Presbytery of Des Moines
Our Sister Parish

"actas" in  ACTION

​As the local Berlín communities become more organized and self-reliant, they have formed “commissions.” These are small groups of five to six people from neighboring communities. Every other month, representatives from these 25 socioeconomically impoverished communities of Berlín meet to discuss common issues, vote on policies and procedures, and share successes. “Actas” (official minutes) record the verbal agreements, decisions, and assignments of the group and are signed by all to create accountability. With this organization, communities self-determine their most important needs, communicate and collaborate with the Pastoral Team and other organizations to implement projects, and maintain and monitor projects the community has received.
​Much work was accomplished this past year and we are proud to share it with you. That being said, there is so much more to do, won't you join us!

our sister parish stories 

Covenant relationships

​What exactly is a Covenant Relationship? You could define it technically: it is a partnership between a church, a Berlín village, the Pastoral Team, the Mission Co-Worker, and the OSP board. The actual three to five year “contract” that we all sign outlines the roles and responsibilities between all these entities. This was written by and agreed upon by all parties and is a living document. It can be amended and/or renewed or dissolved by mutual agreement.
But this covenant – alianza in Spanish – is much deeper than its definition. It is a promise. A promise that brings hope. A promise that requires commitment from all involved. It can be work. It can be difficult at times because partnerships can be difficult when not all parties initially agree or there are different visions of what can or should be accomplished. We are all human. But the goal is always to act with brotherly and sisterly love and work together. Our covenants help to strengthen our solidarity. Our covenants are based upon faith, trust, and love.
God made covenants with us. Jesús walked in solidarity and broke bread with the poor. Those are good models to emulate!
Micah 6:8, Matthew 25:40.


​​Don Justo Coffee proceeds funded fertilizer for unpartnered Berlín communities, helping 218 families to feed themselves. An additional 11 communities received fertilizer from their partner congregations, helping an additional 753 families.
Berlín soil is horribly depleted from years of overuse, making it impossible without these essential, and expensive fertilizers to grow the corn and beans that families need to sustain themselves. Often, families must either borrow money at high interest rates to pay for them or risk harvesting little to nothing without them. Fertilizer provides already hardworking people with an essential component they need to successfully feed their families. 


The 2017 Medical Delegation consisted of four doctors, one physical therapist, five nurses, and four support staff from the U.S. The group started by learning about El Salvador history in the capital of San Salvador. In order to understand the hardships of daily life and its effect on their health, the delegation next visited a smaller rural community to speak with residents and see their homes first-hand.
The Medical Delegation conducted clinics in five  rural villages over the rest of the week and provided basic health care and education. Local doctors cooperated with US staff and provided proper channels for patients who needed referrals or additional care. Ultimately, the Medication Delegation served 640 people.
Health concerns addressed by the team included issues with: muscles, kidneys, gastrointestinal tract, vision, high blood pressure, teeth, breathing, parasites, heart, skin, and general aches and pains. However, the most important service provided was the tangible demonstration that the health concerns and fears of people, who may have no other opportunity to see a doctor, could be addressed. 


​Ninety-one middle and high school students received scholarships in 2017; that’s eight percent more than in 2016. Nine students graduated from high school and five grads received assistance with their post-high school education. Having a degree not only improves their chances of escaping poverty, but also prepares them to serve as leaders in their communities.

​Our Sister Parish brings hope and development to the poor of Berlín, Usulután, El Salvador through committed relationships of solidarity between US churches/organizations and our Berlín brothers and sisters. Faith will grow and the love of God will be profoundly experienced for all involved


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