A commonwealth of the United States, Puerto Rico offers its wealthy residents and its tourists many of the same creature comforts we have available in America as well as exotic beaches and a relaxed Caribbean culture. Yet almost half of the population lives below the poverty line, and unemployment remains high. Many families have been torn apart by emigration — almost half of the island’s people have moved to the United States. Those who remain need hope. Share the promise of a life in Christ to the people of Puerto Rico. Engage with local youth as you teach sports skills and play pickup games in parks. Build relationships and trade stories with them. Learn what life in Puerto Rico is like beyond the resort walls, and share the promises of Jesus with forgotten children, youth, and adults.
The Dominican Republic shares the island of Hispaniola in the Caribbean with Haiti. Dominican culture is lively, vibrant, and warm, however, the people struggle with hypersexualization, alcoholism, and witchcraft. After the earthquake in Haiti, the DR quickly became a refuge for thousands who were displaced. Chances for ministry here are varied and exciting – anything from children’s camps to church planting to construction. Come join the long-term Adventures in Missions presence and be a light to the Dominican people.
Named after the Spanish word for equator, this country is packed full of natural beauty. From the Amazon river to glaciers atop Andes volcanoes, this country is sure to enthrall you, and it's people too. As diverse as it's landscapes, the indigenous and Incan influences give this country a unique culture. Although the country is about 95% Catholic, there are still indigenous shamanistic practices that are integrated in their faith. With more than half of the population sitting at or below the poverty line, Ecuador is a country waiting for God's Kingdom to come.
The cradle of Inca civilization (think: Macchu Picchu) and one of the "Andean states", Peru is full of epic wonder; yet she is barely acquainted with her Creator. Though many natives still practice traditional religions, God is up to something in this country. The Peruvian church thirsts for truth and authentic spiritual breakthrough. Its political past has been riddled with guerilla violence and corrupt leadership, from which the indigenous poor and urban affluent are recovering. Whether you rough it in the jungle or live in the city; you won't forget Peru.
Bolivia is one of the most beautiful places in the world. It's also one of the most indigenous countries in South America; the current president is the first indigenous people group member in office. And with all of that variety comes a lot of opportunity. Bolivia is in need of orphan ministry, evangelistic outreach, church plants, and more. You might find yourself working in the heart of the rainforest or on the streets of a city market. Regardless, be prepared for a fantastic experience.
Much of Panama's revenue comes from the eponymous canal, expected to be wider by 2015. The double-edge of the canal is the spike in drug-trafficking. Panama also houses the largest rainforest outside the Amazon but suffers from crime in its urban slums. In these relatively well-off Central American countries, you'll find creative ways to bring more life and light to the people.
Costa Rica is a hot spot for surfing and just enjoying "pura vida" - literally, "pure life", it's a concept of a "chill," relaxed, laidback way of life. The beautiful beaches that line both coasts are the perfect setting. Among the Central American countries, Costa Rica ("Rich Coast") lives up to its name. While the natural beauty attracts lots of tourists, there are still large pockets of poverty and family brokenness. Because of its relative affluence, Costa Rica also draws in immigrants from neighboring countries, like Nicaragua, who don't fare much better than they did before. You might help feed their physical and spiritual hunger - and discover other creative ways to give new meaning to the concept of "pura vida."
This location is always a World Race favorite. It's a country full of wonderfully warm and caring people, and participants always leave having had a powerful experience. However, hopelessness, addictions, destitution, and poverty still plague the many lives of Nicaragua. There are orphans who have grown up without knowing the love of a parent and families who get by each day by scrounging scraps from the city dump where they have made their homes. In Nicaragua, you'll have the opportunity to bring God's love through slum ministry, door-to-door outreach, outreach to children, and more.
A country rich in history and natural resources – fertile soil from the volcanoes help yield excellent coffee – Guatemala is the perfect place to initiate your World Race experience. Outside of its aesthetic appeal, Guatemala needs God’s touch. Gripped by poverty and bound to a spirit of religion, the people of Guatemala hunger for the kingdom of God to pervade their lives. You'll have the opportunity to usher in the kingdom to this land and reach out to the people on the fringes of society through hard work, relationships, and maybe even a miracle or two.
El Salvador is the third largest economy in the region after Costa Rica and Panama and the smallest country (in land mass) in the Americas. A coup d'etat in 1979 led to civil war from 1980-1992 in this country. Oscar Romero, a Catholic bishop well-known known for supporting liberation theology, advocating for social justice in El Salvador, and protesting the government's persecution of the church was assassinated in 1980 while conducting mass. Much of the country's revenue comes from remittances. In a land whose name translates to "The Savior", you'll be the signs that point to the one true Savior - not a better political system or economy - Jesus Christ.
"Hondo" comes from the Spanish word for depth and there's lots of depth to Honduras. It's home to the Aztec and Mayan civilizations, whose ruins are still stand. Honduras is mostly mountainous and the weather's as tropical as it gets. What really runs deep in Honduras are its needs. Honduras is the third poorest in the region, after Haiti and Nicaragua. Like her neighbors, Honduras has had her of share political/military troubles, e.g., the six-month constitutional crisis in 2009. There's a need to reach out to the youth, not just to keep them out of trouble (e.g., gangs) but for them to know their worth and that they're loved.