Partnering with El Salvador Neighbors
The P.E.N. pal program is a part of the global ministry of Rush Creek. Its purpose is to connect families from Rush Creek with families at our partner church: Tabernáculo Biblico Bautista in Plan del Pino, El Salvador. Members will be able to write letters to their family and pray for specific needs they may have. Rush Creek families will also be able to make a small financial commitment each month to support their under-resourced family. They will receive food assistance for their family, medical care, opportunity to learn a skill or trade and most importantly spiritual discipleship. This ministry will also help families become more intentional about building God-honoring homes.
Plan del Pino, San Salvador, El Salvador Community Profile
Plan del Pino is home to approximately 25,000 residents. The typical house is constructed of brick or mud floors with walls and roofs made from scrap pieces of metal. The community has water and electricity, but not all families have the means to afford them.
The family diet consists of beans, chicken, maize and rice. Common health problems in this area include respiratory and stomach issues. Most adults in Plan del Pino are either unemployed or have very low paying jobs. They earn the equivalent of $149 per month. Drug and alcohol abuse is prevalent and the community is troubled with violence and gangs.
Leadership at Tabernáculo Biblico Bautista – Plan del Pino
Pastor Carlos Abrego has pastored TBB for almost 10 years. He comes with a background in international business before he was called to pastor the church full-time. He is married to Jacqueline Abrego who works as the Christian Commitment Manager for World Vision – El Salvador. They have two preteen boys: Carlos and Josue. The Abrego family ministers together through teaching and leading in worship at the church.
Pastor Carlos has developed a strong leadership team that has enabled the church to begin to make a difference in their community. TBB is widely respected by community leaders and more importantly by gang members. They average more than 600 children and teenagers in attendance and more than 1,000 adults each weekend.
How can you be a part of the El Salvador Partner Network?
Prayer is the most important thing we can do for TBB. The members of the church live in a community where many of us would give up and move to a new city. However, these dedicated families have a made a commitment to their community. Instead they have decided to work hard at sharing the Gospel with their neighbors and minister to their physical needs.
The second thing you can do is to support a family financially at the church. Many of the families at TBB are under-employed and looking for work but the unemployment situation in their country is difficult. We are asking Rush Creek families to commit to partnering with a TBB family to help ease the financial burden they are experiencing.
A monthly financial commitment of $35 will make a huge impact:
- Provides a family with food, academic tutoring, access to workshops that teach trades and life skills, preventative medical care, spiritual discipleship and ministry expansion.
- PEN pals will receive a minimum of 2 letters of communication from their family each year.
- PEN pals will also have an opportunity to join a Rush Creek mission team to travel to El Salvador to meet their family in person.
To become a PEN pal:
If you have any questions regarding this ministry or if you or your Small Group would like to make a bigger impact in their community, please contact Tammy Birchfield at firstname.lastname@example.org.
A Note from a PEN Pal who traveled to El Salvador:
I have been sending money through the Pen Pal program for a few years. And that’s it. I received my letter once or twice a year, I knew it was going to a young man and his name was Daniel. I always meant to write back, but never did.
When I decided last fall to go on the trip in July, I had hoped to get to meet him and present him with a few items (I received a letter in May so I had an idea of what he liked.) What happened was beyond anything I could have hoped for!
When we arrived at the church the first day (parade day!!) it wasn’t 30 minutes before a friend came up to me with a young man carrying a sign with my name on it. It was Daniel!! He was so happy I was there and stayed with me the whole day!!
Over the next few days we spent there, Daniel was with me anytime he could be. I met his mom, step dad, little sister and his best friend Kimmy. He was so proud to share his life with me and was so interested in me and my family.
The impact that the entire community made on me is profound and I have friends and familia that will never change! I know this is not news to either of you as who could go and not be deeply affected? But the point of my story is about the Pen Pal program.. and my commitment to it. If anyone doubts the need to communicate with their Pen pal, they should speak to someone who has been there. Someone like me, that thought money was enough.