Update on Nicaragua

Journeys to Nicaragua are on the 2019 calendar for Anderson Mill Road Baptist Church’s Missions outreach after cancellations this year due to civil unrest and violence.
The Mill is sponsoring trips to the Central American country in the spring and summer as the dangers have waned. The trouble in Nicaragua began on April 18 with protests in several cities against reforms by President Daniel Ortega that raised social security taxes while decreasing benefits. Around 30 people were killed in the first five days and more than 300 since then, according to the Inter-American Commission on Human Rights.
The Mill will send a group of about 20 to the Pearl Foundation’s mission in Granada from April 30-May 6, while another contingent will travel there in the summer, said Darrell Hinson, a member of The Mill, who with his wife Linda founded Pearl Foundation in 2007 after making numerous mission trips to Nicaragua. A group of 20 to 30 from The Mill will travel to Chosen Children’s site in Masaya from July 13-20, said Darrell Cothran, assistant director of Chosen Children Ministries and The Mill’s media Pastor.
“It just wasn’t safe for us to send teams to Nicaragua this year,” said Jason Williamson, The Mill’s Missions Pastor. “We’re going to trust our partners in the field. When they say it’s not safe to come, we listen.”
Missions in Nicaragua typically attract families with children because the travel is relatively short – with good flight connections from Greenville-Spartanburg International Airport – and good accommodations in the field. For those reasons, Nicaraguan trips are often the first that a person or family will take.
The Mill wasn’t alone in pulling out of missions to Nicaragua. Numerous trips sponsored by Evangelical churches or groups from the United States were postponed or canceled during the spring and summer, Christianity Today said, leaving people they served in worse shape amid the national crisis. And the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints pulled more than 350 missionaries from Nicaragua in June, The Salt Lake Tribune reported.
At the same time, Catholic churches were on the front lines of the protests, according to the Wall Street Journal, with clergy assaulted and numerous churches “attacked, shot at, looted or defiled,” primarily by “government-allied paramilitary groups.”
About half of Nicaragua’s believers are Roman Catholics, while more than a third are affiliated with Evangelical churches, according to the Central Intelligence Agency’s Factbook. Nicaragua is the largest country in Central America, with its population (6.025 million) about a million more than South Carolina’s and its land mass about a third larger than the Palmetto State.
While many mission teams work in regions that weren’t directly impacted by the violence and protests, one critical issue was getting there, since most teams flew into the major cities of Managua or Granada and then traveled by bus for several hours to the sites of their mission work.
Cothran said that protestors frequently blocked roads from the big cities to the outposts, creating dangerous situations for Americans on mission trips.
The Hinsons were scheduled to return to Nicaragua on May 30, but by then, Darrell Hinson said, “the unrest had escalated to mass killings, looting and burning of buildings. We had to cancel our trip and subsequently cancel team trips scheduled for the summer.” Six mission trips, comprised of more than a hundred people, were scrubbed, he said.
“Fortunately we have a wonderful staff of Nicaraguans that carry on the work of the ministry in our absence,” Hinson said. “One of the main activities of our ministry is the preparing and feeding a meal each day to the children in a barrio called Pantanal. Before the civil unrest, we were feeding 80 to 90 children per day.
“We are now averaging 200 children per day. The reason for the increase is a tremendous increase in unemployment. The area we serve is dependent on tourism for many of its jobs. Since the trouble began tourists stopped coming and many hotels, restaurants and other tourist-related businesses closed, putting thousands out of work.”
Even before the trouble, the situation in Nicaragua was dire, Williamson said.
“In some places, it’s a very hard life with not a lot of opportunities,” he said, recalling a time when he preached to a group of Nicaraguans at a garbage dump. It was a place where many went to scavenge for discarded clothing, appliances and the like.
Cothran said that Nicaragua is “the second poorest country in the region, right down there with Haiti. You kind of have two classes of people down there. The wealthy live in the biggest cities, while five miles outside of town you find the poorest of the poor.”
Cothran said that unemployment in the area that Chosen Children Ministries serves was running about 35 percent before the trouble started. Now, he said, joblessness is 65 percent.
“For those who are working, salaries are running about $2 a day,” he said.
Chosen Children provides meals and other aid, drills wells, plants churches, and partners to provide economic development to the area it serves, among other things.
Pearl Foundation has a feeding program and sponsors backyard Bible clubs for children, discipleship classes, sports, prison and nursing home ministries.
If you would like to be a part of one of the trips and make a difference in Nicaragua, please contact Keri, our Missions Logistic Coordinator at keri@amrbc.org.

 

READ MORE MISSION STORIES

Small Business Makes a Big Difference

Watch our July newsletter!

Going on Missions

Matthew Darnell went on a Mission Trip that changed his life. Listen to his testimony about how Missions now has a special place in his heart and how he has been called to Go. Matthew Darnell for Mission Connect Feb 2020 from Church at The Mill on Vimeo.

Operation Christmas Child at Church at The Mill

Each year, Church at The Mill partners with the Operation Christmas Child ministry through Samaritan’s Purse to send gifts and the Gospel to children overseas. It is a way in which Church at The Mill members can minister to children whom they may or may not ever get to meet in person. Several small groups…

That They Might Know The Name Above All Names!

Having already been to Uganda this summer, Jacob Martin wasn’t expecting to go on another international mission trip this year. So, when he was asked to join a team to East Asia, his heart said “yes,” but his mind had some questions. “I had just asked and raised money for Uganda; and, I’m immediately turning…

CrossFit for Christ

Josh Miller uses his CrossFit journey to bring the Gospel to others around him. Listen to his story and how he uses his conversations to tell others about the hope of Christ.  

My trip to Tegucigalpa, Honduras

Karson Bowyer Instead of writing out a list of goals this past January, I set out to accomplish something that I have wanted to do for as long as I can remember. That was going on a mission trip. I let my family know this was something that would happen, and I began to ask…

Children Matter: A Sponsorship Story

Ashley Bennett had never been on a mission trip. Yet the Woodruff Middle School math teacher found herself answering God’s call in 2017 to serve in Uganda alongside Benjamin House with Bucky and Julie Rogers. Going out of the country was a big step, but it’s also where she met Lizik. Lizik and eleven siblings…

Montana Missions

Stephanie Powell and her family felt like God was calling them to go on their first family mission trip. Read more about their time in Montana below. We said yes to His call and all six of us went to Montana to serve with Pastor Bruce Plummer and Montana Indian Ministries. When we arrived, we…

Basketball and Jesus

Basketball and Jesus came together in late March 2019 when a team of 10 spent nine days in a mega-city in East Asia. The purpose was to share the Gospel using sports as a way to make contact with local men and women and begin spiritual conversations. A typical day included a morning devotional, prayer…

Interning in Uganda with Benjamin House

For as long as I can remember, my mom and dad have been faithful about a calling to child sponsorship. As my brother and I grew up, we were able to write letters to a child all the way across the world who was close to our age. We talked to him about sports, school,…