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On and Off the Beaten Path: Suchitoto

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Today we are not winding down the hill below Suchitoto to catch a boat on the shore of Lago Suchitlán .  Today we are not going to hear a grandfather's story while bumping along on the road between Aguilares and Suchitoto. I realized today that Suchitoto appears as a character in several of my stories, but never as the main character. So today, it's time to actually go to Suchitoto. Central Plaza in Suchitoto (©2023 Linda Muth) The city of Suchitoto is situated between the Guazapa volcano and the Lempa River valley, on the western edge of the Department of Custcatlán.  The name "Suchitoto" originates from a Nahuat word meaning "bird-flower." Archeologists believe the town was established as a Pipil (indigenous) settlement in the mid-11th century CE. Near to the city (and within the Suchitoto municipality), Spanish colonizers  established what is known as the second "Villa de San Salvador" (the capital of San Salvador) in 1528 CE. Although the town

Off the Beaten Path: Birding on Lake Suchitlán

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For Christmas this year, my husband gave me an experience: a bird tour with guide Julio Acosta .  I've been following Julio's social media posts (found on various platforms as El Salvador Birds - Julio Acosta) for a while, in an effort to learn more about the birds we hear and see as we go about daily life in El Salvador. We decided to do a boat tour of Lago Suchitlán. Over the past 23 years, our Mission of Healing itineraries periodically included a boat ride on the lake as a way to relax after expending lots of energy teaching and providing care for families. Although a few local pastors and boat drivers shared stories along the way, we never learned much about the multitude of bird species we encountered and enthusiastically tried to photograph. A tour with a professional guide, in a boat, on a lovely lake, at sunrise seemed like a most excellent opportunity to learn. Lago Suchitlán at sunset from Suchitoto (©2023 Linda Muth) The Embalse Cerrón Grande (Cerrón Grande Reservoi

Savor the Moment

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Silver Anniversary bells will be showing up throughout the year. Today's little notebook (2001-2004) This is a silver anniversary year.  It has been almost 25 years since our 3 churches formally became iglesias hermanas - sister churches. We have shared more than 25 years of wild adventures and everyday life.  We are 3 congregations: one congregation of the Salvadoran Lutheran Church, and an urban church and a suburban church in the Greater Milwaukee Synod ELCA (Evangelical Lutheran Church in America). Over the years our congregations have changed and so have our communities.  We have suffered great losses. We have celebrated great joys. Parents have become grandparents, and many children in our memories now have children of their own. During the 15th year of our partnership, we celebrated with big quinceañera parties in Los Héroes and in Milwaukee, complete with lots of poofy pink dresses and fancy cakes. Now, ten years later, we are ready for another year of celebration. 2023 is

Celebrating Epiphany - A Photo Diary

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Happy Epiphany! In El Salvador, celebrations of the Day of the Magi Kings come with fireworks (of course) and processions . Some families, churches, political entities and community groups give gifts to children , in the way that gifts of gold, frankincense and myrrh were given to the child Jesus. This is especially true during election years. Los Héroes Lutheran Church's Epiphany celebration Today's Sunday morning worship in the Lutheran Church celebrated both the Epiphany (following the twelfth day of Christmas, traditionally celebrated on January 6) and the Baptism of Jesus. Pastor Santiago's message reminded us that Epiphany means manifestation. In the presence of the star, God was made manifest to astrologers from far away lands, who were motivated to leave their homes, travel long and difficult journeys, and bring costly gifts to the Christ child. In baptism, God is made manifest in each one of us, just as God was revealed in the baptism of Jesus. As children of God,