For years, our church family has partnered with Nicaragua Christian Outreach (NCO) to see ministry and missions accomplished in Nicaragua. We have supported feeding programs, medical clinics, housing efforts, educational opportunities, etc., with the aim of presenting the gospel of Jesus Christ to those with whom we come in contact. Thankfully, we have seen much fruit, and we ourselves have experienced much blessing. To be honest, Leslie and I were excited about coming to Temple in part because we could continue serving in the same area of work. You see, we had actually been a part of NCO’s ministry at our previous church, and we were so grateful that Temple had already committed to the mission there before we even arrived. And how doubly blessed when we were able to commission missionaries from Temple to work with NCO! What I am saying is that this has been an incredible ride for our church, my family, and for me!
Most certainly, many of you have followed the news of the tragic civil unrest there in Nicaragua. Because of the situation on the ground there, we decided a few weeks ago to cancel this year’s short-term medical mission trip. That, to me, was very gut-wrenching. This will be the first time in years that we have not made that trip. In addition, we have been assessing the feeding programs we support and the administration of those centers. We have plenty of funds to distribute, but there is some question over how that will be done in the present context. Pray for us as we work through these logistical matters and for the future plans for these ministries.
But most importantly, I want to encourage you to reach out to the McWhorters. Again, some of you know that they came home a few weeks ago on what was supposed to be a three-month furlough. As the NCO board reviewed the situation during this time, it determined that it could not send the McWhorters back to the field due to both financial and safety reasons. These difficulties had been caused by ongoing distress there on the ground and had been aggravated by the recent civil unrest. Simply stated, the McWhorters will not be returning to Nicaragua. And while this is a tough decision for them, God has a plan to continue to use them. He has also given us an opportunity to assist them through this transition. Let me ask you specifically to:
1) Thank them for their faithful service. For over three years, they have served as OUR missionaries there in Nicaragua. We should take a few moments individually to demonstrate our appreciation to them for how they ministered sacrificially for the Kingdom.
2) Pray for them. Clearly, this transitional season is a time of refining and refreshing as God leads them in their calling. Pray for Joseph, Susan, Emma, and Kaleb by name through this time.
3) Consider making a financial donation to help them. NCO has indicated it has limited funds to assist their transition back to the states. I responded by letting NCO know we at Temple would step up to do what we could. If you would like to contribute to this effort, you can make a check out to Temple Baptist Church. In the memo line, print “Nicaragua Missionary.”
Thank you for your consistent support of missions! Ask God to direct us as a church as we evaluate the path forward in this particular work and pray for the people of Nicaragua. See you Sunday!