Brookfield Baptists witness in El Salvador
By Kayla Rinker
SONSONATE, El Salvador – In many cases the goal of a mission trip is to open doors and spread the good news of the Gospel, but when Ron Adrian traveled to El Salvador last month he discovered that those doors were already open.
He just needed to walk through them.
“I greatly encourage any pastor or any person who has a burden for missions to go to El Salvador,” said Adrian, pastor at Freedom Baptist Church, Brookfield. “If you go down there, you will see that there are so many open doors. You will be rewarded.”
Adrian, along with eight other Missouri Baptists including Mauricio Vargas, Missouri Baptist Convention (MBC) multicultural church planting strategist, and Freedom Baptist Deacon Wayne Boley, traveled to Sonsonate, El Salvador, Nov. 7-14. The focus of the trip was to make connections with small rural churches located outside the city.
“It was actually geared as a vision trip,” Adrian said. “Our goal was to make contact with these rural pastors and churches so that we can develop partnerships between them and Baptist churches in Missouri.”
Vargas, who grew up in Sonsonate, acted as tour host for the mission team. Land-wise, Sonsonate is about the same size as Columbia, Mo. However, population-wise, Sonsonate has about six times the population of that city.
“We were actually in Mauricio’s hometown and we saw the country and the places where he lived,” Adrian said. “Truly it is a very underprivileged and poverty-stricken area of El Salvador. It is incredible how God was able to pluck Mauricio out of Sonsonate and allow him to do so many great things for the Lord.”
While traveling the mountainous and often rough terrain of El Salvador, Adrian said the mission team took every opportunity to go door to door spreading the Gospel and promoting the work of nearby rural churches.
“We were busy from sun up to sunset,” he said. “We engaged in a variety of experiences every day and visited with everyone we could.”
Adrian and Boley also brought along 2,000 Gospel tracts written in Spanish.
“We gave away all 2,000 of them, so that gives you an idea of how many people we were able to come into contact with,” Adrian said. “The main one we gave away was Billy Graham’s ‘How to Have Peace with God.’ It’s very easy to read and I think it gives a clear representation of what it means to give your life over to Jesus.”
He said giving out tracts in El Salvador was completely different from handing them out in America.
“Every single person received (the tract) with joy and nobody refused,” Adrian said. “In fact, many of the people stopped whatever they were doing and took time to read them right there. They were so open to you there and they were so polite and gracious, saying, ‘Muchas gracias.’ They are just wonderful people.”
The team also had several Baptist Salvadorian pastors accompany them as they went from church to church.
“We probably had three or four different pastors tag along each day,” Adrian said. “Mauricio set it up and it was a great way to develop friendships and encourage them in their ministries. That was very valuable to the trip.”
Adrian said to start off the trip the group received the opportunity to meet with the major officials of the Association of Baptists in El Salvador.
“We had such a warm welcome and a nice dinner and time of fellowship that first night,” he said. “I think that was a great way to get started with our mission trip in El Salvador.”
Adrian said he believes the mission team accomplished what they set out to do in El Salvador.
“I think we were an overall encouragement to them,” he said. “Now we just need to make sure and follow up and become more structured in the things we do. The ball is on our court to continue on and realize the ongoing goal in El Salvador.”
Though he doesn’t yet have any definite plans, Adrian intends to travel again to El Salvador sometime next spring, hoping to avoid the country’s rainy season.
“It was a very rewarding experience and I will continue to pray about the possibility of pastors throughout Missouri to put a trip to El Salvador on their schedule,” he said. “I’ve been on quite a number of missionary trips and this one was very hands on. It was a tremendous trip. If pastors go, they won’t be disappointed.”