If you have followed our ministry over the years you might have heard about La Iglesia Hashem Adonai. Profesor Roberto, who is now Pastor Roberto, has been a teacher at our school in the dump ever since it began over twenty years ago. He has served for so many years faithfully to the poorest of the poor here in Managua. Almost five years ago now he felt a call into pastoral ministry after a couple of years taking seminary courses. Soon after we had a great conversation and Roberto started a church, meeting at Club Esperanza. Praise Jesus for that because God is using this little church to deeply impact hundred of lives!
Last year in the fall Roberto asked about the possibility of hosting a Men’s Retreat for his church. We talked and prayed about it. He had such a burden to get away with the men from his church and invest in them, encourage them, address their difficulties and insecurities head on, present them to the Lord and let God take care of them. The Lord gave us the idea to put on a retreat at Ruby Ranch during the winter break, but the details had to all work out. Well we put the word out and our Christ Journey Community immediately had movement on making this happen. Just two weeks ago a group of men came down from Miami to join with a group of men in Managua to retreat together and grow closer to Jesus!
It is actually hard for men down in the neighborhood we serve to get away. Firstly most of the families live from payday to payday so missing work would be a difficult sacrifice. Then the additional factors of their families safety while they would be gone was another obstacle. But it was so awesome as the Lord worked it out, we settled on a weekend overnight stay out at Ruby Ranch that fit perfectly for what God had in store.
We arrived together and had a time of praise and worship, then Noel shared his testimony. It was so encouraging to hear the honest vulnerable testimony of a man who just a few years ago found Jesus at Roberto’s church and has turned his life around in not just a 180, but as he said it was more like a 180 plus another 180 plus another 180 plus another one! He now lives in a way that honors his wife and two sons, he honors the Lord in faithfully working to support his family, he has a sweet relationship with Jesus and loves serving at church. Amen to all of that.
We had a strong contingent of young men in the group too, so we took full advantage of our short time together and made the hike up to the Chapel at Ruby Ranch for some time together watching the sunset in the wide open beauty of God’s creation! It was fun to race the younger guys up the mountain, exploring an old hiking path for an extra adventure and then get to the cross as our final destination.
Our brothers from Miami led us in a time of reflection on the book of Acts and what it mean to be a man of God in the full Biblical sense of the term. This set the tone for the rest of our time together. Young and old we were all encouraged to be men who have given our lives to Christ, pray constantly, give generously, lead and disciple others, love our neighbors, and remain in communion with God on a daily basis.
We also had the great camp experiences together that you might expect on a men’s retreat. We put together a giant bon fire, because you know when men get together they like to play with fire hahaha! A bonfire is such a great time to sit together under the giant open sky. At Ruby Ranch, we are so far away from the city lights, the stars are innumerable and it is just amazing.
The younger guys stayed up late into the night coming and going from the cabin, running into the woods with flashlights, rekindling the fire at about one in the morning, and just having a time of adventure that just isn’t really available in their daily lives living in the urban setting of Managua. The older men stayed up late too, but that was because the Nicaraguan baseball league was in playoff season and they wanted to catch the Boer Indians game on the radio…their was a power outage in the stadium so the game was delayed well past midnight LOL!
God was so good to us and gave us an outstanding time together. One of the older man gave his life to Christ and is soon going to be baptized. The younger men had the time of their life, but we also saw their hearts turn deeper to Jesus. One young man shared at church when we visited on Sunday about what an amazing time he had. What I loved is that this young man had brought his entire family into the church, and several of the young men on the retreat were friends of his that he had invited. I was so encouraged knowing these young men, should they push aside all of the darkness of the world that surrounds them in that neighborhood, can make a HUGE impact. These young men could steer the future of an entire neighborhood into a place of hope, of honestly, of integrity, of joy, of friendship, of strong marriages, of strong families…these young man can change the future! That is our prayer, amen!
The retreat was a success! I know we speak for Pastor Roberto in saying how thankful were to have our brothers down from Miami. Please keep La Iglesia Hashem Adonia in your prayers…we want to see God use this church to make a great impact on Nicaragua! It is happening…