On October 4th, 2008 we held our first youth rally at the main church in Matagalpa, officially launching the youth ministry of Abundant Life Missions International in Nicaragua. That evening I began to cast our vision to a packed house of spiritually hungry young men and women with the message, “Let Us Go and Fetch the Ark.” I reminded the young people that King David belonged to a generation that had grown accustomed to not having the presence of God since the time when the Ark had been taken from them. They had not even enquired about it during Saul’s reign (1 Chronicles 13:3). Nevertheless, once David had become king, he purposed in his heart to go up and retrieve the Ark and bring it back to the people of God. After a first attempt which resulted in failure due to his lack of understanding on the proper way to carry the Ark, David discovered that in order to have the presence of God one must follow God’s specified instructions, otherwise the effort would be unfruitful. With this I declared that we would be a generation to follow God’s Word and allow His presence to fill our lives and our churches. Since that evening ten years ago, great numbers of young people have partaken of this vision and have experienced the joy and the wonder of the presence of God. That has made all the difference.
It was a short time thereafter that we made plans for a Youth Convention; a general convocation for the youth in our mission. We chose the theme, “Special Forces; Operation Rescue”, and in January 2009 we kicked it off with a parade through the city and up the mountain to the church. That parade of approximately 120 young people is forever etched in our minds and hearts as a truly historic moment. A few months later we invited our youth back for a Leadership Conference and we were then fully immersed in making disciples. There was rapid growth among the youth in our mission churches, and this presented us with a forthcoming problem/opportunity: We would soon need larger facilities to host our national activities. One outhouse would just not do it! We were delighted to seize this opportunity to cast another aspect of the vision that God had given us for the youth, namely, to build a youth camp. I am glad to report that our youth caught this vision as well. They desire to be a generation committed to the Great Commission. In April of 2013 the Lord answered our request and blessed ALMI with a beautiful and immensely spacious property near the city of Matagalpa. We are currently building suitable facilities which will comprise our training center for the Great Commission.
It certainly would be in order to give a detailed report on all that has taken place over the last ten years: 21 national activities; Friday night discipleship services in my garage; radio broadcasts; Bible School trainings; and so on, but I also could sum it up in the following manner: It has been unspeakable joy to witness countless young men and women fall in love with Christ, experience His presence, receive direction for their lives and ministries, and commit themselves to the Great Commission. Indeed, now our disciples are making disciples, and this dynamic is propelling us to the future with great expectancy. Recently there has been a lot of uncertainty regarding Nicaragua’s future due to the civil unrest that the country has experienced. Whatever the future holds for the country, I have full confidence in the Holy Spirit to continue the work that He has begun in our young people. I also believe in our young people; I know them and their commitment to be a generation that cherishes the presence of God.
Upon ascending the throne, King David could easily have chosen to lead his people by maintaining the status quo and a national religious life without the presence of God. But, he was determined to experience the glory of God. In Acts 13:36 the Bible tells us that David left a legacy in that he “served his generation.” We must also have that same determination. We cannot be indifferent to the task before us. We can be the vessels through which the presence of God reaches this generation!