Presbytery of Des Moines
Our Sister Parish

our sister parish stories 

Well done, good and faithful servant[s].
"...I want to stop here and make sure you understand who all comprised this TEAM I’m referring to.  It wasn’t just the physicians, nurses and support staff from the states. It also very much included Simei, the Salvadorian doctor who took time off to join us; the seven Salvadorian translators who made it possible to communicate; the members of the Pastoral Team who provided sage advice, counseled patients, registered patients, fixed our lunch at each clinic, drove us to the clinic sites, bought medications and medical supplies locally and took care of us back at the Pastoral House; the leaders of each community who organized our patients, prepared the sites where we set up our clinics and helped with various needs during the clinics; and local Salvadoran “health promoters” who helped set up follow-up visits or  further consultations or treatment for those who needed it..."
Mike Bassett, Moderator
Our Sister Parish

​Written in June of 2016
By members of the Pastoral Team. 
Rediscovered August, 2018

​Alexandria is a hamlet formed by families from 2 cantons: San Francisco and Concepción. These families are far from these cantons. We are from the municipality of Berlin, Usulután. We are 52 families and we grow coffee, corn, beans and fruits.
 
Like all poor families in the world, we have different problems; lack of water, lack of employment, pollution problems and others.
 
The families of our hamlet struggle every day to survive like everyone else. But it is very difficult to face the big problems described above.
 
We want to invite all the families in the world to stop for a moment to be able to see those around us; how we are, who we are, what we are doing.  See and think.
 
We are in a world where peace, equality, solidarity, justice, freedom, respect for human rights, food, medicines, education, love, etc. are needed. It is sad when we see that the poor are becoming poorer every day and the rich richer while so many governments claim to be improving the lives of human beings.
 
The vast majority of women and men are being manipulated by those in power. They have divided us, they have materialized us, they have dehumanized us, they have robbed us of peace, freedom, they push us to buy what they want, we consume what the big companies propose. They have managed to forget that the great majority have the power to change; to create a more just and more humane society.
 
Every day we are called as human beings to unite our hands, to make possible the change in humanity; putting into practice the intelligence, wisdom and love that God has given us.
 
We want to invite governments, religious people, pastors, doctors and teachers, parents, people who are part of any religious, political or economic group, to remember what qualities or values ​​we should have: love, solidarity, rectitude, humility , compassion, commitment, honesty, authenticity, fidelity, friendship, discipline, gratitude, patience, prudence, responsibility, sincerity, courage, kindness, justice, respect, kindness, freedom ...
 
Let us ask God to pity the suffering ones of humanity, those in pain, the crucified poor and the creatures of this world overcome by human ambition and power. We ask you, Lord, give us the strength and the light that we need to move forward. May our struggles and worries not take away our hope.
 
Amen
 
Alejandría es un caserío formado por familias de 2 cantones: San Francisco y Concepción.  Estas familias quedan lejos de estos cantones.  Somos del municipio de Berlín, Usulután.  Vivimos 52 familias and cultivamos café, maíz, frijoles, frutas.
 
Como todas las familias pobres en el mundo tenemos diferentes problemas; falta de agua, falta de empleo, problemas de contaminación y otras.
 
Las familias de nuestro caserío luchan día a día por sobrevivir como todo el mundo.  Pero es muy difícil enfrentar los grandes problemas descritas anteriormente.
 
Queremos invitar a todas las familias en el mundo a detenerse un momento y así poder ver a nuestro alrededor como estamos, quienes somos, que estamos haciendo, vea y piense.
 
Estamos en un mundo donde hace falta la paz, la igualdad, la solidaridad, la justicia, la libertad, hace falta el respeto a los derechos humanos, hace falta comida, medicinas, educación, hace falta el amor, etc.  Es triste cuando vemos que los pobres cada día son mas pobres y los ricos mas ricos.  Mientras tantos los gobiernos alandrean de ir mejorando la vida de los seres humanos.
 
