Monday, May 16, 2011

Sharing the Light of Mision Cristiana

Today, started out with our hosts taking us sightseeing. On the way, we heard about the Pentecostal movement. One of our hosts, Carlos, is a PhD candidate and his dissertation is on “conversion in the Pentecostal traditions.” It was a dynamic conversation---Holy Spirit conversation usually is. We visited the Masaya District which is home to Nicaragua’s oldest Roman Catholic Church, Santa Anna (c 1600). The same town, Noquinohomo, is also the sight of General Sandino’s house. It is now a museum and library. We were able to have a tour. General Sandino stood up for his country’s right to self-governance free of foreign intervention; specifically, U. S. intervention during the 1930’s. He was betrayed by the Somoza regime. Which led to . . . more war and . . . you get the vicious cycle picture.
We went from there to see the most beautiful lake, Lago de la Apoyo (sp). It is an example of the combination of volcanic activity and water. We did a little shopping, too. At lunch one of our hosts, Sonia, shared her story. She spoke about being young and wanting so much for her country to change. She placed her hope in the Sandinista revolution. In her participation, she was wounded. Ultimately, she was disillusioned by the movement she thought would bring justice and peace to her people. Years later, as her baby daughter Sonia Patricia was very ill and dying, she was invited by her neighbor to attend Mision Cristiana . The church gave her support and affirmation through that unbearable time. She found faith in Jesus and strength in the church and its mission. She has found her new movement and is studying for the ministry. She is passionate about the need for justice for the poor and peace for her people through the work of the church.

Tonight three of us were invited to preach at First Mision Cristiana, Second Mision Cristiana, and Seventh Mision Cristiana. I was given the opportunity to preach at Seventh.
Each Mision is deliberately serving in the poorest of neighborhoods. Seventh was amazing. The front rows were filled with children; lots of children in little kid-sized plastic lawn chairs. The service included fabulous praise music led by a young woman worship leader/singer who should have a recording contract; and the littlest children were singing right along with her. Each person who helped lead the service prayed, read scripture, sang as if it was the most important thing they could ever do. I wasn’t bad either. My translator was Tim, one of our Global Missionaries. In the nine months that he and Laura Jean have been in Nicaragua they have learned Spanish and the streets of Managua; been introduced to the many congregations of Mission Cristiana; taught theology (Laura Jean); and done practical applications of environmental science (Tim). Oh, by the way, they have a three year old named Quinn who is learning Spanish, and a baby on the way. Not bad for nine months. (Of course, they are graduates of the University of Chicago.)
Back to Seventh Mision Cristiana, they have an afterschool children’s program that they started in 2006 with 150 children. Now, 350 children are part of this ministry. The ministry includes a meal, and physical, spiritual, emotional, and cognitive components. The only limit on their service is space.
My sermon tonight was on “who lights a lamp and then hides it?” Through Global Ministries, we have been sharing light with our partners in Nicaragua during the dark times of war. In this 21st century, when many of our U.S. congregations struggle with transformation for mission, I told them, it is their light that will help us.
Teresa Dulyea-Parker

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