Our longest relationship is with San Lucas Toliman, a mission in the highlands of Guatemala. Salem has been visiting San Lucas for over 17 years, learning about the projects the mission supports, volunteering, and becoming lifelong friends with several Guatemalan families.
Members of Salem also sponsor 13 students from San Lucas and surrounding communities so that they can get a secondary education.
Volunteering projects include coffee picking, road clearing, seedling planting, and stove building. Stove building has been a vital project. The older Guatemalan stoves often create health problems like asthma and are safety hazards. The new stoves are cheap to make, built from local supplies, and employ locals to lead the volunteer work crews.
Augustinian Lutheran Church of Guatemala.
Salem and the ELCA also have a relationship with ILAG: the Augustinian Lutheran Church of Guatemala. ILAG is based out of Guatemala City and supports Lutheran churches throughout the large city and outlying communities. Along with building churches, ILAG focuses on health training, education, and leadership development for members of the communities they serve.
Salem travels to Guatemala every two years, usually in conjunction with other churches in the area. New travelers are always welcome!
The current Evangelical Lutheran Church in Tanzania (ELCT) has over 2.5 million members and is one of the largest Lutheran churches in the world. The Companion Congregation program began in 1987 as a synod to synod program with a primary focus on educating pastors for the rapidly growing Evangelical Lutheran Church in Tanzania.
Salem is partnered with the Magome Lutheran parish in Tanzania, since 1987. Since 2004, Salem has sent a group to Tanzania to forge relationships with our companion congregation Magome. Participating congregations agree to pray for one another regularly and to engage in regular communication through email, videos, letters, or photographs. Providing scholarships helps strengthen the local economy, and exchanges between congregations affirm unity in mission and foster cultural understanding. Also, Saint Paul Area Synod congregations support Tanzanian congregations with financial support, which might include the purchase of roofing and building materials, program support, cows, or bicycles for evangelists.