ABWE has recently begun working in this region, helping to strengthen the national church, and assisting with leadership training and church planting. Even though the Gospel has been preached in this area for over 100 years, the need for evangelism and church planting is seen in the limited number of non-charismatic evangelicals as listed in Operation World.
In 1999 the Paul Collier family, who previously served for 20 years in Paraguay, moved to Costa Rica. Following pre-field ministries, LaMar and Joanna Sally will join the Colliers. Steve and Terri Robinson and Luke and MaryBeth Puckett anticipate a church-strengthening ministry in Cuba. Canadians Tim and Jane Bahula envision working in theological training in Trinidad and Tobago, where Hindu and Muslim majorities make this country unique in the region.
Ministries in other countries will be initiated once personnel are committed to serve in this region where Spanish and English are the predominate languages.
Larry Smith is ABWE’s Regional Coordinator. Larry and his wife, Bev, are actively involved in ministry in Nicaragua and Cuba, overseeing the work from their home in Florida, but traveling frequently to the area.
In 1998 ABWE assisted an association of Baptist churches in Nicaragua after Hurricane Mitch devastated the region. The Smiths were able to administrate $85,000 given by churches in North America for this relief effort. Several seminars for pastors have been held in Nicaragua, and Larry has also taught in a seminary in Cuba for the past five years.
Theologically trained people who desire to assist in church planting through evangelism and training national leaders in youth ministries and theological education will find ample opportunities for ministry in Central America and the Caribbean.