Crossing Cultures

Independence Day Weekend

I hate when the blog starts to fall behind, but it’s inevitable with crazy weeks like this past week’s party madness. So, I am finally getting around to an update about Independence Day weekend. Independence Day in El Salvador is on September 15th. On that day in 1821 El Salvador declared independence from Spain. Today it is celebrated through special events in schools, towns, and all kinds of public places. This year we had the added bonus of a three day weekend because the holiday fell on a Monday. Some Salvadoran friends invited us to their “rancho” on the beach in the eastern party of the country where we have never been before. El Salvador never falls to surprise and delight me and this weekend was no exception. The beaches are […]

Just Barely

This month marks 5 years (5 years!!!) since we moved out of the quiet suburbs of Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania and into the new reality of cross-cultural ministry. I remember starting out on our journey and feeling like I was taking my first steps onto a big, tall mountain. The adventure was thrilling and the climb surely seemed possible. God felt so close, like He was breathing there right beside me. So many days He still does, and the adventure is still thrilling. But sometimes the climbing gets rough, and we reach places that we just can’t pass. Things like the death of a parent, a cancer diagnosis, or a tragic accident. These impassable places knock the breath right out of us and bring us to our knees. Or maybe the slow […]

Election Day

Today Presidential elections are being held in El Salvador. A new President is elected every 5 years, so this is the first time we have been in the country for a presidential race. Things are a little different in El Salvador, as we saw this morning as we drove to church and passed buses with various party colors weaving through traffic to get voters to the polls. The polling places had the usual traffic you see in the States, plus pick-up trucks waving party flags lining up to drop off passengers. El Salvador also has some unique policies for elections. We read in the paper yesterday that polling places are established along gang lines so that no one has to cross into another gang’s territory to cast their ballot. In […]

The Big Picture

It’s so easy for me to get focused on my own little corner of the world…the things I have to do this week, the day to day frustrations, and even the big seemingly insurmoutable problems. I can quickly feel like we are the only ones fighting these battles. Last week, our friends the Mullinaxes invited us to participate in a symposium sponsored by their mission. They are a fellow missionary family serving in El Salvador and they are involved in very similar ministry areas. It was refreshing to be there and here about other missionaries working in Latin America. We were able to learn, gain some insights, and even share a bit of our own experience doing street ministry in San Salvador. By the end of the week, I was […]

Settling In…Again

We made it back to El Salvador last Thursday night and the weekend was a whirlwind of filling our empty refrigerator, buying school uniforms, and covering books and materials with plastic in preparation for the first day of school. This morning, the kids climbed into Jon’s big red truck and headed off to school for the start of a new year. I got a lump in my throat watching them wave good-bye and start First and Fourth Grades. With the start of school, and a return to our regular routine we are back into Spanish, San Salvador traffic, and life in El Salvador. Our time in the States was wonderful and the good-byes were hard (as they always are), but it’s good to be settling back in where we belong. Ready […]

Rest for the Weary

“Are you tired? Worn out? Burned out on religion? Come to me. Get away with me and you’ll recover your life. I’ll show you how to take a real rest. Walk with me and work with me – watch how I do it. Learn the unforced rhythms of grace. I won’t lay anything heavy or ill-fitting on you. Keep company with me and you’ll learn to live freely and lightly.”   (Matthew 11:28, the Message translation)   This summer we’ve had our feet in 11 States, we’ve met with churches, organizations, and individuals that love El Salvador. We have seen the Statue of Libery, swam in Nana’s pool, had cousin sleepovers, and watched the kids hold their newborn niece. We’ve been prayed over, and we’ve prayed for. We’ve talked and talked about our […]


Six weeks ago we arrived in the U.S. for the start of our furlough. The first week I was still exhausted from all the end of the school year, packing to leave, wrapping up work madness that was our last month in El Salvador. It took at least a week to get the tension out of my shoulders! These past six weeks have been a mix of relaxing, time with family, visiting with friends,speaking in churches, and updating friends and supporters. The kids have taken it all in stride and they have especially loved playing with all of their cousins. We have traveled a lot this summer and they have transitioned well, but they have asked about our house, and they’ve mentioned eating pupusas a few times. It is strange […]

Wrapping Up

The last few weeks have been a whirlwind of activity around here. We have been wrapping up ministry and house stuff as we prepare to leave for our 8 week home assignment. We’ve also had all of the end-of-the year kids stuff…school parties and awards ceremonies, and today they competed in a tournament sponsored by their karate school here in El Salvador. Eight weeks is a long time to be gone, and wrapping things up so that we can get on a plane tomorrow has been a bit of a challenge. But here I am surrounded by suitcases and almost ready to go! We are so excited to see family and friends, to reinforce English with our kids, to share about what is happening in El Salvador, and to get […]


Yesterday I made a quick stop at our local supermarket. I ran in and ran out and just as I was stepping off the front steps and onto the parking lot a feeling of rightness washed over me. The afternoon sun was slanting at just the angle to throw a golden haze over everything, and the sounds and smells of the city swirled around me…horns honking, warming oil from the woman selling tortillas on the side of the road, sun-baked pavement, and the smell of exhaust as cars raced around the circle in front of me. It’s strange, I know, but I felt like I was touching something familiar…like I was home. That word “home” is one that I can’t pin down anymore. It’s here and it’s there. Many of you have followed me on the ups […]

24 Hours of Christmas

We hope that all of our friends and family around the world had a very Merry Christmas! We began celebrating on the evening of the 24th, as is the tradition in El Salvador. We started out by going to a party in our neighborhood, then on to another friends’ home for dinner around 10:00, and then visited more friends close to midnight. We arrived home in time to watch fireworks all over the city from our terrace, and then we slept for a few hours before waking up  early to celebrate “American” Christmas by opening presents, swimming with friends, and eating Christmas dinner. We were also blessed to have our friend Roberto celebrating with us on the 24th and 25th.  By around 8pm on Christmas we were wiped out! Here are […]

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