Seasoned tour leaders Jack and Irene Suderman are thrilled to guide your discovery of the Mennonite stories of Paraguay and Colombia. Former Colombian mission workers and fluent Spanish-speakers, the Sudermans will capably lead this cultural adventure. Enrich your understanding of Paraguay and Colombia as you tour important cities and see the countryside. Visit Paraguayan Mennonite colonies, worship in local churches, and hear about the everyday lives of Mennonites whose ancestors came from Canada, the US, Mexico, Russia, and Belize beginning in the 1920s. As you engage with staff from Mennonite Central Committee, Mennonite World Conference, and other nonprofits, learn how Mennonites are working toward peace in the conflict-ridden nation of Colombia.
PAST TOUR: Paraguay & Colombia: Mennonite Stories in South America
Monday, September 17 Asunción, Paraguay
Arrive in Asunción from your home cities. Get to know your tour leaders and fellow travellers during an orientation dinner and tour overview. Spend your first night in Asunción – the largest city in Paraguay.
Tuesday, September 18 Sommerfeld, Paraguay
Make your way to the Sommerfeld colony in Eastern Paraguay to meet with some local Mennonites and learn about their church and colony life. Tour the Hilagro Mill, and see regional churches, colonies and schools alongside a local guide.
Wednesday, September 19 Asunción, Paraguay
The Kilometre 81 Leprosy Hospital is a medical centre that not only works to cure those with leprosy, but educates the surrounding community about the disease. Learn about their work and have lunch at the hospital, before returning to Asunción. Spend the afternoon sight-seeing in Asunción, Paraguay’s capital city. One of the oldest cities in South America, Asunción is home to many old churches and ancient monuments. In the evening, we hope to dine with some local Mennonites and hear about their experiences living in Paraguay.
Thursday, September 20 Filadelfia, Paraguay
Tour the Mennonite colony in Chaco – a region with the highest population of Mennonites in all of Latin America – with local guide Alfred Neufeld. Spend the following three nights in Filadelfia, said to be the “heartbeat” of the Chaco.
Friday, September 21 Filadelfia
Walk the streets of Neuland, visit the Neuland Mennonite Colony and see the Trebol Milk Plant. Wander the local museum which depicts the history of colonization. Get a sense of everyday life in the Neuland Colony by observing their supermarkets, hospital, retirement communities, schools and churches.
Saturday, September 22 Filadelfia
On our Saturday excursion to Yalve Sanga, listen to a presentation on the local indigenous groups and their connection with the Mennonite church. Learn about the relationship that they’ve forged in this multicultural village. Then, return to Filadelfia and take some time to rest, shop and see the sights.
Sunday, September 23 Asunción
Sunday morning, we will worship together at a local church. Then, we make the journey back to Asunción for one final night in Paraguay.
Monday, September 24 Bogotá, Colombia
Depart on an early morning flight to Bogotá. Upon arrival, take part in an orientation and overview of the next few days. Enjoy dinner at a local restaurant.
Tuesday, September 25 Bogotá
Today, we’ll delve deep in to the Colombian social, historical, political and religious realities. Visit Justapaz, the Christian Centre for Justice, Peace, and Non-Violent Action, and learn of the work that they do to promote peace-building through a wide range of initiatives. Tour Mennonite Central Committee, as well as their partner organization Mencoldes. Also see Mennonite World Conference and the Mennonite Centre. Then, enjoy a time of fellowship with the members of the Teusaquillo Mennonite Church.
Wednesday, September 26 Bogotá
Get acquainted with Bogotá by visiting some of the city’s Mennonite congregations. Explore historic sites like the Palace of Justice and the National University.
Thursday, September 27 Bogotá
See sprawling landscapes, green houses and coffee plantations as we drive through Bogotá’s scenic countryside. In the small town of Cachipay, tour a school built in 1945 that marked the birth of Mennonite work in Colombia. Constructed for the children of Colombians who were quarantined because of leprosy, many past and present leaders of the Colombian Mennonite church are graduates of this school. Have lunch in town and explore a local Mennonite coffee farm. In La Mesa, see the Colegio Americano Menno – a school started by Mennonite missionaries in the 1950’s that has received national awards and is considered one of the best in the municipality.
Friday, September 28 Bogotá
A short drive outside of Bogotá brings us to Zipaquirá, a remarkable Roman Catholic cathedral built entirely out of salt. Have lunch in a quaint rural village and browse some local artisan markets.
Saturday, September 29 Bogotá
On our last full day together, ascend the heights of Monserrate—a mountain that overlooks the entire city. Shop local markets and, if you choose, visit the renowned Museum of Gold. In the afternoon, meet former and current members of the FARC (Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia) and the Colombian Military as they speak of the long war and peace accords in Colombia. The Mennonite congregation of Teusaquillo has been relating to all sides of this conflict for many years. This evening, savor a Colombian meal while enjoying authentic music and cultural dance.
Sunday, September 30 Bogotá
The morning may include a worship service at the Teusaquillo Mennonite Church prior to departure. Leave with a heightened appreciation for Mennonite culture and the work being done to bring peace in the far corners of the world.
For further information, please contact us. We would be happy to be of assistance.