by Leonardo Neitzel
Agustin and Yadira own a ‘finca’, a small agricultural farm in the province of Leon. These Christian friends, concerned for the education of adolescents in their rural area, decided to start a secondary school on their property. The school is registered by the Nicaraguan government and Agustin and Yadira serve as principal and vice-principal. He is also a public accountant. Students attend intensive classes all day Saturday. The government pays the teachers, and students contribute 100 cordobas (around five dollars) a year. Fifty students attend the school whose classrooms are under trees and shady areas around the house. Agustin and Yadira share the ownership and work of the property with her parents and the large community of relative and friends who live around their home.
Agustin and Yadira heard about the Lutheran church’s Christian education program in Nicaragua and Agustin decided to check it out, taking part in Bible studies led by Lutheran Church–Canada’s missionary Pastor Maximo Urroz in the provincial capital of Leon. Having witnessed the Lutheran’s solid and strong Biblical teaching, and recognizing the great need for such education for their students, they invited the missionary to visit their farm to talk about the possibility of teaching the Christian education class of their school. Missionary Maximo accepted the invitation and now leads the Christian education classes on Saturday afternoons. According to the school’s statutes, religious education class is obligatory and students review and take Biblical and religious literature tests.
Different types of millenialists, ‘rapturists’ and heterodox groups have spread false and misleading teachings among the adolescents in that farm community, which has concerned the owners of the school greatly. Some of these teachings have to do especially with the second coming of Christ and the Book of Revelation. Confusion, fear and fanaticism among families and students have risen tremendously lately. In dialogue with missionary Maximo we agreed that the students would have an introduction and overview of the Book of Revelation based on Lutheran confessional teaching and a chapter-by-chapter study to follow. I had the privilege of presenting the historical background, brief introduction and overview on the book to the students.
Further dialogue between the owners of the school and the school community resulted in an offer for the Lutheran Church in that area to take charge of the entire school program. They are looking for solid Biblical and confessional teaching. For such there couldn’t be a better foundation than the Lutheran ‘solas’ — Sola gratia, solus Cristus, sola Fe, sola Scriptura.
It’s too early for us see where this is leading, but we have a great start. Missionary Maximo, farmers and the church community seem very encouraged by the new development.
One of the highlights of my Saturday at the farm was joining the family for a ‘sopa de gallina’ or ‘caldo de pollo’ (chicken soup) cooked in the style only farmers in that area know—very rich, strong, solid and mixed with every ingredient you could imagine for a tasty dish. The dessert was a one-hour seminar with the family and students on Revelation and the End Times.
God seems to be ‘revealing’ that He is opening a new door for our LCC mission into this farm community. May the Lord be praised!
Rev. Dr. Leonardo Neitzel is responsible for Lutheran Church–Canada’s overseas missions.