My arrival at the Mission Centre in Chinendega on the 15th of this month was the fulfillment of a promise made to the pastors and deaconesses back in 2007. We were preparing for the establishment of the new Synod, Iglesia Luterana Sinodo de Nicaragua. Understandably there was some concern and fear on the part of many. “Are we going to be left to our own devises?” “Will we be abandoned by our mother?” “What do we know about synods and carrying on the mission in our country!” It was in the context of these concerns that they were assured that Lutheran Church Canada would not abandon them and that God’s willing, following my retirement from the office of President and with the approval of the church, I would come for an extended period of time and work with our mission and the leaders of the church.
The new church at its founding convention didn’t forget that promise and neither did I. It will be a privilege to serve Christ and His church in this place. Over the years I have come to love this country and the members of this church. May God bless the work we will do together in the coming months.
The following are a list of some of my objectives:
Assist the leaders of the new Synod in developing the necessary administrative aspects of the church as per our protocol document and to work with the leadership of the church in developing operating policies in such areas as: Oversight and pastoral and deaconal ethics, Pastoral and Congregational Visitation; The Calling Process for Pastors and Deaconesses; Admission Requirement for admission for Theological Education; Colloquy etc.
Assist the church in developing its vision for ministry as well as outlining strategic foals for the next 5 years.
Teaching in the area of worship, liturgy and the new hymnal
Assist the church leadership and mission personnel in organizing and prioritizing Volunteer Mission Projects and Opportunities for uploading on a new Mission Project website
To continue development of “small business” opportunities in support of the church and in particular the stipends paid to pastors and deaconesses.
To review the Continuing Education Program of the Mission and in concert with CLTS and Dr. Humann outline a program for the next several years.
To work through the mission with our two missionaries in Honduras and Costa Rice and lay out plans for extending the mission in these areas.
I ask for your prayers. May our gracious God bless Iglesia Luterana Sinodo de Nicaragua and the work that we are privileged to do together.
In this initial blog, I share with you two brief items. Both brought happiness to the faces of children and adults.
Carita Feliz (Happy Faces) See pictures above
This project is a program of “With God’s Little Ones: (WIGLO) , a U.S. based organization under the leadership of an LCMS pastor, Rev. Rudy Schasser. The program is operated in the community by one of the deaconesses of ILSN, Milagros Martinez .
The purpose of the program is to provide two meals a day, 5 days a week to children in the community who have been identified by medical personnel as suffering from malnutrition. Milagros is responsible for securing the food on a daily basis. It is prepared with the assistance of some of the mothers who have volunteered to work with the program. The children are fed each day around 12:00 noon and 5:00 p.m. On a monthly basis the children are examined by visiting nurses in order to monitor their progress. Presently there are 93 children enrolled in the program. Most of the children who are enrolled in the Christian Education Program (I’ll share a little about that program in another blog) also participate in the food program.
I was reminded that life is not always easy here in Nicaragua. Milagros goes to the market each morning around 6:00 a.m. One morning she was accosted by a man with a knife who demanded her wallet, money and food. That morning she lost her wallet, the food, the remaining food money and her entire pay she had received the day before. “But he didn’t take my life,” she said.! “I am thankful!”
A Happy Celebration A Wedding.
The Business Manager, Roberto Jose Zepeda and Deaconess Marisela Osorio were married in the Mission Chapel on Saturday. The wedding was to start at 4:30 p.m. , but like in Canada it was somewhat delayed. President Luis Turicos officiated, Pastor Angel Salazer delivered the sermon and I had the privilege of assisting in the rite of marriage. It was a wonderful wedding. We pray God’s blessing upon the couple.