The Nicaraguan government has imprisoned local pastors while American missionaries face criminal charges following mass evangelistic outreaches in the country.
Missionary Britt Hancock of the ministry Mountain Gateway led massive evangelism campaigns last year in Nicaragua, which he says nearly one million people attended.
However, Hancock, along with his son Jacob and daughter-in-law Cassandra, currently face allegations of money laundering and organized crime.
According to the attorney general of Nicaragua, 11 Mountain Gateway Nicaraguan pastors are also facing the same charges.
"Mountain Gateway would like to publicly state it denies these allegations, and it is saddened by this situation," the organization said. "Mountain Gateway has diligently followed all legal requirements in the U.S. and Nicaragua that apply to non-profit and faith-based organizations."
"These charges are based on erroneous information, and Mountain Gateway will do everything in its power to resolve this through diplomatic channels.”
The allegations against Hancock follow last year’s outreaches in Nicaragua.
"This last year, I've watched Him heal people, set them free and transform their lives," Hancock wrote to CBN News. "I'm sad and very concerned that our pastors, my friends, are in prison right now."
Although Hancock and his family were able to safely leave the country, he is now trying to help the pastors who remain in prison.
"The Nicaraguan government has reviewed and approved all of our budgets, so I just don't understand the complexity of what is happening in a country that we dearly love and have done everything we could to help," he continued.
In the same press release, the Nicaraguan government noted that nine of the pastors are innocent but alleges they were under the control of the three U.S. citizens and two of the imprisoned Nicaraguan pastors.
Despite the government’s admission of their innocence, the pastors have been in jail for nearly two months and have been unable to contact their families.
"I know without a doubt that the Lord asked us to do the Gospel campaigns, so I trust God has purpose for this," Hancock wrote to CBN News. "He is not surprised by our circumstances; we see time and time again in the Bible that where there is persecution, the Church grows."
"He is working, and He is doing something," he added. "Please pray with us for the release of our pastors. Pray for their families, and pray that the people of Nicaragua continue to meet Jesus Christ!"
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Milton Quintanilla is a freelance writer and content creator. He is a contributing writer for Christian Headlines and the host of the For Your Soul Podcast, a podcast devoted to sound doctrine and biblical truth. He holds a Masters of Divinity from Alliance Theological Seminary.