Go Ye Into All the World: Nicaragua

What if the streets of Managua could tell of December 23, 1972? The ground shook. Structures crumbled. Screams were heard, and many bodies lay still in death. We would listen in solemn silence wondering at that unforgettable night.

What if the Nicaraguan soil told the names and ages of the 80,000 whose blood stains the ground from the ten-plus years of war? Would hot tears not fall down our cheeks? How many were ready to meet God?

It is to this Republic, and to this people who have known such hardship and sorrow, that we have been called by God to preach the gospel. We look into their faces, listen to their experiences, and learn their culture; we pray for their souls. Thinking about their eternal destiny caused us often. from our little rented house in Dolores, to pray the Lord to send forth laborers. We are so thankful that God has, and is, answering our prayer. Tony and Danelle Flett moved here with their family in October of ‘04. John and Joanne Clingen and family arrived in July of ‘07. Kyle Wilson who has worked closely with us since ‘03 was fully commended in April of ‘07. In August 2008 Mitch and Lori Parent and their family settled in. Without doubt God is lending His servants to this land for divine blessing. We are just as much debtors today to the almost six million Nicaraguan souls as Paul was when he wrote in AD 60 to the Romans.

Brenda and I are so blessed with our two little boys the Lord has given us here. We currently are living in a place called El Valle de la Laguna de Apoyo where the Lord has been pleased to establish a testimony to His name. The work here started in September of 2007. The three young men who came for a one-year commitment of gospel work started to study Spanish. A weekly Bible study was started in the home of one of the teachers. In the middle of the fourth study, as Kyle was teaching Genesis 22, Francisco spoke up and said, “Just as the ram took Isaac’s place on the altar, I understand that Jesus took my place on the cross and paid for my sin.” The next day at work, Francisco told Ericson about his new-found peace. Ericson asked to come with us to Dolores for the regular Saturday night gospel meeting. What a joy it was when he told us on the way home, how he was convicted of his sin and unworthiness and how he came to Christ as the meeting closed. God was working. Sensing the urgent need for nightly gospel preaching we erected the tent and invited the community. God blessed. Many souls were saved and at the end of the eighth week, Edwin, Wilmer, Jose Maria, Ericson, Francisco, and his wife Cristina obeyed the Lord in baptism.

Kyle and I kept at the gospel but also started to teach the new believers. John and Joanne moved closer to the work. On February 24, 2008, we sat down with seven believers, plus some visitors, to remember the Lord, simply obeying the revealed truth of Scripture. We’re thankful that now, a year or so later, there are fourteen Nicaraguan believers in fellowship.

The journey has not been easy. Some have stirred others against us, speaking evil of the believers. Many of our brothers and sisters still face persecution even from their families for their faith. Others face economic hardships. Still others waver in the face of strong temptations. We look to the Lord alone to protect the believers, to save their families and neighbors; as well, to raise up local leadership and to provide a lot for the building of a permanent hall. We trust the Lord to bless the assembly with vision for surrounding communities, and the large city of Masaya. This is His work. He has shown us over the years that He is faithful. We deeply appreciate your prayers for us and this young work.

We thank God for the eight assemblies that gather to His name alone in this Republic, however we are not oblivious to the nine states that still have no assembly work in them. We continue to ask the Lord to send forth laborers, fully aware of the burden He is placing on our own hearts first. While visiting again the family connections of one of our brothers in the very primitive Rio San Juan area, our hearts were stirred as we presented their need of Christ. Where will eternity find them? “How shall they believe in Him of Whom they have not heard? And how shall they hear without a preacher” (Rom 10:14)?

We shudder to think that one day the ground will shake again. Structures of this world will crumble, bodies will lie still in death, and the souls of men will take flight to eternal dwellings. The military might of the nations will one day be ignited against each other and the loss of life and the blood of many will saturate the soil as the rider of the red horse gallops off with his great sword. Thank God that every saved soul will be taken home prior to these unequaled events! People from humble dwellings, from hospital beds, people from every kindred, tongue, and nation will all be caught up to gather around the Lamb. For the redeemed, poverty and hunger will be no more. Jealousy and contention will be no more. Sickness and dying will be no more. All tears will be wiped away and there will be no night there. We will see Jesus. We will see His wounded hands and feet. We will worship Him. The singing will be indescribable. The multitude will be innumerable – but I wonder: How many of our Nicaraguan friends will have heard the unadulterated gospel message? My heart’s longing is that many more will respond by faith.

We are indeed debtors to all men.