Showing posts from August, 2016

Off the Beaten Path: Warm Welcome in El Paisnal

It was a quiet February morning in El Paisnal.  We had stopped by the new health clinic on the outskirts of town to greet a few friends.  The clinic sits directly across from the town cemetery (which upon retrospect is a bit humorous and disconcerting).  Sometimes the beauty of an archway, colors, shade and sun, and a random dog cat the photographers eye.  We snapped a few photos and then decided to "be tourists" in a town which we thought we already knew quite well. Seasoned veteran pilgrims and newbies alike, on journeys of faith and history, frequently visit El Paisnal.  The town located just west of Aguilares holds the legacy and the remains of Father Rutilio Grande, who friends have told me was "the best priest they ever knew."  Father Rutilio was murdered along with an old man and a little boy as they traveled on the road between El Paisnal and Aguilares.  This horrific event brought the violent oppression and actions of military death squads more fully into

La Rifa (The Raffle)

The raffle is a steadfast part of Salvadoran Lutheran Church culture.  For 10 cents each, people can purchase their tiny little numbers, written in ink on tiny little squares of paper (each folded in fourths so the number is not visible - resulting in a final little-folded-number-paper that is typically about the size of a pea). The prize is almost always a basket of some kind, filled with thematic goodies and all wrapped up in cellophane with a big bow.  I have seen people win small plastic laundry tubs with Rinso detergent, towels,  homemade quesadilla  (cheesecake), fruit, shampoo,  baby-themed stuff, Valentine bears and more.  The most interesting prize baskets are made when people donate items to put into the baskets.  These pot-luck baskets contain anything from kitchen glasses to little stuffed animals to embroidered cloths. What's so great about a raffle?  It's fun!  Everyone likes to have a chance to win something.  In addition, the raffle is a practical funding me

A Wellness Issue and How YOU Can Help

"My grandma told me not to eat watermelon when I have my period.  Is that right?" How do girls learn about their bodies and their natural reproductive processes?  What do girls do when the advice they receive from their mothers or their grandmothers is confusing to them?  How do girls acquire the supplies they need when they do not have money or live far away from the nearest store?  How can girls and young women continue their education, go to work, play sports or simply leave their homes if they do not have the supplies they need during each monthly period? If you are a guy, and you are thinking this story is not for you, you are wrong.  You exist because your mom grew you in her uterus.  Even if you don't have sisters, a wife, a girlfriend, daughters,  female friends, female co-workers, or female clients, you do have a mom.  Keep reading. During the Mission of Healing Family Wellness Fair (see this and  this ) which is put on annually by the Salvadoran Lutheran C

Notebooks full of Sermons - Happy 30th Anniversary to the Office of the Bishop of the Salvadoran Lutheran Church

Bishop Medardo Gómez of the Salvadoran Lutheran Church is a great preacher.  Even before I could understand Spanish, I could tell that he was a great preacher.  Over the years, his teachings about the sacraments, about Mayan traditions, about the role of women in the church and about caring for those most in need have greatly impacted my spiritual journey.  Yesterday, at the National Assembly of the Women of the Salvadoran Lutheran Church, Bishop Gómez referred to God as a woman and as our mother throughout his prayer.  He said he hoped no one had been offended by that reference and described an incident in the past in which a man led his family out of the church after the Bishop had prayed in this way.  Bishop Gómez said, "Of course, God is our father.  But the love God has for us is that of a mother.  We know nothing stronger than the love of a mother, and God loves us like that."  I cannot speak for fathers, but as a mom and a grandma, I can say that my love for my childre