Living an Advent of Solidarity in Central America and the Caribbean
He said, “I am the voice of one crying out in the wilderness, ‘Make straight the way of the Lord,’” as the prophet Isaiah said. John 1:23 (NRSV)
“Pastor, it is like getting into the dessert. Everything is down.” That was one of the commentaries I received from the Reverend Mauricio Largaespada, President of the Christian Mission of Nicaragua. He accompanied a delegation from that Church into a trip to their congregations in the Nicaraguan Atlantic Coast. They once looked at buildings, temples, and houses. Now, there was only sky and ground, with debris all over it.
In this time of Advent, the Municipality of Rosita entered into a strange and painful time of preparation for the birth of Jesus Christ in the community. John the Baptist indeed would have serious complications raising his voice, crying out, “Make straight the way of the Lord.” It is not easy to do it through broken roads, fallen bridges, and overflowing rivers through the Waspam community. Hurricanes ETA and Iota came with strong winds and rains, announcing terrible news of destruction and sorrow with only three weeks of difference between the passing of them through Nicaraguan soil. Now, John the Baptist would have to cross rivers through improvised hanging bridges, or even bamboos sunk to the bottom of the river, which would serve him as stilts, to reach the other side. And he would enter into Miskito communities and hear from them how they lost much of their rice harvest this year. They are also facing a critical time for planting beans. Food insecurity could be a stressful factor for months to come.
The Christian Mission Convention of Nicaragua and the Moravian Development Association of the Moravian Church took the road of John the Baptist, announcing a spirit of preparedness for the Savior to come into those Central American lands. With a gesture of solidarity, they walked there. They delivered 1,000 bags of food and medicines, and clothes to hundreds of families and people of communities like “Risco de Oro,” “Rosario,” and “Cucalapa.” Bags full of sugar, salt, spaghetti, matches, coffee, cleaning products, and first aid kits would address some of their pressing needs at this moment. Prayer, tears, hugs, and presence would be signs of togetherness amid sorrow and despair. Also, churches and ecumenical organizations will need to be attentive to their most pressing issues. The need for immediate purchase of clean water and food, getting farms working again, cleaning out wells contaminated by raw sewage, and obtaining building materials in place, sets the agenda for an Advent of hard work there.
Week of Compassion, Global HOPE, and Global Ministries join our Partners in Nicaragua and Honduras, so their walk announcing the Good News can be a reality in troubled times. Our appeal to all of you is to continue praying and standing in solidarity. We continue sowing seeds of hope and new beginnings with our Partners there.