Nicaragua is located in Central America and is bordered by Costa Rica, the Pacific Ocean, the Caribbean Sea, and Honduras. The country’s population is over 5.8 million and its capital is Managua. Being the largest republic in Central America, its size is just a bit smaller than New York state. The official language is Spanish.
Nicaragua was settled as a Spanish colony from Panama in the early 16th century. Independence from Spain was declared in 1821 and the country became an independent republic in 1838. The largest religion of the country is Christianity, but under 30% of the population claim to be evangelicals. However, this is quite astounding growth considering in 1960 2.2% of the population was evangelical.
In 2006, the ministry team in Costa Rica took its first survey trip into Nicaragua with the goal of one day sending Costa Ricans there to begin a new ministry. Since 2006 several teams of Costa Ricans have taken additional survey and ministry trips to Nicaragua focusing primarily on the western side of the country between the capital, Managua, and Nicaragua’s next largest city, León, an hour and a half to the north. Through these trips, many contacts and friends were developed with whom GMI is now working.
Before moving to Nicaragua in February 2014, GMI Associate Missionaries, Emiliano and Raquel Seravalli, had been leading the effort from Costa Rica to lay the foundation to begin a ministry in Nicaragua. They were working with GMI missionaries, Jeff and Sally Roth, who moved to Nicaragua in January 2014, and Brett and Debby Chapman who arrived in February 2015. However, the Chapmans and Roths have since returned to the States. In January 2020 Lily Ortega joined the team of missionaries serving in Nicaragua. Matt and April Sykes, who have been serving in Puerto Rico, will be relocating to Nicaragua soon.
Some fun facts about Nicaragua include Lake Nicaragua is one of the only places in the world that has fresh water sharks, and the eastern coast of Nicaragua (the Caribbean side) has a lot of African and Jamaican influence.