Erik in 2009 (on far right)
Erik in 2006
Erik and family in 2002
Blessings and greetings to all my brothers and sisters around the world,
I would like to take this opportunity to thank you for your prayers. Each one of you has been an essential part of my ministry in El Salvador. Your presence, your letters and words of unconditional support strengthened me in times of difficulties. I can only say that God is faithful and that He fulfills His purpose in our lives when we are capable of exercising our faith and waiting on Him. God sent me to El Salvador in July 1998 and ten years later I was able to understand that the Mission entrusted to me has been fulfilled. The Baptist School of San Salvador (Colegio Bautista de San Salvador) has a very good Christian Education program. The program covers academic as well as pastoral areas. The time that I spent there was wonderful and what I learned in the daily sharing with my brothers and sisters has been very valuable for my life and ministry. I am in a period of transition where God has opened the door to serve in Peru. It is a new challenge and a new opportunity to continue to carry out the call that I have received from God.
This year the theme of the World Mission Offering is: Be Surprised by Walking in Different Shoes. This sounds good, but it is not so easy. Sometimes someone else’s shoes are too big, others are too tight, and there are ones that we simply do not like. Moreover if we really want to make a difference in our world we need to follow Jesus’ example. He walked in our shoes and although there were moments when walking in them was difficult; He continued to walk alongside us learning about each one of our needs and daily temptations. He was surprised by the needs of the poor and the rich in their social environment and walked in our shoes until fulfilling His redemptive mission for all humanity. Jesus came so that we would have life and that we would have it in abundance.
The celebration of life or of a birthday can be something simple and without much meaning in countries like ours, the USA and Puerto Rico. However for a teenager in a community in El Salvador, the celebration of a birthday can represent the realization of a Great Dream. This was the case with Erick, a boy that we met when he was only five years old. I visited Tacuba every year at least twice, and Erick was part of my family there. In June 2006, Erick had a Great Dream and in his innocence and with tears in his eyes he asked if my church in Puerto Rico could celebrate his next birthday with him. Erick will be ten years old and he never had a birthday party with a Piñata. He wanted to celebrate his birthday with his friends from school and from the neighborhood. We celebrated Erick’s 10th birthday and it was a wonderful event. We gave him his first bicycle and we shared toys with all the other children. In May 2009, a group of brothers and sisters from La Iglesia Bautista de Jerusalen (the Baptist Church of Jerusalem) in Puerto Rico visited our family in Tacuba, El Salvador. Erick was one of the first ones to arrive at our celebration of worship and gratitude to God. Erick did not come alone. He was accompanied by his Pastor, his grandmother and sister. He wanted to give us the news that at the age of 13, he had accepted Jesus Christ as his Savior and that his dream was to become a Pastor. It was so beautiful and meaningful to know that the seed sown in that child’s heart was bearing fruit. His life is different and his eyes look at life with hope and today Erick reads the Bible of this missionary who was surprised when he shared his Great Dream with her. Jesus walked in our shoes and taught us to live with hope even in the midst of the storms of life. Believe me brothers and sisters that although the shoes might be tight or too big, the important thing is to walk with our brothers and sisters to be part of fulfilling their Dream. To God be the glory, the credit, and all the honor.