During this Lenten season as we focus on our relationship with God, I would like to provide you with the opportunity to examine how our Nicaraguan sisters and brothers of the Moravian Church focus on their relationship with God.
The Central Moravian Church in Nicaragua recognized that they were thirsty for a deeper understanding of God and prayed for water to drink. They discovered that their thirst could be quenched by improving their knowledge of Christian education and their understanding of various Bible topics. Therefore many members from various churches made a commitment to take part in a series of classes offered to churches on the West and East coast of Nicaragua. It was a blessing to be able to prepare classes, using their suggestions and needs, such as: the importance of education in the church, planning and structuring a Christian education program, basics of the Bible, basics of the New Testament and the Old Testament, creative lessons for Sunday school, church Administration, and understanding the call to ministry, just to name a few.
Working with three and sometimes four cultures in the same class can be daunting. However, our discussions were wonderful. Most of the classes consist of three cultures (Creole, Miskito and Spanish) however Spanish is common to all three cultures and I always have access to a translator to communicate with my students. The challenge comes when I teach the Mayangna people. It is hard to find translators that speak Mayangna and English but it’s socially and culturally beautiful to watch the students help each other understand what is being taught. Most students do not have Bibles but they are accustomed to listening and taking notes. Those that have Bibles share with as many as they can.
Their church, faith and spiritual experience range from conservative to somewhat progressive thinking (because of the younger generation). Most of my conservative comments come from the pastors that want to know how to make everyone do exactly as the Bible teaches from their perspective. So many times I am asked to present classes to the teenagers and young adults on “How to Be Holy” which means no worldly dancing, no singing, no listening to music outside the realm of church music, no going to the movies, no watching programs on television and no dating. It’s ironic because the Creole, Miskito and Mayangna people that live on the East coast outside of Managua, the capitol city, cannot afford to go to the movies nor do they have access to a television. These same pastors want the adults to specifically follow the Ten Commandments to live “right.”
Yes class is very lively when the elders and the younger generation respectfully challenge each other. But the classes always end productively when together we drink the water of God’s word. And I love it!
During this season of Lent, please pray that our Nicaraguan sisters and brothers continue to drink living waters when thirsty in order to strengthen their relationship with God and to let God enhance their thinking, listening, and the love in their heart as well as the hearts of others.
…whoever drinks the water I give them will never thirst. …15 The woman said to him, “Sir, give me this water so that I won’t get thirsty… John 4:14, 15
Jeanette Salley serves with the Moravian Church of Nicaragua. Her appointment is made possible by your gifts to Disciples Mission Fund, Our Church’s Wider Mission, and your special gifts.