El Salvador Bible School 2020
The members and young people in El Salvador spend months planning the annual Bible school, the big event at the end of the year.
Normally, they hold it at a rambling, rustic hotel in the mountains. But this year, as everyone knows, it was impossible to make firm plans in advance. Never have we all felt so much the truth of saying, “God willing.”
There was always the option of holding a virtual school, but the young people badly wanted to get together, even if they were just a few. By the fall, El Salvador had opened stores and businesses on the condition of observing COVID-19 protocols: masks, temperature checks, distance and lots of gel!
So, in November, the brethren decided to go ahead with plans for an in-person school, and we agreed to teach if we could get there. The hotel was open for limited numbers and, in fact, we turned out to be their first group of guests since the pandemic had begun.
In order for us to board the plane for El Salvador, we had to present a recent negative COVID-19 test result. To be extra careful, we had two tests taken. This turned out to be a godsend, because, as we were lining up for check-in, we realized the first test had the wrong date. Usually, there are over 100 of us at the school, including visitors from other countries. That was impossible this year; besides us, the only foreign visitor was Bro. Jorge Trinidad, from Guatemala.
We were all surprised and encouraged by the attendance of 69 persons, many more than expected. The adult classes were on Ezra and Nehemiah, a period in Bible history that isn’t so well known. The young people’s theme was, “Taking lessons from the young people in the Bible.” Only nine of that group had registered for the school, but, in the end, we had 19!
The hotel applied strict protocols; everyone had to eat with their family group, with no changing tables. And the ecclesia insisted on social distancing, using masks and NO HUGS. That is really hard, especially when you haven’t seen a good friend for a long time. Many ecclesial members hadn’t been together since March, so despite the need for social distancing, they were still glad to fellowship in person.
In the past, the young people had always designed a special T-shirt with a Bible verse. In keeping with the situation, this year they made masks for everyone—two each—with the logo of a Bible in hand! Otherwise, the usual activities were held. The young people organized afternoon games with participation from youngest to oldest. There was lots of laughter and good fun. As always, the traditional Bible quiz was a great hit: shouted answers, and, in typical Christadelphian fashion, debate about the correct answers! The children of the Sunday school presented an evening of skits and songs, based on the parables. The evening ended with the girls in black skirts and white blouses, dancing the hora: very beautiful.
After the Sunday school prize-giving on the last afternoon, we moved on to the San Salvador hall for another couple of hours of chatting, while munching on fruit salad and doughnuts—another tradition. Our plan was to return home right after the school, which wouldn’t have allowed any time for personal visits. But we found, we didn’t have all the documents we needed to re-enter the US. Thanks to a diligent son, who rummaged through our papers in Los Angeles, and made a quick UPS shipment, the problem was solved.
The upside was that this gave us three more days in San Salvador for visiting. God works in mysterious ways, but it is always wonderful to experience His blessings. Several weeks after the event, we are happy to report that no one got sick and the school was an uplifting and joyous event.
Written by Jim and Jean Hunter
Submitted by Jan Berneau, CBMA/C Publicity