We, at the Vineyard Community Linda Vista (or the “Linda Vina” as some call us), are so excited to announce a new church plant.
Over 2 years ago the Lord gave Don B. Tucker a vision that he was given 20 acres to build a church and other components of ministry on the site. He knew at this time that he would be planting a church. Don B. Tucker and his wife Maria De Valle began their time here in Nicaragua helping with feeding programs and other ministries, until they began their own feeding program in Los Martinez called Pan de Vida (bread of life). They have been working in Los Martinez for a year and a half, with their daughter Marbelly. Marbelly is a 23 year old Nicaraguan mother who lives with the Tucker family. They have “adopted” her and her son as one of their own. There is no denying that this girl is their child and her son is their grandson. Don, Maria, and Marbelly work tirelessly to bring the word of God, food, and vocational training to the children in Los Martinez (post dump families). Their hopes are to also be able to provide some type of basic educational teaching to the children who are not able to attend school because they have to watch their brothers and sisters while their family works, or are forced to work themselves.
Through Pan de Vida the Tucker family noticed a growing desire for the families of the children attending to be in a church. The problem is, there aren’t any churches in Los Martinez that allow you to “come as you are”. How could the Tuckers sit back and watch entire families live without church community because there was nowhere around them that accepted them for who they were? The children began to enroll in baptism classes in the building, which is a church, they use to feed, but the Tuckers saw the need for a Vineyard in this area.
Pan de Vida has been gracious enough to allow us at the Vineyard Community Linda Vista, to come alongside them as they continue working in Los Martinez. Our intern, Maddi, has been going to Pan de Vida to help serve for almost a year now. Others in the church have also gone to show their support for what the Lord is doing through the Tuckers in this area. So, when Don came to us one day and let us know about his desire to plant a church in this area, it was no shock…in fact…it was exactly what Preston and I had been thinking needed to happen. Not because we wanted the Tuckers out of the church, we love them greatly and a little part of me selfishly wants them to stay, but because we recognize the call on their life. We recognize the need in the community for people to be able to come as they are and hear the word of God. We recognize the love, grace, and compassion that fill their words, their thoughts and know that the driving force behind this plant is the Lord. So, of course, our response was, “We 100% support this and will do everything we can to help”. Who are we to stand in the way of the call of God?
When the Vineyard began Carol Wimber said, “Lets see what God can do with a Church that gives Him free reign..” So this is us, giving Him free reign. It was John Wimber himself who said, “The safest possible way to continue to grow in ministry is to give it away. You can’t keep what you aren’t willing to give away.” Our desire as church planters in Nicaragua isn’t to grow a mega church, that wouldn’t be relevant to Nicaragua. Ask any missions team who has ever come down, this city isn’t set up for big groups of people. In fact, most people stay around their own neighborhood. It is relevant to have a bunch of small churches in Nicaragua, because people are more likely to walk to church here. Vineyard Pan de Vida will be less than 2 miles from the Vineyard Community Linda Vista, and will be an extension of us. They will reach a completely different set of people. Isn’t this what we want?
A guy came in the church one day and asked Preston, “On this street there are 3 different churches, why do we need so many churches in one place?” Preston’s response was simple, “The kingdom of heaven is like a farm and we are like the workers. It’s not our business to run the farm, we just to work our row of corn. So I figure, each church is working his own row, and the bigger the farm the more rows and the more workers needed. So I guess this means we are going to need a lot more churches.” Preston went on to preach this sermon in the baptist church that we have a relationship with and in our church. We believe that the Lord put us here to work this row…and less than 2 miles away there is another row of corn that needs to be worked. We are focusing on our row of corn, but have the ability to send others to work their row with love and much prayer.
We aren’t the only ones who recognized this call on the Tuckers, in fact Don was ordained by the founding pastor of Calvary Chapel Managua. Don found his home in Vineyard though, of which he has known since the 80’s. Sometimes I think of our desire when we moved here. We came to plant churches and hand them over to Nicaraguan people. Then I think, have we done that? Are we going to do that? Sometimes my flesh tells me that I’m just a foreigner in this land so what right do I have to do anything here? Then, the Lord speaks, as He did yesterday when the Holy Spirit moved through Preston to deliver a message about foreigners. The truth is, we are all foreigners on this earth, a place that was created for a different people. A place that was created for a perfect people who knew no sin. So in that aspect, aren’t we all foreigners here? Then I search the bible and I see Abraham, Joseph, Ruth, Paul and Jesus…all foreigners, with a call to be blessings to the people they surrounded themselves with. When you are called to do something great, even if the world doesn’t see it as great, it is great in the eyes of the one who sent you.
It get’s lonely here from time to time. It is so easy to fall into depression knowing that the people you have come to reach are not of the culture you come from. We know that we will never be seen as Nicaraguan because we aren’t. On the flip side, being North American, there can also be a feeling of why wasn’t I called to be with my own culture? Around people I understand, without language barriers, around family, around people I grew up with. Sometimes the Lord needs to remove us from comfort for us to fully rely on Him. I don’t pretend to understand why I’m here, I just know it’s where I’m supposed to be. Just as I don’t pretend to understand why Don and Maria are called to plant a church, but I do see the need. We do hear from the Holy Spirit and we firmly believe it is the call on their lives to plant this church.
“As they ministered to the Lord and fasted, the Holy Spirit said, ‘Now separate to Me Barnabas and Saul for the work to which I have called them.” Then, having fasted and prayed, and laid hands on them, they sent them away.'” Acts 13:2-3 (NKJV)
On June 15, 2014 the Vineyard Community Linda Vista prayed for and blessed the planting of the Vineyard Pan de Vida. They will begin services June 29, 2014 at 10am in Los Martinez.