Showing posts from July, 2013


In two days, ten of us will head off to El Salvador to celebrate the quinceañera of our sister church relationship.  For the majority, this will be the first time they will visit our sister church community.  There is a lot of excitement and anticipation floating through the air! The last days of packing before a delegation trip always seem like a bit of a rush.  Today was errand day - a day to get all of the finances, paperwork and stuff ready for the trip.  At my feet, sits a great big suitcase with donated yarn and fabric and crayons spilling out beyond the zippers.  Behind me, the kitchen table holds a giant celebration card made from foam board and filled with signatures and messages from congregation members written in shades of pink and purple.  When the glitter paint is dry, the card will hopefully go into the suitcase.  What else is on the kitchen table?  Letters!  Stacks of envelopes of all sizes which contain letters and a few small gifts for children and youth.  Tonight

Think Pink!

During the first week of August 1998, two churches officially became sister churches.  This year, we celebrate our fifteenth anniversary together.  How will we celebrate?  With a big pink quinceañera! It all started with a trip last summer when a teen from our US congregation befriended a teen from our El Salvador congregation and they realized they were both turning 15 in the next year.  The idea for a joint party together this summer, complete with pink dresses and all the fanfare, was born.  The adult leaders in the mix realized this could be a fun opportunity to celebrate our sister church relationship and the quinceañera anniversary party became a real plan. Dresses filled the Fellowship Hall In the US, we gathered pink dresses.  Prom dresses and bridesmaid dresses, lacy and shiny, poofy and sparkly. Moms and daughters gave away dresses which had been lovingly cared for in the backs of closets.  One young girl and her mom shopped at second hand stores on a pink-dress scave

Off the Beaten Path: Lima Limón and Paseo el Carmen

Night life?  We don't get out much. Here's the thing:  when we are in El Salvador, we are typically working with the Salvadoran Lutheran Church or spending time out in communities or generally hanging out where it is better to be inside at 10 PM and not outside wandering in the cool evening air with a delegation of 25 people.  Yet, upon occasion, we have the opportunity to venture out and try something new. My friend Deb and I met a couple of friends in Santa Tecla.  It was super easy and quick to get there via the new highway.  The cab driver dropped us off near Paseo el Carmen - a mostly-pedestrian street that is home to restaurants, cafes, small shops, bars and live music.  We went on a week night, so it was   pretty quiet and easy to meander up and down the paseo  and peek into doors and study a few menus.  The restaurant area begins near the El Carmen Cathedral, an impressive structure that was built over several years beginning before the turn of the century.  The 200

Tales of Greasy and Grubby: Babies

Today I got peed on by Messiah. OK, not THE Messiah, but by a little guy who is named Messiah.  Pants all wet, both his and mine.  Not a lot I could do but walk him over to his mom for a change, and walk back to my chair feeling a little bit icky.  I looked across at Greasy.  She is visiting and we decided to go to Bible Study together at the church where I work as a volunteer.  It seemed like old times. We used to joke when we were together in El Salvador:  "Which one of us will some baby pee upon today?"  We love babies, and we love to hold babies, and the reality is that babies pee.  We even planned to wear patterned skirts on days when we knew we would be out and about visiting families, just in case.  Lots of babies in El Salvador wear cute cloth diapers with little bears or airplanes on them.  The diapers  fasten with velcro at the corners, which is much better than pins which tend to rust.  Of course, babies do not wear plastic pants - who wants to wear plastic pan

Marvelous Moringa

A while back, I shared the saga of the Mission of Healing medications which were caught up in an aduanas  adventure .  This created quite a conundrum for the people who needed prenatal vitamins or medications to manage their pain and illnesses and frustrated our conscientious pharmacy team.  In the end, everyone received what they needed, but it did further highlight the importance of our continued search for alternative sources of nutrition and medicines. Historically we have carried medications in multiple suitcases in order to care for patients in the most economic and effective way possible.  We have also consistently sought out sources for purchasing or acquiring medications in El Salvador.  Cost has been a prohibitive issue, partly due to a lack of generics in El Salvador.  Availability and quality are also challenging. Yet, there are local sources of nutrition and medicine which were known to the ancients.  Many of the men and women in the countryside know the uses of plants