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Just how dangerous is Central America?

Christian Chronicle readers weigh in on the risks and rewards of mission work.

Immigrants who illegally cross the border into the U.S. often do so because life in their home nations has become too dangerous.

Among those nations are countries where many Churches of Christ in the U.S. send teams — including teenagers — to serve.

“There are definitely some dangers faced by the residents of these countries that are not faced by visitors.”

The Christian Chronicle asked church members with experience in Central America to help us understand the difference between the dangers of mission work and daily life.

“There are definitely some dangers faced by the residents of these countries that are not faced by visitors,” said Andrea Granados, who has extended family in El Salvador and has visited there eight times. She also has served on a one-week medical mission trip to Honduras.

“One problem that affects the people seeking asylum (in the U.S.) and does not affect us is when gangs take over a neighborhood and start issuing death threats against the residents if they don’t pay them ‘rent,’” she said. “That happened to my sister-in-law and her family. … My brothers-in-law and nephews had to quit attending school because it was a considerable distance and along the way were gangs that would try to force them to join.”


Related: Editorial: In a dangerous world, trust God


Mission teams, by comparison, often are tightly supervised and kept away from parts of Latin American cities known to be dangerous.

“We recognize God’s hand of protection over us and are very grateful.”

“We have been hosting short term mission groups since 2010 without any incidents regarding safety and security,” said Donna Waldron, cofounder and senior vice president for Mission UpReach, a Honduras-based ministry associated with Churches of Christ. “We recognize God’s hand of protection over us and are very grateful.

“However, as responsible stewards we do all we can to ensure the safety of our visitors.”

Join the conversation. Tell us your experiences — good or bad — doing mission work or serving in Central America. Post comments below.

Filed under: Central America danger and missions El Salvador Honduras International mission team mission teams

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