Nicaragua district office closes amid nearby protests

Managua, Nicaragua

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The Nicaragua Central District Office closed 29 May due to increased violence in the city of Managua, the capital of Nicaragua. 

Students from nearby universities have been leading protests since April against the local government. According to various reports, dozens have died in the protests so far, including both students and government officials. 

“We feel very sad because for more than a month we have been under great pressure from the disturbances in Nicaragua," Nicaragua Central District Superintendent Maria Ponce said. "We remain under the protection of the Most High and wise God. We do not wish to continue exposing our lives and so we have chosen to leave since we were facing the crossfire between the police and the students. There are many people injured and we do not wish to join the list of the deceased."

In the cities of Managua and Masaya, church services have been limited to Sunday mornings to keep churchgoers out of danger as much as possible. Despite this, a group of pastors and leaders have decided to gather with Ponce each night to pray for peace in their cities.

Nazarene Compassionate Ministries in the North Central Field has also set up an around-the-clock schedule for each of the 24 districts on the field to pray for Nicaragua, assigning one district to pray per hour. 

“During this time, I sense the people of Nicaragua have shifted the way they pray,” Ponce said. “They no longer pray just for their needs or as a routine, but they have made prayer a lifestyle.”

Though Ponce and other Nazarene leaders are encouraged by the multitudes of Nazarenes praying for them, they still have many concerns. The district has canceled several Work & Witness trips scheduled for teams working on local church buildings, and a team from Costa Rica planning to work on the Nazarene seminary in Nicaragua had their trip canceled because security could not be guaranteed. All four Nicaragua districts have been working on the seminary in anticipation of its opening. Many projects have been left unfinished for the foreseeable future. 

Nicaragua Central District leaders are monitoring the activity of the protests to determine the best time to reopen. 

"This situation brings us great pain," Ponce said. "We ask that, as the Body of Christ, we would unite in prayer for peace in Nicaragua.”

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