International Ministries

Building a Dream of Peace in El Salvador

February 27, 2006 Journal
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Dear Brothers and Sisters,

How wonderful it is to build dreams of hope through faith in Jesus Christ. I arrived in El Salvador seven years ago. It was in the midst of two big hurricanes that I began my missionary work, Hurricane George in the beginning of October 1998, which devastated the island of Puerto Rico, and Hurricane Mitch on October 31, 1998.

I remember when I began going over the Cuscátlan Bridge – Puente Cuscátlan to get to the eastern part of El Salvador. At first, the cars were able to cross over the dam and then over a temporary bridge, which did not last for very long. In fact, the flooding caused by the hurricanes in October 1998 destroyed the bridge.

The earthquakes and the aftershocks that occurred in the beautiful country of El Salvador in 2001 really left me shaken. I arrived at the Cuscátlan Bridge – Puente Cuscátlan community to help those who were affected by the quakes with food supplies. This is the way that the mission, Bridge of Salvation – Puente de Salvacion began. From 2001 to 2002, we were like nomads in the community. We held Bible studies in different places and we also built 32 small shelters for those who had been affected by the earthquakes. All these ministerial efforts paved the way for the Baptist mission in Cuscátlan Bridge – Puente Cuscátlan. In June 2002, we were able to purchase four parcels of land. There we prayed with the people and at the same time we thought that it was necessary to have a place to worship as well as another place that the children could enjoy. In this place you can still see evidence of the civil war that was fought in El Salvador. There you can still see the remains of the bridge destroyed during that war, which connected the eastern and the central parts of the country. The children's park began with a donation from a church that inspired the hope of the brothers and sisters in this community to make their dream become a reality. In fact, the only swing that the community has is at the mission.

Finally, after making plans, sharing and telling other people and churches about them, the dream started to become a reality in the hearts of the people in the community, who work taking care of others homes, but do not even have homes of their own. They began to have aspirations of having an appropriate place for their children to play and for the people from the community to meet. The peace park represents this dream. We have thought about it being situated in the midst of a huge Ceiba tree, which is a silent witness to warlike conflict and now is a witness to reconciliation and love.

On Monday, February 20 we are going to get the land ready for building a huge wall that will protect the park. We are sure that this will be a source of hope, a place where the children can play, a healthy place for young people to gather, which will have playing fields and small shops so that the women can learn how to make crafts with corn husks and they will be able to have small businesses. We will conclude this project with a small retreat center for the Baptist churches, which do not have an appropriate meeting place. This is really an urgent need for all the churches. With the help of brothers and sisters from Rhode Island and Illinois, the dream began to take shape. They formed a committee to work on building the wall. With God's help and the people from the Cuscátlan Bridge community, we have started this significant work that will change the face of the community. First, God and prayers that are so necessary have been turning this dream into reality. We thank those persons who have given offerings so that this could actually become something concrete. If you would like to learn more about this project, please contact me at 3perla@navegante.com.sv