Every December, as part of the Mission budget, we send $500 to our Sister Church in Corinto, Nicaragua. We have been related to the Primera Iglesia Bautista of Corinto since 1985. Both churches have seen different pastors through the years. We first met Elmer Barahona in 1985, and today the pastor is Ricardo Castillo. In the beginning years we exchanged visits, 2 delegations from FBC traveled to Nicaragua and 2 pastors and 2 laymen have visited us here in Palo Alto. Our last visitor was Francisco Mejia, now a doctor, who came here in July of 2007. He was just 4 years old when our first delegation participated in the 50th anniversary celebration of the Primera Iglesia Bautista in January of 1986.
Today, we maintain our commitment with our $500 to support projects of sister church and periodically exchange information via e-mail. Our sisters and brothers are always on our prayer list as they seek to worship God in their very difficult circumstances.
The following is a translation of the communication from Pastor Ricardo Castillo that was shared during worship on October 26.
We glorify God because he has been good to us always in the midst of our difficult situations. His mercy has sustained us wherever his grace has taken us.
We are working with a new ministry within the church that we call Center of Hope, where different activities, programs and work have been developed. They are the following:
- Children’s Lunch Room Ministry
- Surf Ministry
- Youth Ministry
- Jail Visitation Ministry
- Mission Ministry
Children’s Lunch Room Ministry
More than 60 boys and girls attend the lunch program 5 days a week. In this ministry we have the following programs: crafts, sports and recreation, and Bible study. These programs are interspersed throughout the week. Our principal objective is to bring the message of the Good News of the Reign of God to the whole family through the different activities and food preparation for the children.
This idea emerged through the idea of taking advantage of the beaches and waves that we have here in Corinto. It’s a ministry that generates great economic cost for the acquisition and maintenance of the surf boards, but the effect is extraordinary when a person has the first experience of being able to support oneself on the waves on a board. The main objective is personal evangelism.
Youth Ministry (Recocrece)
Due to the numerical growth of youth that we have experienced in the last 2 years, a ministry was implemented where youth have a time for recreating in fellowship and spiritual growth. (Recocrece is a word created from Recreation in Communion and Crece Spiritual Growth.) The young people get together each week on Sunday afternoon, when they have a short talk about various Biblical, family and young adult related themes. Afterwards, they have team activities to promote working in unity and communion. There are about 45 adolescents and young adults that participate.
We have been a bit remiss in this ministry due to health reasons, but now we are taking up this ministry again. We have a weekly visit bringing them a nutritious snack and medications. The number of prisoners varies from 24 to 38 and we meet in a space designed for 10 people. The conversations are good and very effective.
We have extended our mission work a little ways from our locality. We have a group of 18 families with 67 children in the city of Leon, where we work together with the Fifth Baptist Church in Leon and their pastor, Carlos Castillo. The need is overwhelming in all senses. Resources are non‐existent and it is
only with the help and economic resources of those of us who are doing the work that any needs are met. Urgently needed is everything: food, shoes, clothing, health care, infrastructure, etc.
We have another group of boys and girls in the municipality close to Corinto, La Bascula, in a marginal section called La Costita. 45 boys and girls attend and participate in worship activities, 2 times a week, Wednesday and Sunday. We have built a House of Worship, (or church) on Castanones Island where more than 18 families attend to have services and other activities. We received donations from Little Ones Ministries to build the church on the island. This is the same organization that helps us with serving the 60 children in our lunch program.
The Corinto School
Because of extreme situations and reasons that the Ministry of Education of Corinto began against us, the matriculation in our school fell until it was no longer sustainable. This produced serious delays in teachers pay and many resigned until their labor demands could be met. We asked permission of the Ministry of Education, Department of Chinandeg, not to operate the school for 2 years, 2014 and 2015, in order to find economic alternatives to cancel debts and reopen as a corporate entity.
Ricardo Castillo, pastor of the Primera Iglesia Bautista of Corinto, Nicaragua