Over the past two years, Mission for Transformation (the Nehemiah Center program Bethany works with) has been training a group of youth pastors and church leaders in the northern city of Esteli. The training has been focused on equipping the leaders theologically and practically to reach out to those who are traditionally marginalized by society (juvenile delinquents, drug addicts, prostitutes, the homeless, etc.) This past weekend, we concluded the training by a weekend graduation camp. The goals of the camp were to inspire the leaders to implement what they have learned, and to also facilitate networking among the different churches represented. God abundantly blessed the time we spent together, and we were very touched by the testimonies of the leaders. At meals, they still tended to sit with others from their church and not mingle much. However as the camp went on, the walls started to come down.
In our last session, the participants had to design a small community outreach program for all to participate in next month. Different people presented project ideas based in the needs they observed in their own communities and then as a group, they started discussing which idea to implement. Every group campaigned for their own idea until Pastor Francisco stood up.
“Here’s what I think.” He started. “These are all great ideas, but we can only pick one. I think we should pick the project proposed by the sisters from Condega (a small town 45 minutes north of Esteli). There are only five of them, and so those of us from Esteli could easily vote down their project. But they have faithfully come to the training for two years to be with us and have participated in every activity that we’ve held in Esteli. If we can only do one project, I think we should travel to them to support their community.”
When the vote was held, the participants did side with Francisco in deciding to clean up and paint a community park in Condega. As a team, we couldn’t be happier to see the love and support that our graduates showed in laying aside their own pet projects to support what God is doing in another town.