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Posted December 11, 2013 in Community Featured, Clive
Priscilla Eppinger opens the garage door to the pastoral house in El Salvador.

Priscilla Eppinger opens the garage door to the pastoral house in El Salvador.

As is its history and its way, the Heartland Presbyterian Church is organizing another exciting and enriching trip that will help a community in need. The church has a group go on a mission twice a year — once in the winter and once in the summer — and is now planning its Winter Delegation Trip to El Salvador for 2014.

For more than a decade, Heartland Presbyterian has been partnering with Compañeros, the coordinating body for the Des Moines Presbytery’s El Salvador mission, to do a walk in solidarity with the small community of El Tablón in El Salvador. The canton of El Tablón is just one of the 17 in the Municipality of Berlin, El Salvador, where Rev. Robert Cook first established Our Sister Parish Mission.

Our Sister Parish is an organization that does Presbytery work with churches in Des Moines and its “sister” churches near Berlin. The Mission development represents churches from several denominations, including Presbyterian, Disciples, Catholics and United Methodists. Over time, nine Parish/Canton relationships have developed, where the churches adopt a canton and send a delegation at least once a year to provide support for them.

This partnership with Our Sister Parish is a way for Heartland to help its sister city with projects and donations. Priscilla Eppinger, one of the International Mission Committee Delegation leaders, says the trip is “an opportunity for people of our congregation to see what things are like.” In previous years Heartland’s ministry partnership with El Tablón helped raise funds for such things as salary support for a primary school teacher, scholarships for eight students in high school, financial assistance for health emergencies and aid to subsistence farmers fertilizer in their community.

Eppinger says that Heartland’s delegations to El Salvador are different from other mission trips in that the job isn’t to construct something, but rather to give congregation members a chance to meet the people they are helping in El Salvador. They don’t do a lot of hands-on things, because “people gain a sense of dignity when they get a chance to work,” says Eppinger. It’s a response to God’s call to help the poor.

The next delegation to El Salvador isn’t until Feb. 4-11, but the cost for the trip is about $1,600, so missionaries need this time to raise funds. Learn more online at, or call 987-4246.

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