Romans 12:13 – “Contribute to the needs of God’s people, and welcome strangers into your home.”
Gustavo Parajón (1935-2011) could have been a successful medical doctor in the United States. Instead, accompanied by his young bride, he chose to return to Nicaragua to serve the people of his home country.
During his lifetime, he was many things to many people. He was a medical doctor who launched a campaign to rid his country of many common diseases. Following the massive 1972 earthquake that crumbled Managua, Nicaragua, Gustavo gathered church leaders and together they developed a program that would have a deep and lasting impact on the poor of their country. After the earthquake, First Baptist Church of Managua found itself without a pastor; Gustavo filled the vacancy. During Nicaragua’s civil unrest (1978-1989) he visited insurgents and Government leaders alike to promote peace; always traveling without bodyguards. During the armed conflict in Nicaragua, the Parajón family welcomed refugees into their home from either side of their nation’s conflict.
His legacy is that of a medical doctor, an American Baptist missionary, a pastor, a peace maker and community organizer. President Jimmy Carter once nominated Gustavo Parajón for the Nobel Peace Prize and he was awarded the Francisco Morazán Medallion by the Central American Parliament.
Gustavo rarely spoke of his accomplishments and when he did he downplayed them. Once, while being interviewed on television in London, the interviewer turned towards the live audience and said, “It’s difficult to interview the most humble man in the world.”
It is appropriate that a book has been written about his life and his service to God. ‘Healing the World: Gustavo Parajón, Public Health and Peacemaking Pioneer’, co-authored by Daniel Buttry and Dámaris Albuquerque, was released on January 24th of this year.