Nicaragua CropAriel is a friendly 35-year-old Bible League-trained church planter in Nicaragua. He had a troublesome life before knowing Jesus. “I used to live with my parents, and I was not a happy or a loving child. I was a sad child. I was very bitter with my parents because they never spoke to me with love,” he laments.

He worked hard to make a living, from shining shoes to washing cars. He worked as a firefighter of Managua and did not care for his life. He started smoking and drinking at a young age. He began selling drugs and was arrested and imprisoned. However, God intervened, and he was released within six months.

He says, “My encounter with Jesus was unique. I broke down and fell on my knees. I told the Lord, ‘Change my heart and my mind. If You do exist, change everything.’ I used to beat my wife. That day, I heard a voice telling me very vividly, ‘Go hug your wife.’”

Ariel’s life started to change. He asked his wife to forgive him for all the wrongs he had done. God honored his efforts to reconcile with those he had wronged. He says, “I’m convinced, and I believe with all of my heart, that Jesus is my Lord, Savior, and Redeemer.

“I have become a good father and a good husband. I learned to kiss my children and to speak lovingly to my wife,” he notes. His pastor, Marcos, introduced him to Bible League’s Project Philip Bible studies. “I started with the Gospel of John. The first lesson was like an arrow in my heart. It reconfirmed the fact that I needed Jesus and that I had to change to welcome Him, look for Him through prayer, and study His Word.”

Ariel quit his job and started working as a bus driver for a school. The pastor encouraged him to take part in Bible League’s Church Planter Training program. “At first, I didn’t want to do it, but God spoke to my heart, and I confirmed it through my wife,” he admits.

“My studies helped me organize my time and resources better and form Bible study groups. I did not miss any of the classes. The Bible League is a ministry that is like no other. In addition to training us, they give us the materials we need to do our homework. I have found friends, brothers with whom I can share what I do. I don’t feel alone. I have other brothers and sisters who pray with me in Nicaragua and outside of it. God has been so good that I do everything I can out of gratitude to my Lord,” he says.