Childhood development is often overlooked
Though there is need of the gospel in every corner of the world, we chose to start our work in Nicaragua because we felt there was an opportunity to make a difference in its younger generation’s spiritual and social future. This is something that few individuals or organizations seem to be doing in Nicaragua, even though 40% of the country’s population is less than 20 years old. Instead, many families tend to do just enough to keep their children fed and occupied until they are old enough to contribute tangibly to the family.
Material poverty all but ensures that this won’t change
A big reason for this overlooking of children is that most of the population live in great financial hardship. Struggling to make ends meet doesn’t make people immoral or inept—on the contrary, we know many people with little income who are intelligent, loving, and joyful—but material poverty involves much more than just money. The materially poor usually live in environments where injustice, distrust, and various kinds of abuse may run unchecked. For many in such environments, dealing with matters that are urgent now prevents investing in things that will be beneficial later. This too often means that children’s spiritual, educational, and social development is neglected, and they will later be overcome by the same obstacles that hinder their parents now.
We believe that children and youth have value now
The local church is frequently passionate and able to operate with very little funding, but it is also often guilty of this same overlooking of children and youth. We believe young Christians are not only the church of tomorrow but also an important part of the church of today. We also believe that individuals are most effectively shaped, discipled, and led while they are in their youth—even if they dress differently or have obvious sin in their lives.
We believe the local church is the hope of the world even though it has blind spots
We don’t want to supplant the local church but to support it. We want to exist alongside the local church, filling in some of the gaps of its outreach and encouraging and equipping it to see the value in all people.