The State of Things
I remember memorizing Psalm 23 as a kid, wondering what the 'valley of the shadow of death' was. If you've ever been through a dark time when there was no end in sight, you may identify with that scripture and this blog update.
There’s an unfolding crisis in Nicaragua, and the situation continues to decline. At time of writing, the death toll has risen beyond 300, with violence in most major cities.
If you're a little behind on your Nicaraguan news, these bullet points will give you the broad strokes, but you should know that we can't say as much as we'd like to.
- April 18th: A social-security reform kicked off a wave of protests and unrest that led to very unfortunate clashes between police, protesters, and other forces.
- Early May: Dialogues begin between student leaders and the government, mediated by the Catholic Church. The country at large expresses hope in the dialogues, but no progress is seen. Clashes escalate, leading to injuries and casualties on a nationwide scale.
- Mid-May: Roadblocks become a preferred method of protesters. This results in economic slow-downs and dangerous, unpredictable clashes at the barricades. Nicaragua's burgeoning tourism industry plunges 90%. Dialogues have ceased and resumed many times with no significant advancement.
- As violence escalates, cities and villages begin putting up barricades to protect themselves from paramilitary forces moving through their neighborhoods with ease.
- Mid-June: The city of Leon (SuNica's home base and Nicaragua's 2nd largest city) goes on strike, with more than 400 barricades going up city-wide. Nationwide, the economy is at a standstill, tourism has ceased entirely, and food shortages are becoming a real concern.
- June 22nd: SuNica's North American staff leaves the country for an undetermined amount of time. This decision was made in part to relieve our team of the stress of living in a dangerous environment coupled with their inability to move around the country for ten consecutive days.
- Late June: The Leon roadblocks are forcibly removed by government forces. This allows the SuNica team to travel more consistently, but the violence results in the continued decline of national temperament. Clashes intensify.
- Early July: The U.S. removes all remaining non-emergency personal from the U.S. Embassy for security reasons.
And we know this update has been very bleak, but THERE IS HOPE!! The silver lining in all of this is that SuNica's work continues to move forward! Praise the Lord that we have 17 extremely capable Nicaraguan staff members who are determined to move the mission onward and upward!
This difficult time has created an opportunity that we would have never contrived on our own. SuNica's local staff continue to pull off discipleship sessions every week , along with a big soccer tournament between kids from two of our communities happening this week! The social side of Salinas Grande's Water Project is moving forward and big news... San Carlos will be dedicating their system that’ll serve 600 people with a big party this coming Saturday!
We would NEVER have chosen to pull all our foreign staff on our own volition. It just wouldn't have made any sense. Despite great adversity SuNica's young local team is carrying the torch on. And they're crushing it.
I think we can all say AMEN to that! but we need your prayers. Here's what you can pray for.
- Our Staff: The young Nicaraguan team that is making the mission happen on the ground RIGHT NOW is in the midst of a dangerous situation. They need wisdom and courage as they go about the day-to-day. Our local staff is carrying the burden in a physical sense and they are managing the stress well, but it's still hard.
- PEACE: Pray for an end to the senseless violence. There are a lot of upset folks on both sides of the fight. It's going to take a serious miracle to bring a resolution to this crisis.
- The Nicaraguan People: That their physical and spiritual needs would be met. That they would be strengthened through all of this and that the Lord would bring folks to Himself through all of this.
- Our Foreign Staff: They are dealing with their own ranges of emotion about all of this, not the least of which is a sense of guilt for being able to leave. They all feel a bit lost not being in the place that they call home.
If you're interested in more details, you are welcome to connect with any of our staff on a personal level. Above all we want you to know that our whole team is safe and the work continues. Thank you for the continued prayers, encouragement, and support.