Evangelicals face uncertainty during transition from Somoza to Sandinista.

With the civil war ended, Nicaraguan evangelicals face the uncertain peace with mixed feelings—thanksgiving for their protection and a preoccupation with wondering which way the new government, still struggling to organize itself, will head.

As in several recent disasters in Central America, casualties among believers were relatively low. Following the seven-week war that toppled dictator Anastacio Somoza, estimates of the death toll ranged from 20,000 to 40,000. Many of the bodies were buried or burned on the spot, but only a handful of evangelical Christians were known to be among them.

Stories of miraculous escapes abound. Efrain Flores, a professor at CAM International’s (formerly Central American Mission) Nicaragua Bible Institute in Managua, was typical. He and his family were pinned in their home for 12 straight days as Sandinista guerrillas and National Guardsmen fought for control of their neighborhood. “The houses across the street, on both sides, and behind us were hit by rockets and mortar shells,” said Flores, “but we didn’t even have one bullet hole in our home.” When government troops ordered everyone to evacuate the area as the end of the offensive in Managua neared, Flores and his family got out without a scratch, although shells exploded around them as they left the house.

Damage to church buildings and believers’ homes also was relatively light. CAM’s El Alba Bookstore was looted, but the Baptist and Nazarene bookstores were untouched. Churches continued Sunday morning services during much of the fighting, but most evening meetings ceased and had not resumed.

The new government has promised religious freedom, and a number of pastors ...

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