Fifty two UCWers, including 24 youth headed to San Juan del Sur during the February school vacation week to work with our local partners on projects to improve the health and well being of the people of Nicaragua. Click here to see a video produced by Katie Brugger that shows the work that we did to restore a health center, paint a school and plant gardens at the Bernardino community.
What follows is some history of our over a decade long partnership with San Juan del Sur as well as information about the upcoming trip.
The City of Newton became a strong supporter of Nicaragua after the controversial US policy backing the Contra Rebels in the 1980’s. By 1988 the small fishing town of San Juan Del Sur became Newton’s Sister City. The Union Church spent many years in the late 1990’s supporting Nicaragua with donations of supplies and prayers of healing but we knew we wanted to do more.
The Union Church, as part of our mission work, completed its first service project in 2002 and we have never looked back. Clean water, school uniforms and supplies, rehabilitation of schools have made up the 8 completed physical projects to date but that is only part of the story. The love, spirit, connections and hope that crossed intergenerationally between ourselves and by and between our brothers and sisters in Nicaragua has been truly amazing. Read on if you want to find out more.
WHY WE TRAVEL
- We are called as partners in God’s service;
- Faith in action helps us live more fully into the example of Jesus;
- We want to deepen and sustain our relationships with each other & our Nicaraguan friends;
- We value seeing another part of the world and gaining a different perspective on the world.
Although each trip’s project will vary in difficulty and intensity, the trip leaders try to plan to allow contribution from both kids and adults. The project will usually have a clean water component as well as an educational component.
BEFORE THE TRIP – WHAT TO EXPECT
- Attend some pre-trip formation meetings to: bond and plan together; engage in spiritual practices; team build; develop trust and openness; and learn to be flexible when the unexpected arises as it often does in Nicaragua.
DURING THE TRIP – WHAT TO EXPECT
- Participate in group gatherings at various times to review, reflect, plan, and grow spiritually.
- Engage in work and fun at the project site and enjoy some free time to rest, explore and take advantage of the rich intercultural experience with the locals.
- Enjoy some optional activities which may include: mobile library, baseball camp, volcano/nature reserve hike, zip lining, past project visits, pool party, ice cream store, scavenger hunt, sunset swims, taco stop, game nights, sailing trip or more.
AFTER THE TRIP – WHAT TO EXPECT
- Participate in a group-chosen activity to reflect on our trip, and share experiences with the church and the wider community. (photography, videos, singing, dancing, writing or reflecting).
- Everyone can contribute in a way they feel comfortable as everyone has a unique talents.
AFTER THE TRIP – WHAT PAST TRAVELERS HAVE SAID
- “I felt connected to the people of Nicaragua, they are warm and friendly.”
- “We value them and they value us.”
- “Everyone had special talents and gifts that had time to shine.”
- “I thought that this trip was amazing, we got so much accomplished and we had a bunch of fun.”
- “It was a great mix of kids and adults, and it felt like no one was left out, I had so much fun.”
- “Fantastic, educational, spiritual, rewarding.”
- “Wonderful! Great combination of people, service, reflection.”
- “It expanded my sense of gratitude for everything that comes into my life.”
- Next trip/February 2020