Youth in El Salvador suffer a lack of both academic and leisure opportunities. As they transition from youth to adulthood, many are lost to drugs, gang affiliation, or the city, drawing them away from their families and the opportunity to provide for them by working the land. Though these issues can be complex, as we establish a more permanent presence in El Salvador, our eyes are focused on addressing the needs of youth to prevent them from falling prey to the bleak futures that swallow so many of their peers. (Pictured here: Matthew Parker)
Alison (Loope) Sherrod teaches an English lesson at The Basico, a rural school in San Juan Tecuaco, Guatemala. Latin America team members spent some of their early years of ministry working in Guatemala before moving down to El Salvador to establish a hub.
Elise Buckner conducts a prenatal appointment for a young Salvadoran woman. Buckner was able to live and apprentice with Dolores, a local midwife, for three months in 2011. The world needs more midwives like Dolores, and now Elise, who are able to advocate on behalf of women's needs and see that babies come into the world healthy and protected.
Betsy Johnson was able to help teach at the school in a rural community in 2013. She helped to teach in a classroom for 40 five to seven year olds. With the ratio of students to teachers at 40:1, Johnson's help in classroom management was welcomed by both the teacher of the class and the principal of the school.
Students in the Salvadoran public school system often lack the tools they need to do their homework, and to practice what they learn in order to learn effectively. For these children, a pencil and pad of paper on which to practice their letters is not guaranteed them. (The supplies seen here were distributed by our organization.) Such a lack of tools with which to learn greatly inhibits their ability to maintain and produce the understanding that a good education should foster.
In true Salvadoran style, the homes constructed in 2011 each have a wide porch that extends from the front of the house. The porches of our houses have become areas where we frequently extend hospitality to our neighbors, enjoying meals together, play games, facilitate times of worship and study of the Word, and even host tutoring sessions.
At the close of their 6-month stay in El Salvador in 2013, the Johnson, Watson and Reyes families were given a warm goodbye by our friends. Friends and neighbors both immediate and from surrounding rural areas came to wish them farewell, express their love for the families, and urge them to return again soon.
Rafael Reyes teaches a guitar class at the local school. Rafa designed and helped the students build practice fret boards that allowed the students to practice their finger placement, chords, and strumming without having to have access to a guitar at all times. The students enthusiastically practiced each night, and appreciated having an avenue to practice outside of class time. Students in this rural school had never had a guitar class offered to them, and Rafa was pleased to offer them an educational opportunity to apply building skills and creative problem solving to make such a useful tool for learning the guitar.
Lorena and William, a cousin duo, were students of Rafael Reyes when he taught guitar in the local school in 2013. Since meeting Lorena and William, our team has maintained contact and done consistent work with their community to continue to develop opportunities for the many youth there.
At the close of their 6-month stay in El Salvador in 2013, the Johnson, Watson and Reyes families were given a warm farewell by our friends. Friends and neighbors both immediate and from surrounding rural areas came to wish them farewell, express their love for the families, and urge them to return again soon.