Monday, September 7, 2009

Bloggin' time!

Last Monday I had the opportunity to attend a forum evaluating the first hundred days of the new president of El Salvador.  What had the first left-leaning president in the country's history accomplished in his first three months in office?  The many people gathered in that hotel conference room all wanted to know what he'd done to confront the problems of the society.  What had he done to help those who struggled with unemployment, ill health, poor education, violence, and gangs?  After a series of lengthy, detailed presentations, the forum came to the striking conclusion that not enough can happen to make any sort of judgment in a mere three months.

In my travels and conversations, I have had the chance to see and hear some of the struggle, but not a whole lot.  I have had the chance to see the countryside, to talk with the people, and to learn and grow with the people of the Evangelical Lutheran Church of El Salvador.  After all this, I have come to the striking conclusion that I cannot make a proper evaluation of my mission here in a mere four weeks.

My friends, I welcome you to my blog.  In this place I hope to provide you with a lens into my activities here with the Salvadoran Lutheran Church.  I would like you to meet my new friends, and see the places I see.  I would like you to become a part of the mission that called me here, a mission greater than businesses, greater than gangs, and greater than governments.  For God calls us all to mission, and God's love knows no borders.

What exactly is that mission?  After four weeks, I still seek to understand it fully.  I came here to work with the youth of the Salvadoran Lutheran Church, but also to communicate with my friends, my family, my home church, and to any who feel the call for a greater justice.  I hope that this blog will help provide that communication.

What can I tell you after four weeks?  Last Monday, I visited a forum that concluded that changes take time.  That was Monday.  On Thursday, I attended a function launching President Mauricio Funes' greatest achievement so far in office, the Economic and Social Council.  Rafael Menjívar, a pastor in the Lutheran church and a memeber of the new council, says he hopes that this bipartisan council will bring all voices to the table to create the dialogue necessary to pave the way forward.  He hopes that this dialogue will help to solve the crisis and begin to bring people up from the spiraling injustice.  In a similar fashion, I did not come to achieve any goal, but to open a dialogue that might help us all to understand each other better.

What does mission mean to you?

How can we search for God's call to mission?

How can we work to help others when we can't see the fruits of our labors for some time?

One of our Lectionary texts this week is from James 2:1-17.  In what ways does this text shed light on our understanding of mission?

What hopes do you have for me and my mission in El Salvador?  What do you hope to find in this blog?

I invite any questions, comments, or prayers you might have.  I thank you for all your support.  Stay tuned.  If you're lucky, you might get some pictures!


  1. Dorothy Tooley September 15 at 8:41pm
    I am so glad to see you have started this blog. I think the word is not out very well, so we better all tell a friend to find Nick blogging.

    I Love those verses in James. Don't treat people differently based on their wealth, or postion -- or anything, really. Receive everyone as God's child. Our understanding of mission in these verses? I guess it would be that every single person is really important to God and should be to us, too. There's a lot more in the verses, no doubt, but that part is one of my favorite things in the Bible.

    How do we work to help others when we don't see the results for some time? I think about my own experience, and how it takes me time to figure things out sometimes. Well, it's more that it takes me time to decide, sometimes. In my beliefs, I have been around the block once or twice (or thrice) and at this point in my life like to be a little more deliberate. Still, no one should think God isn't rumbling around inside of me, bringing me where He wants me. I guess it boils down to knowing that God and people are pretty patient with me, so it's not usually that hard to return the favor. Usually!! Not always . . .

    What hopes do I have for you in your mission? Umm -- well, I guess that you will be able to show the people there that God is a good God and Americans are decent people. And share that light inside of you with co-workers that may be weary or discouraged. And I hope you have fun. And learn to love the ocean, like all good hearted people should. :)

    What do I hope to find in the blog? What I have already told you, I think. I want to see pictures of just what you see each day. Show us what you see when you open your front door. Show us the outside of your home, and maybe even the inside. Show us what you see when you go to work each day, what you travel past. Show us where you work. Show us where you buy food, and show us anything interesting at the market. I want to see all those daily, ordinary things so I can picture the country, and see your life there. So I can see you there.

    Take good care of yourself, and keep in touch, my friend.


  2. Thanks, Dorothy. I appreciate your thoughtful responses, especially your hopes for me. All too often we see a people as labels, like Salvadoreño or Estadounidense. We all need to see that a government and a people are separate things.

    I've been rather busy in the past couple of weeks, and I'd like to show everybody what I've been up to. Hopefully I'll find the time to do that soon.

    Thanks again and I appreciate that you and others have been thinking of me. I ask everyone to feel free to share, even if it's more quick and concise.

    With love and peace,