While ministry builds support to confront Nicaragua's government, 'zero' contact with arrested pastors

While ministry builds support to confront Nicaragua's government, 'zero' contact with arrested pastors

While ministry builds support to confront Nicaragua's government, 'zero' contact with arrested pastors

Support for their cause is growing but nothing has changed for 11 pastors and ministry leaders who remain jailed in Nicaragua.

The group was working with missionary Britt Hancock of Texas-based Mountain Gateway when the 11 were indicted earlier this year by the Nicaraguan government on charges of money laundering and organized crime.

Hancock is the founder and director of Mountain Gateway, which seeks to disciple national leaders and train pastors in unchurched countries. He was joined in Nicaragua by his won Jacob Hancock and daughter-in-law Cassandra Hancock.

A Mountain Gateway statement in January said, “These charges are based on erroneous information, and Mountain Gateway will do everything in its power to resolve this through diplomatic channels.”

The three of them risk arrest should they return to Nicaragua so, instead of returning, Britt Hancock is building Washington contacts in an effort to help free the Nicaraguan pastors.

“Our coalition is building,” Hancock said on Washington Watch Wednesday. “Congress continues to take action. We have two resolutions, one in the House and one in the Senate, that condemn Nicaragua and their actions in our case.”

Hancock hopes pressure from the U.S. and other countries will eventually cause the Nicaraguan government to relent and release the prisoners.

The Organization of American States, a group that promotes human rights, electoral oversight, social and economic gains among lesser developed countries in the Americas, has gotten involved.

The United Nations could be getting on board soon, Hancock told show host Tony Perkins.

“Things are happening. These things help us pressure the government of Nicaragua,” Hancock said.

Hancock, Britt (evangelist) Hancock

The pastors face between 12 and 15 years in prison and combined fines in excess of $80 million.

There has been “zero communication” with the pastors, Hancock said.

“They’ve still not been allowed to see any of their family members. It’s like they’re sealed away. We (in the U.S.) still have separation of powers and due process of law is not dead. I’m sitting here because we’re dealing with a country that’s down the road in communism and Marxist ideology, no due process of law, no separation of powers,” he said.

Mountain Gateway is not the only religious organization struggling with Nicaraguan President Daniel Ortega and his wife, Vice President Rosario Murillo. Last week, three priests were expelled from the country, the Catholic News Agency reported. The Red Cross has been kicked out, too.

Hancock told show host Tony Perkins the government's interest in the finances of Mountain Gateway came after the group's overwhelming success with mass evangelism – a revival that first came with the government's blessing.

"We got permission to do 20 mass evangelism crusades throughout the country. We had 6,000 churches working together. Every space that we got for a campaign, God filled it up with extremely desperate people. We had 200,000 people the second night. There was just a massive response. We had hundreds of thousands of people respond," he said.

Soon the focus for Hancock and his team shifted from reaching the lost to defending themselves.

Nicaragua ‘notice’ slows work in Mexico

Through Interpol, the international criminal police organization, the Ortega government put out notices with various countries of its status for Mountain Gateway.

Some countries have shown sympathy, including Mexico, the region’s largest.

“We know of six countries besides Nicaragua that have said they’ll arrest us if we go there. The most problematic for us is Mexico because we have a big ministry footprint there. We have two children’s home. We’ve rescued over 2,000 children from human trafficking in the last 20 years. We’re in probably 100 villages doing great commission work and drug rehab work,” Hancock said.

“But the tip of our spear right now is our people that are in prison. Then we’ll deal with some of these other things,” he said.