La gran mayoría de mujeres y hombres nos estamos dejando manípulos por los que tienen el poder.  Nos han dividido, nos han materializado, nos han deshumanizado, nos han robado la paz, la libertad, no empujan a comprar lo que ellos quieren, consumimos lo que las grandes empresas proponen.  Han logrado que olvidemos que las grandes mayorías tienen el poder el cambio para crear una sociedad mas justa y mas humana.
 
Cada día estamos llamados los seres humanos a unir nuestras manos, para hacer posible el cambio en la humanidad, poniendo en practica la inteligencia, la sabiduría y el amor que Dios nos ha dado.
 
Queremos invitar a los gobiernos, a los religiosos, religiosas, pastores, medico y maestros, padres de familia, pensamos que dirigen cualquier grupo religioso, político, económico, a que recordemos que cualidades o valores debemos tener, amor, solidaridad, rectitud, humildad, compasión, compromiso, honestidad, autenticidad, fidelidad, amistad, disciplina, gratitud, paciencia, prudencia, responsabilidad, sinceridad, valentía, bondad, justicia, respeto, amabilidad, libertad …
 
Pidamos a Dios que se compadezca del sufrimiento de la humanidad, el dolor, pobres crucificados y de las creaturas de este mundo arrostrados por la ambición y poder humano.  Te pedimos Señor la fuerza y la luz que necesitamos para salir adelante.  Que nuestras luchas y preocupaciones no nos quiten la esperanza.
 
Amen

COMMUNITY EMPOWERMENT
"actas" in  ACTION

​As the local Berlín communities become more organized and self-reliant, they have formed “commissions.” These are small groups of five to six people from neighboring communities. Every other month, representatives from these 25 socioeconomically impoverished communities of Berlín meet to discuss common issues, vote on policies and procedures, and share successes. “Actas” (official minutes) record the verbal agreements, decisions, and assignments of the group and are signed by all to create accountability. With this organization, communities self-determine their most important needs, communicate and collaborate with the Pastoral Team and other organizations to implement projects, and maintain and monitor projects the community has received.
​Much work was accomplished this past year and we are proud to share it with you. That being said, there is so much more to do, won't you join us!

Covenant relationships

​What exactly is a Covenant Relationship? You could define it technically: it is a partnership between a church, a Berlín village, the Pastoral Team, the Mission Co-Worker, and the OSP board. The actual three to five year “contract” that we all sign outlines the roles and responsibilities between all these entities. This was written by and agreed upon by all parties and is a living document. It can be amended and/or renewed or dissolved by mutual agreement.
But this covenant – alianza in Spanish – is much deeper than its definition. It is a promise. A promise that brings hope. A promise that requires commitment from all involved. It can be work. It can be difficult at times because partnerships can be difficult when not all parties initially agree or there are different visions of what can or should be accomplished. We are all human. But the goal is always to act with brotherly and sisterly love and work together. Our covenants help to strengthen our solidarity. Our covenants are based upon faith, trust, and love.
God made covenants with us. Jesús walked in solidarity and broke bread with the poor. Those are good models to emulate!
Micah 6:8, Matthew 25:40.

Fertilizer

​​Don Justo Coffee proceeds funded fertilizer for unpartnered Berlín communities, helping 218 families to feed themselves. An additional 11 communities received fertilizer from their partner congregations, helping an additional 753 families.
Berlín soil is horribly depleted from years of overuse, making it impossible without these essential, and expensive fertilizers to grow the corn and beans that families need to sustain themselves. Often, families must either borrow money at high interest rates to pay for them or risk harvesting little to nothing without them. Fertilizer provides already hardworking people with an essential component they need to successfully feed their families. 

scholarships

​Ninety-one middle and high school students received scholarships in 2017; that’s eight percent more than in 2016. Nine students graduated from high school and five grads received assistance with their post-high school education. Having a degree not only improves their chances of escaping poverty, but also prepares them to serve as leaders in their communities.

​BUY COFFEE

​OUR SISTER PARISH MISSION STATEMENT

​Our Sister Parish brings hope and development to the poor of Berlín, Usulután, El Salvador through committed relationships of solidarity between US churches/organizations and our Berlín brothers and sisters. Faith will grow and the love of God will be profoundly experienced for all involved

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