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SPC Alum Serves in Nicaragua

By Brett Wilson | July 18, 2014

Eric Ferguson '98 (School of Psychology & Counseling).
Photo courtesy of Alex Perry.

With interests ranging from massage therapy and chiropractic medicine to biblical studies, theology and counseling, Eric Ferguson '98 (School of Psychology & Counseling) received a thorough, though patchwork-quilted education through various degrees and universities.

But what stitches all of his passions together is his simple love for helping people. This desire is the spark that drives forward his international missions organization in Managua, Nicaragua.

"It's just a part of who I am," said Ferguson. "We all have different gifts and abilities, and I believe God has given me the gift to serve."

Ferguson used his gift of service in several pastoral ministries across the U.S. until January 2002, after a 21-day fast he and his wife, Shanna, took together. A few months later, Ferguson's vision for a para-church organization—an institution stemming from within a planted church body—became a reality thanks to the beckoning of his father-in-law, who invited him to make his home church the organization's base.

"He said, 'you can help me out with the church and you can do what's in your heart,'" said Ferguson. "So, we gave up everything we owned, and we knew that if God really called us to be missionaries, He'd provide."

Ferguson and his family moved to Nicaragua in June 2002, and began weaving together the details of making his dream of Metanoia Missions International a reality. Metanoia, Ferguson explained, is the Greek word for "repentance" or a "transformation" similar to a caterpillar spinning its body into a cocoon.

"It basically means to have such an inward change that there is an outward one," said Ferguson. "Part of our vision is to see lives transformed. And so my mission, my life purpose, is to help people experience a better life."

Ferguson ensures this through the many self-sustaining outlets of the organization. Its bakery, tilapia farm and coffee company, Joybean, do more than just raise money for its orphanage. The enterprises also provide jobs and teach trades to the people Metanonia serves, with a special focus on its children's program.

Just as the very name of the ministry evokes the transformation of lives, Ferguson's leadership also molds and shifts into the circumstances of the people he serves. No matter what, Ferguson is ready to "fill in the gaps," even going so far as to step off the preaching platform to pick up trash.

"That's what Christ was all about: serving, knowing the need of the time and then ministering to that particular need," said Ferguson. "When we start to lose that aspect of our relationship with Christ in our ministry, we're in a dangerous place because we're losing that humility."

The nation of Nicaragua remains close to Ferguson's heart as he explains that each place and each position he fills "leaves a deposit" in his life. This also encompasses his educational experience at Regent.

"My time at Regent left a desire for excellence," said Ferguson. "I believe that was something that was already instilled in me but it challenged me even more."

While he was pursuing his graduate degree, Ferguson developed relationships with diverse classmates and his professors. He said that this allowed him to develop his focus on what truly matters: "to know God and to make Him known."

"I think it's the relationships and the interactions with the students and teachers that makes education as valuable as it is," said Ferguson. "I can study, study, study, but it's not the same as being challenged to put into practice what you're studying."

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