After working at the school in the morning, hauling all the dirt a person could ever want to haul, we shared a lunch and then a final conversation with Pastor Santos. It was a time to reflect on our Caminando Juntos, walking together, and share what Broadway and the Iglesia Salem, Salem Church, have learned with one another and to give an account of the hope that is within us.
We both shared our profound appreciation for the other, joy that God has brought us together, and hopefulness for our futures. One of the important links between our two congregations has been reaching out to those with disabilities – capacidades especiales. The mayor’s office and the municipality have been drawn into this ministry in significant ways, saying that the Salem Church is the first to reach out to the community in the way that it has. In addition, there is even talk about the formation of a school for those persons, something directly attributed to the efforts of the church – an inspiration to all.
As a part of this shared concern, we also explored how the church could be involved in a garden program for the disabled. Conversation also included a discussion of how the PET vehicle, manufactured in Columbia, could be of use for those without mobility in their legs.
The closing dedication of the school program included the traditional speeches of appreciation, attendance by community leaders, cultural songs and dances, and the family of Gabby – the young woman with disabilities whose family will soon have a new home.
It was such a pleasure to give little gifts as signs of our solidarity with our new brothers and sisters. They included books in Spanish, a Bible for Pastor Santos, a hand crafted communion bread plate made from native Missouri wood by an artist in Central Missouri, and some soccer balls for their favorite sport. The church has a budding team and we may surprise them with common jerseys or uniforms in the future.
Tomorrow we tour the capital city, visiting the historic sites especially familiar to us through the Salvadoran civil war – the chapel where Romero was murdered, the National Cathedral that includes Romero’s grave, and the site of the murder of the six Jesuits. We will visit the top of the beautiful volcano, Bocaron. Of course, we will visit the market place to see the work of the artisanos.
On Saturday we travel toward home, returning late that night. I arise the next morning to rejoin my own church family, as dear to God as those with whom I have most recently shared life. You see, somos todo juntos, we are all together, here, there, everywhere.