AHAUCHAPAN, El Salvador – Eight people from Northeast Missouri’s Bethel Baptist Association worked on mission in Ahauchapan, El Salvador, in March.
It was the ninth year, and this involved college students and one soon-to-be college student.
Bethel Director of Missions Al Groner said usually it has been retired or senior people making the trip.
“We had seven in out team and one joined us there. We had a construction team and an evangelistic team,” Groner said.
The construction team added new men’s and women’s bathrooms to Primera Iglesia Bautista de Ahuachapan which runs between 200-250 people on Sunday mornings.
The evangelistic team visited door-to-door in Ahauchapan and other nearby communities, they ministered in parks, and visited a children’s ministry “Pepe,” where they shared Jesus with some 200 children. The Pepe program originated in Brazil and has spread to other countries. Groner said some countries like Guatemala have asked the church in Ahauchapan to help start the program.
“First Baptist Church (the English translation of the church name) is an evangelistic church. Pepe is designed to reach parents, like Vacation Bible School. They teach children to pray before meals.
“The church baptizes an average of 50 people a year,” Groner said.
In previous trips to El Salvador, a sewing ministry in the church was started. Women, especially those outside of the membership, could come, sew items, and have a trade and sell their creations. But that’s just part of the church and Groner’s mission teams efforts for projects to help El Salvadorans have an income and help in a community witness.
“The church has asked us to help start a chick ministry, again largely for non-members, to raise chickens, and seel the chickens and eggs for income. A couple of years ago, one lady developed a chocolate drink company, and now the church wants to provide supplies to start it in her home.”
Groner said this year, a university grad with an English degree has approached the church about a class to teach adults how to speak English.
“First Baptist Church has started nine different mission churches,” he said.
With the presence of the college-aged students, came some unexpected challenges, such as forming a team to play soccer against some of the local youth. Groner went and bought some shorts to play in the soccer game.
“When you take young people, you do young people things,” Groner laughed. One of the college students, Nicole Moore, brought puppets along.
Moore, like others on the evangelism team, also helped in the construction work as well.