Showing posts from January, 2017

A Simple Thing a Sister Church Can Do (The Rifa Revisited)

A while back, I wrote a story about the rifa  (raffle).  You can find that story here:   The Rifa . On Sunday, we went to church in our sister community.  I had called up the assistant pastor the night before to see if it would be OK to have a little raffle after church.  "Why not?" he said.  During the drive past volcanoes and sugar cane, I wrote out the numbers from 1 to 30 on little scraps of recycled pink paper, and then made another set on little scraps of white paper. When we got to church, the evangelist who helps out looked inside my big plastic bag.  "We're going to do a rifa ," I told her.  She ran to get a little basket for the numbers, and carefully lined it with a recycled piece of aluminum foil so the numbers wouldn't fall out.  "I will take care of giving people their numbers," she said.  As people trickled in, they got their numbers.  During one of the songs, the evangelist snuck over and handed my husband a little cylindrical c

Tales of the Grandfather: Planting More than Seeds

We turned off the main road onto a dusty route, strewn with rocks. Gritty clouds waft in through the open windows.  Keeping the windows open is always a good idea when traveling for the first few times in a new area.  We check in with the guys hanging out near the main road, and with the neighbors as we bump along our way.  The Grandfather was born here.  He has walked these paths his whole life.  The neighbors are not accustomed to shaking his hand and patting his shoulder through a car window. Papá is super happy, smiling and waving his white baseball cap out the window as we move forward.  His oldest daughter and his son, our sister pastor, look lovingly at their dad.  This is the day that we would get to know the land in which he plants,  the land of his dreams. Nance Tree The crops beside the road are mostly brown and crunchy, and every leaf is covered with a grayish film.  The tall trees are green, some have yellow flowers, and above the flora and the dust and the mo

The Uniform Game

8th and 9th graders in a graduation ceremony in November 2016. The new school year begins each January. School started in El Salvador this week.  Traffic on Monday was crazy as the buses once again were filled with children, and parents with cars took to the streets in the early hours.  At midday, as the little ones head home for lunch and the older students head to school for classes, the streets are once again filled with chattering children clutching projects and small backpacks, teenage girls walking arm in arm, and boys smirking and trying to talk to the teenage girls.  They are easy to see:  all these children in white shirts. As in many places in the world, schools in El Salvador require their students to wear uniforms.  Navy blue skirts, white blouses and white knee socks with Mary Jane black shoes identify public elementary and middle school girls.  Substitute blue dress pants and black dress shoes for boys.  Kindergarten children sometimes have blue and white gingham sh

Antonio Lives

Antonio lives. It's a phrase that creeps into the conversation every now and then when we are remembering Missions of Healing, when we are telling stories of God's miraculous powers of healing, when we remember a beloved friend from El Paisnal. Antonio received his miracle healing on a leg that was dead, a leg that was to be amputated, a leg that only God could heal, a leg that Antonio named his "miracle leg," a leg that lifted Antonio up out of his wheelchair and walked him to church, a leg that carried Antonio throughout his town of El Paisnal and beyond so he could testify that God is real and God heals. Two years later, Antonio was once again in a wheelchair.   As we recognized him from a distance, we were disappointed to see that he was not walking.  Years of uncontrolled diabetes was taking his sight, and had claimed one of his feet.  We came to him with greetings and hugs, and he lit up, saying, "Look, the miracle leg still lives!"  The lost li

Tales from the Grandfather: A Picture of a Boy

Paterna Fuit "How are the little trees, Papa?" He smiles a big, wide, smile, his eyes squinting with delight.  "They are this high," he says, gesturing with his hand about 3 feet from the ground.  "You gave me one, two, three, four, five paterna  seeds, and I collected a few more and now there are nine trees.  Some day there will be a whole field of trees.  The people walk along and pick the fruit and eat it."  After all, that is how I acquired the seeds.  Out in a country field, a friend picked a paterna fruit.  I cracked open the pod and ate the white fluffy flesh, and saved the seeds.  They were already sprouting a bit when I gave them to the Grandfather. He is a retired pastor, but in his retirement was given a large piece of land out in the countryside.  He has spent the last several years developing a small congregation there, and planting trees on the land.  He has built a "country house." That is what he calls it.  Maybe it is