June 13, 2019
What a joy it has been for me to greet and “host” Heartland’s El Salvador delegation. I am in a unique position in that I am serving as interim Mission Co-Worker as well as being a member of this fabulous church. For all the other delegations, I am just their co-worker!
The biggest joy for me is the number of people from Heartland who felt the call to travel to share this experience and to personally get to know the blessed and grace-filled people of this country.
Today was full of history. They heard testimonies of violence, pain, fear and desperation. We visited the National Cathedral where Monseñor Oscar Romero is laid to rest. He was martyred for speaking truth and calling for people to cease the repression and killing. He preached a ‘violence of love.’ Always based on the gospels.
We visited the Divina Providencia: a hospital for terminally ill cancer patients run by Carmelite nuns. Oscar Romero had a small residence on the premises. This is where he chose to live while he was Archbishop rather than in a palace befitting his station. He said ‘compared to my people who live in cardboard boxes… this is a palace’ (referring to his one room lodging behind the chapel).
He was assassinated March 24, 1980 while serving mass at their chapel for speaking the radical truth of the gospels.
We visited the UCA (University of Central America). This is where 6 Jesuit priests, their housekeeper and her daughter were massacred. The priests were labeled subversives who were accused of storing and supplying arms to the guerrillas. In reality, they were teaching truth and justice; educating in a more liberal manner and helping to create Christian Based Communities where lay-people were trained to be spiritual leaders within their own communities.
We heard of great atrocities. But we also heard messages of grace and hope. Those who chose to bear witness to this ugly past do so in hopes that these atrocities will never occur again.
After a full morning, we took a lunch break at the local artisan market after which the delegates were able to find some treasures to bring home.
Then began the long 2 and a half hour drive up to Berlín. After we settled in, we had a lovely supper and got straight to work counting children’s vitamins, acetaminophen and band-aids and putting them all into snack sized zip lock bags. We created the health kits for our 46 families in Tablón Cerna. Thank you, Heartland congregation members, for so generously making those purchases so we could share them with our brothers and sisters in Cerna!
Wish you were here to help us deliver!