Today, we rose bright and early and had breakfast at 7 a.m., and then back in the van to head to the Ciudad Mujer, “Women’s City,” which is a most amazing concept put to life by the government of La Libertad, the state this is in. Ciudad Mujer is center for women run by women. It is a beautiful facility where all of the services for women who are victims of rape, domestic abuse, human trafficking, and health issues can come. Here they will find legal, medical, work training, micro-loans, a top flight child care facility for their children, and many other things. We were joined here by Governor Lorena Martinez of La Libertad, a state but more like the size and running of a county in our country.

You can find a link to a fabulous video about this place here

After our tour and discussion at Ciudad Mujer we moved to the government offices of Governor Martinez in Santa Tecla where we were hosted by her for over an hour and discussed some of the challenges and joys of the service she is in and the community she serves.

Of course, there are many concerns about gang violence and control all over the country. I must tell you we never felt insecure or at harm, but it it clear this country is on edge regarding this situation. This, along with what every government official hears, more parks, better roads, better schools, more jobs. The same issues are seen and heard and felt here too.

We had lunch literally on the road and in transit to San Mateo parish and school. This is the parish where Bishop David Alvarado was once Rector and where his wife Irma is currently the Rector. They also have a school which we toured and our group celebrated Eucharist here with some of the parishioners as well, praying especially for their Rector Irma who is currently having some health issues.

We left there and traveled further into the country side to San Francisco de Asis, also served by Pastor Irma, in a small community, and a small congregation, with a big heart and a lot of life. We met some fellow travelers along the way who slowed us down a bit which is not a totally bad thing! Once we arrived we sat and talked to the people of San Francisco for about an hour. Then it was time to head back to San Salvador.

It was a long day, but a good one. We took the short walk out of our compound and into the city life of San Salvador and especially to Pop’s Ice Cream, a favorite of visitors and locals alike, and I don’t think I have ever missed a visit on any trip to El Salvador! This one could not be different. We were treated to another scrumptious dinner, held a meeting debriefing our day, and then prayed.

This is where I say goodbye to the pilgrims on this trip. They will stay on into next week but alas I will be heading home quite early tomorrow morning. It has been a great trip, to meet some wonderfully faithful people living out Christ’s calling to us all, being Christ in the midst of difficult lives, and always finding a way to smile, offer the most kind hospitality, and look to the future with hope. It has been inspirational as it always is. I look forward to my return in February for the Cristosal Board meeting. Please pray for those staying on and for the people here. They asked that we not forget them. Blessings to all of you

+Greg