Five members of the Penn Forest Worship Center just returned from Operation Outreach – El Salvador. Those who went were Pastor Myron Atkinson, Dr. Mandy Atkinson, Jonah Atkinson, Kathleen Blasiole, and Emily Poff. They flew out of Greensboro on Friday, August 5th and returned home Friday August 12th. The trip had been in the planning for over a year. During this time they raised over $8,000 and collected over $1000.00 worth of medicines & supplies.
The trip was one that made a difference physically, emotionally, and spiritually in the lives of many. While they were there they conducted four medical clinics in the community of Agua Caliente in Chalatenango, at the El Tabernaculo Wesleyan Church in San Salvador, at the Joya Grande School in Apopa and in a refugee settlement in Shafick Handal, Canton El Carmen Pan-American Highway (Cojutepeque). There were over 200 individuals who came to be seen.
They also held two Bible Schools with a combined attendance of over 100 children. They made hundreds of balloon animals -perritos, jirafas, and serpientes as well as espadas. Pastor Myron Atkinson had the privilege of preaching at the El Tabernaculo Wesleyan Church on the topic of “Rising above the challenges of life” based on Acts 16. He also had the honor of teaching over 40 of the churches leaders at their weekly meeting. Dr. Mandy Atkinson spoke on the topic of “Why does God allow suffering” at a Tuesday evening ladies service.
The refugee settlement they visited in Cojutepeque had over 3000 people living in a confined area with no running water, no well, no sewage, and quite substandard housing. Many of the people who Dr. Atkinson saw were severely malnourished. Yet in the mist of the poverty, there was life. Dr. Atkinson saw two patients who were pregnant, and a 90-year-old woman who had no complaints, but just thought she should be checked out. They had an intense desire for a church in their community. A woman who lived there had a small vacant piece of property that she was willing to donate to the Wesleyan church if a church could be started there. There was another lot next to it that was available, which had electricity and a small building on it. The mission team was able to give money so that property could be purchased also. Three days later they held their first church service with 19 people attending. The mission team is now looking into what steps need to be taken to get a well dug in this area and are raising the funds to do it.
It was an excellent trip that won’t be soon forgotten.
Submitted by Myron D. Atkinson, Pastor, Penn Forest Worship Center