A good friend and I have just returned from Nicaragua, where we spent a week visiting and affirming friends and brothers, intending to encourage them of God’s goodness and nearness to them in the midst of difficult time. This title comes from a song that is sang in Nicaragua, and it is sang there as an expression of affection. Nicaraguans are proud of their country, heritage and have a hope for good things to come. Let’s join them in that hope. As you likely know, violence and bloodshed gripped the country in the Spring of 2018, with much loss and damage reaching on a far scale. While estimates vary, it seems 500+ were killed, thousands wounded, and several hundred are still unaccounted for. This is not including those who are currently political prisoners. (To read our post from the time surrounding the eruption of violence in Nicaragua in 2018, click here)
We knew we had to get there to stand and show love to those who are dear to us, and weren’t sure what we would find, and what danger was looming…
What we found, in my opinion, was a country in trauma.
We were all over the Pacific side of the country, from San Juan del Sur in the extreme south, to Matagalpa in the central North, and we got to speak with many people about the situation as it was, and as it is.
One poignant moment came when we visited with a young waiter at a restaurant in San Juan del Sur, which in recent years has been a haven and playground for tourists from outside the country, especially when weather is cold in the US. He mentioned to us that there were four months of time, immediately after the violence of last year, where they didn’t sell a cup of coffee or a piece of bread. A somber tone dominated his communication. He went on to say that there was a little bit of recovery, but it seemed they are still looking for a new normal. As the walked the deserted beach, you could feel the mood in the air. It seems there is a desperation approaching.
Many people (friends and brothers and sisters) have fled the country to parts all over – Costa Rica, the US, other Central American countries – and started over. It was explained to us that many of the most talented craftsmen and artisans, those who had strong businesses and livelihoods before the violence, have fled in what appears to be a talent drain on the country.
We were thankful to get much one on one time with those we work with, and you can hear a mounting tone of seriousness, and concern for the economy. Some suggested that default and bankruptcy of the country seems imminent. Interestingly, the protests that started the retaliation and violence last April were surrounding a change in taxes and social benefits. This measure which was withdrawn as things spiraled out of control, but was quietly passed (without protest) in recent weeks, from what we were told. I guess it doesn’t pay to protest…
In my opinion, there was momentum in those first 90 days of the crisis, momentum that had the potential to bring about change. That momentum, that initiative, was stopped dead in its tracks.
What we see now is a deeply divided country.
Make no mistake, the people of Nicaragua don’t want another civil war. I think they all are working to avoid that, even tho much of the generation that was present for the civil war that broke out there in the 70s ad 80s, is fading into old age. The young people and young adults have no doubt heard the stories, and felt the grip of the horrors of the recent past. Let’s join them in prayer that nothing of the kind will visit them again.
Year over year since 2010 we have held a young leaders retreat in Nicaragua. 2019 will be a gap year for us, but we are hoping and planning for 2020.
In closing, I want to ask you to pray for the people of Nicaragua, a country where there is 80% Christians (inclusive of Catholics and Protestants). There is deep division, skepticism, and suspicion among these ranks, and that is something only God can heal. Let’s agree that this healing can begin, and that the Lord will bring it about. We heard from a number that God was preparing the ground for a visitation of His Spirit, to revive and draw near His people in Nicaragua, and to gather in the lost. Wouldn’t it be just like the Lord to do just that! Let’s agree with them in prayer for just this to happen!
If, as you read this, you feel led to get involved, please let us know by emailing me at Scott @ fxmissions . Com.