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Will you come to my church to give a presentation?

PAN would be delighted to come to your church and give a presentation to your Missions Committee or congregation. If your church has been considering a missions trip, please contact us and let us share with you the exciting things God is doing in this country.

Why Nicaragua?

This is a question we are often asked. There are a lot of needy countries in the world, so why have we focused on this one? The answer has to do with how PAN got started. In March of 1996, Annette Vickers (now the Executive Director of PAN) traveled to Nicaragua as a member of a team of four people from Kortright Presbyterian Church in Guelph under the auspices of ASSIST, a small mission organization working in Nicaragua. Their goal was to find a project that Kortright could support. After that experience, Annette felt God leading her into mission work and began to volunteer for ASSIST, speaking to pastors of churches from various denominations about the needs in Nicaragua. At this time the head of ASSIST was preparing to retire from the mission field and Annette felt God calling her to mobilize the local Christian community to help Nicaraguan Christians. PAN was founded! Annette soon found herself with a small handful of volunteers. At Christmas time (1997), a group of five people from Kortright Church traveled to Managua to do some construction work at an orphanage. In 1998, a Board of Directors was formed and in 1999, the organization was given Registered Charitable Status by Revenue Canada.

How do we start?

Often churches start out simply, with one or two interested members joining a PAN exposure tour. Traveling with a trained PAN representative, members explore the many opportunities available to their church. It is our goal to connect Canadian churches with Nicaraguan churches, thereby living out “sharing with God’s people who are in need.” Romans 12:13a

What kind of work does PAN do?

Construction teams are the most common type of teams traveling with PAN to Nicaragua, building churches and Sunday school classrooms. The cost of the project is calculated by PAN, travel dates are booked and the fund raising for the project begins. PAN suggests a one year lead time for a construction project.

Another popular option is a ministry trip. These teams work in Bible clubs, schools, orphanages and churches. Team members often work through artistic media, performing dramas, puppet shows, music and crafts. In addition to the excitement of having amateur Canadian entertainers, the team spends time training and working with a Nicaraguan core group willing to reproduce or advance these arts in their own communities.

Economic and skills development teams can bring life transformation in a community. Many people in Nicaragua live in generational poverty. This cycle can be broken with the teaching of new business skills, like hairdressing and sewing. These short basic training trips can bring hope to families that are helpless to change their circumstances.

Traveling store

Nicaragua is a country with many needs. However, there are many wonderful organizations and individuals working in Nicaragua already. Rather than pit ourselves in competition, we at PAN choose to wisely use our resources to support those who are already doing a job well. Through our well-established contacts, we can connect teams with feeding centers, orphanages and senior’s homes.

Why PAN?

PAN Missions provides a short term mission trip custom made for your group interests, talents and abilities. From the very first information presentation to the return to Canada, your team will be well cared for by our experienced and trained representatives. Upon arrival in Nicaragua, the team will be met by a PAN representative and will travel by air-conditioned van to clean and modern accommodations just outside of Managua. Your PAN representative will organize and facilitate all your land needs including the provision of translators and all necessary on ground supports.  Your safety is of primary importance to PAN.

How do I let you know I’m interested?

If you are interested please e-mail paula@panmissions.org

How can I get help to fund my trip?

If you are interested in raising funds for a tour trips you can use the Solicit Letter.

Do I need to speak Spanish?

Nicaragua is a Spanish speaking country and, while interpreters are provided, it is certainly a benefit if you are fluent in Spanish. While it takes considerable time and effort to become fully fluent in a language it is not hard to learn some of the more common phrases or even to gain a rudimentary grasp of the language.

We will provide you with a basic list of words and phrases you might want to learn for your trip. It is so exciting to greet your new friends and speaking their language.

What travel documents do I need?

This information is for general information only. Although we try to keep this information as current as possible we can assume no liability for its accuracy. It is your responsibility to check with the appropriate agencies to ensure that you are in compliance with the latest requirements.

Nicaraguan Visas
Canadian citizens do not require a visa but do require a valid passport. The expiry date on your passport must be at least six months after the date of your planned return date.

If you are not a Canadian citizen we recommend that you check with the Nicaraguan Consulate.

United States Visas
Flights to Nicaragua usually touch down in one or more US cities. If you are not traveling on a Canadian Passport you may require a US Visa. Consult the US Consulate.

It is important that you are eligible to enter the United States. If you have any questions or concerns that admission may be a problem we suggest that you check with the US Consulate.

Canadian Passport
Canadian citizens must have a Canadian passport that is valid for a period of at least six months after the expected date of return. If this is not the case you must apply for a passport well in advance of your expected departure.

What personal information do I need?

Along with your application form several additional forms are required. Your PAN rep will work with the team leader to make sure all of the paper work is completed. Travel documents are the responsibility of the individual.

What shots do I need?

You must consult with a family physician, your local health unit, and a travel medicine clinic at least six months before your planned trip. They will advise you in regard to required and advised immunizations and other health regulations respecting travel to Nicaragua. You should consult with your drug and extended medical care providers both for vaccine costs and out of country coverage.

