Church teams cancel trips as protests limit access and security.
Most summers, Corner of Love, a Christian nonprofit in northern Nicaragua, hosts 30 teams of volunteers to help with its school, medical services, and water improvement projects. But this year, no one’s coming.
Ministry leaders cancelled the summer programming last month since recent political unrest—the worst in the Central American country since the 1980s—could endanger visitors. Already an estimated 200 people have been killed this spring as Nicaraguans take to the streets to protest the current administration, led by President Daniel Ortega.
As the protests continue through the summer, Christian groups have begun postponing their mission trips or canceling them altogether, which leaves the communities they hoped to serve in even worse shape amid the national crisis.
“Everything is on the line: our finca (ranch), our clinic, our hospital, our school,” said Corner of Love CEO Tanya Mroczek-Amador, who recently traveled to the DC to lobby for support against the Nicaraguan government.
Summer is typically the busiest time for ministries in the region; a drop in missions trips during this season stands to hurt them for the rest of the year.
“Revenue from missions teams supports the work on the ground, including paying staff and taking care of facilities,” said Shawn Doss, whose organization Hope Missions recently had to cancel its July trip to Nicaragua. “They rely on revenue from teams coming down to help. They’re really struggling.”
In the case of Nicaragua, many short-term missions groups work in regions that aren’t directly affected by the protests and violence. The issue is getting there; most teams fly into major cities like Managua or Granada and then take …