In a layover in the Atlanta airport, David, John and Scott were discussing the opportunity that God was laying out. Each noted that core ideas expressed in the book When Helping Hurts were confirmed by the recent trips to Nicaragua. They agreed that Matthew 5:16 (Let your light so shine before men that they see your good works and glorify your Father in heaven.) perfectly described what they wanted to do. A sense of urgency was also evident, so the new organization was named 516NOW.

Up to this point, this sounds like another non-profit working in a third-world country. The amazing thing that God has shown us is that there is synergy in operating under a single banner. As we have continued our work in Palacaguina we have seen the community – not us – gravitate to the 516NOW name and concept.
• A box of 516NOW t-shirts was stolen in 2012 and the shirts started showing up all over Palacagüina (Genesis 50:20 You intended to harm, but God intended it for good).
• The clinic painted the 516NOW logo on the side of the building and the local baseball team (former national champions) had the 516NOW logo put on their jerseys and it will soon be painted on the baseball stadium. (Psalm 64:9 All people will fear; they will proclaim to works of God and ponder what He has done)
• Outside organizations visiting Palacagüina (World Race Teams, churches from Nebraska & Canada, and college student groups) all operate under the 516NOW name. (Psalm 20:5 … we lift up our banners in the name of our God)
• In the summer of 2013 a 516NOW mission team was welcomed to the city by a parade through the center of town. (Psalm 84:11 … the Lord bestows favor and honor…)

The mission of 516NOW continues to develop based on those core ideas birthed in the Atlanta airport in 2011. We believe that the pattern of development that is being implemented in Palacaguina is vital, sustainable, and transferable to other communities within Nicaragua and around the globe. While 516NOW is still in its infancy, we believe future possibilities are as wide as the needs of the world and as unlimited as the grace and faithfulness of God.

WHAT WE BELIEVE

About the Scriptures

We believe the Bible is the inspired Word of God and that men were moved by the Spirit of God to write the very words of Scripture. Those words are authoritative in all they address.

About God

We believe in one God who exists in three distinct persons: Father, Son, and Holy Spirit. We believe that Jesus Christ is the second member of the Trinity (the Son of God) who became flesh to reveal God to humanity and to become the Savior of the world.

About Humanity

We believe that all people were created in the image of God to have fellowship with him but became alienated in that relationship through sinful disobedience. As a result, people are incapable of regaining a right relationship with God through their own efforts.

About Salvation

We believe that the blood of Jesus Christ, shed on the cross, provides the sole basis for the forgiveness of sin. Therefore, God freely offers salvation to those who place their faith in Jesus Christ and His death and resurrection for their sins.

About the Christian Life

We believe all Christians should live for Christ and not for themselves. By obedience to the Word of God and daily yielding to the Spirit of God, every believer should mature and be conformed to the image of Christ.

About the Church

We believe that the church is the body of Christ, of which Jesus Christ is the head. All genuine Christians are members of that body.  The purpose of the church is to glorify God by loving him and by making him known to the lost world.

About Mission

We believe the love of God compels us to take not only the message of Christ but also the heart of Christ to the world.  We therefore unite with others in the Body of Christ to address issues of justice, poverty, and deprivation wherever possible.

Operating Philosophy

Our Operating Philosophy has four primary aspects:

Holy:

The word, “holy” signifies something that is set apart –especially something set aside for God. 516NOW has done, and will continue to do, many humanitarian activities but our aim is more holistic than simply giving aid or helping provide for temporal needs. We seek to so lift up the name and work of Jesus so that the entire community is touched by the redemptive power of Christ. We will work towards the goal of more and more people identifying as followers of Christ and the community progressively resembling the character of Christ even among people who have not yet chosen to follow Him.

