After years of anticipation and earnest prayers, the Christian community of Potosí, Nicaragua, launched its very first Bible Institute with the help of ReachGlobal missionary Jim Wilson and his friend, John Boles.
Potosí, a rural village of about 1,600 people, has no banks and no grocery stores. Simply exchanging American dollars for local currency is a chore. But Christians there still wanted a Bible school all the same.
“They prayed for eight years that [we] would come and begin an institute in Potosí,” Wilson says. “That prayer has been answered. They faithfully prayed, and God faithfully answered.”
Wilson established his Bible Institute ministry in 1999. The institute has two sites in Costa Rica, two in Panama and eight in Nicaragua. The seven-year program focuses on equipping pastors and church leaders in biblical and theological education for pastoral ministry.
The first institute was launched in the state capital, Chinandega, a one-and-a-half hour drive south of Potosí. Pastors and church leaders from Potosí and surrounding villages, some up to three hours away up mountain roads, would leave their homes at 3 a.m. just to participate.
That distance was cut much shorter when the Potosí Bible Institute held its first session in June.
“I’m looking forward to seeing the kingdom of God advanced in that area of Nicaragua — healthy churches preaching and teaching sound doctrine and unity in the body of Christ,” says Melvin Loza, a translator and former Bible Institutes student who now serves on the ministry’s teaching team.
Welcoming visitors of all kinds
Boles, a middle school math teacher in Arkansas, was eager to join Wilson in his mission to teach the Potosí church pastors and leaders. After five years of Wilson urging him to pack his bags, Boles’ schedule finally allowed him the opportunity to come.
“I have wanted John to come for years,” Wilson says. “The fact that that actually happened was neat.”
Boles had no idea what he was getting himself into when they arrived in Potosí.
After their first day of lectures, Boles and Wilson spent the night at a local pastor’s two-room cinderblock house. While the family of six slept together in the only bedroom, Boles and Wilson slept in the main living area, surrounded by huge bags of rice, flour and beans.
Despite the discomfort – animals, humidity and endless swarms of gnats – Boles says he was very grateful for the accommodations and is excited for the future of ministry in Potosí.
“They are a very passionate people,” Boles says. “During worship, they are engaged and passionate about God’s Word. They will drive several hours in the back of a pick-up truck, standing, to hear the Word.”
About 130 pastors and church leaders from the surrounding 15 communities crammed into pickup trucks and piled onto bikes to attend the inaugural lessons. The two-day session, held at a local church, focused on failure and how we, as humans, react when we fail. Using Bible stories of Adam, David, Peter and others, instructors urged students to turn to God’s forgiveness when — not if — failure occurs.
“We encouraged the folks in Potosi to seek God’s forgiveness and deal with others who fail in a biblically balanced manner – not to ignore sin, but not to condemn and reject others when they fail,” Wilson says.
The lessons could not have been timelier for people in Potosí. One local pastor desired to forgive his adulterous wife and restore their marriage; however, his denomination demands that he either leave his position as pastor or reject his wife.
“Failure is a huge problem in Latin America,” Wilson says. “It typically is swept under the rug [with] no process of biblical restoration.”
Boles and Wilson seem confident that the people’s passion will serve as catalysts in Potosí for the institute’s mission to flourish in the years to come.
“Now that God has answered [their] prayer, my hope and prayer is that God will use the pastors, who are trained at the Bible Institute, to fulfill their vision of reaching the entire [Potosí] peninsula with the Gospel and pastoral training,” Wilson says.
See article on Melvin Loza.
Contact Jim Wilson if you have interest in one of the following:
- Teaching in one of the Bible Institutes
- Serving in Compassion Ministries alongside one of the Bible Institutes
- Providing financial assistance to feed and transport pastors, who attend the Bible Institutes
- If your church might have an interest in adopting a Bible Institute in Central America
- Pray for safety in travel.
- Pray for Wilson as he balances all of the competing time demands.
- Pray for the work of updating and improving the teaching curriculum.