How we got started
a brief history and overview
We believe it was God who planted the idea in our hearts back in 1988. That was the first year a group of 17 men and women, encouraged and guided by pastor Jim Sorum from Northview Church in Indiana, went to Nicaragua to rebuild a church destroyed during a 10-year civil war in Nicaragua. The project was completed the following year. After that, we were certain God was calling us to long-term, in-depth involvement in Nicaragua, which at the time was the poorest country in the western hemisphere (having been devastated by natural disasters, dictatorship, and civil war). Ever since those initial mission trips, God has been faithful to unfold His plan for NRN – one step at a time.
We began building a bridge of relationships and resources between Nicaragua and the United States. A separate, not-for-profit entity known as the Nicaragua Resource Network (NRN), was established in 1996 to serve as a channel for volunteer teams and resources to aid impoverished children and families in Nicaragua. It became clear, very early on, that education would be one of NRN’s priorities. The decision was made to partner with several Nicaraguan pastors who had the heart to provide education for children in their communities. And this would lead us to the idea of sponsorship – one-to-one relationships between sponsors in the U.S. and children in Nicaragua – which continues to be one of the backbones of the NRN ministry.
Given the scope of possibilities and the tremendous number of needs and opportunities in Nicaragua, it became imperative to make some choices and focus our efforts there. After much prayer and consideration, NRN committed to partner with several pastors and their ministries, serving the children and families in their respective communities. For many years construction and building were our main activities that included schools, churches, and homes for homeless families. Recently, our energy and resources have been more focused on building programs, services, and relationships.
This has included:
- The unique Agape program for students with special needs, now in two different locations
- A medical program that serves all the students in the 4 NRN-supported schools as well as the students with special needs in the Agape program
- Establishing church-to-church partnerships between churches here in the U.S. and churches that NRN supports in Nicaragua
- Providing seminars for pastors, women, men, parents, and teachers
Initiating and sustaining a college scholarship ministry, which provides the pathway and the funding for graduates of the NRN-supported schools to obtain a college degree in Nicaragua.
From the beginning, there were some critical decisions made as NRN developed – first, it was decided that NRN would be an all-voluntary organization and that 100% of all donations would go directly to meet needs in Nicaragua. No paid staff, no office space here in the U.S. Just a deeply committed core group of volunteers to carry out the vision of NRN.
We are committed to serving according to Biblical principles in this cross-cultural community of Nicaraguans and North Americans. Many teams from across the U.S. visit Nicaragua, each forming long-term relationships through which ministry takes place. These teams provide encouragement, support, and resources, as they walk alongside the Nicaraguan partners and leadership.
The Board of NRN oversees all the commitments, activities, and expenditures of this organization. Several churches are represented on the NRN board. Everyone serving on the Board has been called by God to be part of the work and ministry in Nicaragua. NRN is a completely voluntary, non-profit organization; there are no U.S. paid staff positions and 100% of all funds contributed to NRN go directly to the work in Nicaragua.
US Ministry Partners
What started as a missions outreach program from a single church in Indiana has now spread to a network of more than 19 churches in six different states. Just like the early church, NRN has grown as passionate participants have moved from place-to-place or simply shared their experiences with others.
We have enjoyed working with each church partner as they define their unique ministry effort in Nicaragua according to their gifts, resources and calling. While the churches within our interdenominational community establish their own areas of ministry focus, each church shares a commitment to the mission and values of NRN.
It is a special joy to see collaboration between various church partners as they seek to increase the impact of their ministry efforts in areas like medical, special needs education and church planting.
Dayspring Community Church, Auburn, IN
Hope Covenant Church, Indianapolis, IN
LaGrange First United Methodist Church, LaGrange, IN
Maryland Community Church, Terre Haute, IN
Radiant Christian Life, Westfield, IN
Soma Church, Indianapolis, IN
Sonrise Church, Fort Wayne, IN
Northbrook Church, Carleton, MI
Heritage Church, Baxter, MN
Austin Christian Fellowship, Austin, TX
Vessel Church, Round Rock, TX
Assembly of God, Cando, ND
Calvary United Methodist Church, Fargo, ND
Crosspoint, Watford City, ND
First United Methodist Church, Jamestown, ND
Grace Church, Beach, ND
Salem Evangelical Free Church, Fargo, ND
Triumph Lutheran Brethren, Fargo, ND
Lead Assemblies of God, Lead, SD