Thus, this new series “Going Global” has been born. In this new blog series, I will be talking to friends and family from all different walks of life and seeing how God has used them around the world as they step out in faith and seek to expand Christ’s kingdom on earth.
This first blog is about the country of Nicaragua, visited by my classmate and friend Patrick Ford.
Nicaragua is a country of a little under 6 million people. Hidden in the heart of Central America, Nicaragua is considered by many to be an undiscovered gem of diverse people and natural wonder. Fortunately for me, while I have not had the opportunity to travel to Nicaragua, I was able to learn about the country, its people, and the way God is working there through Patrick. Patrick traveled to Nicaragua in October 2013 on a short term missions trip with a group called Chosen Children and two churches.
Nicaragua is a country of fast Latin rhythms boasting a variety of landscapes such as shimmering white sand beaches, deep crater lakes, epic volcanoes, colorful, butterfly filled mountains, overgrown tropical jungles, prosperous coffee lands, and an unbelievable assortment of biological diversity.
While the women on the Patrick’s team served in a house to house ministry, Patrick and the rest of the men were working to assist in progression of a local open air church. Patrick explained the need to level the ground with gravel and sand before giving the church its first concrete floor. It is always humbling to me to hear about a church getting something as simple a concrete floor for the first time, while the church I attend in the U.S. is currently working on an entirely new furnished, powered, and air-conditioned building. How humbling are the simple needs of the global church... The truth stands that it only takes a few caring and hardworking people to put in the time to accomplish something we live life requiring and expecting and requiring. All the while, these churches view it a unbelievable blessing.
Through this trip, Patrick affirmed his growing love for ministry through construction work. He observed to me that the Lord had been teaching him the value of hard labor in order to reflect strong love… the love of a God who will do anything to reach his people. Missions, Patrick asserted, “is how we show ourselves to be dedicated superheroes of the faith.” I enjoyed that comparison. In my mind, when I think of my favorite superhero, Captain America, I automatically think of a sense of duty, service, always striving to do the best he can to ensure the safety of those around him (whether he knows them or not). I think service and a duty to share our faith should be at the core of every born again believer.
Patrick was able to share some really fascinating and exciting stories with me about his time in Nicaragua. I loved hearing how their team ministered to the children of their village and how a surprisingly loyal relationship was built with the group’s translator. He mentioned the unexpectedness of the friendships that had been established, despite the short amount of time they had among the people. Patrick concluded our conversation with a challenge for the modern church of America. He offered, “Christians need to stop sitting idle and doing nothing. The world is our mission field. Here or there. Everyone should be doing something.” Jesus did not leave us to simply stand around and await his return. This world needs brave, proactive Christians seeking to serve through Christ-like action and Biblically sound words.
How can you help Nicaragua?
Specific Prayer Needs
Rapid evangelical growth in an impoverished and dysfunctional society creates both challenges and opportunities.
1. The deep trauma suffered by many who are now turning to the churches – bereavement, family break-ups, material loss and other traumas.
2. Division among and even within churches on liberation theology, the work of the Holy Spirit and interpersonal conflicts.
3. The emergence of US-style megachurches with their dynamism and confidence. Nicaragua needs culturally appropriate churches that serve the people and do not just mimic foreign models.
4. Economic programs by the churches. With widespread poverty, churches are ministering to the most destitute (such as street children) and developing ways to assist their most needy members.
5. Involvement in politics. Evangelicals – a quarter of the population – are beginning to wield considerable (and overdue) influence in the public sphere. Many in the government are becoming believers, and both the Catholic Church and some evangelical megachurches have significant political muscle to flex. Pray that believers might have the wisdom and determination to be a righteous influence on the nation.
If you wish to know more about how to send support to Nicaragua (whether by going or financial support), but don’t know where to start, please contact me HERE. I can send you the links to several organizations that can help you answer God’s call on your life.
If you want to support Patrick as he seeks to follow God’s calling in his life you can visit the website for his music production company Dying Seed Studios. He is doing amazing things and I am so excited to see how the Lord will continue to work in his life. Of course to top it all off, pray for Patrick as he begins a new chapter of his life as he graduates from university!
"Then the eleven disciples went to Galilee, to the mountain where Jesus had told them to go.When they saw him, they worshiped him; but some doubted. Then Jesus came to them and said,“All authority in heaven and on earth has been given to me." Therefore go and make disciples of all nations," baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit," and teaching" them to obey everything I have commanded you. And surely I am with you" always, to the very end of the age.” ~ Matthew 28:16-20