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Story 1 Brenda Onsang

Story 2 Juan Barrera

Story 3  Angela Robleto

Story 4  Elba Dina Ochoa

Story 5 Marcos Padilla

Story 6 Esteban Sánchez




 
 
 
 
 



 






 Sexual Health Education in the Church Community - Juan Barrera & Acción Médica Cristiana    By Alex Devoid
 

Juan Barrera is the father to three children and in lives in the community of Arenaloso in the department of Rosita in the North Atlantic Autonomous Region (RAAN) of Nicaragua.  He is a pastor of the Maranacha denomination that was founded in the RAAN by Nicaraguans and has now expanded across all of Nicaragua.  
 
The RAAN is among the country’s most impoverished regions and has one of the highest rates of HIV/AIDS in Nicaragua. Through their health and community development program Acción Médica Cristiana trains religious and community leaders in important health themes. Juan says, “We have benefited from learning about sexual and reproductive health.  AMC teaches us so that we will participate in teaching the community.”  Many people in the RAAN have never learned about this topic. Juan says, “AMC taught us about HIV/AIDS. AMC taught me so that I will teach the community to protect themselves and that… they can become sick and transmit these diseases to others…which can be devastating to the community”
 
AMC uses methods that create a culture of people sharing knowledge.  Lester Melendez of the AMC Rosita Field Team, teaches community leaders like Juan how to avoid sexual and reproductive illnesses.  Lester says, “We teach the importance of safe sex by using abstinence or protection.” Juan then reproduces this knowledge with his community on how to take preventative measures against sexually transmitted diseases, in particular, HIV/AIDS."  Juan says. 
 
Sexual and reproductive health can be culturally taboo in churches in the RAAN.  Lestor says, “There are some churches that don't like to talk about sexual relationships, pregnancies, or sexually transmittable diseases.  We’ve seen that, until now, pastors have not been willing to talk about these topics.”  Pastor Juan comments, “There are many who said that these topics are vulgar; it was prohibited.  But now we are teaching with wisdom.  It’s good to reflect.”  He continues, “We have seen that these [health] topics are very important; and what AMC teaches.  The congregation agrees. ”  Referring to 1 Corinthians 6:19-20 he says, “We tell our communities that the Bible says to take care of our bodies, to take care of our temples.”  
 
Juan tells of his success in teaching about sexual and reproductive health, “My community tells me that they are going to teach and apply this information.  And I see it.”  AMC teaches that knowledge is the best way to help prevent sexual and reproductive illness.  They partner with community leaders, and community members to multiply this life saving information. 
 
 
 

Alex Devoid was assigned to AMC as a Mission Intern of the United Methodist Church from August 2011 to January 2013. He spent several months in the RAAN interviewing and documenting stories to demonstrate the human impact of AMC's work. Link to more stories in left menu   Read Alex's missionary biography and his blog.