Life in El Salvador

For Freedom – Por la Libertad

“It is for freedom that Christ has set us free. Stand firm, then, and do not let yourselves be burdened again by the yoke of slavery.”      Galatians 5:1 What does freedom mean to you? Think about that…what does it mean to truly be free? For political prisoners, it means freedom of expression. If you owe a debt, freedom is having economic means. If you are locked in, opening the door is the way to freedom. For so many in El Salvador, freedom means being able to flourish, to grow, to breathe and live without fear or stress or worry. Unfortunately, the situations that face our clients pose great barriers to that kind of freedom. Their lives are complicated as things like entrenched poverty, hopeless violence, and the lack of […]

World Cup Fever – Fiebre Mundial

All month long, soccer has dominated every conversation and public space. It doesn’t matter that El Salvador’s national team didn’t even qualify (neither did Team USA by the way). Favorite teams, players, and predictions about the final are on the TV, the radio, and everyone’s minds. One of the beautiful things about the World Cup is the community that surrounds it. Our staff have had a contest going to see whose team would last the longest. It has been a great opportunity to forget about the stress of work, and just have some fun together. It’s very much needed when so much of what we do revolves around addressing heavy things like addiction and abuse. The World Cup has helped us to open our doors to our wider community as […]

Today I Saw Jesus – Hoy He Visto Jesús

Today I saw Jesus in one of my co-workers. This particular man recently suffered some significant health challenges. He had every right to call out sick and not show up in the office today. But he did anyway. You see, he directs a micro-enterprise where our clients get a fresh start making cards. He is their biggest fan…encouraging them, cheering them on, helping them to reach for healing and new life. They were here to work and so he was here too. This simple act of selflessness, of love for others, reminded me of who Jesus is and why we do any of this. I aspire to have this kind of dedication, this compassion, this deep love that says “others before me.” Instead I so often focus on my own […]

Expectation vs. Reality – Expectativas vs. Realidad

Laura Bubar, an art teacher from Maine,U.S.A worked as a volunteer for five weeks with us, here are some of her thoughts on the experience… Any time we begin a journey or step out and take a risk, we have expectations. We make assumptions about what that journey will look like or what the consequences of that risk will be. I entered a journey here in El Salvador five weeks ago and despite my best efforts to make no assumptions, I had formed expectations for my journey. Two years ago, while researching ministries in El Salvador, I came across the website for Mission To El Salvador. My cautious heart then followed their work (from a safe distance) for the next two years, reading this very blog, and watching to see the work […]

Being a Woman in El Salvador, Part 2 – Ser una Mujer en El Salvador, Parte 2

Being a woman in El Salvador means being strong, courageous, and inventive. It means not giving up. It means working, raising children, and moving forward in your life. Too often, it means doing all of these things alone. In 2015 185,625 women in El Salvador were registered as the head of their households according to an official survey conducted by OISS (Organización Iberoamerica de Seguridad Social). Of that number 2,689 of those women registered were between the ages of 15 and 19. These women are supporting their homes economically and emotionally and most often without the help of a husband or partner. There are many single moms involved in our programs, and I admire each and every one of them. They earn money for their families, raise their kids, and […]

Blog Series: Being a Woman in El Salvador, Part 1 – Ser una Mujer en El Salvador, Parte 1

A few months ago I read a story that has haunted me ever since. A 13 year old girl walked from her house to the local tienda to buy paper to finish her homework. On the way she was murdered for her cell phone. Sadly, her story is not an isolated incident. Too often my stomach turns as I read another story of violence against women in the news, hear of another femicide, or talk with one of our female clients about her life. El Salvador is such a beautiful country with such beautiful and strong women, but statistics show us that those women are at risk. Latin America as a region has high rates of femicide, sexual abuse, and exploitation against women. El Salvador has consistently been one of the region’s […]

A Salvadoran Perspective on the Violence

Photo Credit: La Prensa Grafica Today Oscar Garcia is guest blogging to share with us his perspectives on the violence in El Salvador.  El Salvador is a small country with big problems. Like a tiny boat in the middle of a raging sea, our country is rocked day after day. As Salvadorans we feel the weight of rapid population growth, financial strain, soaring violence, and political distress. We struggle, and strain, and row against the wind and waves just to get the through the day. We, the people of El Salvador, feel like we are caught in a vicious cycle, like a crazy ride that we just can’t get off. Difficulty after difficulty, catastrophe after catastrophe…and there is no rest from the cruel circumstances that clash with our desire to live […]

Traffic

Last week Jon and I set out to try to spend some time together that wasn’t with the kids, or at work, or in a meeting somewhere. It was Monday night and our day-time housekeeper decided to stay overnight so we took advantage of the unexpected childcare. With smiles and light hearts we said good-bye to the kids and jumped in the car. That was our first mistake. We got on the road and headed toward one of the movie theaters in the city. As we merged into traffic, it immediately stopped. Completely. And didn’t move. At all. We looked at each other, and the time, and assured ourselves that surely we could make the 6:30 movie starting in 45 minutes. After all, we only had 4 miles to go. I laugh […]

An Afternoon in Ataco

Well, this is not a travel blog, but I still like to share bits and pieces of what El Salvador is like. There is a colonial legacy here that adds to the color and history of the country. Learning about culture and history are important elements to take into account when living and serving outside of our own contexts. There is value in seeking to understand the story that someone else has behind their life. A month or so ago the kids and I spent the afternoon with some friends in the colonial town of Ataco. We really enjoyed just walking the cobblestone streets, and exploring some local shops. I always enjoy when I get to be out of the city and be a tourist in El Salvador. The day was […]

Earthquake in El Salvador

Last night we experienced a 7.4 earthquake in El Salvador. We are used to tremors but this one felt a lot bigger! I felt like the whole floor was rolling back and forth. We were fine, and in San Salvador there was no major damage reported. East of us was much closer to the epicenter and local news is reporting three deaths as well as power outages and approximately 20 collapsed homes. Please pray for those affected, and thank you for continually keeping our family in your prayers! You can read about the earthquake here: http://edition.cnn.com/2014/10/14/world/americas/central-america-earthquake/index.html