David and Nancy Slinde Speaking at their "Sending Service"

Sunday, October 24, 2010

The Return

Our home church provided us an entire weekend to share about our mission. It was a good time for us to reflect on our past 10 months and our future VMM project, church programs, and how we can be intentional in our witness to our Christian faith.

We finished packing Monday afternoon to wait for the airport shuttle. We returned with many school and Sunday school supplies, thanks to the generosity of family and friends. Concerned about the additional cost and airline allowance of 8 suit cases, we hurriedly purchased the biggest suitcase available. After many adjustments, we had 2 carry-ons and 4 large suitcases. The monster came in at 49.5 pounds. We left for the airport to spend the night in the motel across the street.

Our day started Tuesday at 3:00 am. Security checked every item in our two carry-ons. Our tube of tooth paste and ivory soap bars made us suspicious characters.

As the plane left the gateway in Milwaukee, the pilot announced the plane would not steer. The runway was to the left but the plane would only turn right. It took 40 minutes to return to the gate. We deplaned and waited. After multiple announcements that contradicted the previous announcements, we were all completely confused with no idea of our fate. Two hours later we left Milwaukee for Houston. Of course we missed our connecting flight. Our US phone could not make international calls. With a 7 hour delay and friends waiting for us in San Salvador, we begged to use the Internet at the Continental President’s Club. We emailed our friends, but they were already at the airport. Later in the afternoon they called us confirming pick up at 8:30 pm. More protection and mercy for two exhausted travelers!

After waiting 7 hours we boarded and left for San Salvador. We landed at 7:30, the last plane that evening and low number of passengers; we got through immigration and customs quickly. With 6 suitcases, customs did not want to start something that could take hours. We were the last passengers at the airport when our friends arrived. They had decided we would sleep at their house in San Salvador and leave for Batres in the morning. A great decision for us since we had no energy left and just wanted to sleep.

Another early day, we got up at 5:30 and hit the road at 6. In Batres at 9:00 am. The house is still here along with all its contents. A week long wind and rain storm made it a filthy mess of dirt and leaves. After two hours of serious cleaning, it smells and looks fresh. Now we unpack and get organized.

Some can goods left for dinner and cold beer. It will do for us until we shop in the morning. We also brought with us worship CD's and familiar and loved singers. Right now Josh Groban is comforting us with beautiful gentle music. Another gift for our whole beings.

In other words, we arrived safely. We are well and once again adapting to a different environment. More updates when the action begins this coming week.

David y Nancy

Monday, October 11, 2010

From Home

We are writing this journal from our home in West Bend. When we arrived home the first week of September, the leaves were green. Now we see a medley of yellow, orange, gold, green and red. As the foliage thins, the neighbor’s barn is in view. This week we had frost, a reminder that the march to the cold and white is approaching.

Our first 15 days were spent addressing fundraising for our food security project with Oikos and funding for programs with our 4 churches in Usulután. As we shop for items to take back, we are reminded of the abundance we have in the US. Nancy and I grew up in modest environments, but compared to Salvadorans we grew up privileged. We know we are a blessed couple, this is a blessed country, and we look forward to extending the blessing to our brothers and sisters in El Salvador.

We took a break from fundraising and supply shopping to enjoy our children as they arrived to spend time with us. The grandchildren are beautiful with another on the way in April. They all returned to their homes safely to resume their busy lives.

A young confirmand from our church in West Bend has been collecting money for a sports program in Usulután. When we mentioned it to the Salvadoran church leadership they were very excited about the possibilities and suggested that David be a player on the home team. The futball field looks mile long and a half mile wide. With the 100 degree heat and humidity, it might not be the appropriate exercise at this time of life.

The professional soccer (futball) field in Usulután is beautiful with lush green grass, bleachers, and scoreboard. On game days, the street in front of the stadium is closed to traffic. Street vendors line both sides of the street selling tortillas and pupusas. Thousands of people arrive by bus. The soldiers escort the referees in; when the game ends the referees and soldiers run for the exit.

Now we “gear up” for our return. Packing a few new clothes, our bags are flush with school supplies donated by friends and family, games, and educational materials. Nancy brings more than English to the class room, engaging the students in active participation in the lesson. Some merely memorize but we want them to think. While Nancy makes the classes stimulating and thoughtful, we also want to expand their confidence by providing materials that stir their creativity and thinking skills.

We return with peace in our hearts received from the encouragement of our friends and family of faith in West Bend. We are confident that God who has begun a great work for us will bring all things through to completion.

David y Nancy