The Bagwell Family: A Testimony, a Promise and Destiny
I had been a member of Evangel Cathedral in Spartanburg, S.C. since 1982. During the decade of the 90’s, our senior pastor, Houston Miles, sensed the Lord’s leading to go into the former Soviet Union and plant churches. When that decade came to an end, over 500 churches had been planted and countless pastors and church leaders had been helped.
All of this had a profound effect on the local church in Spartanburg. The church began to grow in numbers and individuals began to grow deeper spiritually. You see, the great commission is to go into all the world and preach the gospel. When we reach out beyond our communities, it commands the Lord’s blessing. Foreign missions became the lifeblood of our church, the cornerstone of our foundation, our heritage in the Lord, and of course all of this rubbed off onto Chris and I. In 1997, I began seeking the Lord on how I could fulfill my promise to Him. After one year of prayer and deep soul searching it was clear to Chris and I that He was calling us to foreign missions. But where? Thus we began another long process of seeking the Lord about where and how we could serve him as missionaries. To make a long story short, we came to Nicaragua in 1999 at the urging of Pastor Miles. The Lord spoke to us here and we made plans to return and serve full-time in Nicaragua. After 3 years of doubt, great trials and personal growth we moved our family to Nicaragua in May of 2002.
Our first two years in Nicaragua we worked alongside another missionary and missions organization. Then the Lord led us away from them and into a wilderness experience. We sought God for several months, how we should continue on in service. This was a difficult time for us. Little did we know, that the Lord was working in the background, setting the stage for our next phase in ministry. A few months back, we had taken in a little 6 year old girl out of a very high risk situation. Jennifer came into our home under foster care. It was in dealing with Jennifer’s situation that the government organization that is over the health and welfare of children, Mi Familia, asked if we would take in another little abandoned girl, 8 days old. Her mother had given birth to her in a hospital and then left her there. Unbelievably, Lola has come to us, 8 days old, with some of the same symptoms that our son Abram had. Chris and I have a little joke amongst ourselves that goes like this.
Gabriel leans over to God and says “Lord, we’ve just had a baby with digestive problems born in Managua. What do you want to do?” The Lord says to Michael, “Who do we have down there?” Michael says, “The Bagwells are there now.” God says, “Good work, send Lola to them. They'll know what to do.”
It was amazing that God would send us a little girl with some of the same problems that Abram had. But we knew exactly what to do and how to help her. It was through these two little girls that God has built this ministry and given us such great favor with the government. From these humble beginnings God has blessed and blessed and blessed! From here we’ve gone on to:
- Create a re-nutrtion center in 2005 that treats children from all over Nicaragua that suffer from acute starvation and chronic malnutrition. The same conditions our son Abram, had.
- Create an organization in 2006 that reaches out to national pastors and church leaders. With a membership of 300, we help to bring about accountability, fellowship, resourcing, and development within local communities.
- Create an international ministry with over 40 employees.
- Co-partner in a new missions center and ministry campus. A large building project which will be the home for New Life Nicaragua and all it’s ministries as well as a launching pad for team ministry in the future.
- Facilitates long lasting international partnerships between U.S. and Nicaragua churches.
- Facilitates team ministry for a growing number of churches and countless individuals.
Finally, we want to encourage everyone who reads this and desires to go deeper and do more for God. We are not fancy people. We don’t have bible degrees. We are not great speakers or fund raisers. We don’t have any sort of missionary training. We don’t come from long lines of preachers or missionaries. We didn’t even know how to speak the language when we arrived. We just said YES to God and were willing to forsake all. God did the rest! If you are at that place in your walk with Christ, He will use you to do great and unimaginable things as well.