David and Nancy Slinde Speaking at their "Sending Service"

Monday, October 8, 2012

El Salvador in West Bend Wi

Pastor Julio Chavez, our mission partner in Usulután, was in Milwaukee for 10 days, the guest of the Greater Milwaukee Synod. Julio was hosted by many old and some new friends. He had written that he wanted time to stay with us and he did for the last half of the Labor Day weekend. On Labor Day we toured West Bend and visited Casa Guadalupe, an education center which provides support services for Latinos recently arrived to our community. After lunch with friends at Jalisco’s, a Mexican restaurant in West Bend, we headed to the harbor in Port Washington to see the fishing and boating action on Lake Michigan. In the evening we cooked steaks on the grill with Wisconsin wild rice and sweet potatoes. He seemed to enjoy these new tastes. On Tuesday, we visited Ace Hardware and a Wisconsin based Fleet & Farm. Julio appreciated viewing hardware stores much different than the one in Concepcion Batres operated by his leadership team. He looked at and handled many products either thinking we could sell this or wondering what it was for. Then on to the feed mill where we explained how farmers order custom blended feed for their livestock to balance nutrient intake. In the afternoon Julio took a nap while we cooked the brats for the evening fiesta. Our church planned a pot luck fiesta to provide members an opportunity to meet Julio and to learn about the hardware store that Our Savior’s supported financially. With many pictures in Julio’s presentation, it was a powerful message of hope and sustainability for generations of young people. • With our mission of Social Justice in Community Development through business and job creation, the leadership team was encouraged to share a plan for a hardware store with us. They received our support and spent 5 months looking for an appropriate site in 3 different communities before selecting Concepcion Batres. The site is across the street from the city square in the heart of commerce where everyone passes by in their coming and going. • In developing the initial purchase order, the team determined they needed $12,000 cash for basic inventory and the purchase of a truck. Nancy and I took on the fundraising activity. • The formation of the business requiring many legal documents consumed much of the leaders’ time. They learned as they progressed and in this process were required to travel to the major cities to appear before the Federal Government for licenses and authorizations. • Alexis, Edwin and Juan Carlos define team work. They are dedicated to their church community. These three men did not take any salaries for the first 11 months, keeping profits in the business in order to continually expand the product line. They committed themselves in service to one another and to their family of faith in developing a healthy sustainable business enterprise. • The hardware store prices their products 10-20% lower to offer the working Salvadoran families the best possible price. “This strategy is our Evangelism” explained Pastor Julio. • Their future plans include opening more stores in and around Usulután. The gifts from Our Savior’s and other donors are a Living Donation, growing larger and stronger, benefiting the lives of current and future youth in the churches of El Buen Pastor in Usulután. This business venture is an excellent example of the impact of sustainable partnerships and sustainable projects. David y Nancy