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Partnering in Missions with the Nicaraguan Church

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Participants from the Boaco Adentro Seminar.
By Dan B.*

“Therefore go and make disciples of all nations…” Matthew 28:19

How is the church in Nicaragua to carry out this command when the nations (ethnic groups) that are unreached are so far away from them? This was the topic we discussed together this June and July in the eight regions where Mennonite churches are located in Nicaragua. Pastors, church leaders, and interested youth gathered for one-day seminars on missions in each of the regions to look at what the Bible teaches us about what the church is to be doing in missions and to discuss what this means specifically for the churches of Nicaragua. Altogether more than 350 people participated and there was a lot of discussion—especially on how the churches should respond to this challenge.

Questions we discussed were: How do we determine whom God is calling to go to the nations? How are these persons to be trained? Where are the resources going to come from to send and support these workers? There was a lot of excitement and the most gratifying result was that 35 people, including both singles and young couples, responded to the call as candidates for missions. These candidates come from both city and rural churches and have varied backgrounds in education and church experience. Some are pastors, some are evangelists, and some are Bible teachers and students. There are eight couples (a few with young children). There are four candidates from another church conference with ties to RMM and located in the coffee growing region of Matagalpa. The candidates are diverse, but what they have in common is a desire to offer their lives to God to be used to reach the nations with the gospel message.

Candidates from Managua, Nicaragua.

The three members of the Missions Commission of the Nicaragua Mennonite Church participated in the eight seminars, and they will be the leaders of the program to follow up on this interest. They plan to get to know each of the candidates better to help discern which of them have the call and the gifts to go overseas. The Commission members have encouraged each candidate to take basic extension courses in the Bible and theology. They are planning to encourage each to participate in practical outreach through their local churches and to travel to other areas of Nicaragua to demonstrate their desire and ability to share their faith cross-culturally. Candidates who are called and prepared to go overseas will prepare to do so, while the others will work in outreaches in Nicaragua. Pray for the three members of the Commission—Faustino Nurinda, a pastor and evangelist; Reyna Lumbi who spent a year as an intern in Thailand, and Nelson Ramirez, a young man who has studied missions for several years—as they give direction to these candidates and seek financial support for them.

An all-important issue for the churches and candidates is how they are to arrange the finances for going to Thailand and a neighboring country. The churches are poor and have little money to give to those going overseas. However, they have shown that they are willing to give sacrificially to send some of their own to Asia. Last year, the Conference as a whole sent over $5,000 to support Efrain and Suyen who have lived in Thailand since January 2013 (Efrain had lived there as a single from 2011-12). And they took up special offerings totaling more than $500 during June and July to support Jonathan who would like to go to Thailand in 2015. They are willing to do special projects to raise funds as well. The goal is that each candidate will raise enough to support him or herself for up to two years until they are able to work on the field as a self-supporting mission worker. Even so, in order to send a family or several singles, it seems that some outside support will be needed.

A few years back RMM partnered with the Nicaraguan Conference to send Nixson and Efrain to study at a Bangkok university for four years. What is God calling RMM, the CMC constituency, and other interested supporters to give to assist the Nicaraguan Conference in sending more workers? We ask your prayers as the Latin American Missions Partnership (LAMP) team discusses these issues and seeks financial support to help send these brothers and sisters.

Nixson and Rhonda (from the RMM Thailand team) plan to spend September through December in Nicaragua to follow up with the candidates and sending churches. Having had extensive experience in Thailand, they are suited to evaluate the candidates to determine whom God is calling and to help them lay out a training plan and develop ideas for raising financial support. An exciting opportunity lies ahead—may we support the church in Nicaragua with our prayers as they seek to follow the Lord’s command to send workers to “invite the nations to worship Jesus."

Currently, Dan lives Bangkok, Thailand where he tutors English students, mentors the team in church planting and disciples leaders in the church in South Asia.

*Last name omitted for security reasons.