Five hundred Nazarenes from the USA/Canada Region traveled to Costa Rica and Guatemala between 30 June and 14 July as participants in Encuentro Missions 2018.
Encuentro is a missionary movement led by USA/Canada Nazarene Youth International every two years. This was the first year the event was held in Central America thanks to an invitation from Mesoamerica Regional NYI Coordinator Milton Gay.
Along with 95 local volunteers and translators from at least eight countries, Encuentro participants worked on 40 different projects, including medical clinics, evangelism, discipleship, painting, cleaning, construction, soccer camps (Nazagol), and visits to schools, hospitals and nursing homes, among others.
They ministered to more than 3,000 children, 2,000 youth, and 5,000 adults throughout the event. More than 200 people made decisions for Christ and 16 youth confirmed their calls to missions.
In Guatemala, a group of 16 participants, including medical doctors, dentists, and nurses held eight medical and dental clinics that benefited approximately 700 people. In Costa Rica, 130 people were seen by three doctors.
Four services were held with a combined attendance of nearly 1,500 people. Speakers included General Superintendent Gustavo Crocker, General Superintendent Emeritus Jerry Porter, and North Central Field Strategy Coordinator Leonel de Leon.
“[This was] one of the mission trips that has most impacted both countries, showing the results of transformation, fellowship, and above all, salvation and hope for those who, through this event, recognized Jesus as their personal savior,” Gay said.
Mesoamerica NYI extends thanks to the Encuentro leaders, among them General Director Shawn Evans, James Smith, Robert and Terry Evans, Greg Wells, Ron Jackson, and International Work & Witness and Partnerships Coordinator David and Jody Cooper, for investing and sharing in the region.
They also thank Regional Director Carlos Saenz and de Leon for their help, as well as the district superintendents and pastors for their willingness to serve, NYI and Global Missions coordinators for their logistic work, and all the volunteer missionaries and leadership teams who dedicated their time, efforts, finances, and gifts to serve others.
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