When Christopher Columbus came to the Americas, his entire crew was made up of criminals from the jails of Spain who were forced by the government under the threat of death to join Columbus in his adventure. Columbus’s goals were to discover India (or what he thought was India) thereby making the world a smaller, more reachable place, and to deliver the Good News to these new people. When the Spaniard men arrived, after months at sea, the only thing on their mind was women. After meeting and sharing the Gospel with these new “Indians”, Columbus and his men had their way with the “Indian” women, forcing them to be baptized first so that they would be having relations with “Christian” women.
The result of these unions was an entirely new race of people, a combination of Spanish and “Indian” called Mestizos (mess-TEE-sohs). The families of these women who were raped and empregnated rejected the girl, blaming her for the rape. The Spaniard wanted nothing to do with her after he’d gotten his way. The woman saw the baby as a sign of all this rejection and so typically wanted nothing to do with the child, the Mestizo. This cultivated a culture of rejection, the woman being rejected by her family and the Spaniard, the child being rejected by his father and possibly his mother. The only reason a Mestizo child could survive would be if the mother had compassion and worked to keep him alive. All the while the child is wanting to be like his fair-skinned European father.
Fast forward through the centuries and we are still facing the results of this culture of rejection. Here, men have no responsibility in the home. It is the woman, the mother, who is the head of the household. According to the men, they can have as many women as they want, it’s culturally normal, but they will only have one mother. Fathers carry no significance, no respect, no responsibility. The mothers make all of the decisions and are eventually taken care of by their older, grown sons.
Now transfer this knowledge of the Latino culture and their view of fathers and imagine trying to explain to these children about a Heavenly Father. It doesn’t translate spiritually for them. You can take the Lord’s name in vain or Jesus Christ’s name in vain, but if you say anything bad about the Virgin Mary, the Holy Mother, you will get in serious trouble.
That is why our trip is making such an impact. The Nicaraguans are seeing white fathers (in their eyes rich and successful) encouraging and supporting their sons. They are seeing a completely different culture and are making a huge impact.