Prosperous:

A prosperous community is one where basic needs are routinely met. Those needs include but may not be limited to: adequate housing, competent health care, adequate nutrition, appropriate clothing, competent education, basic freedoms, reasonable opportunity, adequate emplment, self-sustaining income and reasonable security. While it is our desire that every person enjoy a relationship with Christ we maintain that all persons, whatever their religious beliefs, have been created by God in His image and providing adequately for their needs is the will of our Father in heaven. 516NOW will invest in projects promoting this kind of prosperity without demanding any specific religious response, believing such work in and of itself glorifies our Father in Heaven.

Sustainable:

A community must develop internal capabilities and competencies to support itself. Any person or community dependent upon outsiders for financial or other support will always operate under a yoke of poverty. 516 NOW actively seeks to identify, engage, and support sustainable initiatives so that communities can operate independently and successfully on their own. Our city missionaries understand that they are in a temporary position, and are continually identifying community resources to develop so that their ultimate departure from the community will not disrupt or slow the community’s progress in becoming more holy and prosperous.

Communities:

While 516NOW is a religious organization that always seeks to partner with Christ-centered churches, our focus is broader than any church. Although we will always seek to partner with a church or churches, it is not our intent to confine ourselves to work with or for churches. Our goal in whatever context we minister is to bring blessing to the entire community. We seek to do good works in the name of Jesus so that everyone will be drawn towards giving glory to God.

 

Guiding Principles

We have nine Guiding Principles:

Partners, not Recipients

We view nationals in each area as partners in our endeavors, not merely recipients. While we reserve the right to direct our energies and resources as we believe God directs, we enter each ministry field as servants – not dictators. We seek, and highly value, the perspectives and direction of the people in each community where we minister.

Community Ownership

Once a project is completed, we seek to quickly relinquish control and ownership to responsible persons or organizations in the community.

Orchestration

We make the work of others matter more. We identify others who have already developed valuable skills, knowledge and competencies and introduce them to communities with great need. Often, these individuals and organizations are like individual musicians that are glorifying God, but when brought together with others playing different instruments, the result is a symphony that could not otherwise be played.

Self-sustaining

We give priority to projects that are self-sustaining. While we are certainly willing to offer temporary assistance in areas of dire need, we always seek to minister to people in ways that empower them to meet their own future needs rather than cultivate an environment of perpetual dependency.

No Strings Attached

While we desire everyone to have a relationship with Christ, we guard against offering help in ways that would encourage superficial or constrained faith commitments.

Unapologetic Faith

While we purposely refrain from offering temporal inducements for faith commitments, our personal commitment to Christ is public and unapologetic. We will not participate in projects that demand or constrain us to deny or hide our faith.

Stewardship

We seek to be good stewards of any assets entrusted to us and generally give precedence to those activities that will bring the most significant return on investment for the communities we serve.

Credit to God

We acknowledge that every good and perfect gift comes from God and seek to give Him the glory for anything we accomplish. This does not mean we refuse to give credit to whom credit is due, but our mindset in each endeavor will be to deflect praise and honor towards our Heavenly Father.

Responsibility

We accept the responsibility that being a faith-based organization implies. We expect persons associated with our ministry to conduct themselves within biblical parameters of integrity, ethical conduct, moral responsibility, and spiritual faithfulness. While we always seek to function in an atmosphere of grace and restoration, personnel accept that certain behaviors or attitudes may disqualify them from service.

Our Programs

Social Project

Helping people in our target communities

Smiling School Kids

Providing assistance to families with the education of their children

Microloan

Teaching others to catch their own fish

Radio Ministry

Taking the gospel to the ends of the earth

Conferences

Training leaders to impact their community

Become a Volunteer and join us!

Meet our Board Members!

John Barret

John Barret

President

John Barrett is president of Priority Metrics Group, a Spartanburg, South Carolina-based market research and consulting firm. Prior to co-founding PMG in 1993, John worked as a consultant in the retail banking industry, taught business and marketing courses at the undergraduate and graduate levels and held various corporate marketing, planning and quality management positions. John serves on the Boards of multiple service-oriented organizations, all of which include practical demonstration of God’s love in action.

John lives in Spartanburg, South Carolina with his wife, Cindy, and has three grown daughters.

