President's Updates

Nicaragua Update 2 (2020-02-17)

Sorry for the delay in getting back to you! I’m home from Managua now, but I still want to share how God answered your prayers.

“It takes a village” has become a popular quote in the past few years. The complete quote is actually an old African proverb that says, “It takes a village to raise a child.” What a great reminder of a universal principle that applies to far more than parenting.

It’s easy to picture our conference like this when you are praying. I certainly needed your prayers and God certainly did answer. I’m so thankful to be recovering from my hip replacement and to be able to stand without pain. But this one picture only tells a small part of the story.

The truth is, “It also takes a village to train a pastor!”

Let me introduce you to some of the people who made our pastors conference in Nicaragua not only possible, but enjoyable and fruitful.


Meet Brenda Rose. Twenty years ago she moved to Nicaragua to serve as a missionary with Ministry Ventures. Brenda has built an amazing network of pastors over the past two decades. Our partners, Charley and Mary Anne Babcock, along with Harborside Church in Safety Harbor, FL, fully fund this amazing conference.

And without Brenda it wouldn’t exist.


Javier and Azucena are one of the first couples that Brenda got to know when she settled in Matagalpa. They are respected and trusted by pastors from multiple denominations throughout Nicaragua — something that rarely happens there. What a joy to watch pastors and spouses of all ages follow Javier and Azucenas’ servant leadership!



Alejandro is our Regional Director for Central America, and he lives in Honduras with his wife, Luisa, their son, and their two daughters. Alejandro has made a long-term commitment to the pastors of Nicaragua. He and his team make the exhausting 8-hour drive to and from every conference in Nicaragua. His dynamic teaching brings the leaders to life and he is the perennial favorite of all the speakers they hear.


During my first visit to this conference years ago, there was a mixup and the interpreter didn’t show up. Since my Spanish fluency is limited to the menu at Taco Bell, we were in big trouble. Rocio had made the trip from Honduras as part of Alejandro’s team. He knew Rocio spoke good English but she informed us she had never translated more than informal home Bible studies. She reluctantly agreed to try her best. Oh my! We were all stunned with the result! She not only translated my words accurately, she captured the heart behind my words and interpreted my thoughts into another language and culture. She even mirrored my gestures, tone, humor, and facial expressions every bit as well as any professional interpreter I’ve worked with. Ever since then, Rocio has been our first choice rather than our last resort, and partnering with her is pure joy.


So here’s our entire village enjoy our “victory dinner” the last night we were all together. The laughter and stories flowed freely as we celebrated what we had witnessed God accomplish in so many lives.

But even that picture only tells part of the story. You don’t see the designer or the editor that helped me create our Chiseled workbook or visuals. And there’s no mirror for you to see yourself and the many other partners who faithfully prayed and sacrificially gave to birth Chiseled and the other courses in the Biblical Character Series.*

From all 250 pastors and spouses in Nicaragua, “Thank you for being a part of `the village’ that made this week of training possible.” In tomorrow’s update I’ll share some of what God did in our midst.

*Chiseled is our 6-week small group course based on the life of Simon Peter and the work God did in his life to lovingly sculpt and shape him into the man, the leader, God wanted him to be. You can go here to find out more about Chiseled.

Phil Tuttle is president of Walk Thru the Bible.

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