David and Nancy Slinde Speaking at their "Sending Service"

Monday, November 13, 2017

In the winter of 2013, our Greater Milwaukee Lutheran Synod received proceeds from the sale of a church building and decided to use the money in ministry by asking churches in the synod for suggestions.  Still fresh from our living in El Salvador, we asked our local church leadership if they would support our writing a grant.

With our focus on Community Development, we submitted a grant for 10 technical school scholarships, women’s small business (chickens), and then family agriculture to create income.  Later we expanded the family agriculture project to include an experimental farm.  We received funding of $75,000 for these projects.

In previous blogs, we have reported on the first three, especially the scholarships for technical college and now we hear they are all working in their fields of study.

The experimental farm is very important as Central America is also dealing with climate change.  With the traditional planting of corn and red beans, these crops are vulnerable to severe storms, a result of climate changes.  However, a diversity of crops allows us to demonstrate that growing a little of everything ensures food security and products to sell in the market. 

The experimental farm is still in development.  The infrastructure has been developed over the past two years including:

  • ·         Conservation – preparing the land with channels of water drainage and sloping the soil
  • ·         Erection of a huge plastic hot house
  • ·         The reforestation of 13 aces with fruit trees

Our contractor of the projects is the NGO Executive Director Benjamin.  When his son Daniel was in West Bend for a summer internship at a local farm, we encouraged him to share the practice of hiring local people so they would also benefit from the projects.  When we visited in November 2016, Benjamin was quick to point out the men he hired to build dikes to protect the soil from erosion.  In a spot along the small stream, we could see erosion revealing the top soil was 6 feet deep.  That’s due to the leaves falling from trees every day and accumulating undisturbed.

The next steps at this experimental farm are to:

  •   Develop a value system for training in bartering for work and for food. 
  • ·Erect a building for a class room.

We are going to stop writing and share pictures we just received as they will tell the story better than words.


David y Nancy