By Wendy Alvarez (La Prensa)
HAVANA TIMES – The evangelical churches are living through some of the most painful moments of their history in Nicaragua. At least 44 pastors and evangelists died between April 12 and June 15. That those deaths were related to the Covid-19 virus is clear from data of the Nicaraguan Evangelical Alliance.
Mauricio Fonseca, president of the Nicaraguan Evangelical Alliance, told La Prensa: “We have a preliminary list, and we can’t be sure they died of Covid-19 [since there is little testing or information when there is], but we know that they all died during this time of the pandemic.”
“Some pastors and their families are recovering from the virus at home; this is the case in Matagalpa and Managua,” said Fonseca. He said that most of the 16,200 places of worship in Nicaragua are closed.
“But we have quadrupled the size of our congregations by outreach from home,” he explained.
In recent weeks most of the churches in the country are having services online, and because of the rapid spread of Coronavirus, no exact date has been set for reopening their facilities.
Fonseca made it clear that because it is only a representative body, the Alliance cannot force churches to close if they want to remain open. “Instead of insisting, we make suggestions, based on the scientific orientations given by the World Health Organization, the Pan American Health Organization and the Ministry of Health.
“It’s the denominations themselves that in some cases give their congregations orientation about the pandemic. It depends on the how each church is set up. And just how well their advice is acted on will depend on the pastor.”
Fonseca also mentioned that their churches are receiving a lot of suggestions from alternative medical specialists. “The type of tea you should drink, how to inhale three times a day the steam coming from boiling eucalyptus and cypress leaves, also the leaves of the guava sweetened with honey three times a day, and lion’s tooth with chamomile three times a day.
And lastly, gargle three times a day with water and salt, whether you have the virus or not.”
The names of the pastors who have died since April and the date of their death were sent to the Evangelical Alliance of Latin America, in Argentina. This organization represents 22 countries, which have formed a praying platform which is active 24-7, to pray for strength for the families and for getting material aid to affected families.
“We ask the eternal Jesus of Nazareth to completely eliminate the virus from all the countries that have fraternal ties with us, and which have been affected by this virus. We give thanks to God for the complete recovery of several families of pastors.”
On the list of deaths of pastors, now in the hands of La Prensa, Managua has the greatest number: 25. Then Matagalpa with 3. Then Masaya, Boaco, and Chinandega, with 2. León, 3. And at least one each in Puerto Cabezas, Siuna, Estelí, Jinotega, Carazo and San Pedro del Norte.