The centuries-old city of Matagalpa is situated along the Continental Divide between the Pacific Ocean and the Caribbean Sea. Known as La Perla del Septentrión or The Pearl of the North, Matagalpa has a long history dating back to the mid-fifteenth century when the Spaniards stumbled across it while trying to find a passage from the Pacific Ocean to the Caribbean Sea. Soon after, Dominican and Mercedarian missionaries arrived along with Spanish settlers to live among the Matagalpa Indians. Today, Matagalpa is the fifth largest city in Nicaragua and known for its production of high quality coffee and a variety of produce. The highway that connects Matagalpa with Managua is one of the most beautiful and scenic drives in Central America.
My friend Jon Davis and I arrived in Managua last night to visit with our friends the Loftsgards. Eric is the president of the Nicaragua Christianity Academy school board. Nicaragua Christian Academy (NCA) was founded in 1991 by three missionary families seeking a strong Christian education for their children. Today, NCA’s classrooms are filled with almost 300 students and has become the first school in Central America to be accredited by the Association of Christian Schools International (ACSI). In 2005, NCA started a daughter school in the nearby community of Nejapa. Jon and I have come to Nicaragua to visit with Eric about NCA’s plans to start another Christian academy on twelve acres of land in Matagalpa. Early this morning we set out from Managua to Matagalpa along the scenic highway that winds its way to increasingly higher altitudes in Nicaragua’s verdant hills. The route certainly lived up to its reputation as one of the most scenic drives in Nicaragua.
When we arrived in Matagalpa, Eric took us to the property where the next academy will be built. At present it is an undeveloped piece of property that cascades down rolling terraces to the river below. As we walked the property, Eric explained how it could possibly be transformed into a campus where local children can receive an excellent education. More than once, Eric asked in impassioned tones, “Can you see it?” Eric is excited and committed to seeing this empty property developed into another campus because he believes deeply in the mission statement of the Nicaragua Christian Academy: To equip children of Christian parents with the spiritual discernment, the moral courage and the academic excellence to impact society through Christian living motivated by a heartfelt love for God.
We are grateful for the opportunity to be in Nicaragua to explore how our missions ministry can come alongside Eric and the NCA team to turn the field of dreams in Matagalpa into a reality. We agree with Eric that God will use many of the students currently enrolled in NCA to impact the future of Nicaragua in a God-honoring way. And we believe that equipping the next generation to love God and love people is a dream worth pursuing.