Four members of the Westminster Church of the Brethren are traveling to Managua, Nicaragua, today for a 10-day visit with members of their sister church, First Church of the Mision Cristiana (Christian Mission Church).
The Rev. Christy Waltersdorff, Howard Miller, Jan Flora and Krista Carter will live with host families from the church to learn how the Nicaraguans live and worship.
Last year the Mision Cristiana's pastor and a lay leader visited the Westminster church, and now "we're reciprocating," Ms. Waltersdorff said.
"They're taking care of our itinerary," the pastor said. "We will be working on the church -- they're putting on an addition, then we'll be visiting an artist community and the countryside to see how they live."
A member of the denomination who speaks fluent Spanish will accompany the group to act as interpreter.
"I've never been to Nicaragua and don't speak Spanish," Ms. Waltersdorff said. "But we found last year that there are some things that transcend language."
For Ms. Flora and her 17-year-old daughter, Krista, the trip is a chance to see first-hand how the church's sister Nicaraguan congregation lives and worships.
"We'll being living with members of the sister church, trying to understand their way of life, their approach to Christianity and how they view us and our government," Ms. Flora said. "I'll basically be an information gatherer."
Another important aspect of the trip will be to work with the Mision Cristiana as fellow Christians and friends, not as "a patronizing thing -- the wealthy helping the poor, but as friends," she stressed.
"They are very committed Christians," Ms. Flora said.
Mother and daughter were hosts to the Nicaraguans who visited Westminster last year. Now Krista wants to meet the people in their own land and culture so she can learn more about them.
"It's an opportunity to learn their culture by doing it," Krista said.