John is President of the 516NOW and focuses primarily on mission, vision, project feasibility and implementation.

Scott Votey

Scott Votey

Secretary

After a 45-year career in independent school education, including teaching, coaching, counseling, and administration, Scott retired to focus more time on the work of 516NOW and grandchildren.

Scott first visited Nicaragua with his wife, Linda, in 2003. They both fell in love with the country and the people. Serving the Lord there has become their passion. Scott has made almost two dozen trips there and has led many mission teams. He has a particular passion for leading groups of teens on mission trips to the country.

In addition to his wife, Linda, Scott has a daughter and two grandchildren. He is the Secretary of 516NOW.

Kathy Burrell

Kathy Burrell

Treasurer

Kathy Burrell is a senior supply planner at Univar USA Inc. She is married to Barry Burrell who shares her love for Palacagüina. They have been doing mission trips there since 2011 and have made special friends who will always have a place in their hearts. Kathy has a son, a daughter, and four delightful granddaughters. She is an active member at Milestones Church and a member of Ladies Ministry DIOKO team.

Kathy serves as Treasurer for 516NOW and loves sharing the universal smile and hugs with the children she meets in both Nicaragua and in the United States.

Brant Chipley

Brant Chipley

Board Member

My name is Brant Chipley and I have been on the board of 516Now since 2016. I have wife Kelly, Daughter Brantley and Son Braxton. Both of my children play competitive Volleyball and Kelly and I enjoy watching them play. I primarily help 516Now with Videos and Newsletters.
Brenton Witonsky

Brenton Witonsky

Board Member

Brenton is a native of Arkansas and has been married for 16 years to his wife Deborah. Together they have the privilege of raising four wonderful children. Graduating from the University of Central Arkansas with a duel major in Mathematics and Computer Science, Brenton enjoyed a successful career in Information Technology. In 2014 God interrupted Brenton and Deborah’s typical American life and they were challenged to live a radical life for Him. In 2016, the Witonski family moved to Palacaguina, Nicaragua as missionaries to build and direct the Palacaguina Christian Academy (PCA). Through God’s grace, serving along-side the ministry of 516Now, they built a school which has been positively impacting children and families in Palacaguina since it opened its doors in February of 2017.

In June of 2018, with great sadness, Brenton and his family were forced to evacuate due to the civil unrest which erupted in Nicaragua. Settling in Austin, Texas, Brenton and Deborah continue to advocate for and lead the Palacaguina Christian Academy from the United States. Brenton joined the board of 516Now in January of 2019 to further strengthen the relationship between PCA and 516Now as well as continue to work along-side his Brothers and Sisters in Christ who have a heart to love and minister to the people of Nicaragua through creating sustainable and God-honoring ministries where the Lord calls.

Eric Stader

Eric Stader

Board Member

Eric is a practicing family physician in southwest Wisconsin, caring for patients from birth until death since 2003. He’s the co-owner of High Point Family Medicine, LLC, an independent rural practice. Each year, he mentors several residents and students. He is a leader in his local church, hospital, and community, as well as the Wisconsin Academy of Family Physicians, but is most interested in the personal relationships that develop along the way. Eric and his wife Danielle married in 1996, when she began teaching and he started medical school. They live in rural Grant County near Platteville, Wisconsin, and their household includes five children with a variety of pursuits as they mature.

Beginning with a discipleship-oriented ministry while a student at the University of Oklahoma, Eric has long had an interest in missions. He has served on teams in Central Asia, western Africa, and Latin America. Opportunities for service are plentiful for a physician, and God has ignited his passion for serving in short term missions. During several trips to Nicaragua from 2015 through 2018, he became familiar with 516NOW. His current focus is 516NOW work in the DR. He enjoys planning and organizing mission trips for adults and teens and has had the joy of taking all but his youngest on multiple trips. Seeing his eldest, Emily, respond to God’s calling into missions has been a source of abundant joy. He is grateful for the opportunity to serve with others with a love for people.