Have you ever eaten a mango? It’s a soft, sweet, juicy fruit that grows in tropical countries such as the Philippines, Jamaica, and the Central American country of Nicaragua.
Not only does the mango tree produce delicious fruit, but its large green leaves also provide shade from the hot summer sun and shelter from the pelting rains during the rainy season.
In Tola, Nicaragua, Arlen and her friends were grateful for the large mango tree where they met each Sabbath to worship together, but they hoped that one day they would have a real Seventh-day Adventist church. Week after week for six years they met under the mango tree, and as the years passed their group became smaller and smaller.
Arlen longed for the people in Tola to learn about the wonderful truth in Jesus that she had found when she became an Adventist, but how could she invite them to a mango tree?
Beginning in December 2011, she began praying that God would give them an Adventist church in Tola. Arlen and her friends gathered together what money they could to buy a piece of land not far from the mango tree. Before long, church leaders at the Nicaragua Adventist Mission in the capital city of Managua heard about the little group in Tola, and they gave $1,000 to help buy the land.
What a happy day it was when the Adventists in Tola were able to buy some land for a church! But then they received the sad news that they couldn’t build a church because the government didn’t want them to cut down the two mango trees that were on the property!
What could they do now? Arlen continued praying and spoke with the owner of the land next to the first lot. He said that someone else was buying it, but they were three months behind in their payments, so he would sell it to the Adventists! This time the Nicaragua Adventist Mission paid for the land, since the little group in Tola had already given everything they had.
Soon a group called Maranatha Volunteers International heard about the people in Tola. They wanted to help. (Each year Maranatha helps build churches and schools in many countries by connecting volunteers with building projects.)
Thousands of miles from Nicaragua, people in the Triadelphia Seventh-day Adventist Church in Clarksville, Maryland, heard about the people in Tola. They also wanted to help. They planned with Maranatha, and in December 2012—just one year after Arlen’s prayer—they were building a church not far from the mango trees.
On January 5, 2013, the brand-new Tola Seventh-day Adventist Church was dedicated, and 31 people were baptized. Smiling through the many tears that were streaming down her face, Arlen told the volunteers, “Thank you so much for coming. Thank you for being the answer to our prayers.”
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