David and Nancy Slinde Speaking at their "Sending Service"

Friday, October 30, 2009

October 11

It’s just under 30 days before we depart to El Salvador for 2 years. The days are full of excitement and anxiety. On August 1 we started a 90 day count down to departure that entails legal, financial, taxes, documents for residency, doctor/dentist visits and fundraising.

Last week we had a meeting with Julia, the executive director of Volunteer Missionary Movement (VMM). We learned more about our placement. Our local VMM contact in El Salvador is Danny. Danny and Bishop Gomez of the Salvadoran Lutheran Church have a placement for us in the Eastern Region under the leadership of Ana Rosa.

Ana Rosa has responsibility for 6 churches that are served by Pastors Julio, Miguel, Alejandro Hernandez, Pedro Vigil.

The churches work closely with OIKO Solidaridad on environmental issues involving the watershed of the Rio Grande in San Miguel. They also have a chicken project and an agricultural project in Piedra Azul and a shrimp farm in Puerta Prada. The Germans have a strong present in this area having started NGO’s INKOTA and PROCOMES. The three names can be googled to view their web sites. They all have a focus on food security, environmental issues and education to mitigate the risk associated with the hurricanes, tropical storm and earthquakes.

We will also need to have a series of meetings with these leaders for our specific responsibilities for the next two years. It does not seem realistic to serve 6 church communities; therefore we need to commit to a set of written goals between us, the community and VMM. The church communities have housing options that we will investigate when we arrive.

For those of you receiving an email from us for the first time, our journey to El Salvador is our response to the sacrifice of Christ on the Cross and his endless blessings on our marriage and family. We have two beautiful grandchildren who we will not see for a year. Our children have agreed to release us to El Salvador as they know this is a call from God. We are giving up our participation in an amazing community where volunteering is a way of life. We are also giving up travel, the arts, and many friendships.

On the other hand, just imagine what we will gain on this journey. Just imagine what God has in mind for the next two years!

David y Nancy

September 16

Our move to El Salvador is in November.

After a great deal of prayer, many meetings here in the US and also in El Salvador, Volunteer Missionary Movement (VMM – our sponsoring organization) has a placement for us within the Lutheran Church of El Salvador. We will be in the vicinity of San Jorge in the state of San Miguel.

We will be working with Pastor Julio’s congregation and others of the Eastern Micro-Region. Bishop Gomez and VMM have worked together on this placement. Bishop Gomez feels that our presence can help strengthen the Lutheran Churches in the area.

Our plan is to travel to El Salvador the first week of November to visit the community. Then we return to San Salvador for an international gathering of Partner Churches, then eight weeks of Immersion School. We will be in our community in January 2010.

This placement is very exciting for us. While we have met Pastor Julio and Nancy has visited his church, somethings are familiar, but a whole lot more is unknown and offers much excitement.

The people of El Salvador are very gracious and open; building relationships should come naturally. The Lutheran Church in El Salvador ministers to the poorest of the poor. We hope and pray our time with them will bring improvement in their community through better health practices, education, job creation, and spiritual encouragement.

We will resume our blog as we prepare for departure. Touch base with us at http://oslcslinde09.blogspot.com/