Dear friends of the El Salvador Project: Greetings now nearing the end of another year; may the Good News of God’s doings in history once again be renewed in the world and in our hearts. And may that bring Hope again for another New Year.
For the first year in the decade since we left that country after five years of service there with CR World Missions, I did not travel there. The last couple of years I went in October but this year reasons seemed to pile up why not to go until a bit later; finally now early this month I made plans and have tickets to go Dec. 31, returning January 14, D.V.
This past year there were some delays in planning and execution of projects. Exactly why I cannot say; part of it is just the endemic slowness seemingly built into the culture. Even the church leaders are influenced by this; although I have to recognize that both pastors work full time jobs and only attend the ministries as volunteers. And a sad reality is that they do not work especially well together; one is in a city church, the other in a small rural town. Volunteer Alba, the former CRWRC worker, makes real efforts to keep them on task, but it doesn’t always come together as well as hoped for.
Thankfully, I’ve had a recent flurry of communications and photos*, because I wrote them that I was going to write this letter!
So you’d like to hear of what was accomplished. In Santa Tecla courses were given equipping a few people in things from bakery skills to theological studies. The church there has only grown slowly;
lately there are three new people who look like they will stay, a real encouragement to Pastor Carlos.
Huizucar over the last couple years has been reaching out to a new community a twenty-five minute hike from town. People were relocated there by the government after being displaced by earthquakes and floods. Our Projects have been able to help with diverse activities, from helping trench for bringing in water to distributing corrugated fiberglass materials to replace plastic tarp roofs. Services are held in the community; some have not only come to the town church, but a dozen have been baptized as new members.
So Word and Deed monies are blessing lives, and the churches are encouraged to be able to project this kind of community involvement. While they can not even afford to pay their own pastors, and even less do much formal benevolence on their own, these funds help them to better equip themselves and also project a witness beyond their walls. “Presence,” Pastor Joaquin calls it; higher practical visibility makes people more ready to listen.
I’ll put another report on upon my return, D.V., later in January.
* for photos, see the Photos tab