Showing posts from April, 2012

A Different Lens

When our sister church pastor was here for our daughter's wedding, I took the opportunity to download all of his photos from his camera onto my computer, with his permission, of course.  Because of computer crashes and sketchy internet and time constraints, we don't share photos back and forth as often as we should. Today I took the time to open up the folders and look at each of the photos.  What fun to see my Salvadoran Papa painting crosses in his workshop, friends around a Christmas tree, Sunday School kids working on art projects, church meetings, birthday parties, and marches through the streets of San Salvador with familiar faces peering over banners demanding protection for El Salvador's water. I found a couple of pictures of me in the mix.  I smile a lot when I am in El Salvador. Smiles and more smiles filled my computer screen as I rolled through photos from The Day of the Child and community celebrations.  I paused for a few moments to think about the young w


They meander in late, usually after the first hymn has been sung.  They have to sit up front because that is where there is space.  They tend to nod off during the sermon.  They seem to know that woofing during worship is frowned upon.  God's waggy-tailed creatures are welcome to worship in El Salvador. Dogs, or chuchos , wander the streets of the cities and small towns, they can sleep just about anywhere, and they have a great knack for keeping visitors awake in the night.  In the city they hover behind metal doors and gates, ready to bark loudly at any passerby.  In the pueblos and countryside, it's difficult for an outsider to figure out which are the strays and which are the pets, because they roam freely and often lay down at your feet waiting for a pat or a snack. As families in our sister church community have increasingly been threatened by gang violence, they have fortified the fences, walls and gates which surround their houses and they have trained their dogs t

Knit Together

I have been working with a friend to compile a short story about my life and ministries with brothers and sisters in El Salvador.  This morning, while doing some edits, I was reminded of the power of miracles, and particularly a miracle which occurred for our son.  A while back, I wrote about his encounter with fire ants, subsequent journey through anaphylaxis and miracle healing through the power of prayer.  This is an amazing and inspiring story in its own right, but like so many stories which include the mysterious workings of God, there is more to the story of Mi Milagro . For us as a family, for those in our church who share in the story, and for our friends in El Salvador, this is a memorable moment in our relationship together, a moment in which we were frightened and responded in prayer together, and God did something amazing.  These kinds of shared experiences knit us closer together as more than sister churches, but as family and as witnesses to the living Gospel. The a

Ashes and Artists

The farmers who lived and worked on the sides of the volcano sensed the heaving of the mountain.  They felt the trembling breaths beneath their feet and saw the exhalation puffs of dust.  The government did not call for an evacuation, but the farmers sensed the danger.  They organized groups of pick-up trucks and drove away from their homes and their farms and found safety at a camp.  Eventually, government officials realized that danger was imminent, and they also called for an evacuation.  Just a short time later, maybe an hour after the order was given, the volcano exploded, expelling rocks and hot cinders and ash onto the farms below.  Hot mud and lava flowed from the sides of the volcano.  Had the farmers waited for the official order to evacuate, they would not have escaped. The farmers and their families took refuge at a camp.  It was owned by the Catholic Church and used for retreats at one time.  Now it was home. We visited with our sister pastor who was providing psycho

Salt and Light

Yesterday, eleven ninth graders affirmed their faith as Lutheran Christians at my home church in the United States.  I have been working with the students and their faith mentors throughout the year, and it was truly inspiring to listen to each of them speak about his or her faith journey, the ups and downs of confirmation class, and the funny moments and inspiring moments from the last year.  Giving confirmation speeches is probably not the favorite moment of the day for most of the students, but these speeches tend to stick with everyone who hears them for they are filled with the honesty of youth.  Few adults could stand and give such testimony.  Later, during the laying on of hands, each student felt the touch of parents, siblings, grandparents, mentors, pastor and teacher, and each one responded.  Some were a little teary.  Some smiled.  One giggled when her little brother tickled her. One of the newer traditions in our Affirmation of Baptism service included a procession.  Each