From the Public Health Agency of Canada Website

There is no single schedule for the administration of immunizing agents to travelers. Each schedule must be personalized according to the individual traveler’s immunization history, the countries to be visited, the type and duration of travel, and the amount of time available before departure.

You should consult a physician or travel medicine clinic at least four to six weeks before travel in order to allow enough time for any immunizations that may be required to be completed. (Hepatitis A and B require 6 months) This is especially true for those planning travel to tropical areas or developing countries.

A health professional will be able to assess your individual need for immunization or preventative medication depending on your health situation, previous immunization history and your travel itinerary.
It is important to remember that the most frequent health problems faced by international travelers are not preventable by vaccines. It is also important to remember that immunization is not a substitute for careful selection and handling of food and water.

A health care provider or travel medicine clinic should be consulted 2 to 3 months in advance of travel in order to allow sufficient time for optimal immunization schedules to be completed.

A listing of travel clinics across Canada can be found at the Public Health Agency of Canada’s Travel Medicine Program at www.travelhealth.gc.ca.

Travel is a good opportunity for the health care provider to review the immunization status of infants, children, adolescents and adults. Un-immunized or incompletely immunized travelers should be offered vaccination as recommended in the Canadian Immunization Guide.

A travel health clinic will have up-to-date information for required immunizations for Nicaragua. A complete list of clinics is available at http://www.phac-aspc.gc.ca/tmp-pmv/travel/clinic-eng.php

Some Required and Suggested Immunizations:

Tetanus, also known as lockjaw, is caused by a toxin produced by the tetanus bacteria. This bacteria, found usually in the soil, infects an open wound or cut and begins to produce toxin. The toxin causes painful muscle contractions usually in the face and neck muscles. If untreated, the contractions can restrict breathing, causing death. In Canada, a tetanus booster shot is recommended every 10 years. All travelers should have up-to-date tetanus shots prior to travel.

Hepatitis A
Hepatitis A is a viral disease affecting the liver. The symptoms include abrupt fever, malaise, loss of appetite, nausea and abdominal discomfort, followed by jaundice (yellowing of skin colour). Hepatitis A varies in severity and duration of the illness. In rare cases it can cause fatal liver damage. Protection against Hepatitis A through immunization with Hepatitis A vaccine is recommended for travelers to developing countries, especially rural areas, or areas where the hygienic quality of food and water supply is likely to be poor, or areas where Hepatitis A is widespread. A travel health clinic or family physician will recommend which immunization is appropriate for individual circumstances. Vaccine administration requires 6 months.

Hepatitis B
Hepatitis B is also a viral disease affecting the liver. Usually more serious than Hepatitis A, its symptoms include gradual development of fever, loss of appetite, abdominal discomfort, nausea and vomiting, joint pain, rash and frequently progresses to jaundice. Its severity also varies, but a greater percentage of cases will involve destruction of the liver cells resulting in liver failure and death. Unlike Hepatitis A, Hepatitis B is transmitted through contact with infected blood and other body fluids

Typhoid fever is caused by a bacterial infection. Its symptoms include a sustained fever, headache, malaise, loss of appetite, slowed heartbeat, enlarged spleen and rose spots developing on the trunk of the body. Typhoid is typically spread through water which has not been adequately treated to remove or kill the bacteria. Typhoid vaccine is recommended for any traveler who will have prolonged exposure to potentially contaminated water and food. Most urban tourist destinations provide water which is adequately treated; however, if you plan to travel in smaller cities and villages in developing countries, or rural areas off the usual tourist routes, you may need to be vaccinated against typhoid before you travel.

If you are traveling to a country or area where malaria occurs, you will need to obtain a sufficient supply of anti-malarial medication to begin taking the drug for a full week before departure, for the entire duration of travel in the malarial area, and for four weeks after leaving the area. Please consult with your doctor or the travel medicine clinic .

The actual medication to be taken will vary depending on the particular strain of malaria present in the country or area to be visited and whether or not resistance to drugs has developed.

Preventing malaria in travelers includes personal protective measures to reduce the risk of mosquito bites, as well as the appropriate use of anti-malarial medications. Travelers to areas where there is a risk of malaria should consult a physician or travel medicine clinic in order to obtain individualized advice regarding malaria prevention during travel.

Influenza vaccination is also recommended.

It is important that you consult with your doctor or the travel medicine clinic.

How do I sign up?

If you are interested please give the completed Interest Form to Annette Vickers, either via e-mail or in person.

I am not 18 what do I need?

If you are not 18 you will need your parent(s) permission. Please prepare the Minor Letter.

We suggest:
* that this letter be prepared on your organization’s letterhead
* that this form be notarized
* that this form be carried by the trip leader when traveling

Personal Checklist for Nicaragua Trip

There are so many things to remember and even one missed item could prevent you going on the trip. We advise you to print out the Trip Checklist and follow it carefully.

What do I pack?

There are so many things to remember and even one missed item could inconvenience you on the trip. We advise you to print out the Packing List and read it carefully.

How do I keep in touch with home?

The ability to contact family members and loved ones while away is very important. PAN is equipped with wi-fi, so if you have a small device or laptop you can connect with wi-fi for a small fee/donation. In the case of an emergency there is a phone available for your use in the main office.
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