Update on El Salvador 2008 Mission Trip
In less than three months, a team of six from St. Mary’s (Peter Chase, Ariel Acuna, Ann Wessel, Tom Riley, Tim Green, Paul Pyzowski) will join five people from St. Paul’s Episcopal Church in Natick (Mark McKone-Sweet, Ron Burns, Mary Erickson, Sandy Hall, and Joan Hellmuth) on a nine day trip to El Salvador.
The team will be staying in a dormitory attached to San Juan Evangelista (St. John’s), a former refugee camp and the largest Anglican church in El Salvador. The teams’ current itinerary includes Sunday worship and fellowship with our sister parish Santa Maria Virgen, located in a working poor neighborhood in the capital city of San Salvador. The team will also visit important Salvadorian religious and historical sites, as well as meet with Bishop Barahona at Diocesan headquarters.
Bishop Barahona has asked that the mission team spend part of their trip helping rebuild roads in the western mountain region of El Salvador. In 2002 the Anglican church in El Salvador built a new church, San Marcos (St. Mark’s) in a remote region near Izalco; Episcopal Relief and Development provided funding so that the church also had an adjacent clinic and community center. This being an area with persistent crime, the Salvadorian government also opened a police station nearby. (The pictures of the community of San Marcos below are from Paul and Mark’s trip there in June 2007.)
However, hurricanes in 2004 destroyed significant portions of the paved access roads. As a result, access to and from the area becomes difficult in the summer rainy seasons. With this isolation, the community cannot get to the market to buy/sell needed goods, and the Diocesan doctor cannot get in to provide service.
Last year’s Diocesan Mission Team to El Salvador, which included Paul and Mark, spent four days helping rebuild the access road to the community of San Marcos. This year’s effort will focus on rebuilding the road that goes past San Marcos, the community center and clinic, and the water cistern that stores safe drinking water for the community.
The Bishop has asked that our team provide both manpower to help the community in the construction, as well as raise funds to contribute to the cost of materials – the state government has said that funds for the construction supplies are not available.
We will provide more information as it becomes available. In the meantime, we ask that you keep this trip and the team members in your prayers.