Well, plane tickets and hotel rooms are booked, preparation is winding up, and Team El Salvador is just about ready to go!
On April 5th, less than six weeks from now, we’ll leave Saint John at 12 Noon, arriving in San Salvador, the capital of El Salvador, just after 7 PM. We’ll leave behind the familiar to immerse ourselves in an intense two-week experience that will undoubtedly challenge and stretch us in so many ways.
Linda Naves, Mike Howlett, and I are humbled by, and grateful for, the support of an amazing church family, as we prepare for what lies ahead. We aren’t going to El Salvador on a “holiday junket.” Rather, we go as a visioning team, on behalf of our church, to explore the possibility of a long-term partnership with Canadian Baptist Ministries and Enlace, an organization working on-the-ground in El Salvador, doing Christian Community Development. If this partnership comes to fruition, we will invest people from our church in relationally-focused ministry in El Salvador in years to come. But as importantly, people from Enlace (or even local churches in the country) will in some intentional way reach out to teach and grow us, too.
We as a team are humbled by the fact that our church family would entrust this awesome responsibility to us. We’re also profoundly conscious of our obligation to you. We go as “sent people” on your behalf to discern God’s leading for this work, and to report back with a positive recommendation only if we receive a clear direction from Him that animates our imaginations about how RiverCross can become effectively involved in ministry.
Our team is also aware of the active support you’ve shown us over the past few months by your keen interest, faithful prayers, and generous financial giving. God has indeed been good! We have sensed that “God is in this” simply by how He has worked through you to make sure that the team’s financial needs have been amply met. THANK YOU!
Because you’ve supported us in the ways just described, our team has actually been freed-up to just focus on preparing for this experience. We’ve been hard at work in fact since August 2017. There has been a lot of homework on our own, and we’ve also met together as a team on an almost biweekly basis. We’ve also connected-up with various resource people – in person or virtually – to help get us ready.
By reading books, watching teaching videos and documentaries, and spending time in conversation, we’ve invested ourselves in getting to know El Salvador, and in familiarizing ourselves with “best practice” principles for Christian Community Development work. More recently, we’ve begun a six-week crash course in basic Spanish – so that we can show respect simply by trying to speak a bit of the language. We’re also looking forward to a Skype conversation with a Salvadoran family in the near future – to provide us with a first-hand preview of what life is like in the country.
But the most important preparation we’re doing is spiritual in nature. We recognize that our task as a team is to go and envision God’s possibilities. So we’ve been practicing spiritual disciplines, individually and together, spending time in reading, reflection, and prayer throughout the past few months. And our preparation will culminate in a team spiritual retreat in mid-March. Why are we doing all this? To fine-tune our attentiveness to God’s voice and sensitivity to His heart.
What is God saying to us, in this moment, in this place? How is God’s heart being revealed to us among these people? These are the questions that will ultimately guide us throughout our time in El Salvador. And these are questions that we can only answer if we root our experience deeply in God. It’s as we recognize that we can’t do what we’re being sent to do in our own strength alone, that we will in fact be successful. “I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me” (Philippians 4:13) – it’s in the truth of that saying, so wonderfully expressed by the Apostle Paul, that we are now preparing.
So, we’re just about ready to go! But never ready to “go it alone.” Rather, we go in God’s strength to seek out His possibilities for the future. Please be supporting us with your prayers.