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Mission Trip
to Nicaragua

Another whirlwind trip came to an end on February 21, 2004. This team of 23 included about 17 folks from Strawberry Baptist Association to Somotillo, Nicaragua. As on past trips, heavy emphasis was given to discipleship training and pastoral training in the northern region of the country. More than 130 pastors and leaders, men and women alike, were trained during special seminars conducted in the afternoons, and at night area congregations were invited to participate in special discipleship and worship times at two different Somotillo churches. Additional ministries included evangelism, food relief, construction, and even baseball!

Several disctinct teams shared in church and orphanage contruction and training conferences. Early morning visits to isolated villages brought much needed food and the Gospel message to hundreds of people hungry for both gifts.

Because He Cares Ministries, a non-profit missionary organization headed by evangelist/missionary Don Gillette, has been carrying out this unique and much needed ministry since 2000. Each year six or seven mission trips are put together and financed in order to share the love of Christ with wonderful people anxious for someone to minister to them.

Several times a day, everyday we were in Somotillo, our team traveled dusty rough roads to isolated villages in order to share food and the Gospel message. Before heading out it was necessary to prepare several tons of food for distribution and load it into the backs of the trucks.

A sweet watermelon treat first went to the children. If there was enough, the adults got to join in on the fun! Then the food was shared with each family. Sometimes huge bags of food were left with the village leader or pastor for later distribution.

Because of the extreme poverty, many of these families rely almost entirely on the visits of mission teams for adequate nutrition throughout most of the year. If there are no teams and no interest shone in the feeding program, thousands go to bed hungry and suffer the consequences of severe malnutrition.

Click here to see some of the feeding program pictures.

Our goal is to see an evangelical presence established in as many villages as possible. As we share food we always present a Gospel message inviting the listeners to come to a personal faith in Jesus Christ. Once a small group of believers is formed, local pastors or leaders are called upon to follow up and look for land to build the community's very own evangelical church structure.

Click here to view our evangelism teams in action.

Already several buildings have been built, several are under way, and others are being planned for the near future. Much of the brick used is actually formed and baked on-site by the local villagers. Men and women alike take part in this hard labor of love.

Click here to view some of the latest construction projects.

One of the most important ministries is the discipleship/training ministry that goes on daily during the hot afternoons in a local Baptist church.

About 130 pastors, leaders, and pastors' wives travel great distances from the northwestern region of Nicaragua in order to take advantage of these in-depth Bible studies that are designed to equip the Christian worker with the most basic tools for sharing the Gospel and growing the church.

Our topics this trip touched on "The Life and Work of the Pastor", "What Happens When Women Pray", "Prayer and Integrity in Ministry", and "The Pastor and Sheep". Temperatures climbed over 100 degrees as the faithful studied in four separate groups, but the interest and participation remained strong. In fact, each day more and more folks came as word continued to spread throughout the area.

Click here for conference photos.

Each evening believers were invited to attend one of two worship times in two different churches in Somotillo. Promotion had been underway for many weeks with a great assist from the local Christian radio station whose broadcast reaches not only north Nicaragua but the countries of Honduras and El Salvador.

We learned that many had been meeting daily at 5:00am in preparation for the missionary teams, and some have even partnered with Strawberry Baptist Association via our Website's Prayer Page in order to stay abreast of the latest needs.

The station manager invited us to daily share testimonies and song live on the air as an additional promotional push. Later we spoke with folks who had heard the live presentations, and we were humbled and greatly impressed at how God had used those messages to touch hearts.

Click here to see some of the worship time.

Not quite the norm for our mission trips, this time we had a special guest who had joined us for ministry. Byron Ballard, a retired professional baseball pitcher formerly associated with the Yankees, Padres, and Mets, led us as we actually played three innings with a local ball team. It was a wonderful way to break down barriers, enjoy fellowship, and present the Gospel.

Many young men and boys hung around afterward to get autographs and baseballs. Byron is going to challenge some of his old baseball buddies to help us gather equipment for the local teams and see how "baseball evangelism" can be used to reach hearts.

Click here for the baseball game.

We are constantly on the lookout for volunteers and those interested in helping financially in this worthwhile ministry. If you need more information, please contact Don Gillette at 540-977-6120. You can also e-mail him at
Will you pray about being part of the next mission team to Nicaragua?

Strawberry Baptist Association
163 W. Main Street - P.O. Box 91
Bedford, Virginia 24523

Tel.: (540) 586-8345

Copyright© SBAVA -- Updated 2/23/2004
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