Today was our first full day in the capital of San Salvador and we spent the majority of the day immersing ourselves in the culture and focusing on our purpose and connection with the people of El Salvador. We started the day with breakfast and a time of sharing to reflect what it means to be “radical” for God by staying focused on what is in front of us, being present and not looking back.
Our first stop of the day was to the El Salvador Cathedral in the heart of downtown to reflect on the heritage of the people and pay our respects to Archbishop Oscar Romero, the man most famous in El Salvador for the love of those that he fought for that are less fortunate in this county. He served only three years as the
Archbishop of El Salvador but was unfortunately assassinated in 1980 while serving the Catholic mass which was the spark that started the civil war. His legacy will live forever in the hearts of the people here for the love he demonstrated to the common person. It just goes to show that it is not about how long one serves in a community, but the impact and lasting effects that is delivered and felt by those in the local community. Our next stop of the day took us to Iglesia El Rosario to observe the artistic rendition of Christ’s crucifixion and resurrection and the overall beauty of the architecture of the church.
We then made the trek up the steep mountain terrain of El Boqueron, one of the many volcanoes scattered throughout the El Salvadorian mountains. We took in the awe inspiring views that helps shape the landscape of this beautiful country. God must have known that we needed some extra exercise, because along the way we had to walk off the papusas from Friday night on two different occasions to complete our climb due to too much weight in our minivan. However, this gave us the opportunity to interact with people along the way and take things in on a more personal level.
Next we stopped by the local Wal-Mart…yep, they have one those here along with many of the usual fast food suspects that you would expect to see the in US… to pick up food and supplies for our house building excursion which starts by driving to the site tomorrow afternoon. Before that could happen though, we had to be tested. Along with a family of three, which had a young boy about four years old and pregnant mother, we got stuck in the elevator between the parking garage and store for about thirty minutes. Needless too say, we passed that bump in the road with flying colors, made some new friends along the way and of course captured some hilarious memories as well.
We then traveled back to Love and Hope Children’s Home, albeit a little late from our extended grocery shopping experience, and ate the tacos that the children and staff prepared for us and then we all went to the local park to play the game Tantarro. This game is known to many in the US as “kick-the-can” except for down here you play the game with a soccer (futbol) ball…imagine that! That was actually just what the doctor ordered for us, as it helped us to connect further with the all the children and helped us to run off our meal before bedtime. However, I’m still attempting to figure our how the “alto gringo” was volunteered to be “Tantarro” for the second half of the game…I’m sure that must have been a God thing! Nonetheless, we are very excited about what God has in store for us tomorrow as we’ll attend La Union Church with the kids and afterwards, travel to Usulutan where we’ll be helping build the home for Kevin and his family. To God be the Glory!
- Rodney Zehner
El Salvador - Nov 2016