After a trip to Chinandega, Nicaragua, in 1997, youth leader John Bland returned to his community at Prince of Peace Catholic Church in Buford, GA with videos of the poverty he had witnessed and a vision to put together a service project for the spring of 1999. Moved to action, youth group members Sarah Bollinger and Jessica Keifer led a series of fundraisers and earned enough money to build a small cafeteria in one of the local communities.
However, before the trip could take place, Hurricane Mitch struck Nicaragua in October of 1998, causing mudslides on Las Casitas volcano that destroyed surrounding farming villages, killing 3,000 people and displacing hundreds of families. In the wake of this horrible tragedy, the Prince of Peace group arrived in Nicaragua in April of 1999 and spent a week working on a housing project to alleviate the suffering of families affected by the hurricane.
During their trip, the grim reality and enormous need deeply affected the group and they were determined to continue their efforts. So, Amigos for Christ was formed as an independent 501c(3) charity in June of 1999 with John Bland as Executive Director, the late Jack Schiveree as Board President, and a guiding mission to serve the Lord by serving His poor.
Since then, Amigos has grown into an interdenominational service ministry that has provided several million dollars in aid to the poor and is committed to creating opportunities for families to flourish. And, after 15 years of experience, we have focused our efforts on what we do best: strengthening families in rural communities through projects in the areas of Water and Sanitation, Health Care, Education, and Economic Development.
In addition, we are bolstered by thousands of people who travel to Nicaragua on mission trips every year to support these projects as well as countless generous donors and volunteers. Together, we are able live out our faith by making Christ more visible to one another and to our brothers and sisters across Nicaragua.
The first Amigos for Christ mission trip in 1999