By Allen Palmeri
SAN SALVADOR, El Salvador—The extremely unique missions journey undertaken by two Missouri Baptist Convention (MBC) staffers to the Central American nation of El Salvador continues by means of music.
MBC Associate Executive Director Jerry Field and MBC Worship Specialist John Francis returned Aug. 22-31 to their sphere of influence in the capital city, working with government officials and symphonic musicians who are seeking their expertise. Francis is a certified piano tuning technician and Field is a luthier (a repairer of violins).
This marked the second trip for Field and Francis in a missions venture that is compatible with the existing MBC partnership with El Salvadorian Baptists that is concentrated on church-to-church relationships. Their first official visit came in August 2008 when they worked with employees of the Ministry of Culture, the National Center for the Arts, and the National Symphony. On that trip they also spent daily workshop time with music craftsmen, symphony orchestra players, and advanced students (ages 15-22) from the national arts center.
This visit followed a similar pattern, with even more inroads being made into the nation’s music map. The Missourians got to minister to the National Youth Orchestra for the first time along with two other schools of music.
“There seems to be some doors opening that only God can be opening as we continue to work with some of the same people,” Field said. “We had wonderful witnessing opportunities and some evidence of God at work.”
Field said one of the more rewarding aspects of his trip was being able to restore an old cello. He said he is “kind of astounded and amazed” that God is using one of his long-term passions, the art of being a luthier, for His glory in this particular setting.
Planning an extensive, annual missions trip in August seems to work out well for Field and Francis, who are trusting God in the details.
“We both have a sense that it’s a long-term project,” Field said.
Francis is in total agreement.
“I think that God is personally working on me to invest a long-term mission in El Salvador dealing with music, musicians, and even to the point of touching the national government,” he said.