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The monthly newsletter of Free Methodist World Missions

Small Steps to Big Transformation

by Martha Vargas and Yaneth Aguirre | May 2023 | Heartbeat, HB Latin America, HB Nicaragua/El Salvador

In August 2022, the Nicaragua Mission District participated in the 12-week pilot discipleship program Innovate. The Transformational Churches team in Latin America partnered with The Chalmers Center to train discipleship facilitators. The partnership with The Chalmers Center provided Houses of Peace leaders with simple and creative tools to love their communities – helping them solve local problems by eliminating the root causes. The groups then carried out small initiatives within their communities to restore the fallen relationships individuals and communities have with God, themselves, others and creation.

The facilitators challenged participants to believe the initiatives needed to solve the root causes of local problems do not require large financial resources. With the help of the Lord and much prayer, they implemented the lessons and tools from this program, resulting in ideas for small transformative initiatives.

Here are a few of the initiatives in process:

  • cleaning and burning garbage in empty spaces to encourage the community to take care of God’s natural resources
  • a plan for keeping a green area in the community clean
  • a sewing course to give an employable skill to homeless individuals
  • afterschool reading support for children
  • a plan for using a new water well to provide a sustainable source of drinking water for those in need

It was a great surprise to see community members get involved in the planning and implementation of these initiatives. We celebrate the significant ripple effects happening because of them. The cleanup in a green area caused so much interest in what the house of peace was doing that people in the community began to help with the cleanup, and a new house of peace was started in the green area. The idea of giving a course in sewing led to an alliance with a businessman who has promised employment to people who complete this course. People from the communities have given their lives to Christ and now attend local churches!

The houses of peace have completed the Innovate training and are excited to continue participating in the restoration of their communities through their God-given resources. They continue to think of new ideas to interact with their communities and work toward restoring relationships. The transformation needed in Nicaragua has begun through these initiatives and seems unstoppable. Small steps are leading to big transformation in local communities and relationships!

Martha Vargas is a Transformational Church advocate in Nicaragua, and Yaneth Aguirre is a Transformational Church coach for Nicaragua.