Before we ever finished the water project in San Carlos, one of the rockstar members of our CAPS, Doña Julia, had a question: When are you starting Discipleship here?!
But just like any of our initiatives, we approach starting new programs purposefully and responsibly, with a deliberate process. In San Carlos, that began last year with Discipleship Coordinators Darwing and Esmirna visiting parents to talk about our program, sharing the vision, and coordinating the first steps.
That led to planning our first kid-focused San Carlos event in July… a Fútbol Tournament!
There was a lot of work to do before the big day, but we had plenty of hands on deck. Community kids jumped in to help clear the playing field of rocks, roots, and sticks. A visiting mission team from the US joined in to help line the field and do final cleanup. And then it was time for kickoff!
If you’ve been to a youth soccer tournament either in the US or Nicaragua, you’ve probably seen some animosity between teams, a little bickering, or some poor sportsmanship from both the winners and losers. Kids are competitive, and those emotions can boil over… especially over soccer in Nicaragua!
But the San Carlos event was different. Eliminated teams stuck around to watch the next rounds and even prayed with the teams that beat them right after losing. Three teams came from outside the community, including a group of girls who rode their bikes 5km in from León 5 kilometers to play each day – talk about dedication! And everybody helped clean up after a day full of games.
After the tournament, some students approached our staff with an incredible testimony. They shared how thankful they are for all the various organizations that have supported their community over the years, but that SuNica did something they’ve longed for… One of the teannagers said it best. “No one has ever come to talk to us about God before, and that makes all the difference.”
It’s on that incredible foundation that we’re privileged to start building our next Discipleship program. There is an excitement and eagerness among the San Carlos kids that’s unlike any of the other communities, reflected in the 16 teenagers that are consistently showing up to Leadership Meetings, or Liderazgo. At the weekly sessions, these teenagers come together to talk about God and prepare to serve as leaders for the younger children in their community. It’s Discipleship that’s happening before the program even officially launches.
So to answer Doña Julia’s question, Discipleship in San Carlos is coming soon! And the community’s excitement, engagement, and desire for the Gospel are speeding everything forward!
Written by Justin Biegler