Our July Quarterly Business meeting will mark 30 years since our congregation voted to enter into a sister-church relationship with the Primera Iglesia Bautista of Corinto, Nicaragua. This was a time
of challenge in our history with the controversial Contra War that the US government was waging in Nicaragua against the newly formed Sandinista government. Dr. Gustavo Parajon, of CEPAD, asked us to get to know our Baptist sisters and brothers in Nicaragua for ourselves and learn what life was really like.
So after much study and with connections made on our behalf by a young woman, Leah Halper, working in Nicaragua, we were linked to the Baptist Church in Corinto. Their pastor, Elmer Barahona, visited us in Palo Alto in May of 1985 and in July at the Quarterly Business Meeting, we made the relationship official.
Pastor Barahona brought with him an invitation to their 50th Anniversary, and so our first delegation went to Nicaragua in January, 1986. We brought sewing machines for their sewing project and lots of clothes and toiletries, as supplies of basic items were so limited at that time. Our pastor, Rev. Randy Mishoe, preached at their Sunday evening service. The delegation toured other parts of Nicaragua as a means to help us here in Palo Alto gain a better understanding of life there and the challenges the people faced.
Since that time, we have had visitors come north. Pastor Elmer Barahona returned a second time and Pastor Elias Sanchez came while Rev. Chuck Syverson was pastor. Over the years, we have hosted two lay people, Omar Martinez, principal of the Corinto Baptist School and most recently in 2007, Francisco Antonio Flores Mejia, who met the first delegation when he was 4 years old and who is now married and a medical doctor.
Our second delegation went to Corinto in April of 1990, where we had the privilege of staying in people’s homes for several days. Our pastor, Rev. Chuck Syverson, accompanied this group. We helped do some painting in the church, had time to get to know families and participate in their worship and even went on a picnic to the beach!
The last visit to Corinto was when I took my mother and son to Nicaragua in 2003. We spent a Sunday morning in worship, were treated to a lunch with the congregation, and had time afterwards to share what was happening in each of our churches.
We continue to maintain a relationship, although not as vigorous as in years past. We send $500 on an annual basis to support their church projects. Usually in October, during our World Mission campaign, we get a report from the current pastor, Ricardo Castillo, of the many ministries that this small congregation is involved in: daily children’s lunch program, surf ministry, youth ministry, jail ministry, and mission work outside of Corinto, reaching smaller communities.
As I reported last fall, the Corinto School, which we helped to support for many years, is currently not operating due to some difficult situations.
Our sister church is always listed on our list of prayer concerns. We are linked by our common love of God and Jesus Christ. We pray for them and they pray for us. Hopefully, one day we will be able to have some from our church to visit Corinto again.