Members of Lutheran Campus Ministry and Gloria Dei in Iowa City were part of a delegation to Nicaragua, March 15-22, 2014. While in Nicaragua the delegations learned about the history and mission of the Lutheran Church in Nicaragua and explored possibilities for future collaborations and exchange programs. The delegation presented a written greeting to Bishop Victoria Cortez from Bishop Michael Burk of the Southeastern Iowa Synod.
The rest of our trip was spent in the municipality of San Francisco Libre on the north side of Lake Managua where the group stayed in the homes of representatives from The Youth Network Against Violence and members of the Women’s Association in the village of Laurel Galen. Time was spent attending workshops with youth and grade school children in rural communities where Youth Network members led discussions about how to identify various forms of violence (domestic, physical, emotional, psychological, and economic violence) and what can be done to prevent it. In Laurel Galan the delegation witnessed firsthand how local farmers are dealing with the effects of drought and poverty. The group also organized games and activities with children in the community and delivered school supplies that were collected as a service project by 14 year old Caroline, who attends a Lutheran school in West Virginia.
This was the fourth trip that Lutheran Campus Ministry has taken to Nicaragua over spring break. In 2013 a delegation from The Youth Network Against Violence came to the U.S. as guests of Lutheran Campus Ministry at the University of Iowa and Marquette University in Milwaukee. The exchange program is now in its fifth year.
The photo was taken at the Lutheran Church of Faith and Hope (Iglesia Luterana de Fe y Esperanza) in Managua with Bishop Victoria Cortez (center front) and her daughter, Pastor Katia Cortez (center rear). Delegation members included (front row, left to right) Gloria Dei members Jen and Carl Richey, Campus Pastor Rob Dotzel, Caroline and Renea Yates, and (back row, left to right) student Erik Haase, Gloria Dei member Summer Gaasedelen, Gloria Dei member and student Owen Gaasedelen, and Gloria Dei member and student Melissa Hostetler.