Natural Disasters

Working to Stop the Bleeding

As an organization our focus is primarily on development, utilizing a faith-based model with a focus on relationships, discipleship, and long-term commitment to our community. In January we were all excited about another year of working to help our clients continue to develop and grow. But then the whole world started bleeding. In El Salvador, we pivoted to staunch the flow. Our first move was to open an emergency shelter to provide a space for the homeless community to “shelter in place” when El Salvador went into martial law lockdown. We simultaneously pivoted to move the New Dawn Residential Program to a virtual model and suspended all of our regular programs. The order came to close emergency shelters and we pivoted once again to provide assisted housing and family reunification […]

When Success Means Faithfulness

  “God has not called me to be successful, He has called me to be faithful.”  – Mother Teresa How do you measure success in a pandemic? How can you even tell if you are carrying out your mission? Completing your work well? Completing your work at all? Somedays over the last five months have felt like a free fall. Then a stop. Adjust course. Fall again. Repeat. Changing circumstances, new normals, and complete upheaval have been standard operating procedure. First the shelter, then emergency relief, now finally…finally a reopening plan is in the works for us at Mission To El Salvador. But we still don’t know what things will look like in a month. All of our plans and projections for 2020 have been stripped away. The missions we […]

Obstacles and Opportunities

Today Christopher, coordinador of the New Dawn Residential Program, shares some of the ups and downs of developing a virtual program over the last months.  We are about to start our fifth month working virtually with the resdients of New Dawn and their families. There is no question that when our team began this process there were many doubts and umcertainties, but from the start we have seen God’s hand working in each one of the boys’ lives. The situation we have been through has put our program and staff to the test, and we have faced challenges that we’ve never seen before. We went from being a residential program to working 100% virtually. We are anxiously awaiting the day when we can return to our buildling and meet again […]

A Heartache of Pandemic Proportions

Last week in our virtual staff meeting we passed from one face to another checking in and hearing updates not only about work, but also about life. We are all experiencing the same painful things. Friends who have died, family members sick and suffering, weakened bodies from personal bouts with “the virus,” and the deep heartache of not being able to grieve alongside others who are ill and hurting. Our clients feel it too. Many of them have been sick, are hungry, and have no way to provide for their families. Heartache is spreading like a virus. In a culture where so much is lived in community, being apart is a poignant loss. Not grieving a death, praying together in person, or bringing chicken soup to a loved one’s bedside […]

Human Touch

Thank you to Alexia, one of our coordinators at the Lighthouse Resource Center, for blogging today about her own thoughts and struggles working with our clients during the COVID-19 pandemic. She provides great insight into unique challenges faced by Salvadorans during this time.  COVID-19 has been devastating to the world on so many levels that it’s impossible to focus on just one, but clearly one of the main ones is the way in which we relate to people. The famous “social distancing” has minimized physical contact. The use of masks, face shields, disposable gowns, and gloves have clearly marked how much people prefer (or should) distance themselves from others. The World Health Organization has created a campaign with short, but very significant phrases in order to make the world of […]

When It Rains, It Pours

El Salvador is still reeling from a tragedy on top of a tragedy. Last week in the middle of the ongoing health, economic, and democratic crisis brought on by COVID-19, Tropical Storm Amanda slammed into El Salvador’s coast and then leveled a direct hit on San Salvador causing major destruction. The storm arrived on Sunday night, and by the end of the week rain from another storm, Tropical Storm Cristobal, was also lashing the country. The rising waters left 27 dead from floods and landslides and thousands more homeless. Large chunks of highways collapsed, major roads were underwater, and just mud remains where houses once stood. The destruction was swift and complete in many communities. Many who didn’t lose everything still suffered damage from the winds and heavy rains. The […]

Waving the White Flag

We may all be weathering the same storm, but we are certainly not all in the same boat. I’m not sure where I first heard this sentiment over the past few months but it surely rings true in El Salvador. The unique challenge of this COVID-19 crisis is that it is a crisis unlike anything that we ever expected to face in El Salvador. I suspect that many working cross-culturally might find themselves thinking the same thing. We were tentatively prepared for an intense tropical storm, an earthquake, civil unrest, an uptick in violence, and other possible scenarios. But to experience something so devastating while the rest of the world also was thrown into chaos seemed unfathomable. Yet, here we are living through these extraordinary days. The COVID-19 pandemic has […]

Transitioning into the Next Phase…

We are so very grateful for all of you who have partnered with us over the last two months as we have ministered to our community by offering space for them to “shelter in place.” In El Salvador things continue to change each week. We are doing our best to adapt and change to provide the best care we can while seeking to navigate circumstances beyond our control. Right now that means transitioning into the next phase of our emergency response to the COVID-19 crisis in El Salvador. The Ministry of Health, the Ministry of Justice and Public Security, and other government agencies have worked closely with us in the management of the shelter. Over the last few weeks, the coronavirus has begun to spread extensively throughout El Salvador. It […]

Stay at Home

More words from Alexia, a case manager at the Lighthouse Resource Center… A few days ago, I was talking to someone about the current COVID-19 crisis and all of its implications. He mentioned his bosses were concerned because “if their clients lose their clients, than the business would lose theirs too” since they would no longer have a need for the company’s services. The economy is being hit hard by the COVID-19 crisis, the quarantines, and other necessary, but extreme, security measures that have been taken everywhere. The questions of “how?”, “why?”, and “when?” exacerbate the uncertainty that we are all feeling. Many times in these days, the lack of answers to these questions have left us feeling overwhelmed, tired, and even hopeless. That phrase, “if their clients lose their […]

Prayers for Holy Week

Can you imagine the roller coaster of emotions that Jesus’ disciples faced on that very first Holy Week? It seemed that all they dreamed would happen was coming true as the week began, but by Friday they were crushed, scared, and running for their lives. They had no idea that after that darkest of hours they would see resurrection firsthand. But how they must have struggled, and questioned, and weeped together. This year across the world we are forced to be still as we enter into Holy Week. There are no spring vacations, or family Easter dinners, or large and elaborate church services to plan. All of us have a moment to contemplate, to breath it in, to consider what it means to face death and to hope against hope […]

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