I had at least three purposes in going in May and again in October. The May visit was almost three weeks, having planned an extra weekend right in the middle so as to be able to make a side bus trip to Nicaragua. There I was hosted by staff of the Nehemiah Center and CRWM missionary Joel Huyser. You can look the Center up on the web if you wish for more information. Having heard a lot about it and knowing that it is serving as a new model for the types of partnerships that CRWM is entering, I wanted to observe and experience first hand dimensions of their programs and people. Very rewarding.
I could write a lot just about that trip…bus breakdown and delays – getting in at 1 AM instead of 7 PM, meeting a very interesting young Salvadoran now living in Montana who was visiting a friend on the Mosquito Coast, and a visit with the pastor of the First CRC of Managua. But another time…now back to El Salvador.
PALABRA Y ACCION – WORD AND DEED is the name of the project begun early
2009. We had hit some of the almost expected snags and needed to talk through some things. My second trip in October was still a follow through on that, and now we can watch to see if agreed upon adjustments will work out. A setback was that the “controller” – a former CRWRC staff person – took a national education job and now is only available for minimum involvement. I received reports of some of the programs and activities as well as the functioning of the two churches with their respective participants. They have moderate optimism and do see some constructive results. This is the program for which I raise funds.
“REFORMADOS PRESENTES” is an effort to bring some 15 or 20 persons – a variety of people from four mini-denominations (two to six churches) plus others – together to explore the contribution that the reformed faith makes to their lives, which in turn they can contribute to their ministries and communities. There is guarded optimism here also, in that there are individual, congregational, and denominational “histories” that need to be worked through or left behind. I see it as essential to the viability of the reformed witness in El Salvador; not everyone in missions nowadays shares that concern. True, the kingdom is larger than a given theological identity, but some of us – including some clear thinking Salvadorans – feel that our heritage has a distinct and valuable contribution to make in that context. Please pray for the trio of leaders that has committed to heading this up.
OTHER DIMENSIONS. I’ll not go into detail, but over the years, of course, I have many contacts in El Salvador. Partners Worldwide struck out on one of its projects, but I keep in contact with the president in ES of the Asociacion Cristiana para Desarrollo (Development). It may be far out at this point, but who knows if there couldn’t be a mango dehydration project that would create jobs and give a witness. Very different is consultation with a group that wants to think through the role of Christian citizens to make a contribution to the socio-political maturation of a nation that only now is making steps toward a more democratic future. I can possibly link them to people and published resources. A bit of wishful thinking? I like to consider it prayerful hope that can bring fruit on many years of mission and personal investment and presence. Please pray with me for that.
October 15, 2010 from El Salvador. Yes, tomorrow will be a week since coming, and I can´t begin to tell you how many conversations, meetings, and activities I´ve been in. Most of that will have to wait¨ I´ve been awake since 4 AM and away since 6 30 to get Rev. Guillermo Serrano to a TV interview, then on to two more and a lunch/talk. An intense conversation with two pastors late afternoon, and a visit with other church leades this evening before doing the shopping for tomorrows breakfast gathering.
On balance I´d say that things are sticky; after all this is El Salvador! May I ask that your prayers go toward breaking down some of the lack of charity and trust between some ¨denominational¨ leaders. I´m attempting to get a group of them to explore closer relations to better serve the strengthening of the witness and service of the reformed faith here.
For the moment then, just this. I already return to Holland next Tuesday; Rev. Serrano on Monday. Please pray for good trips.
Oct. 1, 2010 Amigos, please watch this site over the next month. D.V., I’ll be in El Salvador from the 9 – 19th; the second weekend Rev. Guillermo Serrano of the Spanish Back to God Hour and Reforma TV will be there as well. Meetings planned include updates with the CRCs on the state of the Word and Deed Project, talks between the Reformed and Christian Reformed leaders about future relationships if any, and another meeting of the “Reformados Presentes” (see below)