Wednesday, July 28, 2010

please help me get to el salvador

Dear friends,


This is the place where you can keep up with me during my time in El Salvador over the next two years. I'll periodically write reflections, news, updates, and share pictures about my life and work.

But first, I need to ask for a little help.

As you may already know, in August I will begin my work in San Ramon, an urban community on the outskirts of San Salvador. I will be working for an organization called Asociacion Nuevo Amanecer El Salvador (ANADES), or New Dawn Association. They are a certified 501(c)3 non-profit, formed during the Salvadoran civil war to provide services for children who had become orphans. Now, they have services across the country ranging from mental health clinics to an organic farm, but I will be working for their kindergarten program in San Ramon - Centro Hogar, or the Home Center. I will be the director of a scholarship program, Programa Velasco, which connects sponsors in the US and Europe with kids whose families cannot afford the school's tuition. In addition to raising money and coordinating the scholarships, I will also work closely with the families in the community through Programa Velasco's personal formation and development program, as well as a new micro-loan program for women to start small businesses.

Click on any of the links above if you want to learn more about ANADES, Programa Velasco, and the people I will be working with!

When I go to El Salvador on August 17th (start your countdowns!), I will be joining several other lay missioners as part of the Volunteer Missionary Movement (VMM). VMM is an international lay mission organization, with missioners from Europe and the United States serving in Africa, Asia, and Latin America. Its roots are in the Catholic social justice tradition, but VMM is a truly ecumenical organization. There are already several VMM missioners working and living in El Salvador, so I will have a lot of support from them as well as the whole VMM community.

In addition to the spiritual, emotional, and personal support I receive from the VMM community, VMM supports me financially - for everything from health insurance to the cost of my personal expenses like rent, food, and transportation. On average, VMM spends $18,000/year for each missioner. I am asked to raise $5000 to help defray some of those costs.

If you would be willing to donate, I would certainly appreciate every cent. Even small donations add up!

You can donate online by going to VMM's Donate Now page and pay with a credit card or PayPal account. *Just please make sure to include a note that your donation is to be contributed toward my total! If you don't know how to do that or donated without mentioning my name, just shoot me an email ( and I can make sure your donation is counted toward my goal.*

You can also send VMM a check. Just download VMM's donor form, make sure that you've written my name in the "in honor of" line, and send everything to

Volunteer Missionary Movement (VMM)
Attn: Development Office
5980 W. Loomis Road
Greendale, WI 53129

If you would like to contribute a small donation on an automatic monthly basis, you can become a Covenant Partner. Just click here to learn more!

Even if you cannot donate, thanks for the joy you all bring to my life! Please send prayers and emails while I'm gone, and come visit if you can.


about the title

The birds' favorite songs
You do not hear,

For their most flamboyant music takes place
When their wings are stretched
Above the trees

And they are smoking the opium
Of pure freedom.

It is healthy for the prisoner
To have faith

The one day she will again move about
Wherever she wants,
Feel the wondrous grit of life-
Less structured,

Find all wounds, debt, stamped canceled,

I once asked a bird,
"How is it that you fly in this gravity
Of darkness?"

She responded,
"Love lifts

- Hafiz
from The Gift, translated by Daniel Ladinsky