Managua, NICARAGUA This Past Year

Autumn 2017
Written by - NICARAGUA

It was the Master himself who hand picked a very diverse group of men. His call was clear, "Follow me, and I will make you become fishers of men" Would we have put Simon the Zealot together with Matthew the publican? Would we have selected Judas Iscariot together with a group of unlearned fishermen? We likely would not. He did. The discipleship began when they left their nets, walked away from the tax office, and crawled out from under that fig tree. All through the four gospels, we gain glimpses how the Master stretched them, taught them, confronted them and yes even rebuked them.

It seems to be providence that the camera of divine scripture focuses in on the Apostle Paul as we read on into Acts. A true visionary with vitality and venture weaved into the fabric of his spiritual DNA. A man with a high education, from a background of privilege, yet told at conversion that he would suffer many things for the cause of Jesus.

Together with Barnabas, they had a vision for the Work and the wisdom to enable others. As they prayed and fasted for a greater gospel footprint on the world, the Holy Spirit acted. He called them, sent them, and they called John Mark to accompany them. Can't you hear the missionary asking one of the overseers in Lystra about Timothy? The response was clear, and with the circumcision that followed, I don't think anybody would ever question Timothy's submission!

Gospel meeting Managua, Nicaragua

We're not in first-century Rome, but we are in the 21st century western society. It is incumbent upon Local Churches gathering to the Lord's name to follow the pattern of biblical discipleship. Proactive and intentional mentor-ship. The awkwardness of having others in your own personal space. The emotional and spiritual
exhaustion that comes with this special partnership of deep trust and service. There is often a felt physical drain and by default a substantial financial investment. We confess that at times of discouragement we have asked the Lord, "Is it worth it?"

Having been called by God to serve Him in Nicaragua, it is also our firm conviction that we are to proactively enable others as we serve. Looking over the past 14 years in Nicaragua, we have been privileged to host, for extended periods of time, many young men. For most of those years, Kyle Wilson and I along with our wives, have worked together with a common vision and purpose for the discipleship team in a particular locality. Brenda and I deeply appreciate the blessing it is to work so closely with Kyle and Allison and also enjoy solid working relationships with the rest of the workers the Lord has planted in Nicaragua.

While we have had the immeasurable privilege to influence others for God, we readily confess that any lasting impact on the lives of the young men has been produced by the fingers of the Master Potter alone. The task is challenging in any given generation. It's counter-cultural. It's a continuous denial of the flesh. It's spiritual warfare to penetrate the thick dark castle walls built by one's selfishness. A year in Nicaragua affords plenty of opportunities to be humbled. The frustrations of a language barrier, or the misunderstanding of culture, or the obnoxiousness of a room mate, or the emotional and spiritual toll that a prolonged physical illness produces in a person or the stress of only having a few bucks left in your wallet, or the deep disappointment when only a handful of souls come to the gospel meeting, or the feeling you get when it seems others are excelling and you aren't.

Mark, Brenda Bachert and family

The notion that people are dying to come to meetings and it's impossible to have enough chairs for them all is one of the great myths some folks believe. They aren't lined up to get saved or even to come to meetings. Just ask Drew and Austin who had a couple of series of gospel meetings in the Jonathan Gonzalez section of the city. There were three people regularly attending the meetings. Was it worth preaching to only three night after night? Absolutely. Two of the three professed faith in Christ.

Any notion that all who profess faith in Christ go on to be baptized and enter the fellowship of the Assembly here in Managua is also false. They don't. Just ask Jared, Johnny, and Jordan how they felt when a dear lady who professed faith, showed signs of reality, suddenly asked them to stop coming for their weekly bible study. Her reason: she decided to go with a neighbour lady to one of the mainstream mega evangelical churches. Investment in a soul that doesn't seem to pan out is often hard to process. As they laboured every night for one month, preaching in what used to be a bar, it was a thrill to see the front room of the house full. God graciously saved an elderly man named Felix.

Another myth is that everything is inexpensive in Nicaragua. It's not. Just ask Amos and Austin who consistently filled up the microbus with fuel week after week taking people home after the meetings. Much wisdom is required to know when to give and when not to give to dear people in need. The stories, the heartaches, the pain, the needs. It's a constant struggle before the Lord to know how to spend what has been entrusted to one's stewardship.

Kyle, Allison Wilson and family

Any notion that gospel work is all about sitting at a desk studying the scripture sipping on an incredible latte at Cafe las Flores is also false. Gospel work is hard work. Just ask Carter and James who so faithfully walked, rode bicycles, took taxis or destroyed vehicles in the community they were assigned to. Those boys were consistently up and out of the apartment before 6:30 in the morning, and often returning after 10 pm. Hours of visiting door to door, kids work in the park, semi open-air gospel meetings on different streets, Bible studies with one individual or with a group of 10. It's labor, travail, to see souls born into the family of God that desire the sincere milk of the word.

The team of nine ended on a high note. Our last series of meetings in the section of the city known as San Judas was very well attended. Each of the four teams worked and brought out dozens of souls from their respective areas. Each of the guys presented Christ in a very clear and concise manner. They developed a burden for the spiritual well-being of others. God did work, souls were saved, and as a result, the gospel traveled even to the rainforest reserve of Bosawas where our new brother in Lord Aaron was raised in the Mayangna community.

The team has all returned home. The hugs from family, the welcome from their Assemblies and the opportunity to share a report undoubtedly has already happened. What will the future be of these young men? How will they integrate back into the regular routines of an established Assembly? What vision will the overseers have specifically for them? What will the real impact be of 11 months in Nicaragua once the interest has wained and the stories have all been shared? Will the nine each manifest they are lovers of God? Will they be examples of the believers in love and word, in conduct, love, spirit, faith, and purity? Will they marry in the Lord, a partner who will truly assist them in their walk with the Lord? Will they slip back into the normal routines of life and resurrect old habit of comfort and fleshly gratification? What will the eternal impact be on the lives of the nine who sacrificed and invested much in Nicaragua?

Will they one day be called to open their homes and hearts and become vulnerable as they disciple others? May God grant each of them a healthy dose of spiritual discretion, solid determination and sovereign direction in their lives. We continue to pray for them and hope you will also!

Autumn 2017
Written by - NICARAGUA