LaGrange Mission Team to El Salvador Update
The team from the LaGrange District successfully completed our mission to Ahuachapán, El Salvador in helping to build relational bridges between the two countries through its churches. This was the third mission team to visit El Salvador from the LaGrange District since the Bridges Initiative was instituted by the North Georgia Conference. The team consisted of nine members of various churches within the LaGrange District: Rev. Tommy and Vicki Holder from Whitesburg UMC, Rev. Angie and Gene Crummie from Trinity, Durand UMC, Paulina Dominique from Warren Temple UMC, Blair and Laura Harlin from LaGrange First UMC, Maggie Clarke from Fayetteville First UMC, and Neil Wilson from Woodbury UMC.
During the preparation phase of team development, the District received donations from many churches in the District that helped offset the costs of the mission projects. We also received laptops, clothing, school supplies, and medications to take to El Salvador. Thank you so much for your extravagant generosity!
We participated in the construction of the church building at El Shaddai Evangelical Methodist Church in Ahuachapán where we sifted sand, mixed concrete/mortar, moved concrete blocks, cut rebar, built forms, and moved dirt to fill in holes around the wall structure. We supplemented labor provided by local professionals hired with the construction money the team provided. The labor was physically challenging but we worked well together and made friendships with the El Salvadoran construction team.
We also purchased food staples, created food bags, and distributed the food to families in various communities around the Ahuachapán area. The food offering was intended to serve as an opportunity to visit with the people in the area, get to know them and to pray with them. The ultimate success of the project is unknown as the local churches will follow up with these families to establish connections of faith. We have faith that the seeds planted will bear fruit for the Kingdom of God! We were overwhelmed with the graciousness and hospitality of the people of these communities and came away from the experience more blessed than those we were trying to bless.
One of the members of the team helped the National Church office by introducing some standard office practices that will enhance their bookkeeping and accounting capabilities. We were also able to give a donation to the National Church to offset costs associated with the Evangelical Methodist Church’s Annual Conference that began February 22.
We held meaningful devotions each day designed to keep us focused on the primary purpose of the mission trip – to build connectional and relational bridges in the name and spirit of Christ Jesus. We celebrated Holy Communion with each other and the mission coordinators in El Salvador. We discovered quickly that we did not take God with us to El Salvador to share with the people, but that God was already in El Salvador waiting for us to receive God through the people of faith in El Salvador.
We returned to Georgia with minimal injuries and illnesses and with a profound sense of God’s presence throughout the entire mission experience. We serve an awesome God!
The Feb 2014 Bridges mission team wishes to thank all the district churches that financially helped support the Methodist Church in El Salvador. Through your gracious giving, we were able to buy construction materials and hire local labor to continue construction of El Shaddai Church. We were also able to purchase food items for packaging and distribution to needy families in the Ahuachapan area. Your contributions were a God-send! Thank you from all of us who served on the team!
If your church would like some of us to come to your church to tell our story of how God is moving in El Salvador, please contact the District Office with proposed dates and times so we can schedule a visit with you!
Dios te bendigas! (God bless you!)
Rev. Tommy Holder, Team Leader