CITALA, CHALATENANGO, EL SALVADOR
Citalá is a small, tight-knit community nestled in the mountains of El Salvador. It is full of stunning views, vibrant wildlife, and warm-hearted and generous people who are always looking out for one another. Citalá is the perfect place for anybody who wants to get away from the rush of everyday life, but this level of isolation offers a unique set of challenges as well. It is a challenge for many children to receive a quality education, resulting in a high percentage of illiteracy in the community. There is also a lack of access to job opportunities, healthy hobbies, and proper healthcare. Our goal is to clearly model Christ's love and desire for the community and therefore be the bridge that may connect them to the hope they have been missing.
Our desire is to share the good news of Jesus, make disciples, and make way for the Holy Spirit to transform the lives of the families in Citalá. The Word of God is the foundation of everything we do, and we hope for each project to be a constant reflection of what The Lord has done for us. We know that God has great plans for this community when they choose to follow the path that Jesus has laid out for us all, and recognize the joy that comes with serving a God who turns brokenness into beauty.
Where we are: Citalá Baptist Church is finally congregating in their own building after renting a space for 15 years. Pastor Oscar has been working tirelessly to complete the construction for the past two years, and is so close to finishing the project. We are now working on adding the finishing touches to the building by completing the restrooms and installing the doors and windows of the sanctuary.
Where we're going: Upon the completion of the sanctuary and bathrooms, our next goal is to begin building a kitchen and a multipurpose room on the end of the church. This will serve not only to feed community members in need of nutrition, but also as a classroom where students can study, and a space where church members can gather and build community. We hope that by finishing this construction, the community may have a place where they feel comfortable in coming to Jesus just as they are, a place where they are inspired to serve God and one another, and a place where they can lay all their burdens at the feet of Christ.
Where we are: The ability to speak English is a priceless skill to have when it comes to opportunities in El Salvador. Being bilingual opens up so many doors and brings hope for community members and their families. During the month of December, we held a Summer English Course for the Sunday School Students in the church. Not only did we see improvement in their English skills, but the excitement to learn was noteworthy. We received a great number of inquiries for when the next course will begin, and how to get involved.
Where we're going: We will soon be starting regular weekly classes for anybody in the community who wants to learn. Jeicsy and Fran will be offering various classes based on the students’ proficiency level, in order to offer a more personalized and effective experience. Not only are we excited to get started, but the community is thrilled to have this unique opportunity so accessible to them. Aside from simply learning a new skill, these classes are the perfect opportunity to spend time with the community, get a glimpse into their lives, and share with them what a life serving Jesus can look like.
Where we are: Illiteracy is a great issue in and around Citalá. Thankfully, it is an issue that has a solution, and we are working to resolve this issue for all members of the community. Silvia has worked with various children and adults in teaching them how to read and write. She also gave a Summer Literacy Course to all of Citalá Baptist Church’s Sunday school kids who struggled with illiteracy. We saw such an astounding amount of improvement from each student, and were so encouraged by the pride they took in their efforts.
Where we're going: We want to continue giving consistent literacy courses to not only children, but adults in the community as well who have never had the opportunity to learn how to read or write. We have seen firsthand what an obstacle illiteracy is in so many people’s lives, and we are excited to help them overcome it.
Where we are: Prioritizing education is something very close to our heart, and a prevalent need for the children in Citalá. Not only does the community’s isolation affect access to quality education, but other stressors often interfere with children’s ability to dedicate their time and attention to their studies.
Where we're going: Our hope is that we can form a space where students feel safe and free from factors which can easily distract them from their education. Not only is it vital to have a distraction-free environment for students to focus on their homework, but we realize that they need access to materials as well. We want to supply the space with Wi-Fi, computers, and printers so that students can complete all their homework in one place, and have tutors there to assist them in any concerns they might have. In addition to enriching their life in education, we know that this valuable time spent together will enrich their spiritual life as well, by very practically showing them the love of Jesus on a daily basis.