Partnering During A Pandemic: Work and Pray, Pray and Work

There is a song in the Salvadoran hymnal entitled "En la Viña del Señor" (In the Vineyard of the Lord).  I am sure I have talked about this song in previous stories, and now I have probably created an ear worm for many of you who have worshiped in El Salvador.  It is one of our Salvadoran church pastor's favorite songs and the first one he taught his sister churches in the US.

Yo quiero trabajar por el Señor, (I want to work for the Lord)
Confiando en su palabra y en su amor, (Trusting in His Word and His love)
Quiero yo cantar y orar, (I want to sing and pray)
Y ocupado siempre estar (And always be busy)
En la viña del Señor. (In the vineyard of the Lord)

Trabajar y orar,  (Work and pray)
En la viña, en la viña del Señor; (In the vineyard, in the vineyard of the Lord)
Sí, mi anhelo es orar, (Yes, my longing is to pray)
Y ocupado siempre estar, (And always be busy)
En la viña del Señor. (In the vineyard of the Lord)
El Salvador was under very strict quarantine for 80 days.  Fo…

Partnering During A Pandemic and A Natural Disaster: Highlighting the Helpers

The little group of women who sew Days for Girls washable menstruation kits in our Salvadoran community started the year strong.  They relocated from a women's center outside of the community to the community's Lutheran Church.  This was possible because they had compiled sufficient resources, through their own sales efforts and donations, to purchase a proper table for cutting fabric.  They set up a hygienic storage room in which they can safely keep their completed kits, supplies and equipment.  The new location makes it easier for several of the women to work while their little ones are in the church's preschool.  They can also more easily work from home part of the time.  The women diversified their product line to include baby shower kits with nursing pads made from scraps left over after cutting out the Days for Girls kit pieces.

Prior to the enforcement of strict quarantine rules across El Salvador due to the corona virus pandemic, the women in the group took resourc…

Partnering During A Pandemic and a Natural Disaster: Neighbors helping Neighbors

Before Tropical Storm Amanda hit, I was preparing a story about children and families coping with almost 3 months of doing doing school in their homes due to the Corona Virus pandemic.  I gathered photos and little stories from friends via WhatsApp and Messenger.  The preschool teacher in our sister community set up her "desk" in the street.  Children do their work on little tables outside of their homes.  She helps them along by teaching to the street.  Moms drop student work off on the teacher's desk so she can check it.  I imagine that creative and cooperative families have set up mini schools like this all over El Salvador.

I also received a few photos of a family field trip, because, field trips are part of school too!  They walked to a river about 2 miles from their home.  I wondered about that being OK, given the very strict lock-down rules across the country.  The matriarch of the family told me it was fine because they were going on a walk to a place where there…

Partnering During A Pandemic: The Virtual Campfire

I found four raggedy pieces of paper, ripped out of a small notebook.  Black ink on pale green paper.  At the top of the first page, in big letters it says:  Go Big or Go Home.

I kept reading:
100% All In They gave us everything.  We have much to share. Super Hospitality.
Dancing in Public.
People are Resources. You look at the world in a different way. If we speak in a stereotype, we represent that we are now the experts.
As delegations, we gather together on the porch in the after-dinner dark to reflect on our days.  I often scribble down notes and thoughts in a journal or on scraps of paper.  Cleaning during a pandemic provided a re-encounter with an evening of reflection in El Salvador.  Let's keep reading:
What if we greeted everybody at our church the same way that we were welcomed here? What would our church look like?
Though I walk through the valley, I know you are with me.
How can there be so much love after so much violence? How do we get this level of hospitality?

Partnering During a Pandemic: Daily Bread

"Give us this day our daily bread."

For me, and for many or most who are reading this story, the struggle for daily bread has not been a literal experience in our lives.  Maybe we have not had sufficient resources to purchase food for two weeks at a time.  Maybe we have not had sufficient resources to purchase what we want.  Maybe we have clipped coupons and purchased only sale items.  Maybe we have been helped out for a time by our family, our community or our government.  Maybe, with the current situation, now is the time when we are rationing our food, scaling back a bit, or relying on some help.  Most of us who are reading this story, I am guessing, have not literally had to work all day to figure out how to literally put the bread or the tortillas on the table for our family at the end of the day.

Poverty and hunger are real in every country, every community, every church in the world, but in the context of this story, I am thinking about the struggle for daily bread i…

Partnering during a Pandemic: Supporting Education When School is at the Kitchen Table

Six weeks. 

As adults, we can reflect on our increased or decreased work loads, our loneliness or frustration with too much communication, and our access or lack of access to food.  For some, this time is having a positive impact on their physical health, mental health, and family relationships, for others it is not.  We can think about this and talk about this, and it is good to do so.
But what about the kids?
If you have children or youth or young adults in your home, and perhaps you are now navigating their educational life as well as every other aspect of their lives, you know that the kids are struggling with all the worries and feelings and good stuff and bad stuff surrounding this pandemic.
If you are connected with children and youth and young adults in El Salvador, perhaps you are wondering what their situations are like right now, what their worries are, how they are receiving education, or if they have enough food.  As ministry leaders or scholarship sponsors, you may also …

Just Click: Covid-19 Diversion Episode

Here are a few pics from the camera roll from January, February and March 2020.  Community Art:  The View from the Passenger Seat.