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Showing posts from 2022

Vacation Week: Coffee Stop above Lake Coatepeque

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During the first part of May, we went on vacation - in El Salvador. My husband and I and another couple from our US neighborhood decided to take a life break and do the touristy thing.  We traversed the country, from San Salvador to Auachupan to La Unión, driving along the coastal highway and enjoying plenty of good food and fun. This is a thing the four of us do together in the US, so we know that we are compatible travelers who can live together, drive a distance together, and agree on food places. In the US we do a lot of exploring of new places. Our mutual goal for the vacation in El Salvador was to relax, so we chose a mix of experiences that were tested out by my husband and me and some which were a little more unknown.  When traveling around in El Salvador, it is wise to use a guide for anything off the beaten path, to do your research, to enter neighborhoods with trusted folks and to confirm plans by phone shortly before you head out.  When the four of us travel, we follow the

Go, Team, Go! A Mission of Healing Story in Several Parts

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Plan. Train. Go! In a nutshell, this describes the Mission of Healing 2022: Plan , Train , Go. If you are coming into this story in the middle, you really should take a moment to click on PLAN and then on TRAIN . This episode celebrates GO.  CELEBRATES!  Yup, that all caps shout-out is so all of you sister church relationship coordinators and international companion synod cheerleaders in the back row can enjoy a celebratory trajectory moment with our Mission of Healing North team. Whether you've been working on a ministry project with your companions for 3 years, 5 years or 25 years, we suspect you know the challenges of visioning mutually, adapting with time and circumstances, and developing local sustainability - sustainability not only (or necessarily) in terms of local economic independence, but in terms of local local leadership, local leadership development, local creativity, and local enthusiasm.  During the Teach the Teachers event, we collected names and WhatsApp phone n

Do What You Can Do: A Mission of Healing Story in Several Parts

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The pandemic brought lots of changes to the way we could do ministry together, locally and globally. In 2020, we put on the Mission of Healing North Family Wellness Fair just before COVID locked down the world. In 2021, we did a year-long, remote, community education event.  In 2022, we jumped into a new era of community health education in El Salvador and created a training event called "Formación de Formadores" (we used "Teach the Teachers" in English).  2022 Teach the Teachers Event Curriculum Development As I mentioned in the previous installment of the Teach the Teachers story, the Salvadoran Lutheran Church Health Ministries Coordinator, Pastor Conchi, suggested we develop curriculum for the Mission of Healing North Teach the Teachers workshop with a focus on each of 4 human body systems:  Digestive, Circulatory, Respiratory and Reproductive. We started by planning the general information charla for each system. We created big colorful posters and simple

From the Pandemic Emerges a New Era: A Mission of Healing Story in Several Parts

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This is a story about the end of an era. We are reminiscent. We are thankful. We are relieved. We are proud. In February 2022, we celebrated 22 years of Missions of Healing in the northern region of the Salvadoran Lutheran Church. This was the last Mission of Healing North centered around the participation of a companion synod delegation. The preparations for the event took more than 6 months and the delegation was in El Salvador for 2 weeks. We are done. And we are not done. In a better-than-hoped-for way, the community health education plan begun during those 2 weeks is being implemented across the region by local teams. This is a "mission accomplished" success story with a happy trajectory. Photo of the 2022 Mission of Healing North delegation. (Photo credit:  Salvadoran Mission of Healing team) Photo of the 2000 Mission of Healing delegation. (2 team members not pictured) The idea for a new kind of Mission of Healing for 2022 evolved out of what we learned by attempting t

Fireworks, Chuco, Romero and Hope

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We got up at 4 AM so we could be in the community for the celebration in the madrugada (the wee hours of the morning). Most of the people who care about this tradition are grandparents now.  Well, we are too. We arrived at about 5:30. The light was on inside the church.  The streets were quiet except for the harmonies of the chicharras, the roosters and the songbirds waking in the trees.   Back in the day, the first fireworks exploded over ramshackle rooftops at 1 AM and 2 AM, and by 3 AM, people would begin to gather at the church. The women would have been up all night stirring the chuco and the men would start making speeches interspersed with traditional music pushed into the community over a loudspeaker. By 5 AM, the party was alive with children squealing at the fireworks and sparklers. Families would huddle together in the cool morning air, dunking their pan francés into their cups of warm chuco . The pastor would pray and lead everyone in singing Las Mañanitas (the traditional

Just Click: Passing the Pasarelas

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Typical pasarela in San Salvador.  I am maybe a little bit obsessed with pasarelas. This is the second time I am writing exclusively about pasarelas. My husband thinks I am weird because I take pictures of pasarelas while we are driving, and I have been known to stimulate our car conversation with an enthusiastic "Rats, I missed it! Did you see that pasarela?"  My husband's response is usually a dull, "What?" as I twist myself around toward the rear window to try to grab a picture of a flight of pasarela stairs as we whiz by.  Typical flight of stairs up to a pasarela. For those who may not know, "pasarelas" are pedestrian bridges which cross over busy roadways. Why do I notice them? I am a sort of nerdy engineer-type, but mostly, I think it's because Salvadoran pasarelas are almost by nature, ridiculous. A few weeks ago, I mentioned to my husband that I might write another pasarela story.  I think he said "whatever" or "why" an

Together Again in El Paisnal

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El Salvador shut down hard in March 2020. We made it out of the country just as the airport was closing down. We returned to the US and began a quarantine that would last much longer than anyone anticipated.  On March 12, 2020, we walked in the remembrance march from Las 3 Cruces (the 3 crosses) to El Paisnal, in remembrance of the murders of Father Rutilio Grande, Nelson Rutilio Lemus and Manuel Solórzano.  At that time, the faithful gathered in anticipation of the beatification of Father Rutilio. As always, it was a day filled with sunshine, music, flags, hats, friends, hugs, banners and stories.  Whenever we walk the 2-mile route together with friends, of course there are stories. We try to keep our personal tradition of participating in this annual pilgrimage, in part because our Lutheran Synod in Milwaukee has a shared history of accompaniment with Comunidad Rutilio Grande . There are 5 Salvadoran Lutheran Church communities in the vicinity of El Paisnal, and often, folks from the