Word and Deed Project with the El Salvador Christian Reformed Church

Well over two years ago the two small CRCs – one city, one small country town – negotiated with me mentoring and support for this holistic/integral (look those words up!) Project.  Honestly, it has not been easy; in a society where post-war conflict and competition exists there has not always been the cooperation needed between the two churches and leaders.  A “city church” / “country church” rivalry and mindset exists that has not been easy to change.  Built into the project is accompaniment by a skilled former CRWRC national staffer, Alba Lopez.  Its hard for male pastors Joaquin and Carlos to have to report to her, so planning drags and reporting at times has been slow in coming.

But therein lies a lot of – for me – the challenge!  Why are countries/societies/churches not progressing? Why don’t they grow faster?  What are the underlying problems, and where are the solutions?  “Dependency” is the bug-a-boo of all mission and development groups; how does one help without creating more of that?  I guess: try to talk and walk (word & deed) it through.

This is not the place to carry on that discussion, but the supporters do need to try to understand dimensions of those questions.  For now, I share with you that D.V. I’ll be going to El Salvador from October 6 – 17.  Over those two weekends there will be lots of contact with individuals and group meetings.  As to the Project, if conversations are not satisfactory, I am thinking of using the parable of Luke 13: 6-8 where Jesus looks for fruit from the fig tree.  The man in charge asked for “one more year to‘dig around it and fertilize it’” – you get the point!  Pray please for “fruit-full” talks!

“Fraternidad Reformada”   The last two years I have met three times with a group of 15 – 20 leaders, half of them pastors, who consider themselves of “reformed persuasion.” Sadly, they come from four different denominations, all of which in some way trace back to the 30 years of CRCNA presence in the country.  Christian Reformed, Reformed Calvinist, National Christian Reformed, and Orthodox Presbyterian.  None is larger than five small congregations; in total who knows if they congregate a thousand people.  Now, is it worth continuing to encourage, consult, and work with these?  I always fall back to the statement of one of the younger leaders as he first took contact with the CRCNA: “your literature and doctrine have the answers to the problems of my country.”  So I carry on; will you pray for two meetings I am planning to have, one each Saturday, with them?