Winding gentle back and forth for more than two hundred miles, the Rio Coco River serves as the Northern border between Nicaragua and Honduras. The area along the Rio Coco is known as the ” Frontier” due to it’s extreme remoteness and way of life. Second only to the Amazon, the Rio Coco River region is the second largest rain forest in the hemisphere with an annual average rainfall of nine to ten feet. This is home to the Miskito Indians, where dugout canoes and push polls are still the primary means of transportation.
In January of 2003, the Lord opened the door for Messiah Project to begin an evangelical outreach to the Miskito Indians. Located on the outskirts of the small town of Waspam, land was purchased along the banks of the river and the construction of a ministry headquarters building began. Using axes and machetes the jungle was cleared and with buckets and shovels the water, sand and gravel needed for the building’s block were gathered. The lumber needed was cut from the surrounding forest and the remaining construction materials were shipped in from Managua, some 200 miles to the South.
The ministry facility at Waspam serves as the hub for all ministry outreach in the region and is equipped with dorms for the short term missions teams that come to join us in the work.
With very few roads, the river remains the primary means for transportation in the region. Many of the villages can only be reached by boat. The river can rise and fall as much as twenty five feet through the course of the year which can make travel hazardous at times but an experienced boat driver knows how to stay in the safety of the channel. Whether we are sharing the gospel of Jesus or carrying a physical blessing, such as food or medicine, the dug out canoes have proven to be the most reliable and durable boats on the river. Known as a “batu”, these canoes are hand hued from a single tree and come in a variety of sizes and cargo capacities.
Additional photos from the Rio Coco can be seen in our photo gallery