This past weekend, Dan Simmons and I traveled across the entire country to a city called Neuva Guinea. The trip had two purposes.
One was to deliver 15oo pounds of supplemental food packets to a coalition of 70 pastors. The food comes from a US based non-profit called Feed My Starving Children. Pastor Carlos is helping to facilitate the distribution of it to hundreds of feeding centers that are in turn feeding tens of thousands of people. These 70 pastors would each be receiving food that they would then take back to their churches. Two pastors made a 7 hour trip by horse and then a two hour bus ride to get there.
The other purpose of the trip was for us to do a marriage conference for the pastors. Side note: initially I was told the conference was to equip the pastors to help men who struggle with sexual sin. I have learned that sudden changes like this will happen. So, we did a marriage conference:)
It was wonderful to see how God is using the very real and tangible need for physical food as a way to open up opportunities for us to also meet spiritual needs here in Nicaragua. Both are vital and necessary and I love how He is blending the two together.
The family and marital culture here has suffered tremendously from the Latin "machismo" mindset, where men are King in the home and often dominate the life of the family as an autocrat. While it is not so pronounced in the Church, in the way of abuse and such, it is nonetheless still very much there.
Wives are often not very affirmed and cherished. In many cases,
men have not be taught what it means for them to sacrificially love their wives and nuture them and their children.
The time we spent together was very fruitful. In the end we had a good time of questions and answers and I was able to appeal to the pastors that it is time that they begin addressing this issue in their churches and communities. I challenged them as to what it could be like if 70 churches began addressing marriage and teaching their young people what a healthy family and marriage looks like; how over 20-30 years that could impact the lives of thousands of people, even lead to changing a nation.
It is in times like these that I am humbled and in awe of the places and the people God allows me to open my heart and life to. I truly never thought such a life were possible for Justin Carabello. Gloria a Dios! (To God be glory!)