I arrived safely in Nicaragua on Thursday evening. Adrianna Oudman, CRWM partner missionary at the Nehemiah Center, picked me up and we traveled to Leon, where Adrianna lives. Some may remember Adrianna from her visit to Faith Church earlier this year over Tulip Time. She will accompany me to Chinandega as a translator and guide.
This morning I spend some time walking around Leon on my own, visited a couple of cathedrals, bought a smoothie, and exchanged money with a “coyote” outside the bank. Not bad for a guy who doesn’t actually speak Spanish! Late morning Adrianna and I headed to Chinandega on a “chicken bus,” though today we did not see any chickens on the bus. Adrianna’s friend Marcos accompanied us to help with our luggage as we also took two bikes, our mode of transportation in Chinandega.
After lunch with Marcos – and a wonderful conversation about the IMPACT club in which he is involved and how the church does (or does not) minister to single twenty-somethings – Adrianna and I visited our first pastor: Porfirio and Suyapa, the pastoral couple at Amor Viviente. They are Honduran missionaries ministering in Nicaragua. Unfortunately their son Antonio was at school. Antonio knows English quite well and facilitated conversations between me and his parents in January. I’ll be back at Amor Viviente tomorrow night, preaching at their Saturday night worship service, and plan to have dinner afterwards with Porfirio’s family, so I should see Antonio then.
After the visit with Porfirio and Suyapa and a quick visit to Hotel Don Mario to change clothes, I visited Evaristo and Ignacia, the pastoral couple at Iglesia Resurreccion y Vida briefly before preaching at the church’s Friday evening service. After church Adrianna and I had dinner with Evaristo and Ignacia at the home of a church member.
I was richly blessed by my conversations with each pastor. Both deeply love the Lord, his church, and its ministry. We talked openly and freely about challenges in ministry. The similarity between the challenges churches and pastors face here in Nicaragua and in North America is striking. Both pastors offered wise counsel, encouragement, and helpful perspective.
Tomorrow promises to be another rich day with participation with Iglesia de Dios’ Day of Solidarity in the morning, lunch with its pastor, Adolfo, and his wife, Martha, preaching at Amor Viviente, and dinner with Porfirio, Suyapa and their family afterwards.