In early-April 2010 five of us from FBC Dayton and FBC Springfield traveled to El Salvador with the hope of establishing a ministry-relationship with a church there. Since that time, we have been working on such a relationship with our brothers and sisters at Iglesia Bautista Dios Compasivo (Compassionate God Baptist Church), a local church in Ahuachapan. Our intention is to help them realize their vision of establishing a bakery co-op (panaderia) that will help provide a sustainable source of job training and income, as well as food for their community. Part of this help involves contributing to the start-up costs, and our Mission Board has taken responsibility for this. The other part involves a return trip to work on this and perhaps other co-op projects related to IBDC, and to continue building relationships with our brothers and sisters there.
We arrived back from El Salvador with many stories and much gratitude in our hearts for the times we had with our brothers and sisters in Ahuachapan. Here's a video/slideshow of some pictures from our time there:
We are so thankful for all of your prayers and generous hearts! We have reached our fundraising goals for our return trip to El Salvador, and now it’s time for us to pack for our journey (December 27, 2012-January 5, 2013). It’s been two years since our small exploratory group from FBC Springfield and FBC Dayton came back from El Salvador with exciting plans to partner with Iglesia Bautista Dios Compasivo (“Compassionate God Baptist Church”) in Ahuachapan—to form a bakery co-op that would serve their community, to develop friendships with one another, and to imagine what God would have us do together. It is amazing to think how far we’ve come since then. We go back now with more partners and with more possibilities.
We have Pastor Ken Whitt, Jordan Copeland, Debbie Copeland, and Nancy Flinchbaugh from FBC Springfield; Selena Singletary from St. John Missionary Baptist Church; Dr. James Duffee and Jill Duffee from the Rocking Horse Center. And from FBC Dayton, we have Pastor Jason Alspaugh, Diane Ashman, Ben Ashman, Melissa Mikesell, Alex Mikesell, Marcie Bogan, Michelle Smith, Zach Williamson, and Austin Williamson. And not only are we going back to join in the work of the bakery co-op, but we will be looking into ways we may (with the help of Dr. Duffee) begin to form a long-term medical mission/partnership with IBDC and their community. We will be leading learning activities for the children in the community, joining in agricultural/building work projects, sharing table fellowship with members of the church and community, worshiping together, and celebrating the beginning of the new year!
As we pack up our things and get ready to go, we do so with a profound sense of gratitude. We thank God and we thank you. “May the peace of the Lord Christ go with [us], wherever He may send [us]. May He guide [us] through the wilderness, protect [us] through the storm. May He bring [us] home rejoicing at the wonders He has shown [us]. May He bring [us] home rejoicing once again into [these] doors.” Amen.
We continue to prepare for our return trip to El Salvador this winter to reconnect with our brothers and sisters at Iglesia Bautista Dios Compasivo in Ahuachapan, and to continue working with them on the bakery co-op project (and other local outreach ministries). Nine of us from FBC Dayton—Melissa Mikesell, Alex Mikesell, Marcie Bogan, Michelle Smith, Zach Williamson, Austin Williamson, Diane Ashman, Ben Ashman, and Rev. Jason Alspaugh—will join nine others from FBC Springfield on this trip (December 27, 2012 – January 5, 2012).
Fundraising for this trip is ongoing, and thus far, with the generous help of our Mission Board and Board of Christian Education and many of YOU, we have raised approximately $9,436. We had originally set our fundraising goal at $18,000, but since the Mission Board has budgeted $300/month through the end of this year to send to Pastor Felix and IBDC, and that is likely to continue in the next year, we have re-set our fundraising goal to $13,500 (which is the goal our Springfield contingent has set for themselves). And so, we have raised nearly 70% of what we need. Given the tough economy and all, that is remarkable, and I thank God for your generous hearts. We’re almost there!
Pastor Felix has asked for our prayers because they are having a difficult time finding the ingredients they need for the bread. Above all, we covet your prayers for this trip, for a safe journey, for experiences of God, and for moments that will bind us together for a lifetime.
There is still time to give to this mission endeavor, both in money and in materials. We are accepting donations year-round. You can give a cash gift to the church, specifying "El Salvador Mission" on your offering/mailing envelope, or you can make a check payable to "First Baptist Church of Dayton," specifying "El Salvador Mission" in the memo line.
We recently received a letter from Pastor Felix, listing some items that we could bring that would be of help to the children of IBDC and the surrounding community. The list includes: gently used clothing and shoes for children and teenagers, small toys, soccer/basket balls, backpacks, pens, markers, pencils, notebooks, calendars, aprons, dish towels, and some large suitcases to help transport it all. If you’d like to donate any of these items, but bring them to the church office in a bag; and members of our mission team will handle the organizing.
Pastor Felix has informed us that they have purchased the baking oven and pans and a cooling rack, and are developing their product for sale, to employ members of the church (see photos below).