(THERE WILL BE A PLANNING MEETING AFTER WORSHIP ON 11.06. Primarily for parents of youth interested in going, this meeting will also be a time for other adults who want to participate to learn more.)
The Youth have been saying that they’d like to go some place on a mission trip almost since Michael arrived. Since he’s spent a lot of time in Nicaragua, it seemed like a logical destination. Last year we began to plan a trip, but got too “church busy” with other activities and didn’t pull it off.
We have contacted the protestant church organization in Nicaragua (CEPAD) that would organize such a visit for us. They have an available opening for a visit in the last week of June.
The plan is that this is first and foremost a trip for young people who want to spend some time outside of the United States in service. It will be open first to the youth of our own church, and second, to their peers
1) who our youth recommend to us, and
2) who can make a commitment to being significantly involved with pre-trip planning and activities so that we get to know them sufficiently before traveling.
That said, one of the wonderful aspects of church life for our young people are the “almost peer” relationships with adults who are neither their parents nor their teachers. For this reason, our mission trip will also be open to adults, but on three conditions:
1) more youth will make up the trip than adults;
2) we’re leaning against having parents of the youth involved as part of the group; and
3) the adults recognize that they are joining a Youth Mission Trip.
We’re needed to figure out how much interest there might be in such a trip, so if you might want to go, please let Michael know as soon as possible.
Want more information? Below is the material that CEPAD provides as their FAQ sheet:
What is CEPAD?
CEPAD stands for Consejo de Iglesias Evangélicas Pro-Alianza Denominacional. It is the Nicaraguan Council of Protestant Churches. There are 28 member denominations, and Pastoral Committees throughout Nicaragua.
CEPAD grew out of the rubble of the devastating earthquake of 1972, and has been working in emergency relief, rural development, and peacebuilding for more than 35 years. CEPAD receives support from many church groups around the world, including the support of three Mission Co-workers from the PCUSA. (Pastor’s note: a seminary classmate of mine did the first decades of her ministry as a PCUSA missionary with CEPAD in Nicaragua.)
CEPAD also hosts groups of North Americans and Europeans, providing an educational and relationship-building experience, while also allowing time for US people to be of service. We do this because we believe that the long-term building of Nicaragua, and most of the world, depends on building relationships that change lives.
What does CEPAD Nehemiah provide for a group like ours?
- All meals and lodging, both at our guest facility in Managua and in Nicaraguan homes in rural communities and small towns all over the country.
- All ground transport, including airport pick-up and delivery.
- All translation (Spanish students are always welcome to help, and to practice their Spanish in conversations.)
- All programming, including presentations, activities, work opportunities, etc. You are welcome to provide Bible studies or theological reflections, or we can do that for you. We build the program based on the group’s interests and program goals.
What do we need to provide?
- A group of 7 or more people (students, faculty, leaders, church groups, yourself, etc.)
- Whatever group building and organizational work is needed before your trip to Nicaragua.
- Your own flight arrangements to Nicaragua.
What does a typical group do in Nicaragua?
A typical program includes 3 days in Managua where there are presentations on the history of Nicaragua, the current political-economic situations, introductions to Managua and its culture. Followed by a 5 to 7 day visit to the country where participants have an opportunity to see the development work of CEPAD and other organizations (depending on the specific interests of the delegation), a visit to a rural community where participants live and share meals with campesino families, an opportunity to work side-by-side with community members; a “tour day” to visit some of Nicaragua’s sites of natural beauty or historic interest, and to shop for souvenirs.
A group with special interests can visit orphanages, street children projects, micro-credit projects, or other groups which are working on a specific issue. Other groups study the effects of the global economy, or do work projects.
Will the group participants be safe?
Nicaragua is generally a very safe country, with the lowest crime rates and least police corruption of any country in Central America. CEPAD has been hosting US delegations since the 1980’s and has never had anyone injured by any hostile act or serious accident (even during the war years). Recent delegations have included junior high and high school groups, as well as college and adult (and senior citizen) groups.
Where will we stay?
In Managua, CEPAD operates the CEPAD Nehemiah Guest House and Conference Center, with a sleeping capacity for 55 people, and a kitchen capable of feeding over 200. (We also have an excellent cook.) Each room holds 4-6 people with bathrooms down the hall..
In rural communities, delegates frequently stay in homes with families, using a bed or a sleeping pad. There will probably be outdoor latrines, and “dip-and-pour” showers. Another option is to stay together as a group in the communities, usually sleeping in a school, church, or community building.
How much does it cost?
The current cost for a CEPAD delegation depends on the size of the group:
Groups over 13 — $75 per person per night
Groups of 10 – 12 — $80 per person per night
Groups of 7 – 9 — $85 per person per night
PLEASE NOTE – For groups smaller than 7 people, we will have to figure a cost based on what the group wants to do and where they want to go. For groups going to the Rio San Juan or the Atlantic Coast cost will be higher also.
The amount covers all program planning, advance trips to the communities, food, lodging, ground transportation, translation, etc. Your only other costs (besides airfare) will be: $5 for a Nicaraguan Entrance Visa and your own snacks and souvenirs.
What kind of work will we be doing?
Groups who want to work while they are here do a variety of things. There is always agricultural work, frequent construction of homes or other buildings, tree-planting projects, water projects, and construction of coffee-processing facilities. The type of work will depend on what is going on in the community that you visit and the time of year.
Our group is more interested in learning than working, do we have to work?
Absolutely not! Many groups return to the same communities each year to see friends. Others come on thematic delegation around a specific theme such as CEPAD’s model for community development, the impacts of foreign policies and international economics on Nicaragua, food security, children’s issues, women’s issues, and other topics.
How far in advance do I need to begin planning?
We obviously would like as much time to plan as possible, since some months of the year tend to fill up very quickly. It is best to schedule a year in advance, but we can receive a group with much less advance notice.