Showing posts from June, 2010

Tales of Greasy and Grubby - Worship in the Rain

So, the story continues. We walked from house to house, asking to enter each little yard, and were welcomed warmly. We listened to stories, we hugged, we cried, we got into a circle, we shared the Gospel of John, we prayed. We ended each visit with an invitation to attend a special Friday evening worship service (our last evening in the community). Women and children joined us along the way, so the prayer circles grew larger and smaller, depending on who had to go to work or school or whatever... On one of our last home visits, we met Antonio. Our sister church community is built upon a hill, with the church sitting right in the center, on the hilltop. Down at the bottom, on the far side of the hill, sits the small house of Don Antonio. Our little team stopped at the wire gate, and asked permission to enter. Don Antonio, an older man with a great smile, graciously welcomed us into his tiny front yard. He was seated on a simple wooden bench, wearing a white baseba

Tales of Greasy and Grubby - Knock and the Door Shall be Opened

So, Greasy and Grubby went around knocking on doors in El Salvador. Do you remember how it began? You might want to review the story about the birthday party , which gives a little history about this visit to our sister church community which began with a call from God to get up and go, so the two of us got up and went. That "get up and go" vision included instructions from God which were pretty specific: Go. The two of you. Don't make a bunch of plans. Don't take a bunch of stuff with you. Go knock on doors. That was it. We thought about Jesus sending out his followers, two by two without an extra cloak -- it's pretty hard for us to travel with nothing. We thought that maybe taking the Word of God door to door might be a good idea, so we did pack a few hundred Spanish copies of the Gospel of John. As we were preparing for our trip, we also had a VBS (Vacation Bible School) happen at our church. Our kids had "Jesus Loves You" t-shirts with big

Lessons with the Kids

The first time that my kids were in El Salvador was quite an adventure - for lots of reasons. We all learn as we go, and a couple of pieces of good learning came out of that trip. Our church has a sister church in El Salvador, and we had made a couple of trips to visit when we got the idea to do a family trip over Christmas break. Even though we were early on in our relationship, we recognized the importance of getting together as families, staying in homes, sharing traditions and just hanging out. So, that's what we did. Kids do not need to know Spanish in order to play together. That is a lesson for the grown-ups. Play happened. Soccer and North American football. Circle games in which our kids never did get the rules, and lots of "can you come to my house?" adventures.** There were baptisms, confirmations and even a wedding. There was a dance, fireworks tossed on the rooftops (not by our kids - but it did fascinate them), and lots of tortillas. Eventually, kids

Off the Beaten Path - Santa Ana

Santa Ana may not seem like an "off the beaten path" kind of place, and truthfully, the center of town is probably a pretty well-known tourist destination. With Mayan archeological sites nearby, a traditional colonial town lay-out and early 1900's architecture, Santa Ana has a lot to see and discover. During the boom time, coffee profits helped to bring prosperity to the city, but life has been a little more difficult here in recent times. Two German friends and I were invited to tour the town with a friend who lives in Santa Ana. We walked through the cathedral, strolled through the town square, and then went into the courtyard of the government buildings, where we sat and enjoyed the flowers. After chatting with a few guys from the mayor's office, we headed over to the theater. When he was young, our friend used to see movies in the 100-year-old theater, which was abandoned for a while and is now being restored to its more historic form. At the end of our tour

Sharing Ideas I

Whenever I am in El Salvador, especially at an event which involves kids or youth, I like to collect ideas. Here are a few ideas which I collected during a recent trip to El Salvador... In one community which we visited, the kids in an after-school program decorated the streets of the village with painted paper plates. Paper streamers were attached to the plates to create lovely wind catchers which were strung up on rows of string. Kids might have fun using strips of cloth, ribbon, or whatever else is available and might be water-resistant. Because I hang out in a lot of Lutheran Church communities, this project caught my eye. The youth had made replicas of the Luther Rose, using heavy-duty foil (or any kind of thin metal that could be bent). The foil was placed over cardboard cut-outs of the rose and then the students used sticks to rub over the pattern and create indentations in the foil. Then, they painted the design. Punched tin and raised tin artwork is very common in many