One of the greatest joys our team at Servant Life gets to experience is building relationships with new partners who are actively making disciples in their local contexts. Last week, we flew out to meet our friends from the Mision Bautista de El Salvador to spend time with them and learn more about their ministry and the vision God has given them to reach their country with the gospel.
The flight from Atlanta to El Salvador is right around three hours, so it is a very quick and easy international flight. We left from the U.S. that morning, and it was barely past lunchtime when we were standing outside the airport on El Salvadorian soil with our friend Pastor Ramiro in his awesome blue van.
The country of El Salvador is divided into 14 different departments (similar to the U.S. being divided into 50 different states), and Pastor Ramiro currently lives in the poorest department, Morazan. I have heard stories in the past about the busy city of San Salvador being a scary place, but Morazan is three hours away and our experience there could not have felt any safer. We ate at Pollo Campero (numerous times), we walked down the city streets, and we ventured out into the rural areas where homes are built on the side of mountains. Most people in Morazan live a quiet and peaceful life.
However, these people who appear so quiet and peaceful are actually living in deep poverty and unrest. I’m not talking about physical poverty, although that is a reality for many of them. I’m referring to a deep, spiritual poverty that exists in people who are desperate for hope and good news and looking for it in places other than Jesus Christ. Around 90% of the population in El Salvador would acknowledge some degree of belief in God, but the vast majority of those people are not trusting in Christ for salvation. The idea of God provides some sort of worldview for them, but their concept of God does not provide a way for them. They are working for their salvation, and they cannot earn it. They are lost.
But this is where the Mision Bautista de El Salvador brings hope to the story. Pastor Ramiro and other pastors in this network are planting gospel-centered churches where they have one clear goal: to make disciples. As soon as a person expresses interest in joining their congregation, they walk that person through a year-long discipleship journey that covers 17 different spiritual truths and disciplines that are at the core of the Christian faith. They are teaching people to reject the ways of this world and to embrace the truth that Jesus is Lord.
Mision Bautista de El Salvador has a vision to plant healthy, biblical churches in each of the 26 cities in the department of Morazan. Once that is accomplished… well, there are 13 more departments to be reached. But this will not happen outside of a strategic ministry plan, and this is where you come in. Our friends in El Salvador are looking for churches who buy into their vision of making disciples and want to bring short-term teams to join their work.
A short-term team has the potential to be a huge catalyst for long-term ministry efforts. Student teams are sometimes engaging in school ministry, but all teams would have many opportunities for evangelism. There has been great success in bringing Americans from house to house to share their faith, and then inviting the El Salvadorians to a fun gathering in the community that evening. When children and parents come to the gathering, we have a lot of fun with them and play games, but also take that opportunity to preach the gospel. People who otherwise would not cross the threshold of the church will find themselves face to face with the truth of the gospel, and the local church will immediately have opportunities for follow-up.
Would you be interesting in bringing a team from your church to El Salvador to assist with church planting and relational ministry opportunities? The idea of reaching an entire nation with the gospel is no small task. It is a long road ahead, but by the grace of God and the support of the community of faith, the Church in El Salvador can reach the rest of El Salvador with the good news of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ.
Servant Life Director
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