CEPAD’s Crisis Response Training

Our new communications volunteer, Nicole, shares her experience of attending crisis response trainings with CEPAD staff. 

I was able to attend the crisis response trainings that took place in the regions of Teusteppe and Nueva Guinnea a few weeks ago. It was my first time traveling to other CEPAD offices, visiting rural communities, and speaking with CEPAD beneficiaries, and it was so impactful to participate and observe first-hand how CEPAD is working. 

Each training lasted a day and a half to address how pastors and other leaders in rural communities have assisted those who have been affected by the crisis as well as provide more resources on how to continue helping those in need by understanding cycles of violence and victimization. 

We spent time thinking about an instance in which we were rejected or cast out by others in order to better understand how we need to reach out to those on the outskirts to be the hands and feet of Jesus. One pastor shared a story, that I think reflects a lot of what I felt and experienced. He shared that he got made fun of a lot growing up and didn’t have very many friends, because his family was poor. He didn’t wear shoes to school and his backpack was a plastic bag. He felt embarrassed and forsaken. This pastor recalled a specific moment when older boys were making fun of him, and instead of feeling sad or hurt, he thought, “One day, I will be big, and my kids will never have to go through this.” 

After listening to this pastor share his experience, I came to recognize that here in Nicaragua, there is deep hurt but deep hope. So many people have been affected by the crisis either directly or indirectly, not to mention the people participating in CEPAD’s programs are still just breaking out of the cycles of poverty. 

There are divisions in the church created by differing political views, proving that churches and Christians are far from perfect. There are so many affected by the crisis and so little community leaders to help. People feel stretched in all directions and are often unsure of how to help their neighbors. It is hard, it is difficult, it is deep. 

But each pastor, leader, and child brings their hopes, fears, and desires to the Lord. One starts praying, and they all pray – aloud, eyes closed, hands lifted, offering up the hurt and the hope to the One who can handle it all. There is something so beautiful about this. 

Many shared that they have hope for a more unified church, one in which political views, skin color, gender, and age do not matter. Where they can be filled, encouraged, and grounded to then help their neighbors, care for the poor, and love like Christ. They were grateful for the tools CEPAD provided, and couldn’t wait to return to their communities and share what they learned.

Friends, even amid chaos and confusion, God continues working, listening to us as we ask hard questions, and moving mountains when we cannot see or understand. 

This was only the second training teaching people how to respond to crisis and trauma. CEPAD will return to the areas in which we partner in March for the third training. Please pray with us over our pastors and community leaders who are trying to heal their communities, and for CEPAD staff as we strive to continue walking alongside our Nicaraguan brothers and sisters. 

Thank you, thank you, thank you for partnering with CEPAD. You are making the difference.