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Saying YES as Mission - Misión Para Cristo, Nicaragua

June 7, 2021

The staff of Misión Para Cristo.

The staff of Misión Para Cristo.

Benny Baker and Mindy Stewart Share About Where Saying “Yes” to God Led Them

As we near the end of the first season of Not a Trip, we learn about Misión Para Cristo from Benny Baker and Mindy Stewart. Andrea, Emily and Olivia managed to chat via zoom, once with Benny and once with Mindy, to hear how “saying YES” has become a missional practice and a spiritual discipline. They share about their roles with Misión Para Cristo, the strength of the Nicaraguan staff who run the organization, and the leap of faith that God asked of them.

Misión Para Cristo is an international development mission and registered NGO in the Jinotega (northern) region of Nicaragua focusing on the spiritual and physical needs of the people. Benny describes the organization as a table. The three legs of the table are church, medicine, and children. There are many other programs and functions built on top of this foundation, or table. They are involved with church development and mentorship, focusing on twenty-one congregations in the Jinotega region and two congregations in the Matagalpa region. The children element of their mission is lived out through a sponsorship program, four child development centers, and twelve schools. They also have a thriving medical service, running a full-time clinic with a dentist, optometrist, general physician, nurse, and pharmacist on staff. They see over 40,000 patients a year. 

Benny and Mindy spoke often of their appreciation for the Nicaraguan staff members who are the backbone of this organization. The Bakers founded Misión Para Cristo twenty-three years ago. Benny shared that, out of their staff of over one hundred people, only four people have been working with them for less than five years. Two of the team members have been there for twenty-two years, six for over fifteen years, and thirty for over ten years. This long-term commitment to serving communities across Nicaragua has strengthened the reach of their mission and the relationships within the staff. 

As Benny and Mindy reflected on their favorite memories of this team, it was evident that this group of people are a beautiful expression of God’s love to many communities. When we asked Benny if he had any stories to share, he thought of countless examples: “When I think about our staff, I think about Alberto, who is overall director, and Harvey, who runs the day to day operations of the missions. I think about Jessica, our full-time accountant. I think about Eliana, who is our Kingdom Kids director. We have, in Nicaragua, almost 600 children in Kingdom Kids. I believe that within ten percent, she could tell you the name of every child and where they are.”

Mindy expressed the same sentiment as she remembered coming back from two short-term mission trips to Nicaragua before she began full-time work with Misión Para Cristo. “I assumed that when the teams left, everything would die down. That’s not true at all. The mission is run 24/7, 365 days a year by the Nicaraguans.” She spoke of their strength in the midst of adversity, their optimism, and their creativity when facing new challenges. Mindy reflected on the difficulties that came with 2020, sharing that “when the entire mission focus had to pivot and find new ways to do what we do, the staff got together in a way they had never done before. The Kingdom Kids staff, clinic staff, and construction staff would all work on the same project - that didn’t happen during other years.”

This flexibility is representative of Benny’s philosophy of service. He explained that they are constantly looking for new ways to serve, share their faith, and care for their neighbors. “We try to keep a blank piece of paper in front of God. We let him write our schedule. I don’t know today what God has in store for us tomorrow,” said Benny. This faith is also present in Mindy and her husband, who with no fundraising or ministry experience, answered God’s call to begin working full-time to support the work of Misión Para Cristo.

To hear more of their stories and the work of Misión Para Cristo, listen to the latest episode of Not a Trip! You can also find out more about this host partner on their website. 

 


Not a Trip