David and Nancy Slinde Speaking at their "Sending Service"

Thursday, March 12, 2009

March 12 Reflections

42 days after returning from El Salvador, it is preparations, preparations, preparations.

With the reality of moving into the new community in El Salvador comes the responsibility of what will our presence add to the community and each of the 30 BASE families. When we arrive, our starting point is to begin discussions with the leaders and community residents to become aware of their needs. What are they looking for or expecting of us? Many of the older residents can’t read or write. Younger moms drop out of school to start families. Often times the men are working far from home.

If the women want to start a micro business, they need to learn to read, write and develop math skills. If the community wants to organize the youth into sports, technical skills or gardening, where do we get the materials to begin? If they want to start a chicken project, do we start with a chicken or an egg?

And for Nancy and me, how do we prepare ourselves to be able to meet their expectations. Nancy and I have started visiting the West Bend Library to identify books to read in many categories. The subject matters are many due to not knowing what the community will identify as their common needs. Yesterday we met with Kandi O’Neil to learn of resources stored on the shelves of the 4H. We hope this will be another major resource for us.

David y Nancy

February 19 reflections

Sitting in church our first Sunday back, I realized it was my first worship in a month without a translator. Here I am free to enjoy God one-on-one. It made me realize how many of God’s creation still need translators to learn about the amazing death and resurrection of our Lord Jesus Christ. Whether children, neighbors, fellow workers, or friends in America or El Salvador, all need a translator to understand the love of Christ. Be a translator for Christ.

Our weeks back at have been spent following up on emails from friends in El Salvador, new emails from Salvadoran NGOs looking for grant money, following the email updates from the Rotary project in La Granja, finding time to tell many interested friends and family about the January journey, making plans for our summer departure to meet the requirements in El Salvador, and making plans here for our home and personal matters. It’s all become overwhelming.

We have met with the Directors of the Volunteer Missionary Movement to continue developing plans for our departure. We do not have a solid departure date as yet, but we are all working towards that goal. One responsibility I brought back was designing the community lodge and kitchen for the community center. This will be our residence for the two years in El Salvador. Another responsibility is to begin our fundraising of $10,000 for our support of our service for the two years

When we left, I told Nancy I had quit all of my volunteer activities here in West Bend. What a misconception! I am busier than ever with all my organizations and have in fact taken on a new one. Withdrawal is going to be very difficult.