March El Salvador Newsletter

El Salvador - Pastor Oswaldo

In the last newsletter, I described the ambitious Smiling School Kids program developed by Pastor Oswaldo and his team of volunteers. In this newsletter, I want to continue by describing the centerpiece of the pastor’s vision for the future.

The Christian Formation Center will include a church as well as facilities for vocational training, women’s ministry, children’s programs, and a medical clinic. Pastor Oswaldo already has medical professionals willing to volunteer in this center. Vocational training will include not only educational classes in various trades but entrepreneurial instruction so that these individuals will be equipped to start their own businesses. 516NOW wants to then assist with creating a microfinance program so these newly trained individuals can start up their own businesses. The children’s program will focus on biblically based character education including, but not limited to, Sunday school, vacation Bible school, youth activities, and drug resistance education.

The women’s ministry is something that Pastor Oswaldo is particularly passionate about and which deserves more elaborate explanation. Many third world countries are male dominated in ways that go beyond what we experience in the U.S. The incidence of poverty among women in El Salvador is greater than in the U.S. as is domestic violence and other forms of violence against women. With the help of his wife, Esther, Pastor Oswaldo wants to create a program designed to empower women in the poor neighborhoods he serves. This will begin with biblically based principles of self-esteem and individual value but also include assertiveness training, vocational training, and common-sense habits of safety for women and their children. Oswaldo and Esther feel that this program is so essential that he does not want to wait for a new facility and has plans to move forward as soon as possible. We believe that the initial startup costs for this program will be $5,000 and we have already received a $1,500 donation toward making this happen.

The current church facility is rented at a cost of $1,000 per month. While attractive, it is far too small for such an ambitious plan. Pastor Oswaldo would like to purchase an existing facility or land on which he can build. The total cost will likely be at least $100,000.

The name of Pastor Oswaldo’s church is Iglesia Vida Para Crecer (Life to Grow Church). The name is appropriate as his focus in not just on spiritual growth but all aspects of helping the community create holy, prosperous, and sustainable lives.

Smiling School Kids (SSK)

Women's Ministry

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Scott Votey (7)

After a 45-year career in independent school education, including teaching, coaching, counseling, and administration, Scott retired to focus more time on the work of 516NOW and grandchildren.

Scott first visited Nicaragua with his wife, Linda, in 2003. They both fell in love with the country and the people. Serving the Lord there has become their passion. Scott has made almost two dozen trips there and has led many mission teams. He has a particular passion for leading groups of teens on mission trips to the country.

In addition to his wife, Linda, Scott has a daughter and two grandchildren. He is the Secretary of 516NOW.

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