San Pedro Del Norte Nicaragua Part I
Trips to Mexico or Nicaragua with Sammy are adventures in the true sense of the word; the work and the outcome is never clear ahead of time. He is pretty certain of the work he will be doing, that is training pastors and lay-workers, but the work of his companeros he leaves up to God working through the local church.
This trip my niece Claire and daughter Rachel went with us. They and others including Sammy’s wife and son, went to three different outlying villages to work in orphanages while Sammy, Tommy and I, along with eleven local men and one woman, drove ten hours in two small pickups to San Pedro del Norte. Being one of the older men; probably the oldest, I got to ride up front while the younger men sat in the back with the baggage and speakers.
Why go so far? Many times, and in many places we drive for hours passing towns and villages, and I wonder why we don’t work here. Each time God has shown me His answer. As you hear this three part story you will find His answer as I did.
We arrived in San Pedro just before dark, ate and went to bed.
Nicaragua is on standard time so it begins to get light at 5:30 am; there is much activity as the local people get an early start on the day. Abdiel is playing his guitar as we sing and pray together for the morning devotion in preparation to go into the neighborhoods and preach the good news to the people of San Pedro del Norte. Our hope, and the vision of the 13 men and one woman who traveled here is to leave behind a church where there is presently only a remnant of believers scattered among the 12,000 people who live in and around this remote town.
For several months prior to our arrival, the church in Crucero pastored by Lupe Gomez Rios, has been fasting and praying to establish a mission church in San Pedro. As we pray and sing, outside a group of 25-30 young people are marching by with drums. There are drums of all sizes both bass and snare.
The drums corps passing by, rather than being a distraction to our worship, other than my reminisces of my days playing bass drum in school, sounded like the thunderous voice of God coming from the basses overpowering the snares. As we continued our songs I felt the approval of God as if He had joined in our time of praise.
This time of preparation is like nothing I have ever experienced in terms of preparing our hearts to do the work of the Lord. Lupe is teaching from Acts 8:26 to the end of the chapter - the story of Philip's encounter with the Ethiopian Eunuch. Acts 8:26-39
Unlike Philip I have never had an angel speak to me but I have come to understand and believe how important it is to know and do the will of God. Being in Nicaragua on this day is a testimony to how important it really is. Am I here on my own, or as part of God's’ work? Many verses of scripture emphasize the importance of doing the will of God. So if this is important, how do we know God's’ will for us?
The first step is to sincerely want to know. The Ethiopian went out of his way to go to Jerusalem to worship and read God’s word but still he did not understand. He was searching for God and God blessed him by sending Philip to explain to him how he might know him. Over the years in countries where I have been I have encountered several people that were like the Ethiopian. One young woman in Cuba, when we came to her house and told her that we had “good news”, disappeared into a back room and moments later re-appeared spruced up and wearing her best dress because she somehow knew how important our message was to be.
After we told her the story of Jesus and how she can receive salvation through him, we prayed with her and then she told us she had been hoping that someone would come to her with this kind of news. She had read her bible but did not understand what she was to do. Now with the Holy Spirit to guide her, I assured her that if she persisted in her search, God would teach her and she would understand.
The next thing that we need for knowing God and His ways is a pure heart; maybe that should be first. From the Beatitudes of Matthew 5: 8 Jesus tells us, Blessed are the pure in heart, for they will see God. God blessed the Ethiopian by sending Philip to explain to him what he could not understand on his own. When Philip left him the Holy Spirit remained as his teacher and his life was forever changed.
In his letter to the Romans Paul urges his brothers there to become living sacrifices so they will be able to know Gods’ pleasing and perfect will.
Romans 12:1-2 Therefore, I urge you brothers, in view of God’s mercy, to offer your bodies as living sacrifices, holy and pleasing to God- this is your spiritual act of worship. Do not conform any longer to the pattern of this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind. Then you will be able to test and approve what God's’ will is - his good, pleasing and perfect will.
David was called a man after God's’ own heart; not because he was perfect, but because he was repentant and when he saw the error of his ways he did his best to correct them. He strived to follow God’s word even when it meant hardship and danger to himself; he knew, accepted, and acted on the knowledge that God knew what was best for him. David became a powerful man; he could do just about whatever he pleased, but his heart strived to be pure and so his actions reflected God's’ will. He understood that everything he had become, and everything he had was because of obedience to the will of God.
All of this comes under prayer. Once we have entered into a relationship with God through His Son Jesus Christ we have to stay in touch, like a branch of the true vine, our spiritual lifeblood has its source from Him. By prayer we receive a constant flow of grace to power and direct our lives.
Most of our prayers tend to be about health or financial decisions; good things to pray about, but no matter how good a health we have, or how much money, there is not enough to last for eternity. Solomon, the son of David, and the wisest man who ever lived, (in his youth) asked God for wisdom above all else and then received “all else” because the “all else” he made secondary to wisdom. If it is the will and purpose of God for our lives, He will provide the health and resources for it.
In Part III Sergio gives a testimonial about health and God's will and direction.
photo. Rachel and little girl in Managua