Mission Trip 2007 Daily Updates

Arrival Day – October 19th
Day 2 – October 20th
Day 3 – October 21st
Day 4 – October 22nd
Day 5 – October 23rd
Day 6 – October 24th

Mission Trip 2007 Planning

On October 19, 2007 members of St. Andrew Presbyterian Church once again returned to Buenos Aires, El Salvador.  The main purpose of this mission trip, the church’s third since 2002, was to build a 15’x30’ schoolhouse.  This schoolhouse will allow the school to once again expand the grades that it is able to serve.  Before the church built the first school in 2002, Buenos Aires had a dirt floored one-room schoolhouse that was only enough space for first through third grades.  Because of the work of St. Andrew and the support of World Vision Canada the school now serves preschool through sixth grade.  With the addition of the new schoolhouse the church built, additional grades have been added.

The villagers of Buenos Aires prepared for the new schoolroom ahead of the arrival of the team by providing the labor for the pouring of the concrete foundation and by gathering some of the necessary materials and tools.  Michael Irvine traveled down to El Salvador a few days ahead of the rest of the team to ensure that all the required materials are ready upon the team’s arrival.

The 2007 team took on a few other tasks in addition to the construction of the new schoolhouse.  One of the other tasks was to perform routine maintenance on the school that was built by the church in 2002.  As a part of the maintenance of the main school building, the team looked at the developing problem of erosion at the school site.  The team will also be working to identify potential future projects for the community.

As in previous years, the St. Andrew congregation was extremely generous in their support of the projects of 2007.  The 2007 mission also received a significant amount of funding from our annual Fourth of July hamburger booth.  If you would like to contribute to future projects, please mail a check to St. Andrew Presbyterian Church at 16290 Arnold Drive, Sonoma, CA 95476.  Tax-deductible donations can also be made to New Horizons USA. P.O. Box 2015, Sonoma, CA 95476. Please be sure to write El Salvador in the memo portion of the check and to indicate whether or not you would like a receipt.

The 2007 El Salvador Team left San Francisco airport on Friday, October 19th and returned early in the morning on Sunday, October 28th.  The team participants were: Robert Bernard, Kitty Brenek, Cathy Collier, Guillermo Gonzalez, Dave Haflich, Pat Ingram, David Irvine, Michael Irvine, Bob Jones, and Gary Stein.  All team members volunteered their time and funds to participate in the mission.

We would like to introduce the participants of this years mission trip to you:

Robert Bernard was one of our first time participants and we were extremely excited to have him as a part of our team.  Robert has extensive experience in construction and drainage control and because of his expertise he lead a small sub-team that took care of some routine maintenance that needed to be done on the original school.

Kitty Brenek was a valuable member of all of our previous mission trips to El Salvador and we were very pleased she decided to join us again for the 2007 trip.

Cathy Collier also participated in all of our previous missions projects in El Salvador. Cathy led the 2004 trip during which the team built a community center for the village.

Guillermo Gonzalez, a native of El Salvador, is the reason the church is working in El Salvador.  His heartfelt devotion to his country after the devastating hurricane of 1999 and earthquake of 2001 were the inspiration behind the creation of this church’s mission in Buenos Aires.  Guillermo is also the board president of USA New Horizons, a 501(c)3 that supports the church’s work in El Salvador.

Dave Haflich has long been a supporter of the church’s efforts in El Salvador but up until this year Dave has not been able to participate in any of the mission trips.  If Dave can lay block as well as he makes hamburgers he will be invaluable on our upcoming trip.

Pat Ingram has also been supporting the church’s efforts in El Salvador from the start and like Dave, Pat has yet to join us on one of our mission trips.  Pat is also a board member of USA New Horizons.

David Irvine will be returning to El Salvador again as the church’s staff member in charge of the trip.  David led the first mission trip in 2002 during which the team built the original school.

Michael Irvine once again participated in the 2007 trip.  After participating in the first mission trip in 2002 Michael returned to Buenos Aires in August of 2004 and stayed working as a volunteer until September of 2005.  Michael had returned to El Salvador a number of times since his thirteen-month stay, including a trip with Guillermo and Pastor Rich Gantenbein in February of this year to reestablish St. Andrews’ commitment to Buenos Aires.

Bob Jones was the last of our new team members for the 2007 trip and we were very fortunate to have him on our team.  Bob is experienced in volunteering abroad and had just recently returned from Romania where he spent three weeks working with a local vacation bible school before leaving for El Salvador.

Gary Stein was the tenth a final member of the team.  Gary’s vast knowledge of construction and his experience from participating in the church’s first two mission trips to El Salvador made him an easy choice to serve as the trip foreman.

As you can see all of our volunteers come from different backgrounds and have various levels of experience.  Most don’t speak Spanish but all share a passion for helping others, which is the most important criteria for a team member.  If you are interested in joining us on a future trip or if you would like to help in any other way please contact David Irvine at             (707) 996-6076 or [email protected].