Showing posts from July, 2020

Spicy Smoke, A Cat and A Farewell Hug

We received some sad news.  Gonzalo died. Gonzalo and his wife Lucia were among the founding families in the community.  They were among the first to meet us, among the first to host us in their home, among the first whose names and smiles were etched into our hearts. We haven't seen Gonzalo for a while.  It has been hard to visit homes in the community since 2013 when the gangs made some strict rules about that.  Gonzalo and Luci lost a son to gang violence.  Every now and then I see Lucia selling food from a little table out in the street.  Her face lights up the moment she recognizes a friend from the hermandad (sister church).  Lucia has always been a good cook.  One time, almost 20 years ago, my friend and I spent a week walking from home to home in the community, visiting with families, and I wrote about a particular visit with Luci... Lucia invited us in.  She gestured for us to sit down on the sofa, near to the fire so we could chat while she continued her cooking.  I remem

Cancelled Trips does not mean Cancelled Ministry

As we discuss some of the challenges we are facing in partnering during a pandemic, travel seems like perhaps one of the lesser worries on our minds.  After all, most of us are still trying to figure out safe ways to see our kids or grandkids or parents who are across town.  Packing up, getting on a plane, and traveling to El Salvador is pretty far down the planning list. In the Salvadoran Lutheran Church solidarity network, the US summer is prime time for travel.  Many delegations visit during late July and early August to celebrate partnership anniversaries and to participate in the annual August festivities.  Of course, in 2020, these visits are all cancelled or postponed.  Throughout the year, delegations visit in coordination with different ministry programs which focus on Sunday School teacher training, health education, health and wellness in communities, sewing projects, potable water advocacy and projects, agricultural projects, community sanitation, recreation activities for

Partnering During a Pandemic: What's Happening in Home School?

The conversation about how best to re-open schools is currently filling our social media feeds and news outlets, locally, nationally and internationally.  In the US, July and August bring "back-to-school" sales in the stores, and even though families seem less than excited about shopping right now, good-hearted, generous, smart shoppers are starting to ask if education ministries "need anything."   Whether sparked by the arrival of back-to-school sales or the general angsty conversation about re-opening schools, those who support education initiatives and ministries in El Salvador, are asking about the current situation in El Salvador and how the solidarity network can be most supportive, not only for 2020, but with a look forward to 2021. In El Salvador, during the end of June and beginning of July, students are completing their current grading cycle in advance of the August week of vacation.  Since March, students have been studying at home. During the lockdown (w