June 25 - July 1, 2006, a group from David's United Church of Christ, Canal Winchester, Ohio, traveled to Nicaragua on a People-to-People Pilgrimage. According to Group Leader, Reverend David Long-Higgins, the travelers had approached their trip with the idea that we were going to serve along side the people and work most of the week constructing buildings. What they discovered was that the people of Mision Cristiana really wanted to develop a relationship with them. "We spent far more time visiting, than actually working. But along the way, we discovered that this was the reason for our trip - to be a presence with brothers and sisters, not just ‘hired hands.' So while our initial expectations were not met, what God intended to happen, did happen."
The group felt blessed to see the beauty of the land of Nicaragua. They considered even more important, however, the change to meet and get to know the people of Nicaragua. Having a change to work together, worship together, and eat together were all important things. Working at overcoming language barriers along the way was also considered a good experience and a good motivator to learn Spanish. It was great to see the Canal Winchester youth and the Mision Cristiana youth working together.
A personal highlight of the trip for Reverend Long-Higgins was getting a change to play guitar with the pastor in La Paz Carazo: "Rainy weather rendered our work site unworkable on the second day we were there. Some of our group played soccer with the Nicaraguan youth. Others played with the children in the area. I had the change to learn some Nicaraguan songs and play guitar with the pastor (who also played guitar). I discovered again that in music, God can do amazing things."
"Our lives were changed by our trip to Nicaragua. The world now is just a little bit smaller and just a little bit friendlier than it was before going. Importantly, we learned how God is at work in the whole human family. Our perspective on faith and life was broadened and deepened. We grew in love."