National Association of Evangelicals executive stresses that the trip will be nonpolitical.

Church leaders representing the National Association of Evangelicals (NAE) plan to visit Nicaragua next month to assess how NAE-member denominations are faring in that Central American country, NAE executive director Billy Melvin said the church leaders will meet with pastors in Nicaragua. He said the visitors will travel independently and not as invited guests of any Nicaraguan group.

“We are going to show love and concern for our brothers and sisters in our churches in the country. It is not our purpose to get involved in the politics of the situation,” Melvin said. “It is our intent to simply identify with the evangelicals and express our concern so we can more intelligently pray for them and encourage our churches here to pray for them.”

NAE executives discussed plans for the visit at the organization’s forty-third annual convention in Los Angeles last month. The meeting emphasized evangelism, evangelical cooperation, ministry to families, and, for the first time, included program activities in Spanish for Hispanic evangelical leaders.

Discussing next month’s trip to Nicaragua, Melvin told CHRISTIANITY TODAY that churches in that country are growing rapidly. The ruling Sandinistas claim to support religious freedom. However, serious questions have surfaced about civil rights there and the treatment accorded certain religious groups. Christians have been outspoken on both sides of the issue, and visits to Nicaragua by U.S. church representatives have resulted in widely discrepant views of what is happening.

NAE officials note that some groups making pronouncements about Nicaragua have no constituency ...

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