The Assemblies of God church in Nicaragua is in the middle of a three-month centennial celebration that will culminate on 21 April 2012 with an official commemoration in Managua.
A two-day caravan of 170 vehicles set out on 28 January from the Pacific port city of Corinto, where the Rev Benuz Shoneckey set foot on Nicaraguan soil in 1912.
The caravan retraced the route Choneckey and his wife, Yegui, used in establishing a mission in the Central American nation, ending up 145 km to the north in the capital of Managua.
Pastor Roberto Rojas Moya, the national secretary of the Assemblies of God in Nicaragua, told a national television audience that the commemoration caravan, which included motorcycles, cars and buses, took only two days on the route that Shoneckey negotiated on horseback and ox-drawn carriages, the Latin America and Caribbean Communication Agency reported.
"We began our work in a small house, without any amenities, and began building with the support of the offerings of the churches themselves, and at the present time we have an infrastructure for different educational institutions that cover preschool, primary, secondary and college levels," said Rojas.
According to the church's website, www.asambleasdediosdenicaragua.org/, the church has grown to 300,000 members, with 900 temples, 700 camps, and 1,500 ministers.
Educational programmes and ministries include Martin Luther University, the Christian School for the Deaf, the Feeding and Development Program, the Vida (Life) radio network, and the Explorers of the King’s Castle bookstore.
Capping off the celebration on the actual anniversary, 21 April, will be a gathering in the Plaza de la Fe in Managua, "which will be attended by government authorities, special guests from the United States, and thousands of church members from all the regions of the country," Rojas said.
[With acknowledgements to ENInews. ENInews, formerly Ecumenical News International, is jointly sponsored by the World Council of Churches, the Lutheran World Federation, the World Communion of Reformed Churches and the Conference of European Churches.]