Vida Joven Leader Martha Tinoco (pictured standing right) wrote in a note to us after the event with them last year:
Thanks for sharing with us. You are an example for my life. I can see how [your team] works in unity, love, and respect. I saw the presence of God in your lives, as great servants of God, with great gifts. I don’t have enough words to express our thanks! – M Tinoco, Vida Joven, Matagalpa, Nicaragua, December 2007.
Leave Your Weapons at the Door:
Imagine proclaiming Christ among:
- Some of the poorest social conditions in Latin America.
- Poverty, gangs, crime, and lack of available food.
- Helping those victimized by wars, crime and abuse find faith in Christ.
- Sexual, physical, and verbal abuse.
- Broken family systems where one might have 18 – 25 half siblings.
- Living on a garbage landfill recycling scrap metals.
One club leader has a policy:
If you come to our bible study, leave your weapons at the door.
Other leaders have already served time in jail for crimes they committed before finding Christ and now want to go back to their gangs and proclaim the gospel.
Vida Joven has been ministering in this context for over 15 years in Nicaragua, proclaiming and demonstrating the love of Jesus.
Each year in the mountains outside of Matagalpa Nicaragua, their leadership gathers for an intense week of training, encouragement, and refreshment. Proclaiming the love of Jesus in such areas can be dangerous work: physically, emotionally, and spiritually. The camp gives the leadership opportunity to heal, forgive, and grow.
We have been on two trips to provide leadership training. Two issues routinely come up:
- How do the leaders find healing for the personal junk in their lives?
- How can they minister to the broken who are coming to faith in Christ and want to find the healing of their own wounds?
Last Year’s Nicaragua Team
Last year, a leader said to me:
“It’s good to have a cry fest here and get things solved, but some of these healings have to go much deeper. We simply don’t have the trained staff here to do it.”
I was with a team from PRMI (Presbyterian Reformed Ministries International) who went to Nicaragua. You can read about that trip at Reflections from Nicaragua.
At both locations last year, we presented on worldview, who is the Holy Spirit, the four works of the Holy Spirit, how to be filled with the Holy Spirit, and then how to listen to the voice of God. This material is the basis of Presbyterian Reformed Ministries International’s Ignite Project. We had the teaching slides translated into Spanish, and had more material than we could cover in our limited time.
A New Team
This January, another team from PRMI will be going to the Vida Joven Camp outside of Matagalpa to help address this need.
I will be part of this team.
We will use the basic material found in the healing Dunamis from PRMI that has made a countless impact around the world.
I look forward to meeting the leaders again and sharing with them tools that can help their evangelism. It is our family’s desire to help these leaders grow more effective in their evangelistic calling by equipping them with some skills in trusting the Holy Spirit to bring the healing of Jesus.
Evangelism can be messy!
Ministering in a context like this can be really messy —
- abuse victims suddenly dealing with their issues,
- hearing stories of being gang raped,
- infected with veneral diseases,
- wounding from assaults,
- or filled with hatred because a sibling was killed in a gang.
Very different ministry context than suburban north American culture where I have ministered for 11 years where people stress about their 401(k)s and the economy.
We’d like to offer help and training to the advanced leadership team so that they can be equipped in the power of the Holy Spirit to help in the healing work of Jesus in this local context.
How can you help?
1. Prayer. This is spiritually challenging work and we need significant prayer covering. I’d like you to contact me to be put on the intercessors list for this event.
2. Finances. Our team’s budget is $6000 and our team is raising the funds collectively through PRMI. Most of this is for airfare, materials translation, and some in country expenses. We need to raise it and count on the generosity of God’s people who believe our dream.
You can donate online to PRMI for this project specifically (which is different than our own support).
Mark Contributions to Latin American Missions. You will have to create an account with PRMI before donating, or use the one you have.
Donate Via Check?
Mark Latin American Missions, payable to PRMI,
Mail to PRMI
Black Mountain NC 28711
Note: This project is different than our monthly support for our ministry. Funds for will be used for team expenses which includes my airfare. Any overages will be used for PRMI’s other Latin American callings and as seed money for future PRMI teams to Latin America.