April 27, 2018
Hello Ministry Partners,
I trust in the Lord that you all are doing well. I am so grateful to God for all of you that care so much about our beloved people of Nicaragua and the ministry of Partners in Christ. I Love hearing that so many have been praying over the whole situation in Nicaragua over this past week.
As you may have seen, I have posted a few little updates on what’s happening in Nicaragua lately. I have been hesitant to post too much information because there have been so many unknowns. Now, as we are approaching nearly a week of peace, and things remain calm, I feel like I can share a little more. We are very grateful that the violence that took place last week has not continued.
All of the problems started on April 17th when President Ortega announce major changes to the struggling social security system in Nicaragua. The changes were very bad for the people, and Nicaraguan employers. This caused many people to begin a peaceful protest in the streets, calling for a change in the new, unfair law. In the beginning, there were elderly people and young people protesting together against these new unjust laws. Everything was peaceful until Ortega sent out his national police and youth supporters of his government to squash the protesters. At this point, it began to get very violent because the police were oppressive and violent with the protesters. It was obvious that the government wanted these protests stopped immediately, but the will of the people would not allow the brutality of the police to stop their voice of freedom.
After the first day of the protests, several universities joined in with thousands of students protesting not only the unfair law, but also the oppressive government of Ortega. Ortega continued to use his national police force to stop the protests. As people realized how oppressed they were, more came to the streets to protest. Before long, the police went from rubber bullets to real bullets. Friday and Saturday nights were completely lawless and out of control with violence. Many people were killed or arrested. Thankfully, no violence was ever anywhere near the PIC House. Our house guards never reported seeing anything unusual. All protests seemed to be located around the universities downtown.
Then came Sunday. President Ortega, seeing that the people were not going to back down and that the whole situation was going nowhere good, repealed the new law that started all the trouble. He also began releasing people that were arrested during the protests and later even turned back on the media outlets that he had shut down. I believe he began to see the errors of his ways. Praise the Lord! Sunday afternoon and night were very peaceful as a result of President Ortega’s actions that day.
Monday would be another huge turning point in all of this. There was a “peaceful march” planned for Monday at 3:00. Everyone was nervously thinking; this will be peaceful, or our country will be an all-out war if the violence starts again from the police. The march started really small with only a few dozen people. Then I watched it grow throughout the afternoon as people realized that there would be no violence. There are estimates of between 500,000 to 1,000,000 people marching peacefully in the streets of the capital that afternoon and evening without a shred of any violence. It was a very patriotic time in the life of this little country. There were thousands and thousands of Nicaragua flags being waved all over and people singing the national anthem could be heard. The people were demanding peace. No violence was witnessed in any area of Nicaragua.
Nicaragua has a history filled with wars and revolution and the people are tired of it. They do not want any more war or violence of any kind. That’s what this peaceful march was all about.
Since Sunday afternoon everything has been very calm without any violence at all. People are back to their normal routines, schools are open and businesses are running. The US Embassy is back open and everything is fine now.
The country of Nicaragua is desperate for new leadership, a new president. A peaceful dialog has begun today between the people and the government. The people want accountability for all of the bloodshed, they want no more oppression from the government, and they want freedom. No one knows at this point what will come of this. We are praying that the government will hear the pleas of its people. Pray that God will allow continued peace and understanding by all parties.
We believe that NOW is the time for the Nicaraguan Church to stand strong and be a part of restoring peace to this great country. Teaching the love of Jesus and the ways of our Lord. Our partnered churches will need you more than ever. We pray that you will stay involved and not have fear. God does not give us a spirit of fear. That comes from other places.
PIC is continuing in its day to day ministry in Nicaragua with all of our staff accountable. Oscar is in constant contact with all of our pastors and everyone is well. Just yesterday, we had our monthly pastors meeting at the PIC House with 30 pastors coming together to learn and pray for their great nation. We are very busy now planning for summer teams knowing that only God can change the hearts of the people.
We would ask that you have complete confidence in our Lord and in us to make the right decision for your ministry in Nicaragua. We are very prayerful and serious about the decisions we make. We feel that over the next few weeks everything will continue on the path of peace and our summer teams will not be affected by any of this. I am personally planning to go to Nicaragua very soon. The people of Nicaragua want peace, and I believe that’s what the Lord will continue to bring. Prayers have been answered. As you have witnessed firsthand, the people of Nicaragua are always very loving to us and I fully expect it to stay that way.
So, I encourage you, “Do not let your heart be filled with anguish, trust in God”.
If there is any reason that I feel you should not go to Nicaragua in the coming months, I assure you, I will be the first to cancel your trip. We would never willingly put anyone in harms way.
Please continue to be prayerful for Nicaragua and its people.
May God continue to bless you in His service,