A report from some who are spearheading work to claim new ground for God and the gospel.
Numerous Needs for Prayer in this New Work in Nicaragua
As we settle into the work here in Nicaragua, we are grateful for all the prayers of the Lord’s people. The drive down was long and somewhat tiring, but without any major problems, for which we are thankful.
The Government and Country
Nicaragua has a population of about six million. It is considered to be the second poorest country in the Western Hemisphere, behind Haiti. Experts estimate that nearly 50 percent of the population is underemployed. It seems that during the 10 years of Communist control of the country, a large number of people learned to wait for society to meet their needs rather than depend on their own initiative and ability to work. Roman Catholicism, which has been subtly combined with pagan rituals, has a strong hold on the vast majority of the population. However it is the ecumenical movement among those that call themselves evangelicals that has proved to be the biggest obstacle to gospel work here. Even though they have different names on their buildings, they all teach that salvation is by works, not grace, and that eternal security is not found in the Bible. This false gospel has been propagated so long that it is hard for people to accept the work of Christ alone for salvation and that the gift of God is eternal life through Jesus Christ our Lord. In addition, these deceivers can be very resistant to those that bring the truth. Some have even likened us to the false teachers that will come in the last days. It is sad to see how Satan has blinded the eyes even of those who profess to know the truth.
A consistent work in Dolores began with a gospel series in March of 2003. Dolores is a small town with a large number of religious people who are trying to live a Christian life without the power that makes that possible. Mark and Brenda Bachert and Ike and Silvia Frazer and others have been working hard in this town and the Lord has blessed. There are a good number of faithful believers that have been baptized and are a real testimony to the grace of God. We have been having weekly prayer meetings with the brethren, five at the present time, seeking to impress on them their responsibility before the Lord as men in God’s assembly. We feel that it will not be long before a local church testimony is established here. Please pray that we will have wisdom and divine guidance as to the right time.
It seems we are outgrowing the little house that the Christians in Dolores have been meeting in for the last year and a half. It is full for most meetings and during the children’s meetings on Saturday and Sunday, tarps are put up outside to accommodate those that come. That works to protect the children from the sun from December to April, but it is not always sufficient to keep them dry during the rainy season. We are looking to the Lord for guidance as to when to build a hall. Both Mark and I feel that a permanent building would be a good help and testimony in the community. The brethren here have expressed a willingness to help in the construction. We would value your prayer for the proper timing of this project.
On the fifth of December, Ross VanStone and I had our first gospel meeting in a town called Niquinohomo, about 15 minutes from here. It is a town that has long been known for witchcraft. There were over 25 people out to the first meeting and there seemed to be good interest. Please pray that the Lord will bless in salvation.
Gospel work in Nicaragua is not easy, and at times it can be very disappointing. It requires a lot of personal visitation, and at times those that appear to have spiritual promise eventually show no evidence of being born of God. On the other hand, it can be such an encouragement to sit in a meeting and listen to prayers of brethren that have been saved less than a year. Without many words or great form, they simply thank God for sending His Son and earnestly pray for the salvation of others. We can only sit back and thank God for the work He is doing and for allowing us to have a small part in it. Please continue to pray for the work here. It would be great to look back years down the road and see small groups of believers gathered simply to the Name and person of the Lord Jesus Christ throughout the country of Nicaragua.