As 516NOW moves beyond our initial community in Palacaguina Nicaragua to other Nicaraguan communities and into other countries, it is helpful to understand the scope of the task God has placed before us.
Nicaragua is a relatively small country with a population of just under 6 million. The country is still working to overcome the detrimental impact of the Somoza regime, civil war between the Sandanistas and Somoza’s government, and natural calamities, all of which have left it one of the poorest countries in the Western Hemisphere.
Nicaragua’s Central American neighbor, El Salvador, with almost the same population (6.3 million) is the most densely-populated state on the mainland of the Americas. Although now highly industrialized, in the 1980s El Salvador experienced a bitter civil war that resulted in 70,000 dead. The ware was fueled by gross disparity between the majority of the population and a small and wealthy elite. Today, violent “mara” street gangs have left El Salvador with one of the world’s highest murder rates.
The Dominican Republic is almost twice the size of Nicaragua, with a population of 10.6 million. The country shares the island of island of Hispaniola with Haiti, a former French colony and the poorest nation in the Western Hemisphere. The Dominican economy is driven by two engines: tourism and logistics (free-trade zones).
Colombia is the fourth largest country in South America with a population of 49 million – 7 times that of Nicaragua and El Salvador. Colombia has substantial oil reserves and is a major producer of precious metals, emeralds and coal. Like many other Latin American countries, Colombia is a highly stratified society where the wealthy families of Spanish descent control most income-producing assets, providing a fertile environment for left-wing insurgents. The country has also been ravaged by a decades-long violent conflict involving outlawed armed groups, drug cartels and gross violations of human rights. Since 2002, the country has been making significant progress towards improving security.
These are the mission fields God is calling us to, over 70 million people who face inequity, oppression, poverty, natural disasters, drugs and governments that protect and serve the wealthy minority. Although some of these nations claim to be Christian, the fruit of a Christian life seems very distant to most residents. We trust our Might Savior who has promised that the fields are ready to harvest and it is plentiful – but we need workers (Luke 10:2). Please join us in praying that the Lord would send workers to the field.
516 Now Inc President