MSU Bozeman El Salvador Trip
Over spring break 2018, 9 students and 2 adults from TNT, the Methodist campus ministry at MSU Bozeman, traveled to El Salvador to work with two Christian Schools. During the week, the MSU students taught a science lesson, toutored students in English and acted out bible stories, reaching over 500 children, ages 4 – 15. We spent the first part of our week working with Siloe, a small K-9 school, located in a very poor, gang controlled neighborhood in a subburb of San Salvador. In addition to teaching, we delivered food baskets to families in the neighborhood and painted a large mural on the walls surrounding the playground area. We also spent a wonderful afternoon with graduates of Siloe who, with the help of generous donors, are currently attending universities in San Salvador.
Later in the week, we traveled to the city of Ahuachapan, where the Evangelical Methodist movement began in 1994. We spent our time there teaching science and acting out bible stories at the Methodist Pre K – 8th grade school, and working on a new Methodist church. One evening we atttended a long, beautiful church service, honoring women’s work in the church. The guest speaker was one of the female pastors.
Today, there are 12 churches in El Salvador. As many as four have been served by women pastors. As part of its commitment to the El Salvador church, Global Ministries provides minimum wage salaries for eight pastors (the other pastors serve as volunteers). In addition, it supports a Christian Education program that offers biblical training and helps this growing community understand and embrace its Methodist identity. One of the most pressing issues facing the community is the growth of gang violence and crime. The Methodist Church in El Salvador is responding by developing programs that reach out to the young before they are drawn into the gang life.
During our stay in Ahauachapan, we were housed at the Mission Residence, a wonderful facility with a kitchen, hot showers and enough beds to sleep a team as large as 50. The work there is directed by Brian Dubberly, a United Methodist Volunteers in Mission long term individual volunteer, who works as the volunteer coordinator. His wife, Ellyn is a missionary with the General Board of Global Ministries serving the Methodist Church in El Salvador in Christian Education. She is developing and writing Sunday School Curriculum that will be used by all Methodist Churches in El Salvador, and she teaches English at the Methodist School in Ahuachapán.
Brian started “Salvadoran Mission Projects” in the spring of 2010 to help the Evangelical Methodist Church in El Salvador grow the community of faith through partnerships with churches in the United States. Projects include: Construction of simple homes of concrete block for families, bible school, Medical clinics, feeding hungry families and evangelism. They are also breaking ground on a Methodist high school in Ahuachapán that will use many teams before it is completed. We were excited by the good work going on through the Methodist Church, and hope to return with another team in the next few years.