Tuesday, November 30, 2010

Our Sister Parish report 2010

I received this letter a few weeks ago from the mission coworker in El Salvador:

NOVEMBER 1st 2010

On behalf of myself, the Pastoral Team and the communities within the municipality of Berlín, El Salvador: Greetings and blessings to all our brothers and sisters in Iowa!! Many of you are aware of the work of Our Sister Parish here in Berlin. But you may be surprised by what you are about to read. Even I was when I saw all that has been accomplished this year with your help!

The Pastoral Team and I compiled information for our annual report to the communities: listing the works and projects that we have facilitated between January and October of this year. We would like to share this same information with all of you. When a church has a community partnership, it is easy to only see that piece of the work that you yourself (as a congregation) are involved in. And for those without a partnership, but are supporting with ‘this or that,’ the work we do for the poor in this community might not be very clear. Here, I hope to share with you the bigger picture.

Summary of projects and community support facilitated by the Pastoral Team on behalf of the Iowa churches:

Projects paid with the proceeds of the Don Justo Coffee with Dignity project $1,775.23
- 26 different projects in the communities of Santa Cruz, Colonia Esmeralda, San Francisco, Delicias, Rio de los Bueyes, San Felipe and Talpetates. Projects including lamina for a church roof, chairs for community meetings, 6 pairs of rubber boots for our garbage collectors and other small projects

General Health Fund (funds from a variety of individuals and delegations) $2,296.13
- Helped 146 people with financial assistance for the purchase of medicines, transportation to hospitals and special medical exams

Blanca’s Bags Proceeds $922.38
- Several families helped with some funds for funeral expenses, food packets for 2 groups of elderly people (2 communities) and some medical assistance

In Canton El Recreo (St. Boniface) $21,735.65
- Fertilizer for each family, a computer for the museum for student use, photocopier housed at school for community use, elementary and High School scholarships for ALL the children who want to attend, salary of 5th grade teacher, display tables for the museum, corn sheller machine for community wide use

In Caserío Casa de Zinc (Trinity, Indianola) $960.00
- Fertilizer purchase for each family

In Caserío Alejandria (Burger Family) $12,591.95
- Fertilizer purchase for each family, 2500-liter water collection tank for each family, food packets and cantaros (water-hauling jugs) for each family, lamina for roofs, materials for 2 retention walls

In Canton Las Delicias (Wakonda Christian – Recently renewed partnership!) $368.95
- Repair of church doors and altar table

In Canton San Lorenzo (Burger Family) $16,608.72
- Fertilizer purchase for each family, 2500-liter water collection tanks for each family, lamina for roofs

In Caserio Los Muñoces (First Pres Newton) $1,418.43
- Fertilizer purchase for each family, financial assistance for medical needs of community members

In Canton Virginia (Dallas Center) $5,225.00
- Fertilizer purchase for each family

In Canton El Corozal (Ankeny Pres) $1,865.00
- Fertilizer purchase for each family, financial assistance for medical needs of two very ill children

In Canton San Francisco (Westminster) $7,032.55
- Fertilizer purchase for each family, retaining wall for the church, some health assistance

In Canton El Tablón Centro (Heartland Pres) $4,070.00
- Paid 3 teacher’s salaries for 3 months, provided 7 high school scholarships

En Caserio Tablón Cerna (Heartland Pres) $17,625.00
- Salary for K-2nd grade teacher, health needs support, transportation support for the formation of a Cooperative (chickens – both layers and fryers) and financing for bee hives for the same co-op.

General Education Funds $11,344.90
- Scholarships for 8 high school students, school supplies for 3 schools, sports uniforms for 3 grade levels at the boy’s and girl’s middle schools, support for the band at the girl’s school, 2 ‘technical school’ Scholarships (post high school 2 year programs), 1 university scholarship

Pick up truck expenses (gas) $1,487.00
- Gas for attending different meetings and celebrations and facilitating (repairs) $1,794.77
projects in the communities for partner churches.

General Expenses of the Pastoral House $13,055.56
- Internet, food (includes delegation food), misc. house repair, painting and upkeep
- Energy and water bills paid by Central Presbyterian Church ($100 monthly support) $1000.00

Water Filter Community Funds $400.00
- Fencing for a community center in San Simón (funds collected for their slow sand water filters that have been re-invested in their own community!)

Water Filter Expenses in project monitoring $483.15
- Transportation, communications, copies for monitoring of existing water filters in the communities.

Grand Total with two months left in the year: $124,060.37

* All these projects and tasks involve hours and hours of meetings, planning, coordination, implementation, phone calls, deliveries, travel, thought, ledger/accounting work, etc. Then on top of all this, the Pastoral Team hosts the delegations that visit – those with partnerships as well as those random visitors who come to explore the possibilities of relationship-based mission or have other Pastoral Team related needs. This year, we hosted 12 regular delegations (102 people) as well as 9 individuals. Also hosted was the Newton Medical Delegation providing 5 days of clinics in the cantons.

* Please continue drinking Don Justo Coffee with Dignity and consider promoting it at your churches if you are not yet doing so. This is an EASY and delicious manner in which to provide financial support. With the proceeds of the sales we are able to provide assistance to communities that do not have a church partnership as well as the individuals who come to the house in need of assistance. Proceeds are used for a variety of needs such as medicines, exams, transportation and food for people who come to the door of the Pastoral House. So enjoy that cup of coffee! And then have another!

* The Slow Sand Water Filter project has been completed and 1,056 families are now benefiting from truly potable water! We are continuing to support the project with annual monitoring and de-parasite medicines for the beneficiaries.

* Your undesignated “General Mission Support” donations help us maintain the over-all mission.

*** If you would like to explore opportunities to participate in this ministry, I would be delighted and honored to be of assistance to help you find an appropriate avenue for you and your congregation. The needs are great … but you really can make a difference in the lives of the people here!

“I tell you the truth – whatever you did for one of the least of these brothers of mine, you did for me” (Matthew 25:40)

En la fe y la paz,

Kathy Mahler, Mission Co-Worker
Casa Pastoral Comunitaria de Berlín, El Salvador

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