When Billy, Robyn and John Crider returned to Managua, Nicaragua, after five years of being stateside, it didn’t take the family long to realize they would be going back for longer than a few weeks. This is where God was leading them once again, and once again this is where they would follow without question just as they had done in 2008, when they picked up their family and became full-time missionaries.
Managua is the capital city of Nicaragua. It is the largest city in Nicaragua in terms of population and geographic size. The city has a metropolitan population of about 2,408,000, which includes the neighboring cities of Ciudad Sandino and Tipitapa.
The first time the Criders missioned in Nicaragua it was through Hands of Christ ministries, this time around the Criders have formed a group called ARC (Awakened-Restored-Connected). There are many facets to this mission including a feeding program, Bible study class, an English Speaking School and a mission house, which is where teams can come and stay while doing the Lord’s work.
“ARC Ministries is the result of a revival that occurred in the hearts of its missionaries. This revival led to a desire to be obedient in all that we do. We are grateful to God for drawing us ever closer and for giving us an opportunity to join Him in His work of calling His people back to Himself. It is our mission to see people Awakened by Christ, Restored to God and Connected with the Holy Spirit so that they, too, can be obedient to His call in their lives,” said the Criders.
When the Criders first came to Managua, Nicaragua they brought their entire family, which included a son and two daughters. They stayed for two years missioning to the locals, and then came back to Logan County to see family and spread the good news of what God was doing over 3,000 miles away. Their oldest daughter Emily returned soon after to work in an orphanage.
Eventually their son John was drawn back as well and told his parents he wanted to go back. Being a close family, Billy and Robyn told him they would return with him for a short time, as they did not want him going back by himself. It was April and then again in October 2014 that the Criders, along with their son, and daughter Holly, returned to the impoverished country that holds their heart.
“We knew mom and dad would end up staying,” said Holly who came back to the states and lives with her husband Ben in Russellville. “They told us on the October trip they were moving back. It didn’t surprise us at all.”
Moving with the Criders in February of 2014 were fellow missionaries Len and Jackie Saindon, also of Logan County.
“We saw the need was still there when we returned and our calling hadn’t changed from the first time we went,” said Robyn. “We just knew right away God wanted us back here, and we accepted it and followed without question.”
So far so many exciting things have happened. Through the ministry, the generosity of donations, and the partnerships with food programs, hundreds of thousands of meals have been served so far and ARC anticipates feeding close to half a million a year in the near future. The need is so great in Nicaragua and the people are so appreciating to hear about Jesus and all of His promises.
The Criders live in the mission house and arrange and organize for visiting mission teams as part of their work there. They can fit up to 40 or 50 people in the house.
“This time is a little different than the last time we were hear,” said Robyn, whose family stayed in a single home when they missioned in 2005. “The mission house is such a great idea because it allows missionaries a place to rest their heads, and a place to come back to when they are done for the day. They are surrounded by other missionaries and can fellowship and share what they have learned and how they can help. This is much better than staying in a hotel for them.”
As part of ARC, the Criders want to help as many missionaries get to Managua, Nicaragua as they can. Rather it be an already established team, or an individual that just wants to come and help others.
“We will organize your stay here and direct you to where your talents can be used,” said Robyn. “If you are willing, we will help get you here and give you a place to stay.”
God has been good and has provided the ministry with the necessities to continue the many programs, said Robyn, who cannot thank enough those who donate. With a budget of $4,000 a month and only $375 actually pledged, it is amazing how so far the ministry is thriving.
“God has lead us here once again, and once again He has shown us He will take care of us,” said Robyn. “As far as how long we will be here… well we are not sure. It could be 30 days or 30 years. Whatever God wants of us, we will try to do.”
If you are interested in finding out more about ARC, you can follow them on Facebook at ARC Ministries or go to their website at http://www.arcministries.org.
To contact Chris Cooper, email [email protected] or call 270-726-8394.