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Showing posts from December, 2012

Christmas Wishes from El Salvador

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Oh how the times have changed!

The phone started ringing and the text messages started blinging a few days before Christmas.  They popped up on my phone as calls from Florida or South Carolina or Oregon so I was never sure if I should answer "hello" or "hola." 
Merry Christmas...may God bless you with a prosperous New Year...may God bless you and your family...we love you...greetings and hugs to the loved ones who surround you...we feel close to you, it doesn't seem like you are in the United States but that we are neighbors...may Baby Jesus enter anew into your hearts...
We exchanged these heartfelt greetings and talked a little bit about what we are doing, what meetings are going on at our churches, the weather.  When I mentioned the 10 inches of snow in the yard, the brisk winter breeze, the piles of coats and boots near the doors, the 4 pm sunset, my friends on the other end found these things difficult to imagine.  A cold December night in Los Heroes include…

Portrait of a Pastor

During a recent car ride, I had the opportunity to chat with one of the pastors of the Salvadoran Lutheran Church.  He has told me some stories in the past, so I asked him if he would tell me a little bit about his life.  I took a few notes during the bumpy ride, and that night I wrote everything I could remember in my journal.  Here is his story...
I was born and raised in Tonaca.  When the cooperatives were there, I worked with them and then was an FMLN soldier.  After the war, I was there and remember when the people came to Los Héroes*.  I was a witness to that.  They didn’t know me as a pastor, but as an FMLN leader.So, when I became a pastor I couldn’t serve there among my own people.  So I worked at Opico and Quezaltepeque, and later helped to start a mission at Nueva Esperanza in Chalate.  I have always worked with cooperatives and like that style of project.  I came to Cara Sucia after Hurricane Mitch when the Lutheran World Federation set up the radio station and emergency bu…

Jesus to the Rescue

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A long while back we had a Vacation Bible School program entitled "Jesus to the Rescue" at our church.  There was a catchy theme song with simple words, "Jesus to the rescue, Jesus to the rescue, Jesus to the rescue...R-E-S; C-U-E; Jesus wants; You and me; Grab your gear; Get on board; Serving others; Led by the Lord..."

My kids still remember this song, and clearly I do too.  Every now and then it pops into our heads, especially if we have had a little rescue-experience which was unexpected or unusually fortunate.

We were taking the circuitous route through San Salvador, attempting to avoid the heavy Friday traffic.  There were about 15 of us in the small bus, and we were pretty tired after a long week of strategic planning meetings, presentations and dynamic conversations about sustainability.  As we maneuvered onto a busy street, we suddenly heard a thunk-thunk-thunk.  We opened a window and peered out at our wheels below.  Sure enough, the right front tire was…

Safety

When we were kids,  my friends and I would play lots of games like tag, hide and seek and kick-the-can.  Sometimes we would set up complicated rules with teams and a designated "no-man's land" which was to prevent us from sneaking behind the other team's goal.  Usually the objective was to make it to home base or "safety" before getting tagged or found or pelted by snowballs.

There are two gangs in our sister church community.  MS (Mara Salvatrucha) plays tag on the walls with big blue spray-painted letters, claiming the pathways near the school and the soccer field as its territory.  M-18 is less obvious with the paint, but more obvious with their presence, owning the paths with such intimidation that community leaders have not been able to maintain the pathways and waste water and erosion have converted the concrete stairways into slippery, sludgy, smelly hazards.  Families who live in the MS section can't walk over to the 18 section.  Kids who live i…