Sunday, March 23, 2014

God’s Riches Amidst Incredible Poverty

Nearly half of Nicaragua’s population of six million lives below the poverty line.  Our team visited an isolated area off of the main highway known as Las Banderas (The Flags) twice. On Sunday we conducted a worship service and on Wednesday a "Design for Discipleship" Bible study. Most of the makeshift homes in this neighborhood had dirt floors with no running water or electricity.  But the residents were rich in faith and love. Here is a picture of the children who attended Sunday school.

The bulk of our week long investment in Nicaragua was leading two back to back couples conferences for 50 Nicaraguan Pastors and their wives under the sponsorship and on the campus of "Chosen Children's Ministries" in the province of Masaya. The first part of both two-day gatherings consisted in teaching these couples all about the Five Love Languages by Gary Chapman.

Most who attended had never been exposed to this teaching. We heard comments like, "I never knew my spouse's love language was Receiving Gifts, or Words of Affirmation, etc." You could see a visible glow of love on the faces of most of the couples as the learned how to better love their mate. They were also eager to introduce this material in the various churches they represented.

The second part of both conferences was teaching and training the couples in Listening and Inner-Healing Prayer. Several wives received deep healing from abuses they were subjected to as little girls. Extending forgiveness to people who had hurt them in the past was also something that many of the men shared. 

I teamed with one of the women on our team and prayed with a wife who was in deep captivity to resentment and bitterness due to the severe abuse of her step father. She was notably withdrawn, visibly depressed, and said she was awakened each night by horrific nightmares. When we first talked to her she said she could never forgive this person for what he had done to her. 

After she told us her story, we asked her if she would be willing to listen to God with us about what had happened. She agreed to pray with us. At one point as we were praying she related that Jesus told her He wanted her to forgive her abuser. I asked her if she was willing to do what Jesus requested. Through many tears, she shook her head in affirmation. She prayed and not only forgave her step father but also asked God to forgive her for holding onto this bitterness for more than 15 years. It was such a privilege to be a part of the transformation of this woman's heart.

By the end of our time together her face was glowing and her depression had lifted. She said she believed this was the beginning of a whole new chapter in her life

Thank you for your prayers and for all that God did during this important week in Nicaragua.  
God can do anything, you know—far more than you could ever imagine or guess or request in your wildest dreams! He does it not by pushing us around but by working within us, his Spirit deeply and gently within us. Glory to God in the church! Glory to God in the Messiah, in Jesus! Glory down all the generations! Glory through all millennia! Oh, yes! – Ephesians 3:20-21 The Message



  1. This is one of the most beautiful songs I've heard and touches the deep, deep recesses of my soul where I need such reassurance that I belong to Him. I am 75 and always have been so insecure in my feelings of rejection and unconditional love. Thank you, I hope it never goes away. Shirlee

  2. Shirlee - I'm so glad this song reached deep into your heart. "He heals the brokenhearted and bind up their wounds." - Rusty