Nicaragua Heeds Evangelicals (Not Catholics) on Missionary Restrictions

One month ago, Nicaragua declared that Protestant and Catholic missionaries weren’t allowed to enter the Central American nation unless they were first vetted by officials

“The restrictions were announced August 12 as an attempt to catch money laundering and other criminal operations that, according to Nicaraguan officials, are sometimes hidden under the guise of religious organizations.”

 

One month ago, Nicaragua declared that Protestant and Catholic missionaries weren’t allowed to enter the Central American nation unless they were first vetted by officials.

Overall, Catholics supported the goal to better regulate missionaries, but evangelicals—who are increasingly close to matching Catholicism’s share of the population—protested. Now the regulations have been removed.

“We want to thank God because now the churches will only have to meet a short administrative rule, so that all ministers and missionaries will be able to come to our country as many times as they want,” Assemblies of God president Rafael Arista told Evangelical Focus. “We also thank the government for being understanding, listening to us, and let[ting] us work as we have done in the past.”

The restrictions were announced August 12 as an attempt to catch money laundering and other criminal operations that, according to Nicaraguan officials, are sometimes hidden under the guise of religious organizations.

The new rules prevented about 300 Mexican and Central American missionaries from attending an evangelical gathering, and turned away two Catholic missionaries who were planning to teach a theology course for the Diocese of Jinotega.

About a dozen evangelical leaders met with the government in the weeks after the announcement, according to Evangelical Focus. In addition, protestors gathered several weeks ago, holding signs reading “Beautiful are the feet of those who preach peace” and “We bless Nicaragua in the name of Jesus.”

The evangelical leaders “estimate that this law affects an average of more than 200 different religious missionaries who serve in projects in the country every month,” Evangelical Focus reported.

“We are not against the government,” evangelical leader Jorge Bermudez told CBN. “The main point that we ask is that the Word be able to be lifted up, because these measures result in a limitation for the preaching of the Word to the people.”

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