José Sebastián Latino, director of the Baptist School in Nicaragua, standing
by the many sports and other trophies the school won
Baptists are among the strongest Protestants throughout Nicaragua and are making a significant impact. The various ministries of the
Nicaragua Baptist Convention
are spreading the Gospel and meeting urgent needs.
One of the more notable institutions is the Baptist Hospital in the capital, Managua. Founded in 1930, the 130-bed facility was the first private hospital in Nicaragua and is one of six such private institutions in the country. The hospital serves about 400,000 in and outpatients each year and performs roughly 800 surgeries each month. It employs more than 600 persons, more than 60 percent being doctors and nurses.
In addition to general medicine, the Baptist Hospital operates the second largest dialysis clinic in Nicaragua. Started just three years ago, there are 50 dialysis units with plans to add 50 more by the end of 2018. It meets an urgent need. Though the causes have not yet been scientifically determined, residents of western Nicaragua, the sugar belt, suffer high incidences of kidney disease.
The hospital invests up to US$250,000 annually on social programs. Baptist pastors and their families and residents at the Baptist nursing home receive free medical care. Baptist church members receive medical services at a discount.
A total of US$3 million is being invested in expansion. Under the leadership of medical doctor Juan Carlos Solís, the hospital has improved its infrastructure. In addition to the new and expanding dialysis clinic and an intensive care unit, there were investments in new technological equipment for MRI, laparoscopic surgery and X-ray, among others.
The radio station, which began operation in August 1991, is at the forefront of Baptist mission and evangelism in Nicaragua, concerned not only in proclaiming the Gospel, but in promoting Christian and wholesome values and reaching the vulnerable.
With financing already secured, plans are to acquire a new transmitter in 2018, as well as a mobile studio. The transmitter is expected to broaden coverage across the country while reducing electricity, maintenance and other operational costs. The savings realized will go toward servicing the loan.
The Baptist school, which celebrated its centennial in 2017, is the oldest Baptist institution in Nicaragua. With 1,500 enrolled students, it runs from preschool right up to high school level. It has 130 full time staff, about 90 being teachers. The children of staff and Baptist pastors either attend for free or receive scholarships.
Nearly 100 percent of graduating students go on to university, testifying to the quality of the school's program and the high regard in which it is held. Some former students who are in the construction sector, such as architects and engineers, have made contributions to the expansion of the school.
Established 76 years ago, The Baptist seminary has just fewer than 100 enrolled students. It operates six extension centers in other parts of the country that include more than 160 students. While the student body is primarily Baptist, there are Moravian, Assembly of God and even a few Catholic students, as well.
One purpose of the extension centers is to make training more accessible and less costly and to reduce the dropout rate, which has been significant. Students at the seminary earn a bachelor's degree awarded by the Baptist University, which approved the curriculum, while the seminary awards its own diploma for a three-year program.