Update from April Mission to El Salvador
In April, Marco Arroyo and Matthew Parker (our Latin America Regional Manager) met up with Lavinia Fernandez on the field in El Salvador for a power-packed time of ministry. Parker was humbled as he witnessed the fruit of years of labor, and shares some of the details of his time here.
The first day of our mission was spent doing some of the things development workers don’t always talk about: paperwork and legal issues. This is a big part of operating as an NGO in a foreign country, and combining multiple languages on top of legal terms is no simple task. Nonetheless, it needs done and the Lord gave us so much favor, allowing us to complete all our tasks within one day!
The following day we hosted a meal for the leadership (La Directiva) in the area where we minister (Sitio Nuevo). What was really special about it was that it was all prepared and served by our interns. Similar to our Institute students in the U.S., they are learning the biblical value of hospitality all the while working hard to offer the service with excellence.
Together, our leaders and the local council discussed various projects that both groups are organizing for the coming year. They were quite impressed with the service at the meal, but even more so our heavy emphasis on youth empowerment that they’ve been able to witness in the last several months. The President of the group even shared that he felt compelled to grow in his relationship with his own son, and that after the meal he was going to go spend some intentional time with him! We’re not sure there could be a more positive review of our work than that! They concluded by telling us that we have their full support and they will encourage even more youth to frequent our campus for our weekly events.
On Sunday we were asked to share the Word at a local church. I shared one of my favorite parables--the treasure hidden in the field. In Spanish the word for field is campo and rural Salvadorans who work in agriculture are called campesino, literally: poor field/farm worker. Culturally, the term campesino is used by city folks to speak derogatorily of those who are on a lower socio-economic rung. So, you can imagine that a story about a treasure hidden in a campo would be quite surprising, and even more so when you hear there is someone who sold everything to buy it! I then went around the church and pointed out the youth whom we have worked with over the past few years, and what the Lord has done in their lives. In the end, we all rejoiced together for the treasure found in this rural church, situated on the campo.
Following our very exciting Recursos release, we worked with the interns for a full day of Bible study and life skills (think, time management, budget making and living away from home for the first time). We laid out their responsibilities for the next three months and projected goals regarding agricultural and development projects. They were so excited!
Finally, we spent time troubleshooting a new slow drip irrigation system we installed in December. Combined with an enlightening documentary, our garden manager realized that he was using too much water and too much time. It was great to watch him come to the conclusions after a thought-provoking film and conversation.
We reflected together on Proverbs 13:23, noticing the good condition of the land, but how the lack of education or empowerment often leads to food scarcity.
We left with a renewed vision for the garden and with plan to maintain consistent communication between Antonio and our ecologists here in Antioch. It is an important relationship that has the potential to bear so much fruit…literally.