Students spend spring break aiding Nicaraguan orphans

March 23, 2012

By Darla Martin Tucker

RIVERSIDE, Calif. – ( When La Sierra University graduate student Cindy Ruiz heard about the spring break mission trip to a remote Nicaraguan orphanage, she considered going at first, then became uncertain.

But fellow students repeatedly and randomly asked whether she was joining the missions group, and ultimately Ruiz believed it was an invitation from God. She next needed to come up with $1,395 to pay travel expenses and other fees, an amount she didn’t have. With the advice and support of Calkins Hall Assistant Dean Jodi Cahill, Ruiz wrote a letter to family and friends, mailed it to about 50 people, and published it on a web site designated for collecting missions donations. In the end, she raised $100 more than the cost of the trip.

“I decided to do this to reinforce my faith in God,” said Ruiz, a human resources graduate student. “God has really blessed me. I never in my life expected that.”

Ruiz is among a group of La Sierra students who opted to spend their spring break this week helping orphans in La Trinidad, Nicaragua near a Seventh-day Adventist hospital. Their tasks will include building a retaining wall to keep hillside soil and debris from sliding toward the orphanage during heavy rains. They will also lead the orphanage children in special programs in the afternoons. Some students will file blog posts from Nicaragua this week. Follow their experiences here on La Sierra’s Short Term Outreach Missions blog site and catch up on posts from previous trips:

Ruiz said she will also write about her experiences on her donation web site so donors can follow her activities. She is mainly concerned about making a personal connection with the orphanage children. She wants to forge friendships with them so she can keep in touch after she returns home. “I believe love moves the world and that God put us on this earth to share His love with others. If I can’t connect with the kids I will have missed out on sharing love and receiving love from them,” Ruiz said.

Biochemistry major and Nicaraguan missions participant Richard Patchett traveled to Malaysia on outreach projects while attending Upper Columbia Academy. But this week’s trip is his first with La Sierra and to Nicaragua. “My friend Sheldon and I were [looking] for something fun to do over spring break,” he said. The duo learned about the Nicaraguan trip to the orphanage. It is a country and a type of mission expedition the students had not experienced and they decided to join the endeavor. “It is an experience where we could help out and make a difference. I’m sure it will teach me some things. I’m sure it will be an eye-opening experience,” Patchett said prior to leaving with the group.

Patchett, who studied Spanish in Spain last year, said he will enjoy being able to practice his new language skills in Nicaragua.

La Sierra University’s Short Term Outreach Missions seeks donations for the Nicaragua expedition and other trips. Click this link to make a contribution:


PR Contact: Larry Becker

Executive Director of University Relations

La Sierra University

Riverside, California

951.785.2460 (voice)

  • Last update on  March 27, 2012