A Church Built on Prayer

Nicaraguan pastors and ABWE missionaries confront the spiritual needs of their communities with prayer and witness God working through local churches.

From Message magazine issue "Transformed: Lives Changed Across the Globe"

One church plant in Nicaragua is so dedicated to prayer that even its name reflects a longing for God’s presence.

The verse referenced in its name, Iglesia Bautista Jeremias 33:3—Jeremiah 33:3 Baptist Church—reminds the growing congregation of God’s command to “Call to me and I will answer you, and will tell you great and hidden things that you have not known.”

The church leadership demonstrates the integral nature of prayer. Every Sunday, national Pastor José Guadamuz and his wife Mersedes Lezama Ruiz pause to ask God’s guidance and blessing on their worship services, committing their ministry to his glory.  

They established the church in the town of Tisma to reach their community. Although Tisma is located in a historically Catholic region of Nicaragua, the local population practices much religious syncretism and occasionally even witchcraft, including what they call “white magic.” Although Nicaraguans frequently use Christian phrases in greetings or advertisements, the Nicaraguan church has historically struggled to establish deep roots in its culture or make a lasting impact on individual families.  

“From my experience of life and ministry here in Nicaragua over the past 10 years, two things stand out when I think of spiritual need and the church,” shared ABWE Nicaragua Team Leader Jason Lang. “First, extremely broken family units, and second, confusion about spiritual things and true, biblical doctrine.”  

Recognizing these needs, ABWE missionaries founded Centro ABEM (the acronym for ABWE in Spanish), a 100-acre multi-purpose ministry center including a seminary building, dining hall, athletic facilities, and cabins to host events for local churches. They also established the Institute for Church Planting, which has trained over 100 Nicaraguan church planters—including Pastor José. Centro ABEM celebrated its 20th anniversary in October 2023. 

Let’s join them in prayer that, over the next 20 years, many additional healthy churches will be established throughout Nicaragua. 

Katelyn Hawkins & Roland Pugh

Katelyn Hawkins is a communications specialist with ABWE. She serves as managing editor for Message Magazine and the ABWE blog. She holds an M.A. in Social Sciences and B.A. in Communications, and has lived in locations across Europe, Asia, and the Middle East.

Roland Pugh became a freelance photographer after a 10-year career in finance. He graduated from NYU’s School of Professional Studies in 2014 with a MA in Graphic Communications Management and, as a visual storyteller, has traveled on assignment throughout the world. Roland is currently working as a Multimedia Producer for the largest municipal health care system in the US.