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Global Ministry Team: El Salvador

Mission: Further the vision of the Presbyterian Church (U.S.A.), as stated by Hunter Farrell, Director of PC(USA) World Mission, of “connecting global partners and US Presbyterians for more faithful involvement in God’s mission.”

Vision: Engage the hearts, minds and energies of an ever-widening circle of interconnected lives, focusing on a single community in El Salvador, building learning, praying and playing together, following the commandment to love one another in all things.

Who We Serve: Getsemani, a community of 1,000 near the Guatemalan border, founded in the early 1990s by individual families; El Alfarero community.

Our Partners:

World Vision – spearheaded a 2008 peace-building project designed to enable leaders in three community development areas in El Salvador to establish sustainable programs for vocational and social development in effort to reduce violence and abuse.

Habitat El Salvador – manages model program to strengthen Gethsemane and surrounding communities by improving the living conditions of families through a model holistic development project. Approach includes housing, basic preventative and curative community health, micro-entrepreneurship, values education, leadership and cultural exchange

Why El Salvador

In the 1980s El Salvador was ravaged by a protracted, bitter civil leaving 70,000 people dead and causing $2bn in damage. A 1992 UN-brokered peace agreement ended the war, but El Salvador still remains a divided society. Additionally, more than a million Salvadorans were left homeless after natural disasters struck in 1998 (Hurricane Mitch), 2001 (earthquakes) and two devastating tropical storms leading to increased immediate need for urban and rural housing.

  • Subject to frequent natural disasters
  • Violent crime gangs and the drugs trade remain a security challenge, ranking El Salvador with the world’s second-highest murder rate
  • Mara is one of the biggest criminal groups in the world — with an estimated 64,000 members in El Salvador
  • Children makeup 40% of the population: 50% live in extreme poverty
  • Over 25% of children under 5 suffer from chronic malnutrition
  • Current housing deficit totals 630,000 houses, or 51% of the total population.
  • The economy depends heavily on money sent home by Salvadorans living in the US.

Presbyterian History of Engagement

The PC(USA) began relating to El Salvadoran partners through programs supporting disaster assistance, peace-building programs and holistic church development.

2010 – MPPC partnered with Habitat El Salvador on Strengthening the Getsemani Community Project
2007 – MPPC partnered with World Vision in El Alfarero Area Development Project

Current Approach

Getsemani: In partnership with Habitat and residents. To date – over 150 new houses have been built, 100 families have participated in health programs, 50 residents have established a savings and loan cooperative, 80 youth have participated in values-focused extracurricular activities, 23 community leaders spearheaded a project to build a new community center and community residents shared cultural experiences with 2,400 volunteers.

El-Alfarero: In partnership with World Vision, implement Culture of Peace, a peace-building curriculum based on biblical concepts to improve the well-being of children and their communities in areas such as child protection, promoting gender equity, values, peace building, and spiritual nurture. Child sponsorship funding has improved access to education, clean water, food, healthcare, and income opportunities. World Vision works to keep kids from joining gangs by providing alternative activities and addressing the underlying poverty and issues.

Please reach out to Chrissy Carlton, Global Partnership Coordinator, at CCarlton@myersparkpres.org for more information on how to get involved.



Posted on

October 10, 2016