Freedom Run 5K to benefit Nicavangelists

By on June 4, 2019
The Nicavangelists with Pastor John Ebel and his daughter Jane, at the Hamlin New Testa

The Nicavangelists with Pastor John Ebel and his daughter Jane, at the Hamlin New Testa

On Saturday, June 22, the streets of Hamlin will be the site of the Freedom Run 5K being hosted by Hamlin New Testament Church. The event is a fundraiser to benefit the boys who are part of the Nicavangelists, a troupe of boys and young men who were rescued from the harsh streets of Nicaragua. They travel the world bringing awareness to the struggles the youth are facing in Nicaragua through storytelling and cultural dancing called “tricking.” The Nicavangelists have a basecamp located in Managua, Nicaragua, where the boys and young men were rescued from the violence and dangers of living on the streets of Nicaragua. They are rescued and then provided education, safe housing, and training to help empower them towards a productive future.

The Nicavangelists were first featured in the Suburban News and Hamlin-Clarkson Herald in December, shortly after they arrived to the area seeking asylum from the violence taking place in their country. Since that article, more than 500 Nicaraguans have been murdered by Nicaraguan police and paramilitaries. More than 700 citizens are being held as political prisoners in Nicaraguan prisons, thousands have been injured by Nicaraguan police and paramilitaries and thousands of Nicaraguans are reported as missing. Many of those imprisoned indefinitely have been brutally tortured.         

The United States and Europe have imposed sanctions on Nicaragua. As the economy continues to fall, both unemployment and inflation have skyrocketed, leaving the country in an unstable and dangerous condition. Many of the Nicaraguan youth’s parents have lost their jobs, friends have been murdered, imprisoned and gone missing. The father of one of the Nicavangelists was illegally detained by Nicaraguan Police and held in solitary confinement as he was beaten for three days. Local churches such as Christ Community Church (Brockport), Hope Church (Greece), New Testament Christian Church (Greece), Lakeshore (Greece), and the Hamlin New Testament Church (Hamlin) have been hosting the Nicavangelists and helping provide support.   

Pastor John Ebel of the Hamlin New Testament Church has a long history with Jed Brien, the Director of the Nicavangelists. Brien cultivated relationships in the western Monroe county community when he attended The College at Brockport. Ebel’s family, especially his daughter Jane, stayed in touch with Brien over the years while he was actively working in Nicaragua helping the Nicaraguan youth. Earlier this year when Brien and the Nicavangelists were unable to return to Nicaragua due to the dangers there, Jane opened her home to provide for the youngest boys. 

Pastor Ebel and the team at the Hamlin New Testament Church wanted to host a fun outdoor event to bring the community together to show support for the Nicavangelists, as well as provide awareness of the oppression the children are facing. “As a small farming community we have big hearts for taking care of our immigrants,” Pastor Ebel said. 

Proceeds from the fun run will help provide shelter, food and necessities for the children being rescued from Nicaragua. Brien said, “We are trying to bring these kids out of Nicaragua, so that they have an opportunity to realize a bright future by sharing their story, talent, culture and hope with the world. Sadly, many of the children don’t know where their parents are, or their parents have abandoned them.”

The Freedom Run 5K will start on Saturday, June 22, at the Hamlin New Testament Church, at the corner of Lake Road and Hamlin Clarkson Road, Hamlin. Registration begin at 9 a.m. and the 5K race starts at 10 a.m. A picnic and presentation will start at noon. The family friendly picnic will provide lunch, a bounce house and a performance by the Nicavangelists. Cost is $20 for the entire day of events including the 5K run and t-shirt. Proceeds will benefit the Nicavangelists. All are welcome – runners, walkers and anyone who would like to support this cause. Tickets are available in advance through www.eventbrite.com, or find it on Facebook (search for Freedom Run 5K).

Photos by Julia Mungenast

Three of the youngest Nicavangelists living in the area.

Three of the youngest Nicavangelists living in the area.

Nicavangelists “tricking” in the streets of Hamlin.

Nicavangelists “tricking” in the streets of Hamlin.