Back to El Salvador

I’m on the road again, back to El Salvador. This trip wasn’t really planned, but as events unfold in our lives we have to move to meet them. The reason for this trip is pretty interesting. You may have gotten a preview if you watch the Today show or Larry King Live.

Mike Bonderer is our man on the ground here and he is an aggressive advocate of the work in El Salvador, always looking for ways to bring attention to it. In pursuit of this he was able to connect with former NC senator John Edwards and has, over the last couple of months, had a number of conversations with him about our work generally and the El Salvador project. Edward’s interest was piqued, so he decided to travel down to check things out for himself. It seemed like a good time for me to stop in as well to see if there were ways that the Fuller Center and the Edwards could be helpful to one another.

It’s been a tough couple of years for John and Elizabeth. Everybody knows the story, or at least what we see in the papers. But everyone doesn’t know John Edwards, so I thought I’d take the opportunity to get the measure of the man. I can report from the front lines that he is a decent guy, he has a great heart for the poor, he’s tremendously well connected, and he and Elizabeth want to do good. Seems like a perfect match for Fuller Center.

We’ve already taken a little heat for this. There are some strong feelings out there. But we see an opportunity, and figure if we weren’t taking a little flak we probably wouldn’t be living close enough to the edge. Those who know Millard and Linda’s history understand that if it weren’t for the domestic crisis that they had to work through Habitat for Humanity and subsequently The Fuller Center would never have been born. We’re content to leave the judging up to the Lord and just try to thoughtfully take advantage of the blessing He sends us, sometimes through mysterious means.

We’ve had a full week in two days. Senator Edwards is known here in El Salvador and so we’ve had meetings with some key government leaders—the Presidents of the Supreme Court and the Legislative Assembly among them. Last night we had dinner with members of the presidential transition team. Elections this spring turned the presidency over to the liberal FMLN party from the conservative ARENA and the new president takes office on June 1. ARENA has been in power for 20 years, so this is a significant change. We may be able to meet with the President-Elect later today.

In these meetings the Senator has been consistent with a couple of messages: we need to maximize the opportunity presented by new administrations in Washington and San Salvador, and we need to use this opportunity to improve the plight of the poor. I’ve felt more than once like I was watching history in the making.

Today we’re going down to San Luis Talpa to turn some love into sweat. Should be a great day. I haven’t been back down there for a while, so I’m anxious to see the developments. The sewing machines are in for the Many Miracles project, which will turn the women on SLT into entrepreneurs. I understand we’re still having a little trouble getting the power and light company to get us up to speed, so there’s not much sewing happening yet. But they are training on the equipment so things should take off soon. I’ll report in on developments.

I live a life of amazement these days, watching this ministry unfold. I’m convinced that the Lord is rooting for our success. Otherwise He wouldn’t be sending so many blessings our way. We are on an interesting journey.

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