Nicaragua is the largest country in Central America, and prides itself on having large lakes, volcanic peaks, and lush rainforests.
Most of the Nicaraguan people are of mixed decent (called mestizos), resulting from European immigration beginning in the 1500s when bloodline began crossing between the Europeans and the Native Americans. The minority groups include Africans, Native Americans, and Europeans.
About 40 percent of the population is under the age of 15, largely due to a birth rate that greatly exceeds the death rate.
The majority of the Nicaraguan population identify themselves as Roman Catholic. While the Catholic Church has been present in Nicaragua since 1502, there was no Lutheran representation until 1998. Today there is a growing Lutheran church planting movement in the country started by the Lutheran Church - Canada. Close to 90% of the people in Nicaragua claim Christianity as their faith, yet many are "cultural" Christians who are simply baptized, married and buried in the Roman Catholic Church.
Nicaragua has a long history of religious freedom, which enables national believers and volunteers from other countries to freely express their love for Jesus. This freedom enables CALMS to support the national church and send short-term teams to the country.