Dear Hyde Park Family,
Among the myriad of local and global concerns that may be filling your prayers nowadays, I ask you to include one with whom this church has personal connections.
Over the past several months, the nation of Nicaragua has been seized by violence, stemming from protests against the government’s plans to reform the country’s social security system. Many believe those reforms target the most vulnerable with tax hikes and reductions in their social security benefits.
Hundreds of thousands of people have taken to the streets since last April, only to be met by violent suppression efforts by the regime of President Daniel Ortega. More than 300 people have been killed, and 2,500 have been injured.
These developments are heartbreaking in their own right, but our sadness is compounded by the special relationship this congregation has forged with the Nicaraguan people for the past 12 years. Since 2006, 225 people from Hyde Park United Methodist have participated in 18 adult and family missions trips to Leon, Nicaragua, partnering with the agency El Ayudante, which is the Spanish word for “helper.”
Our teams have worked with El Ayudante to care for and educate some of Nicaragua’s most vulnerable and impoverished children, and have been deployed all throughout the country to minister to local communities.
We are grateful for all our Hyde Park members who have faithfully served over the years, as well as the guidance and support given by the Rev. Vicki Walker and the Missions and Outreach team.
She offers this description of their work: “We have been going there for so many years that the folks there have become our friends, we have watched them get married, have children, have quinceañeras, graduate and grow up. We have built houses, clinics, and a police station, helped people launch businesses, grown gardens and helped them in ways they asked. And none of this conveys the impact that these trips and new friends have made on our individual lives. Team members have learned to pray aloud and led their first devotional. Their faith has blossomed, their priorities re-evaluated and their desire to Make God’s Love Real both home and beyond has grown.”
However, with all the political and civil unrest, international advisories prohibited our mission teams from traveling there this year, and many other groups from around the world have had to cancel as well. As a result, El Ayudante has had to function without the presence of its missions partners, adding strain to its staff and its resources.
I am asking you to take a moment to pray for an end to the suffering in Nicaragua, for the strength and sustenance of the people of El Ayudante and the surrounding communities, and for everyone here at Hyde Park United Methodist worried for the people with whom they have forged personal relationships over the years.
Perhaps you might offer this prayer:
Gracious God, the Scriptures speak to us of a time when the lion will lay down with the lamb, and swords and spears would turn into ploughshares and pruning hooks. We claim the promise of peace, even amid the tragic violence gripping the people of Nicaragua. Forge an end to the conflict where there seems to be no pathway to peace. Raise up bold, spirited leaders who can reconcile warring parties and bring justice and compassion to the oppressed.
We pray for your servants at El Ayudante. Grant them courage and hope to face the future without fear, and provide their needs when their means seem meager. We offer to you in prayer these El Ayudante staff members: Javier, Danelia, Vanessa, Nicolas, Marisol, Maria, Maximo, Rodrigo, Teodoro, Pablo, Reynaldo, Roger, Omar, Maria, Eden, Jose, Genoveva, Franklin, Juan, Maria, Dora, Gloria, Benjamin, Bayardo, Santos, Jorge, Darlin, Claudia, Agustina, and Silvia.
Enfold them with your love. Fill them with your peace. Grant them your hope.
In Jesus’ name, Amen.
The Rev. Magrey deVega
Senior Pastor, Hyde Park United Methodist
TO LEARN MORE ABOUT OUR HISTORY WITH EL AYUDANTE
Our website contains our blog “Hyde Park Speaks” with many entries written by mission team members who have served in Nicaragua. Click here to read more.
FLORENCE RELIEF AND RECOVERY
We continue to pray for the people of the Atlantic coast, fighting treacherous floodwaters and recovering from the devastation of Hurricane Florence. We will keep you apprised of ways you can respond through our United Methodist Committee on Relief (UMCOR), as those efforts are made available.