Granada is a city with many troubled zones where drugs and alcohol define a lifestyle, and people have a hard time finding a way out. Crack houses and drug-dealing corners seem to be everywhere. With the help of local pastors close to theBridge, we make visits to several of these spots, bringing simple refreshments and offering friendship. Initially, we were warned to stay away by the local drug dealers who didn’t want to see their business decline. But, over time, friendships have grown. In one particularly bad spot, called La Jungla (the jungle), we were even asked to start a Bible study two doors down from the crack house. Although participants are not always clear eyed, some are wanting to change their lives. After more than a year of serving that area, several have prayed to accept Christ, and many of the guys have started coming to church and are now bringing other family members including sisters, cousins and girlfriends.
A second outreach has begun in Pantanal, one of the larger barrios on the outskirts of Granada, claimed as home to the majority of Granada’s thieves and more mischievous residents. Two simultaneous weekly Bible studies occur on Thursdays in Pantanal, one in the house of a local resident, ministering primarily to women and children, and one on the streetside, ministering to youth, mainly male, who have gotten caught up in drugs and abuse but are showing signs of desiring something more. Currently, thirty or more children, men, and women are coming from Pantanal to elPuente for each Bible Study and church service.
Like many ministries out of theBridge, much of the hard work is done by brave young interns answering a “call” they couldn’t have imagined before coming to Nicaragua. Seeing well educated young men from the ‘States with everything in front of them, standing next to the most hopeless cast-offs from La Jungla on Sundays will expand your understanding of God’s kingdom and His work among us.