When we ask for prayer, we make ourselves vulnerable in letting others know the needs or the desires that we have. There are several times in the epistles when the apostle Paul graciously urges others to pray. As laborers in Nicaragua, we value the prayerful support of the Lord’s people on behalf of this growing work. As the work of God continues to develop throughout the country, the weight of responsibilities also continues to grow. In being asked to write a report on the “needs of the work in Nicaragua,” we seek to inform you of some of the real issues that we face in this work and to encourage you to pray on its behalf.
To many, Nicaragua could be considered a “Christian” country. The vast majority would believe in God and the Bible as the Word of God. The country is literally packed with church buildings, as every little town and village has at least some sort of religious presence. Unfortunately, religion has not, and cannot meet the inward needs of the people. As millions approach eternity, there is a need for spiritual revival and awakening, a need for thirst to know the truth, and a longing to be right with God. The confusion of doctrine and plethora of differing beliefs has left many people disinterested in searching out truth for themselves. We find all around a consciousness that there is a God, and yet a despondency to seek God out for themselves. The greatest need for Nicaragua is that the cloud of religious confusion would be lifted and people would respond to the message of the grace of God in salvation through Christ. We are trying to combat the ignorance through tracts, seed sowers, pamphlets and other printable material. We are investing time to produce websites and other web pages that would allow us to get the Word of God out to others, but it all takes time, manpower, resources, and energy.
There is an openness to sin that affects all realms of life here. We see broken homes and broken lives. Sexual immorality, alcoholism, and abuse are constant issues that have long lasting effects on the lives of the people we work with. A new life in Christ is to bring a new beginning, a new way of life, and a new walk. We pray and long that this will be the case in the lives of those who profess. Nicaragua is a new work, with first generation Christians. It is this first generation that needs to leave behind a culture of sin and dysfunction, to establish their lives on new principles from the Word of God. Whether it be in dating, marriage and family, school studies or work, many of the believers have never had a proper example and this is where we find a huge need in the new assemblies throughout the country. Brethren, pray not just for us, but for this new generation of believers that spread throughout the country; a new generation of believers who need to step away from what is considered to be normal, to follow what the Scriptures teach.
Today’s modern missions seem to focus on meeting the temporal needs of people. There is a steady flow of mission groups constantly landing in Managua eager to lend a helping hand. They build wells, homes, churches buildings, and many other things. Being the second poorest country in the western hemisphere, the focus oftentimes is solely on the poverty. If complacency to the gospel is a danger to modern missionary work, the other extreme is neglecting the very real needs that surround us. Through differing circumstances, we have started two projects that not only help the needy, but have allowed us to bring the gospel to those without Christ. One of these projects is our NicaChild support program for impoverished children in the country. It is a monthly sponsorship program that has enabled not only temporary support to be given, but for the gospel to reach the ears of many families. Currently there are 72 children being sponsored by different families throughout the United States and Canada on a monthly basis. The second program is an upstart program called NicaHome that would allow us to build or renovate the homes of those in great need. As many of those we live and work around do not have even a basic home for themselves, we do not want to forget the words that Paul wrote to the Galatians “So then, as we have opportunity, let us do good to everyone, and especially to those who are of the household of faith” (6:10 ESV). Poverty is a reality we face on a continual basis, and we want these programs to enhance the reality of the gospel, but never to take its place.
According to a World Evangelical Alliance report, 43% of missionaries stay less than 10 years on the field. The average missionary service is only 12 years. There is probably not one specific reason that missionaries are leaving the field for home, but recent studies show the majority of missionaries share the same difficulties. There are the realities of discouragement with growth, progress, and evangelism, priorities of our commitments, language and cultural barriers, fulfillment of family responsibilities, financial stresses, and lastly, spiritual burnout. These are some of the leading difficulties that face all of us and are real personal needs that we face daily. Through all of these things, the Lord remains able to sustain, provide, and bless what ultimately is under his control. “Brethren Pray for us.”