Seashore Nicaraguan Covenant Changes Lives for Many

1/19/2022

Matthew Johnson Communications and Connectional Ministries Assistant
 
In 2006, Rev. David Newton, pastor at Grace United Methodist Church in Lucedale, joined his district superintendent, at the time, Rev. Bill McAlilly on a trip to Nicaragua. Their goal was to foster a mutually beneficial covenant between the leaders of the Nicaraguan Methodist Church and the Seashore district based on three guiding principles. First, they would be in ministry together. Secondly, they would respect priorities meaning the Seashore district would adhere to advice from the Nicaraguan Methodist church about how best to provide resources and aid. Lastly, both parties would continually be in prayer for one another.

Playground at La Majada, Nicaragua Methodist Church.
 
“Bill had been there before and wanted to return,” said Newton. “When he was there, he worked with a local ministry and heard about the Methodist Church there and wanted to help.” 

The Nicaraguan Methodist Church is an independent conference and not part of the Global Conference. Therefore, it was cut off from the resources a global connection provides.

In the years since the covenant was established, the lives of many Nicaraguans have been transformed. The covenant allowed churches, medical clinics and playgrounds to be built to meet the needs of whole communities.

“The local Methodist Church tells us where they need churches built,” said Newton. “Some include medical clinics and outdoor kitchens. The kitchens are always open air to allow the gathering of the congregation.”

Because of Seashore district’s investment and commitment to the covenant children are performing better in school because of better nutrition, and elderly Nicaraguan’s health outlooks are improving tremendously. In addition, the Nicaraguan government took notice and built roads to help get construction material to building sites.

Over the years, Rev. Newton has enjoyed his missionary journeys to Nicaragua. While there, he embraces the opportunity to minister and teach the growing church populations.

“We’ve placed a premium on health education,” said Newton. “I’ve also taught on domestic abuse, hosted vacation bible school and taught classes on lay leadership and Methodist doctrine.” 
Rev. David Newton gives a sermon
with the help of an interpreter.

Due to political turmoil in Nicaragua, and the ongoing coronavirus pandemic, Rev. Newton has not been able to make a mission trip for the last three years, but he hopes to return in the fall of 2022. However, he is happy to report some of the churches built through the covenant have tripled in size.

Even with the success of the Nicaraguan-Seashore District Covenant, The Mission Continues. When there is mutual respect and focus on the goal of building God’s Kingdom lives will always be changed for the better.
 

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