In a small community in central Managua, Lincoln Wright from Calvary Chapel Melbourne has been changing Nicaraguan lives one person at a time. When he came here 19 years ago for a mission trips, he never would have dreamed what GOD would do. Now, everywhere he goes, there are people who know him. Those in charge of the highest levels of government, and those who are getting their lives back on track. Even those at the local restaurant he frequents. And especially those who come for food.
“I was driving on the road” Lincoln was recalling, “when we were stopped by a gang. The gang leader came up to the car, and [my friend] was scared of what might happen. We weren’t sure of what he was going to do to us. He came right up and said, ‘Lincoln, how are you doing! It’s been a long time!’”. Almost a decade earlier, Lincoln and another missionary led a prison ministry in the Federal prison near Grenada. This young man was in the prison, and now years later, came up to his car not to cause harm, but thank him for the kindness and Christ’s love that he showed week after week to the inmates.
From there, he was able to open up a ministry at the local jail after gaining the respect and trust of the Chief of Police and other officials. They were able to build a chapel inside the prison, allowing many men to learn about Jesus Christ and why he came. And not just inmates came to know Jesus as their Lord and Savior, the prison guards and police officers did as well. That is until the present government took power and forced them out of the prisons a few years ago.
Now, Lincoln continues to feed hungry children in the neighborhood breakfast 3 times a week. “That was 256 today,” he said. “We’ve been consistent at around 250 each day for a while.” “That’s great!” I replied, to which he responded, “That all depends on how you look at it.” Some parents bring their kids, and some kids come on their own, because they know where they can fill their empty, growling stomach before heading off to school. That is another place that has been touched by GOD through Lincoln. Doors, lighting, electricity, tile, and planters for shade trees are just a few of the many renovations he has contributed to the local elementary school, all in the name of Jesus Christ. And the schoolkids know it. They are hearing and learning the word of GOD through bible studies offered at their food ministry location. The day of the visit, they were learning Romans 12:1-2.
“Therefore, I urge you, brothers and sisters, in view of God’s mercy, to offer your bodies as a living sacrifice, holy and pleasing to God—this is your true and proper worship. Do not conform to the pattern of this world but be transformed by the renewing of your mind. Then you will be able to test and approve what God’s will is—his good, pleasing and perfect will.”
Some of the kids have been there for 8-10 years. Others are just starting to learn. But the seeds are being planted. Some of them have graduated, gone to university on a scholarship from Lincoln, and found great jobs where they can make a difference. God is now using them and their lives to serve Him.
But the story isn’t over. Right now, in Nicaragua, protests and revolts are going on against the government and their social reforms. The protestors have set up blockades outside the city, stopping all traffic and deliveries to the city. Last month, he was able to feed the kids milk, but today, it’s only a sugar water fruit drink. Police are scarce, and there was a shooting a few days ago just outside their feeding and bible study center. There have been over 100 deaths in clashes between the protesters and the government since the protests started April 18th, and the conflict is far from over. In 2012, 33,812 babies were delivered by girls aged 10 to 19 – equivalent to one in every four live births, according to the latest available Ministry of Health figures. This included 1,609 new mothers aged 10 to 14. (1)(1) (1)
Despite the challenges, Lincoln will continue to faithfully serve GOD no matter what happens. And children will grow up knowing the GOD has a plan for their lives, with Jesus Christ at the center.
(1) – Nicaragua Statistics