School Established in Piedra Menuda in September, 2013
School Established in Ciudad Sandino in January, 2015
Nicaragua is the largest of the Central American republics. It is characterized by its agricultural economy and its history of autocratic government. The national capital is Managua, which also is the country's largest city and home to about one-sixth of the population.
The school in Piedra Menuda began classes on the 1st Saturday in September, 2013. It is called the Nicaraguan Institute of Theological Studies. The director is Joel Bustamante. The teachers are: Dodanin Mercado, Dimas Lopez, Fernando Garcia, Oscar Morales, and Joel Bustamante. Piedra Menuda is southwest of Managua and is west of Lake Nicaragua.
On the last Saturday in January, 2015, a second school began classes in the city of Ciudad Sandino. It is a western suburb of Managua. The director of the school in Ciudad Sandino is Eduardo Lacayo. The teachers are: Alberto Bustamante (preacher of the church of Christ in El Salto); Juan Toval (preacher in the Batahola Norte neighborhood in Managua); Marvin Miranda (preacher in the Leningrad neighborhood in Managua); Eduardo Lacayo; and Moises Lopez (preacher of the church of Christ in Chinandega).
Justin Brasfield, a member of the Central Church of Christ in Tuscaloosa, AL, made a trip to Nicaragua in December of 2018 to attend and help with the graduations in Piedra Menuda and Ciudad Sandino. He reports: "The students and teachers showed great dedication this year (2018). The situation in Nicaragua is very difficult. Most people who have never been to Latin America can't even imagine the level of poverty and hardship that our fellow brothers and sisters have to endure. This was made even more pronounced by the recent political situation. The second poorest economy in Latin America has taken a nosedive. May of our brothers and sisters remain faithful, joyful, and enthusiastic in their studies."
"The first graduation in December, 2018 was on Saturday afternoon in Piedra Menuda. Twenty students graduated. The graduation was well-attended. Teachers and students have overcome great hardship to study and grow in the faith. The director, Joel Bustamante, is doing a great job, while at the same time working nights in a call center to support his family."
20 Graduates in Piedra Menuda, Nicaragua
"The second graduation in December, 2018 was on Sunday afternoon on the 2nd in Ciudad Sandino. Eleven students graduated. The teachers and the director, Eduardo J. Lacayo, executed a well-planned ceremony, complete with a very nicely-printed program. One of the highlights was the graduation message from and elderly gentleman who travelled more than two hours every week to come to class. There are many stories that could be told about the brethren in Nicaragua. The institutes there are well worthy of our support. The brethren are pushing on despite great hardships. May God continue to bless us in our work together."
Justin Brasfield is pictured second from right on the first row, the directors, teachers, and 11 graduates in Ciudad Sandino, Nicaragua
11 Graduates in Ciudad Sandino
Joel Bustamante, the director in Piedra Menuda, writes about the graduations: "2018 was the most challenging year for the schools in Nicaragua due to the socio-political unrest and the high levels of poverty and unemployment rates it has left us; but even so, the Lord is with us and we were able to manage the crisis at different levels. In December, 2018, both schools graduated 31 students who are now fully equipped to preach and spread the gospel. The schools enjoy great stability because of the commitment that the students and teachers have for God's Work. The students are doing a marvelous job preaching the gospel. As a result, 141 people were baptized, 110 were restored, and 2,400 home Bible studies were taught. This year (2019), we have a combined 50 students and we will be graduating 35 by the end of the year. We thank you for your support as we plan for a great year full of challenges and opportunities ahead of us. Please pray for us in this great journey."
Some of the recent graduates in 2018; Joel Bustamante and his wife are on the right
Eduardo Lacayo, the director in Ciudad Sandino, writes: "Many blessings to our fellow collaborators and Peace in Christ Jesus our Lord to all. We thank you for being aware of our brothers in Nicaragua. We thank brother Justin Brasfield for visiting us and informing our brothers of the church of Christ in Alabama. For the new cycle of classes in 2019, we are integrating two more years of studies with 20 new subjects of classes to add a total of 40 subjects for 4 years of biblical teachings. This effort is possible with two (2) additional teachers to those already active who will be collaborating with the Nicaraguan Institute of Theological Studies (INET) as volunteers."
Eduardo Lacayo baptizing a new convert in Bosque de Xiloa, Nicaragua
Many of the schools of Global Missions do campaign work to encourage the students to evangelize on a regular basis, to spread the good news in that country, and to convert many lost souls. Nicaragua is no exception. The school in Ciudad Sandino was involved in 12 campaigns for 2018. There were 36 effective campaign days for the year. In many cases, the school works with the local churches in the campaign work. As a result of these efforts, there were 475 contacts made; 28 baptisms, and 49 restorations. This is in addition to the congregations established, baptisms, and restorations made by the students in their own ministries.
Student Preaching the Gospel in Bosque de Xiloa, Nicaragua