Rev. Leslie Penrose
"During a 1986 visit to a farming cooperative in the mountains near Jinotega, I met with a small group of Nicaraguan peasant farmers (campesinos). As part of the Agrarian Reform, these campesinos had been given small plots of land to farm and had decided to join together and create a cooperative — sharing the work, the costs, and, as they proudly displayed for us –– a greater harvest than any of them could have produced alone: carrots as big as forearms, squash and onions and corn. Most of them had worked their whole lives on someone else’s land for someone else’s benefit, barely able to feed their families, with little or no hope of escaping the desperate poverty that defines the lives of most of Nicaragua’s citizens. 'We always hoped for land of our own,' one of the campesinos told us, 'but it was hope with no legs.'
'Now,' he continued, 'our hope has the strong legs of justice.' That story and his words have lived inside me for the past twenty years. That is what I want JustHope to be about: 'Giving hope the strong legs of justice.' ”
Rev. Leslie Penrose has served as an ordained minister in both the United Methodist Church and the United Church of Christ, for 22 years as a local church pastor. During that time, she created and nurtured global partnerships in Nicaragua. In 2007, she completed a fourteen-year ministry as the founding pastor of Community of Hope UCC — the first mainline open and affirming congregation in Tulsa — and moved into global partnership work full time as the founder and Executive Director of JustHope. Leslie, a graduate of Leadership Tulsa, is the Director of Ministerial Formation for UCC students at Phillips Theological Seminary; and has been a presenter for the Jesus Seminar, NCCJ (National Conference on Community and Justice), Regional AIDS Interfaith Network, and Tulsa Metropolitan Ministry. She is trained as a dispute resolution facilitator, and as a Mission and Ministry Interpreter for the UCC/DOC Global Ministries Board. She serves on the Boards of Directors for the national Justice and Witness Ministries of the United Church of Christ, the Executive Council of the United Church of Christ, and the United Church AIDS Network Board of Directors. Locally she serves on the Board of Directors for Tulsa Metropolitan Ministry, and on the Conference Council of the Kansas-Oklahoma Conference of the UCC.
1311 S. Frisco Ave.
Tulsa, OK 74119
Phone: (918) 260-7181
Director of Nicaraguan Operations
Hi, my name is Julio Delgado. I am an English language instructor at Centro de Idiomas UNAN-LEON. I was born in Leon, Nicaragua. Besides being an English teacher, I also work as an interpreter & translator for different mission groups from US.
I started to learn English at the age of eight years old. I was interested about learning the language, because in the '80s near my house there was the only Hotel in town called Hotel Europa, so all the tourists used to stay there. Therefore I asked myself I would really like to speak their language; and communicate with them. A few months later I asked my father to sent me to a private course to learn the language, so I went to a private school to learn English for several months, unfortunately my father died, so I stopped for a while, because my mother couldn't afford it. Then one of my classmates knew that I was so interested about the course and he came over my house to lend me his books and so that I continued studying by myself at home.
Now that I am a professional ESL teacher and a translator, I feel this is such a blessing from God to me. I feel useful when I am interpreting and translating for the poor communities of my country. Moreover God has blessed me once again, finding JustHope for me to work with them. This is the best experience that I have ever had in my life. I am so proud of being JustHope's Nicaraguan Director of Operations. I really like the adventure!
Steve Penrose- Project Manager
Elba Luz Delgado
Director of Women's Projects
Elba is one of the amazing young women in Chacraseca, who despite
poverty and machismo, has managed to achieve her goals of completing college and working as a professional. Her degree is in Business Administration, and she is currently serving in her community as the Vice-Coordinator of the Leadership Board. As the Director of Women’s Projects for JustHope, Elba manages our micro-credit projects in Chacraseca and in Santa Emilia; AND helps direct and coordinate the Sonando Juntos Ferreteria and other women’s cooperative projects.
Elba has two young children – both boys, and her dream is to be able to move her family from the one bedroom they all share in her mother’s house, to their own small home. It’s a dream that will take her years to achieve, but she is women of deep and stubborn hope!
Francis Priscilla Gonzalez Guido
"My name is Francis Gonzalez. I am an English language instructor at Centro de Idiomas UNAN-LEON. I was born in Leon, Nicaragua. Besides being an English teacher, I also have worked as an interpreter & translator for different mission groups from the US.
I started to learn English at the age of seven years old, when my whole family immigrated to the USA due to the war in the '80s. I went to elementary and Junior High school in Dallas, Texas. After living 9 years abroad, my family and I came back. I finished my High school and went to the university. I graduated in 2005 with a major in English.
Office Manager and Programs Coordinator
Laura Eccles is a recent graduate of Oklahoma State University with a degree in International Business. She was introduced to JustHope through her friendship with Steve Penrose whom she met in Spanish classes. She first became involved with JustHope through Wine to Water and fell in love immediately. She is excited to contribute to the organization by taking part in the coordination of fund-raising on the Advisory Board and also as the administrative assistant to Leslie. She experienced Nicaragua for the first time in May 2011 and hopes to return soon and often.