A group of youth from Nicaragua arrived Thursday in Colorado Springs to share their culture and faith while raising awareness about their country's political unrest.
Billy Brien, who was adopted from Nicaragua, says his group has been traveling across the United States, finding refuge in churches.
They call themselves the "Nicavangelists".
The Nicavangelists travel the country primarily through donations and the help of reverends who lend their houses of worship for them to rest and perform. The group is staying at the Black Forest Community Church for a couple of days and performed there Sunday morning.
"We are performing for sharing the love of god for Nicaragua to get better," Brien said.
"We put together a show and we have this folklore from Nicaragua and we have the breakdancing, so we make everything unique," said Peter Gonzalez, who helps direct the choreographies and dramatizations of bible stories.
Nicaragua has been in political turmoil after its President Daniel Ortega raised taxes and reduced the pensions of the elderly in April 2018. Civilian protests were suppressed with excessive police and military force. The United Nations reported in late August that the civil unrest has led to around 300 deaths.
Fred Mena, who left Nicaragua last year, said he can't go back to visit his family because he's been outspoken and critical about the government to national news outlets.
"[President Ortega] was sending paramilitary to shoot people on the streets," Mena said. "People that were just protesting for their freedom."
Deybel Cortez, who lived in the country's capital of Managua, said it's hard for people to make a living.
"The economy is very bad now," Cortez said. "So they don't have enough money to buy food and to carry my family."
As the daughter of immigrants, Reverend Marta Fioriti said it was important for her to provide the travelers with a space to share their stories.
"What's more important for us is that we built a bridge," said Fioriti, who serves for the United Church of Christ. "That we listened and that we heard their story and that we partnered in ministry together. That was the bigger piece for us."
For now, the group of Nicaraguan youth are waiting for their country to find more political stability before they can return.