Showing posts from February, 2011

A little something special between friends...

Yesterday I had the privilege of participating in our sister church's strategic planning meeting. About 25 church leaders gathered to create ministry plans for all of the different aspects of church life. The church leaders are divided into commissions: Diaconia (service - which includes helping with the worship service, cleaning the church and outreach); Women & Family; Men; Youth; and a new commission for Madres Jovenes. Each group developed objectives and strategies with a ten-year timeline into the future. The goals set forth were realistic and impressive. What especially caught my interest were the men's goals. One of their areas of interest is community nutrition. They joked around a bit that their program needed to start immediately with the nutrition of the leader group (a call to eat lunch!), and then continued with plans for family gardens which could grow into a community movement to grow healthy food. This idea is especially fantastic since most families

Children Come First

We traveled just northeast of Usulatan and took a dusty drive up to the simple red brick church. The children of the community greeted us one by one with a well-practiced "hello, hello hello..." and a handshake. There were so many children! It was an amazingly warm welcome. The leaders of the church shared stories about what they do and the history of the community. We asked and answered questions. It was a fun and friendly exchange. Then it was time for lunch. The people of the community had worked together to provide meat, rice, tortillas, salad and Salva Cola for everyone. Often during a first visit, the guests are seated first and eat together at a table while the hosts stand aside, waiting to eat last or to eat the leftovers. Yet in this place, the church leaders announced that at this church, children come first. This was awesome! Many in this particular group work in urban churches in which this is a core value: children come first! The adults had plenty of t

Praying for a Miracle

Today I woke up with a very strong feeling. We ate breakfast and went to Resurrection church, the Bishop's church, for the Monday morning devotional. Pastors gathered and greetings were shared. The text for the day was the story of Jesus healing a boy who was possessed by a demon - a healing which was initiated by the strong faith of the boy's father. I still had that strong feeling. I shared with our sister church pastor that I had awakened with the idea that we should go to the children's hospital, Benjamin Bloom, to check on the little boy from our sister community who was there. "We should go," he said. We navigated our way to Bloom through a labyrinth of traffic and vendors. As I looked around at the creepy clown with red pants and balloon animals, the pick-up with an old tarp thrown over it as a display space for a big pile of stuffed animals, and the guy thrusting sandals toward us for $6 a pair, I could not imagine being a parent with a sick child hav

Just Another Day...

I wake up to a great ruckus of rooster crows and dogs barking. The near-full moon has confused the creatures of the community into chattering back and forth all night long, but the additional action of a pre-dawn departure of the man of the house has put them over the top. Julia has to get up too, having forgotten to wash her husband's uniform until late in the previous day and still needing to put the iron to it. The loud screech of the chain-link gate, the grinding of the ancient pick-up engine and the final slam of the metal house door wake up the kitten and the five-year old, who also add to the pre-dawn chatter. Lights out. Back to sleep. The house is still hot from yesterday's sun, the metal roof and block walls retain the heat even though the night air is chilly. It would be so much better if we could open a window, but it is just not safe enough. I often lay awake for long periods of time when sleeping out in our sister community. Not this morning. By the time we

Music in his Heart

Don Francisco lives upstairs. Someone carried him up. Francisco cannot walk. Francisco cannot see. Francisco is 89 years old. La Casa Esperanza is the homeless shelter which is run by the Salvadoran Lutheran Church. It is not an overnight shelter, but a place where many men, some women and young children come for a hot meal, access to bathing and laundry sinks, comfort, pastoral care, medicine, and work. There is a before and after school program for young children to help them with reading and basic skills. The woodworking shop is a place where men and women can learn, can work and do create lovely crosses and other artesenias which are sold to help support the shelter. Many of the clients are alcoholics, drug addicts and people who are living with AIDS. When the doors close for the evening, sleeping places are found in the doorways of nearby banks. Don Francisco has no one to take care of him. He, and a few others, have been given permanent shelter by the mama of the house

He's Here!!

Halfway through the afternoon, D's voice rang out, "Linda, he's here! Jorge Miguelito is here!" In the midst of a hectic and hot and dusty and busy day of healing, a moment of joy burst forth. Jorge Miguelito, a little guy who we had first seen 3 years ago during the Mission of Healing, was here! I grabbed my camera and explained, "con permiso, I need to see a little boy" to the nurse and patient team beside me. I ran into the next space and there was the family, including little Miguelito. Jorge Miguelito's mom said the surgery to form his upper palate had gone well. With those big brown eyes and shy smile, he captured everyone's heart. God had answered our prayers -- our curiosity about Miguelito was satisfied and we got to give him a squeeze and a kiss for luck for another healthy year and a good outcome for his next surgery. God bless you, little Miguelito!

Mi Favorita

It has been a long day. At this moment we are sitting out on the porch, catching up on email, enjoying the cool of the evening. We had escaped the blizzard by departing from the north a day early, spent extra time in Houston, learned that an ice storm was about to hit Houston, made it out of Houston, had to turn around after flying an hour southward due to a mechanical issue which did not allow us to control the ice or the air pressure, boarded our second plane for the day out of Houston and made it out just before the airport closed. After a adventure and lesson in patience in the aduanas (customs) office, we drove to our destination, and here we are. We were warmly greeted by our friends, and Alma, who is the best cook perhaps in all of San Salvador, asked us what time we wold like to eat dinner. She usually asks us what we would like to have to eat, and tonight I told her to surprise us. Alma laughed and said, "Of course, I have a surprise for you." At 7 pm Alma greete