NICARAGUA – October 25th was a day of great joy for the church in Nicaragua as around 200 children and 20 adults gathered at LCC’s mission centre in Chinandega to celebrate the 497th Anniversary of the Lutheran Reformation. The theme of the event was taken from Paul’s letter to the Romans: “You have been set free from sin and have become slaves to righteousness” (Romans 6:18). An emphasis of the event was Martin Luther’s battle for pure doctrine: for grace alone, Scripture alone, faith alone, and Christ alone. The children recounted in a dramatic way Luther’s excommunication from the Roman church, his burning of the Papal bull, and his nailing of the 95 Thesis on the door of the Castle Church in Wittenberg on October 31, 1517.
A second special moment of the program was the Creation drama. Children from the community of Sebaco presented a live theatrical act on the six days of Creation, culminating with the fulfillment of the messianic prophecy of Genes 3:15 in John 3:16, when all children held high the cross of Jesus.
Several other highlights took place as well, including music, sketches, and the story of the Prophet Jonah told on flannel graph (a lively and involving presentation by Deaconess Carmen Martínez). Children from several communities presented during the event. Remarkable also was the narration of the Parable of the Prodigal Son by teenage girl, Edith. She not only brought the Parable to live through her highly skilled recitation, but also closed with a Gospel invitation to all to contemplate and heed the open arms of a loving Father who welcomes His stranded-by-sin children.
Behind all this was clearly seen the hard and intensive work of deaconesses and pastors as they lead the 700 children in their communities in regular programs of education, Bible studies, catechesis, prayer, and devotional life.
“My personal assessment of the event,” said Rev. Dr. Leonardo Neitzel, LCC’s Executive for Missions and Social Ministry, “can be summed up in one word: Magnifico!”
“As families and Christian education in homes face many crises, challenges, as violence, immorality and other addictions and maladies seem to become norms for many in our society, we thank and praise our Lord Jesus for providing the Christian nurturing to many children and teenagers in Central America,” he continued. “God has strengthened and led Lutheran Church–Canada in consistent missionary and educational efforts so that His Word, the sacraments, catechesis, and Lutheran liturgy would be at the centre of our Christian life and witness.”
“Our prayer is that the children who are reared in the Word and the heart of Jesus, in the fellowship of His family of faith, may be strengthened and encouraged to reach out with the Gospel—that they would make a positive difference in the world for the sake of the salvation of many,” he explained. “Their Reformation message was clear, and based on Scripture: through Jesus Christ we are free from sin and slaves of His righteousness.”