To learn more about Salvadoran Pastors Ruth and Alex Orantes, and for information about contributing to support their ministries in El Salvador, please visit

Tuesday, December 12, 2006

News from Alex about Shekina and Shalom

December 1, 2006

Hello friends:

We hope all is well for everyone.

We are grateful for your recent attention to Victor Hugo. For him it was meaningful to receive the card and notes, which made him feel that he too is important in the relationship we enjoy with CBC. Thank you for we have always wanted for him to know that his family includes all of you.

Two days ago, we received a message from Carmelina (from SHARE) and met with her and Guadalupe in Chalchuapa. We talked about various things, among them we shared our concern over the way in which our communities are spread out and disorganized. Due to their poverty and struggle to survive, people are driven to migrate and look for opportunities in other places. This makes it harder for those of us who labor with the communities as we feel like we take 10 steps forward and 9 steps back with people. We don’t feel like the pastoral work is as organized. We also acknowledged that this is a situation our communities share in common with the rest of the county, even in communities were the work is more greatly organized. We reached the conclusion that it is urgent and necessary for there to be a radical change in the nation leading to a changed economy.

We have been very busy over the past weeks. In Shalom we are pleased as a number of our families have been granted an opportunity to benefit from a farming and orchard project. It provides 10 egg-laying hens and 100 chickens per family. For families who are very poor and do not have access to running water there are efforts in place to bring fresh water to these communities. There is a private organization that works towards bringing water to such communities that has invited me to be a part of their Board of Directors and we are in dialogue about how to make water available to those families that are part of the farming and orchard project.

In Shekina we have been reaching out to the community by offering workshops on crafts, crochet, macram̩, music, drawing and painting. Young people, boys and girls and men and women attend and we have at least 90 in attendance. These are persons from the community having their first encounter with our ministry. I am teaching drawing and painting and have 25 students in my classes, which meet every day from 2-5pm. This is an excellent experience as it enriches our vision and sets a challenge for the congregation in Santa Ana. People are alone, without options, without opportunities to be in communion with each other. There are no other opportunities for development, communal living, friendships or fun Рthat is part of why most have responded to the call to attend these workshops.

Well, again thank you for your care, concern and love expressed to Victor Hugo. We are pleased to see him happy. We heard that he plans to frame the card to place in his room. Victor Hugo has finished his school year and all is well, he will be in sixth grade next year. Each morning, during his vacation, he is taking intensive English courses. His desire is to be able to communicate with next year’s delegation.

Thanks for everything. We love you very much.

Alex Orantes

translated by Laura M