Above is a picture of the coconut palm in our back yard. It finally got trimmed back, as it has been dropping fronds and coconuts constantly from the tree. The problem with the coconuts is that they are small…tiny actually, about 3 inches in diameter for the average coconut that falls.
And even the big ones, when you cut them open, they are empty, don’t even have the nut that you would crack for the water, just a hole. When a young man came to clean it up and trim it, he asked me to buy 5 lbs. of salt. He put most of it up in the top of the tree and the remainder around the roots. The lesson here, coconut palms need salt, and if they lose their saltiness you have to re-introduce it.
Well, you say, that is very interesting, but what does that have to do with the price of tea in China…or more aptly, the price of coffee in Central America? A lot! In our last blog, we subtly looked at the increasing problem with violent crime in El Salvador, and where it comes from, or at least one source. Now, as promised in our last post, it is time to look at the solutions. In the next couple of blogs, I want to look into a option that deals with the “sickness” of the tree…that goes for a solution at the top, and the bottom. As Jesus says,
“So every healthy tree bears good fruit, but the diseased tree bears bad fruit. A healthy tree cannot bear bad fruit, nor can a diseased tree bear good fruit.” (Matthew 7:17-18)
In an age of moral relativism, where “what seems right to you is the new right and true” and when we cannot use the Bible to point out deficiencies without being bigoted, hateful and even criminal, the Salvadoran government has partnered with a program that is returning to the more antiquated view that there actually is a fundamental right and wrong, and without this being intentionally taught, we, as humans default to the “do what feels good” MO.
This program called “RENACER Sembrando Valores” has been in process since 2013 with a pilot program in Sonsonate, but on the heels of what has come to be called the bloodiest week in El Salvador’s history, they have begun to push this at the most elementary level, elementary school.
Next week, I will share in more detail and see what information we can find about its effectiveness in implementation. But here is the gist of the program: “RENACER” which means rebirth, has begun a program of teaching values. I was in a pastor’s meeting last week and a representative came in asking their help on behalf of the government. Though the lessons are not Bible teachings, they are all biblically founded values, with the guidebook called “Cultivating Character.” Personal and Interpersonal values which are taught: Integrity, conviction, self-discipline, diligence, wisdom, loyalty, courage, humility, kindness and gratitude. Some of the “fruits” they expect from these teachings are: honesty, sincerity, purity, virtue, impartiality, faith, confidence, optimism, enthusiasm, persuasion, order, punctuality, saving, ingenuity, attention, caution, creativity, persistence, thoroughness, perspective, insight, discretion, etc. There is a short youtube video here.
Another Foursquare Missionary Pablo Peña, encouraged us at our board meeting yesterday, that the most recent time of rapid growth in the evangelical church was during the civil war years. He believes that this time is ripe for a change as people are open for the answer that Jesus, and God’s word offers.
“You are the salt of the earth, but if salt has lost its taste, how shall its’ saltiness be restored?..You are the light of the world. A city set on a hill cannot be hidden. Nor do people light a lamp and put it under a basket, but on a stand, and it gives light to all in the house. In the same way, let your light shine before others, so that they may see your good works and give glory to your Father who is in heaven.” (Matthew 5:13-16)
Tune in next time as we look more intently on what this being “salt and light” is all about.