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The 2022 Encuentro with the Salvadoran Lutheran Church

In November of 2022, members of the Global Mission Advocacy Team (GMAT) of the Sierra Pacific Synod traveled to El Salvador to participate in the Encuentro, hosted by our Sister Synod of the Salvadoran Lutheran Church. Sue Hertless, Deacon Linda Rube, Katie Swartz, Penny Swartz, and GMAT Chair, Joseph Haletky all attended on behalf of our synod. Joseph shares the following report and pictures from the week:

"Early in November, I made my third visit to El Salvador, my first as chair of our Global Missions Advocacy team. The occasion each time was to attend the Encuentro, a management consulting meeting hosted by the Salvadoran Lutheran Church with mission partners (sister parishes and companion synods across the United States and from other countries) to hear reports about the ministry since the last Encuentro, and to help develop 1 strategic plan for the next three years.

Each time, I’ve been able to pair my attendance at the Encuentro with a visit to First Lutheran of Palo Alto’s sister parish, Rios de Agua Viva, for Sunday worship and an ensuing fiesta.

This time, I arrived after an overnight flight from Los Angeles at 6:45 on Sunday morning, November 6th, the day before the meetings were to begin. A Synod van met me at the airport and brought me to the Synod headquarters. Then my hosts brought me to a coffee house/restaurant where I had a tasty, and quite inexpensive, breakfast. We got back in time for Pastora Vilma Rodriguez to pick me up and bring me to worship at Rios de Agua Viva.

Rios is a lively and now quite young congregation. Most of the worshippers are kids, teenagers and young adults who were kids when I began my visits. The first Sunday of the month is Youth Sunday, with the worship led by the