By Brian Koonce
EL TRIUNFO, El Salvador – While Missouri was battling sub-zero temperatures, a group from the Missouri Baptist Convention (MBC) Executive Board staff were in El Salvador attending the Association of Baptists in El Salvador (ABES) annual meeting, and enjoying 70-degree weather for a change.
The El Salvador convention and the MBC have had a partnership since 2007 and have two years left in the agreement.
About 120 pastors and wives gathered at Primera Iglesia Bautista (First Baptist Church) for the three-day ABES meeting, where they voted to found a Bible institute to train local pastors. The host church has a partnership with Missouri’s Miller Baptist Association.
“There are so many churches being formed,” said Rick Hedger, partnership missions specialist for the MBC. “They need to be trained and they haven’t had that system in place.”
Hedger’s wife, Sandee, taught El Salvadoran pastors’ wives, while MBC Men’s Ministry and Missions Specialist Rick Seaton taught Disaster Relief techniques in breakout sessions.
MBC Executive Director David Tolliver was invited to preach to the association on the final day of the meeting, bringing the same message – Restoring Passion, Reaching People – he brought to Missouri Baptists at their annual meeting in 2008.
“They have a good convention, but they’re human beings and they’re Baptists,” he said. “They have their problems, so they’re a good fit for the MBC. Of course the meeting was all in Spanish, but from what I could tell it was a good meeting with a good spirit.”
The team was also in El Salvador to check-in on “Mi Casa es Su Casa,” an MBC effort to help members of local Baptist churches rebuild their homes destroyed last year by Hurricane Ida. The first building team returned Jan. 20 and a second team is in currently in country. The homes are simple, two-bedroom concrete block structures with a kitchen and a metal roof.