Five hundred Nazarenes from the USA/Canada Region were in Costa Rica and Guatemala between June 30 and July 14 as participants in Encuentro, which had both evangelistic and social goals.

Encuentro is a missionary movement led by the USA/Canada Nazarene Youth International (NYI) every two years. This was the first year they held the event in Central America thanks to an invitation from Mesoamerica Regional NYI Coordinator Dr. Milton Gay.

Along with 95 local volunteers and translators, the participants worked in 40 different projects, including: medical clinics, personal evangelism, child evangelism, discipleship, painting, cleaning, construction, soccer camps (Nazagol), visits to schools, hospitals and nursing homes, among others.

During this time, more than 3,000 children were won for Jesus, and some 5,000 adults heard the message of salvation along with 2,000 youth in schools.

In Guatemala, a group of 16 people, including medical doctors, dentists and nurses, held 8 medical and dental clinics that benefited approximately 700 people. In Costa Rica, 3 doctors attended 130 people. They offered medicine and the Word of God.

They held 4 massive services with a combined attendance of about 1500 people. General Superintendents Dr. Gustavo Crocker and Dr. Jerry Porter, along with Dr. Leonel de Leon, preached the Word of God.

Mesoamerica NYI would like to thank the Encuentro leaders, among them General Director Rev. Shawn Evans, James Smith, Robert and Terry Evans, Greg Wells, Ron Jackson, International Work and Witness and Partnership Coordinator David Cooper and Jody Cooper, for investing and sharing in the region. Dr. Gay said, “(This was) one of the mission trips that has most impacted both countries, showing the results of transformation, fellowship and, above all, salvation and hope for those who, through this event, recognized Jesus as their personal savior.”

NYI also thanks Dr. Carlos Saenz and Dr. Leonel de Leon, Field Strategy Coordinators, for their help. To the district superintendents and pastors, thank you for your willingness to serve. Also, thanks to the NYI and Global Mission Coordinators for their logistic work and to all the volunteer missionaries and the leadership team of the region who dedicated their time, efforts, finances and gifts to serve others.

Gains from Encuentro:

  • NYI and Global Mission synergy
  • More than 3,000 children served and who heard the message of Christ.
  • More than 900 people served medically
  • More than 200 people made decisions for Christ.
  • More than 5,000 people heard about the love of God
  • 8 nations united to serve and impact Guatemala. 42 participants from Project Timothy. 6 from Nicaragua, 1 from Honduras, 13 from El Salvador, 15 from Guatemala and 7 from Mexico.
  • In Costa Rica there were more than 40 volunteers and translators.
  • More than 16 youth confirmed their missions call.
  • 14 pastors housed and learned to receive volunteer missionaries
  • 21 churches from the Guatemala Central District were bless with the service of the youth from Encuentro and Project Timothy.

Source: Rev. Milton Gay, Mesoamerica Regional NYI Coordinator