Grace is like Water!
Testimony by Hultner Estrada
God granted me the privilege to be involved in His kingdom as a Youth Pastor. I began this work when I was very young, coordinating activities for the Youth ministry at the church that my parents founded in Managua, Nicaragua.
For the first few years, I basically dedicated to continuing the work that other leaders had initiated, with the purpose of discipling children of the adult members to continue following Jesus. I wanted the Youth ministry to flourish and to grow in a very particular direction – that later I would come to learn was a direction that was not exactly centered around what God would want.
To better explain, I should say that my church was located in one of the most prosperous neighborhoods in the North-West side of the capital city, but at the same time, located less than one kilometer from one of the biggest and poorest slums in the city.
In my mind, I envisioned a Youth ministry integrating many youth from the nearest neighborhoods. I saw many young people from the middle class attending and participating in the life of the church, but I did not see Youth from the slums coming to our group. My vision of growth and evangelism was very specific and selective, until I became part of “Mission for Transformation” at the Nehemiah Center. Mission for Transformation was the answer to reaching beyond just my interest in youth who were already Christians, it also confirmed the strong desire in my heart to see other Youth from the neighboring communities receive Christ.
“Since the beginning God has approached darkness and chaos with an abundance of love, to transform the ugly into something beautiful, the obscure into something new and dazzling” these were the words of the facilitator commenting on the passage from Genesis 1:1-3. Since that first workshop with Mission for Transformation, I understood that the Holy Spirit does not run away from chaos, nor is intimidated by darkness or disorder, and if it wasn’t for this courageous and loving character of God, I also would not be a follower of Jesus.
Mission for Transformation helped me to understand and see clearly how afraid I was of certain types of people; the poor and those that lived in areas that we call “marginalized”, and my fear converted into a ministry that made exceptions of other people.
This change in perspective, transformed my ministry. I began to develop relationships with Youth in the slums, I no longer feared the Youth with backgrounds of violence and addictions. Little by little, and almost without realizing it, God also brought new life and a powerful revival in our Youth group, adding Youth that didn’t necessarily originate from conventional social segments.
From that first experience it has been confirmed again in many ways, that the phrase celebrated by Mission for Transformation is a great truth:
“Grace is like water, it runs down and pools up in the lowest places.”
What people are saying about Mission for Transformation:
~Dayra García, Iglesia El Shaddai~
“Mission for Transformation was an instrument to see God’s glory outside of the church. Something that I can share as a personal testimony was the experience of going out into the streets and sharing with the people there. What left an impression on my heart is that I thought that I was going to give, but God surprised us when he showed us that we would go to receive. We thought that it was going to be those out on the streets that were going to receive from us but we were the ones who received from them with each activity that we did with them in the parks, the prisons and in each place where we worked. The most beautiful part is that the seed has stayed planted in Esteli. The Nehemiah Center has been like the soft rain that falls each morning like dew so that the dream of God keeps growing and becoming a reality in this city.”
~Darwin Vilchez, Iglesia La Hermosa~
“The Nehemiah Center has motivated me to learn more of the Bible and now I am studying in a Bible Institute, because the truth is that God wants workers willing to do what others don’t want to do.”
~Gioconda Ordóñez, Director of Instituto “El Renuevo”, Condega.~
“For three years teachers from the Institute attended Mission for Transformation and began to be transformed. Mission for Transformation helped us to understand our mission as an Institute and that transformation has converted into the “Scandal of God in Condega”. I say that because for some time the Institute had a bad name for the type of youth we received, youth that are not well received in other schools, but in this school, the little we do, God has given lots of potential. Many youth at risk are integrating into the Institute and the activities we do and we – those with a bad name – are being instruments of God to rescue youth, we continue to scandalize the entire city of Condega.”
Youth Development Mission for Transformation
What we do:
MISSION FOR TRANSFORMATION is equipping the local church to better serve Youth and their families in difficult places. Our primary focus are those that are furthest away; youth and families that for their story and social condition are commonly forgotten.
It is our desire for Pastor’s and church leaders that participate in Mission for Transformation, renew their hope and strengthen their love for the Youth and their families that do not go to church. We desire that the participants acquire a better ability to construct a transformational youth ministry based in the relational model of Jesus that allowed for Disciples to be populated by Youth, walking with them towards integral development.
How do we do it
Mission for Transformation consists of a series of workshops and practical exercises that looks to create spaces for theological reflection and inspired self-evaluation through the relational and incarnational ministry of Jesus. The themes of these workshops look to strengthen our hope in the highly disintegrated human family, in the power of the story of the Cross, to live with and see a God amidst the pain in our communities and in the work of the Spirit that today as always, becomes closer to the chaos and darkness to create something new and beautiful.
Click to watch a 1 minute explanation of Mission for Transformation.
Watch a sneak peek at what the Mission for Transformation program of the Nehemiah Center is all about; finding relevant ways to reach youth in their context.
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